It’s Narcissist Friday!
Recently I read an article that gave an overview of narcissism. It was okay. It captured many of the problems narcissists present and shared some of the professional perspectives. But the thing that frustrated me was a two-pronged message: yes, you should try to help your narcissist; and no, there is nothing you can do.
That kind of dilemma is designed to bring frustration and failure. The article seems to put some burden on those who are in relationships with narcissists because the poor narcissists are so broken that we really should have compassion on them. But then it says narcissists resist change and cannot be changed without their participation.
Narcissists draw people who have empathy. These caring and kind people usually become their victims. Because they want to help, because they care, these victims will keep trying and keep overlooking offenses and keep blaming themselves. These are people narcissists can use.
So when an article like this says that we should care enough to try to help the broken narcissist, we want to try. We have always wanted to help. We have sensed the pain of the narcissist from the beginning. We have believed that enough love could turn the narcissist’s heart. But we fail. Every time.
So let me say it again: you cannot, will not, should not be the savior for your narcissist. He/she will change only by choice and only by serious or dramatic intervention. You have never been in a position to do what needs to be done to help your narcissist. That’s not why you are in the narcissist’s life. You are there to be used, not to help. I know that is harsh, but it is reality.
You have choices. You can leave the relationship or stay. You can, if you are strong enough, negotiate some reason into your relationship. You can give up and let the narcissist use you. You do have choices—but the one choice you do not have is to fix the narcissist. There is nothing you can do to help.
I believe that the Lord could change the heart of the narcissist. I also believe that the Lord will not do it unless the narcissist desires the change. I believe good, long, strong counseling could mitigate some of the narcissist’s cruel behaviors. Again, this is only by the consent of the narcissist. So, yes, I believe a narcissist could change.
But I do not believe you will change your narcissist, no matter how much you love or how much you sacrifice.
And there it is. Hard reality. I wish I could say something else, but facing the truth is the beginning of your freedom.