A narcissistic personality disorder is a severe mental condition that’s part of the cluster B personality disorder. It affects approximately 1% of the population in diagnosed cases alone. And the chances are great that you’ve met many more undiagnosed narcissists in your lifetime.
While it’s important to note that those with narcissistic personality disorder are not inherently bad or cruel, you still need to be aware of the risks. Many who are unaware that they have the condition or are on its spectrum do not seek out therapy and, as such, do not realize the extent of their behaviors. Thus, they cannot correct them.
This is why it is so vital to remain vigilant when dealing with narcissists who cannot manage their disorder. No mental illness excuses negative behavior, and you are not responsible for their actions just because they have a problem.
It’s hard to come out from under the clutches of a narcissist. However, always practice positive thinking! By being aware of these five things to never expect from a narcissist, you’re arming yourself against their potential toxicity while also saving yourself lots of heartaches.
Narcissists are only concerned with themselves.
If you’ve ever had interactions with a narcissist, then you know just how difficult they can be. Unfortunately, more often than not, their personalities have been shaped due to unhealed trauma and they haven’t recognized and healed it yet. This isn’t an excuse for their behavior, but it is important to know what you can expect from them so you aren’t the one always disappointed.
Understanding them can be both exhausting and intolerable. There is hope that some of their behaviors can be healed with recognition and willingness to seek help. However, you should know up front that there are specific behaviors that may always stick around.
Most of the time, they are egotistical and self-absorbed. They manipulate situations and people to their benefit. Be wary of anything that comes from them, because ultimately it’s about the grandiose perception until they recognize this and heal.
“You can look at individual scores of narcissism, you can look at data on lifetime prevalence of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you can look at related cultural trends, and they all point to one thing,” says W. Keith Campbell, PhD, head of the University of Georgia psychology department. “Narcissism is on the rise.”
We all know someone who is egotistical and selfish. But, what can you expect from them with these sorts of behavior?
Here are 5 things to never expect from a narcissist:
1. Never expect empathy and compassion.
Unless you are going to be giving them something in return, don’t expect sympathy. The narcissist is incapable of compassion because it would require them to get out of their own needs. It’s all about “what can I get from you?” If something doesn’t concern them, they have little interest. Your mother could be in the hospital and if you ask them for help, they will avoid you unless they can get something for helping. And, if they are empathetic, it will be for showing others what they did. They are missing an empathy and compassion gene. Most narcissists lack self-insight. In their own lack of worth, they dispose of their destructive behavior onto others.
2. Never expect them to listen.
Narcissists are not great at listening to anyone’s problems. They will listen when they need something from you, utilizing your weaknesses or traumas to get what they want. These folks are not the ones you go to in order to vent. They will hear you but never pay attention. If the conversation is not about them, then they have no use for your words. And even then, they will only hear what pertains to their greatness. Dr. Leon F. Seltzer writes in Psychology Today:
“It’s been said about narcissists that they can’t tell where they end and the other person begins. Unconsciously viewing others as “extensions” of themselves, they regard them as existing primarily to serve their own needs—just as they routinely put their needs before everyone else’s (frequently, even their own children). Since others are regarded (if they’re regarded at all!) as what in the literature is often called “narcissistic supplies”—that is, existing chiefly to cater to their personal desires—they generally don’t think about others independently of how they might “use” them to their own advantage. Whatever narcissists seek to give themselves, they generally expect to get from others, too (which is yet another dimension of their famous—or infamous —sense of entitlement).”
3. Never expect anything for free.
When a narcissist does you a favor, he/she will reclaim it quickly. They keep tally on all that they do for others. Unless they can get something out of you, don’t expect them to do it out of the kindness of their hearts. If it doesn’t benefit them, there is no point in doing anything for you. Don’t expect generosity without signing your soul to the devil. The narcissist will lie and cheat to get what they desire for their own benefit. So, if they are doing something for you, except that it’s all about them.
4. Never expect an apology.
A narcissist does no wrong. If something goes wrong, it wasn’t their fault. They have no problem turning that against you. You can’t expect them to feel sorry for anything because they are perfect. Any misunderstandings are all on you. They couldn’t possibly have done anything to upset you. Narcissistic people are bullies, and they have no problem turning things around to hurt others rather than take responsibility for their actions. The narcissist is self-righteous. They are entitled and deserving of anything, therefore, they are never in the wrong.
5. Never expect gratitude.
The egotistical person will never share the things you have done for them, only those things that you haven’t done. They focus on the negative and the things that are missing at the moment. Do not expect gratitude…ever. They are incapable of taking attention off of themselves. However, they will claim and retell all that they have done for you without a problem and expect gratitude. Dr. Pavel G. Somov writes that “As a narcissist, perhaps the only way for you to feel special is to command special treatment, to insist on unquestioning compliance with your wishes from others, to demand nothing less than perfection from others.”
Narcissists cannot give of themselves for the sake of giving without expecting recognition, admiration and appreciation. They are manipulators of time and effort. They bulldoze through people and their emotional needs for their benefit. Perhaps the most frustrating thing about narcissistic personality disorder is that it’s difficult to treat with therapy, as clients are unwilling to see they have an issue. In relationships of any kind, it’s even more difficult to acknowledge since the narcissist doesn’t see a problem with themselves. The best way to deal with a narcissist is to have no expectations.