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 (usually as a child) and they haven’t recognized and healed it. This can make them incredibly self-centered and they refuse to behave reasonably. For the other person, this 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 upfront that there are specific behaviors that may always stick around.
Additionally, some things you are doing could be encouraging them to continue their behaviors. They often say that in relationships empaths are drawn to narcissists as a personality”trauma bond”. This statement isn’t to say that it’s your fault. Instead, this suggests that there are steps you can take to avoid entering into a bad situation with a narcissist and protect yourself.
Being around a narcissist can be an extraordinarily toxic and troubling experience. Luckily, you can make sure it doesn’t happen to you again.
Here Are 5 Things To Never Expect From A Narcissist
1. Their Help or Assistance
Narcissists are infamously self-absorbed. If you’re having trouble with something and there’s a narcissist in the room, you might as well be on your own. They will be of no help whatsoever to you. This trait, of course, affects other areas, too. You cannot expect a narcissist to do any of the following things:
- Be understanding or sympathetic
- Care about issues and problems you are facing
- Offer any thought-out advice
- Listen to rants or complaints
Narcissists are typically selfish by nature. This attitude stems from an inability to experience any form of empathy. And that shortfall leads to the impossibility of understanding acts of selflessness. A narcissist is merely incapable of placing anyone else’s needs above their own or even putting aside their individual requirements for a short moment.
It is also true that many narcissists lack empathy. Experts believe that the reason for this is that narcissists have a very binary world view. Basically, to them, everything is either black or white, with no room for a gray area in between. As such, their opinions on people are categorized into “bad” or “good,” with no nuance or complexity.
The problem with this is that narcissists begin to class excellent and evil people by one single determining factor: whether a person agrees with their opinions or not. So if you’re on their side, you’re right, and if you’re not, you’re automatically bad.
Thus, it can you can assume that the issue here isn’t necessarily a lack of empathy, compassion, or any form of real sympathy. Instead, the problem is rooted in that individual’s personality. As such, it is impossible to expect any helpfulness or displays of selflessness out of them.
2. Don’t Expect Them to Let You See Their Genuine Self
You can live, work, or even exist in close quarters with a narcissist for all your life, and you will still never honestly know them. Why? They are extremely good at hiding their true selves, for several reasons:
a) They Hide Feelings
A narcissist doesn’t have a lot of self-awareness. Without this positive trait, it’s difficult for them to recognize their feelings. When they do notice them, they bottle them up and hide them – both from everyone around them and from their selves.
This is because narcissists have difficulty processing and comprehending complex emotions. They cannot perform self-critical thought to determine where these emotions come from. As such, they become frightened of their feelings, as they make them vulnerable.
To protect themselves, a narcissist will resort to acting on a will to survive, projecting their issues onto others. Because of this, you can never know what they are truly feeling.
b) They Crave Attention
A narcissist always wants to be in the spotlight. They demand that they receive all credit, even if it’s undue. They want all the fame for none of the effort. And of course, the only way they can achieve this is through deception.
These people will pretend to be intelligent, brilliant, and all-knowing. They do so to get others to look up to them. Being on a pedestal puts them in a position of power. They thrive off of any positive attention they receive.
Even narcissists who don’t do this outwardly will find a way to gain the attention of others. Instead of loudly proclaiming their superiority, they may lie about their personal lives to make themselves look like long-suffering martyrs who deserve praise and support.
c) They Seek Favor
Sure, narcissists aren’t interested in expressing care for others. But that doesn’t mean they won’t pretend that they are. After all, a narcissist’s goal is to lift themselves and present themselves as amazing people.
It’s easy to fall prey to a narcissist who acts kind and polite. You may even grow to consider them a friend, or an acquaintance, or at least someone relatively decent to talk to. This connection is what they want. For example, they might:
- Pretend to agree with you
- Support your opinions
- Act like they enjoy your company
- Display falsely compassionate or honest behavior
- Act like your values are compatible
They do all this to trick you, lulling you into a false sense of security. Once you begin sharing details about your life with them, they’ve already started gathering information to use against you.
d) They Manipulate
A narcissist’s game is all about manipulation. Their aim is often to use and take advantage of the people around them. Think about it – would you trust someone who you knew was only aiming to use you?
A narcissist is only ever seeking to forward their own goals. They put themselves above all others, and they believe they deserve to be above all others. You can think that everything they do is to twist your arm. Be cautious!
3. To Exhibit a Positive Attitude
Many people confuse narcissism with bad attitudes or other kinds of toxicity that isn’t disorder-driven. Unfortunately, this is the wrong mindset to have, as it causes you to oversimplify the behaviors of a narcissist instead of recognizing them for what they are. You may believe:
- They’re just unpleasant people.
- They’re just seeking attention.
- They only need a friend.
These are noble beliefs, but inaccurate ones. A narcissist isn’t just a neurotypical person who isn’t fun to be around – they have a disorder that makes them behave this way. While it does not excuse negative behavior or give them a free pass for it, it can help you to understand where these behaviors stem from.
According to Heinz Kohut, a psychoanalyst, many individuals with narcissism are dealing with severe internal issues. This list includes:
- Emptiness or numbness
- Lack of meaning and motivation
- Feelings of alienation and isolation
- Lack of stability
- Negative self-image
- No stable identity
- Profound shame and inferiority
- Lack of value
There are two forms of personality a narcissist can portray:
Their deep-rooted issues lead to a “splitting,” of sorts, of a narcissist’s self. This divides them into two “selves”: an extraordinarily arrogant and grandiose superior person, and a self-critical, inferior self.
- An “introverted” type of narcissist whose inferior self is more dominant, leading them to idealize people around them.
- An “extroverted” type of narcissist whose superior self is more dominant, leading them to project their feelings of shame and self-hatred onto others.
Essentially, narcissism is a disorder. It stems from a desire to make oneself look better due to low self-worth and lousy self-esteem. This means that reassuring a narcissist can help keep the worst of their actions at bay. Just be sure that you don’t go overboard with the positive reaction!
So, does this mean you should forgive their actions? Absolutely not! Instead, being able to understand a narcissist’s thought process can provide you with insight that changes the way you react to them. It also means you see right through their facade – something no narcissist wants you to be able to do.
4. An Apology When They Hurt You (As Narcissists Often Do!)
To apologize is to admit blame and responsibility. To apologize is to paint yourself as the person in the wrong. You can probably guess why a narcissist would never want to do that! No matter what mistake a narcissist makes, they are sure to cover it up.
Narcissists don’t want to take any responsibility for their wrongdoings. Often, they don’t even believe that they can do any wrong at all. This false belief is due to their inflated ego and sense of superiority.
So when you ask a narcissist for something, they may say something like:
- “He made me do it!”
- “Perhaps you should have said something.”
- “It’s not my fault.” (EVER!)
- “I was doing only what I thought was best.”
- “You acted like you were just fine with it!”
- “I was only following what I thought you had wanted.”
- “I’m sorry that you couldn’t handle the outcome.”
These non-apologies blatantly point fingers at others, and it’s only going to cause you more headaches. They will project everything onto others no matter the way. Your energy is better spent telling them off lightly and proceeding.
5. To Give You Some Emotional Space When Needed
Positive thinking is crucial in dealing with a narcissist. They can be exhausting to deal with, especially when they’re looking for a reaction. Even once you’ve learned to see through all their facades, it’s still reasonably easy to become annoyed with them.
Some narcissists, unlike the “introverted” and “extroverted” ones we’ve previously discussed, are a completely different breed altogether. To them, all attention is good attention – even ones involving anger, sadness, or hurt.
These types of narcissists enjoy hurting others in order the get a reaction. They get pleasure from watching people around them suffer. A narcissist of this variety may repeatedly attempt to harm you. You do have a few options in this case:
- Look indifferent and uncaring
- Laugh it off
- Call them out with a smile or a chuckle, or as part of a joke
- Focus on making sure you aren’t thrown off track
- Flat-out ignore them
Whatever you choose to do, make sure the result is you looking unbothered or uninterested. That’s sure to cause any narcissist to lose interest – and some may even learn not to mess with you!
Final Thoughts On Some Things To Never Expect From A Narcissist
A narcissistic personality disorder is a severe mental condition that’s part of the cluster B personality disorders. 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.