In a previous post I wrote about three reasons you can’t win with a narcissist. Here are three more reasons you’re bound to lose when you’re dealing with a profoundly selfish person who lacks empathy, makes you feel small and robs you of the happiness you deserve.
1. Narcissists make you feel guilty when you experience happiness because they expect you to put their happiness first.
When you reward yourself with a vacation or something else you’ve earned, are you suddenly filled with guilt? You feel like you’re somehow shirking your duties or being irresponsible. It’s like you have no right to take time for yourself or even feel happy. It’s actually a clever trick of the narcissist. You feel like you’re doing something wrong when you’re happy because the narcissist isn’t happy.
Your vacation is nothing to them. Your new purse isn’t their purse. If you’re taking time for yourself, that’s time you’re “stealing” from them. The “duty” you’re shirking is your duty to be available to meet the narcissist’s needs. Even if they acknowledge that you deserve a vacation, they don’t understand why you insist on “hurting” them. How can you be happy if they’re unhappy? This question leads me to my next point:
5. The narcissist will never be happy.
“Contrary to the common misperception, narcissists aren’t arrogant even if they act arrogant,” explains Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. “They simply don’t feel good about themselves.”
Despite incalculable self-importance, the narcissist doesn’t have high self-esteem. They coat themselves in praise and approval from others to hide their biggest fear. As Jonice Webb, Ph.D., wrote:
That unwavering self-confidence is as brittle as an eggshell. Narcissists don’t move back and forth on a continuum of self-esteem as the rest of us do. … Under that fragile, brittle cover lies a hidden pool of insecurity and pain. Deep down, the narcissist’s deepest and most powerful fear is that he is a nothing.
People in the narcissist’s life have to go to great lengths to secure their approval, if that’s even possible. In the end, we do want to make them happy. Perhaps if they were satisfied, we think, we could all be joyful and content together. This is an impossibility.
The narcissist isn’t going to wake up one day and finally be optimistic or considerate. They’re not going to call you up and say, “Thanks so much for all the things you’ve done for me.” They’re not going to move mountains to help you out. They’re not going to be proud of your accomplishments or sincerely congratulate you. They’re not going to invite you to dinner, show up on time and spend all night actively listening to you.
And they will always take everything you do personally — because after all they can’t imagine how anything could have nothing to do with them. When you’re not with the narcissist it’s as if you cease to exist.
6. They will never be happy for you.
Misery loves company. Without empathy, it’s impossible for the narcissist to know or recognize what makes you happy. They are unwilling to think about your needs. They lack insight into your emotions. They believe you should feel the same way they feel.
“Most narcissists lack the capacity to give significant, authentic love and empathy, and you have no choice but to deal with this reality … Let go of the expectation that it will ever be different,” wrote Karyl McBride, Ph.D., in her book Will I Ever Be Good Enough?.
If you find happiness and you’re doing something right, don’t expect a narcissist to pat you on the back. Your success only reminds them of their own shortcomings. This makes them feel insecure and they’re certain that’s your fault.
Because the narcissist doesn’t believe in live and let live, you’re nothing if you’re not serving their needs. Living your truth and striving for fulfillment means you can’t sustain a narcissist’s approval. Setting healthy boundaries is the only way you can meet your own needs, and it would seem this would inevitably leave the narcissist out in the cold.