Or… Do Relationships with Narcissists Last?
I get many ideas for blog posts from search terms that lead people to Let Me Reach. This particular question always pulls at my heartstrings because I know the place readers are coming from when they ask, “Can a relationship with a Narcissist last?”
First, there is no guarantee that any relationship will last. A successful relationship endures through dynamics such as mutual trust, respect, compassion, and a degree of emotional maturity. Even if a partner isn’t a Narcissist, it doesn’t mean they are long-term relationship material. Establishing a friendship before becoming romantically involved is the best route to take. Many people get into the dating scene and establish an “instant relationship” with a virtual stranger. However, it takes a long time to really know someone and determine if they are a good match.
Now, onto relationships with Narcissists. In general, Narcissists aren’t capable of establishing a relationship based on trust, respect, or compassion; whether it be a romantic relationship or otherwise. They have a basic understanding of these concepts based on what they’ve observed from society, but they aren’t able to genuinely put them into practice.
The important thing to understand about Narcissists is they don’t comprehend that they have a disorder and that it’s toxic to the people who become romantically involved with them. That’s why we can never successfully “teach” them required relationship dynamics or emotional maturity. The Narcissistic personality is engrained within them, just as we may be Empathetic, Sensitive, INFJ, or other similar personality types. Trying to figure out “how they got that way” is futile, because no matter whether they were born with the disorder, or evolved into their personality through environmental factors, that’s who they are now, just as we are who we are now.
Using myself as an example…I’m an Empath/Sensitive. I observed my Ex’s behaviors and came to understand how his mind works, but that doesn’t mean I can become like him. I can use my understanding of Narcissistic behaviors to act like a Narcissist, but that would only be temporary and not coming from who I am inherently.
That’s what Narcissists do when they fool people into thinking they are “normal”. They temporarily act like us, but their true self eventually comes out; just as ours would if we were to pretend to be someone or something we’re not.
The difference between mainstream society and Narcissists is that we don’t operate entirely from ego. This is especially the case with Empaths, Sensitives, and other caring/nurturing types. Our natural tendency is to give, usually to a fault (based on society’s standards). However, our ego does come into play when we keep giving to the Narcissist and then become frustrated and insulted when they don’t give back.
The Narcissist operates solely from ego and everything they do and say is to protect this very fragile and selfish ego. What comes across as their using and abusing people is their use of defense and survival mechanisms, albeit very toxic ones. This explains why they only care about external factors such as money, status, image, and sex, which are the very things they extract from their sources of supply. In contrast, we are able to derive our happiness through internal factors such as gratitude, compassion towards others, mutual kindness and respect, spirituality, giving, and the like.
Sacred Self vs. Ego
The one critical, internal element that’s missing in Narcissists is the Sacred Self; a spiritual identity. Following are some comparisons to help clarify how this fact manifests and what makes them different from us:
- We treat people with respect because we innately believe they are worthy of it. Narcissists treat those close to them with disrespect. They only act respectful towards “outsiders” as a way of maintaining their image.
- We offer love and acceptance to others because we know that’s why we are here and because we enjoy it. Narcissists only take love and acceptance. That’s all they know since they operate only from ego.
- When conflict arises, we are able to let it go and move on. Narcissists must get revenge.
- We trust in the good of all people. Narcissists believe everyone is just like them.
- We like to help people feel good about themselves and feel relief when a conflict has been resolved. Narcissists like to fight.
- We take responsibility when we’ve made a mistake. Narcissists blame everyone else.
- We enjoy being compassionate. Narcissists enjoy being manipulative.
- We often participate in careers and hobbies that serve. Narcissists only do what serves them.
“Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.” ~ Wayne Dyer
We are all human and we all make mistakes. The above examples aren’t to paint us as perfect. But the difference is our ability to acknowledge we make mistakes and try to improve upon them, whereas Narcissists won’t change anything about themselves because they don’t see the need to.
So, to answer the question, “Can a relationship with a Narcissist last?” Only if you are willing to devote yourself to serving them without any expectations that they will reciprocate. You must accept that they will likely cheat, steal, lie, and talk badly about you. Even then, it wouldn’t guarantee they would stay with you because they do whatever their ego commands them to do.
Are you willing to take that risk?