Understanding Today's Narcissist
Understanding Today's Narcissist

Episode 67 · 5 years ago

E06: Can A Narcissist Be Remorseful?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Have you ever wondered if narcissists are capable or remorse and even empathy? Discover the answer in this episode.

To learn more, visit www.growwithchristine.com 

Welcome to understanding today's narcissists, where we will explore how you can better relate and manage the narcissist in your life. I am your host, psychotherapist and author Christine Hammond. Hands Down the number one question I get asked by people is can a narcissist be remorseful? Can they say that they're sorry? Can they apologize for something? And if so, what does that even look like, because they don't really readily admit to being wrong. The two side ones that are equally as frustrating from most people, is Cana narcissists be empathetic or can they be forgiving? And if so, what are these three things look like, because part of the characteristics of a narcissist is that they are not any one of those three things as a natural part of their being. So what? What? So, what is involved when it does actually seem to happen, because sometimes that throws people off for a loop. So we're going to look at today kind of the difference between what is a remorse for a narcissist, what is empathy and what is forgiving. If you try to point out a narcissist mistakes, the attack that you're going to get in return is likely to be very forceful. You can expect in arcissists to show some understanding during difficult times, but then the conversation usually quickly turns back to them. And then if you ask a narcissist to forgive an error and judgment, you will instead get a detailed accounting of all of the blunders that you have actually done. So, even though within the definition of narcissism is this lack of a Morse empathy or forgiveness, narcissists kind of have this fantasy view of themselves where they believe that they're all powerful, knowing, beautiful and influential. So even when reality might prove otherwise, like they are not all knowing or all...

...powerful, or all beautiful or all influential, they're distorted perception of reality greatly contributes to their own ego. So if everything is about them, then why does a narcissist even need to admit wrongdoing in the first place? And and that's an excellent question for a nurse. So you have to look at things from the narcissistic point of view and the eyes of a narcissist there is no reason to admit that they are wrong to show compassion or to release other people from the things that they have done in error. There's no reason for them to be remorseful and pathetic or forgiving because they are better than other people around them. However, when it's in their advantage, whether it's at work or at home, and narcissist can demonstrate limited amounts of it, but it is very calculated, and so that that's what I want to go over with you today is exactly what does this look like, because so many people say, well, they can't be narcissistic because they apologized for this. Well, that's not necessarily true. It just depends on how they went about doing it and for what gain did they get it on the back end of it? So, to demonstrate all of this, I want to talk about three different stories. So we're going to go through each one of these and get view, kind of an idea of what it really looks like. So let's talk about remorse. First, for a narcissist to demonstrate some kind of regret, the benefit must outweigh the cost. A perfect example of this is going to be a narcissistic boss. So at work, when there is a financial benefit, specifically finances, is usually the key here because, remember, it is all about the money at the end of the day and how much they're able to make. So when there is a financial reason for it, a narcissist is willing to show sorrow over the fact that they forgot to do something, or something get didn't get done in time or something else. Now, mind you,...

...they will show it to the client, but the people underneath them will not see that remorse. Instead, they will get the brunt of the attack. They will be blamed for it, even if it wasn't their fault, and they will get the absolute bad end of that stick. So the narcissist will admit to the person, to the client, to a superior to somebody above them, that that they did do something wrong or something didn't work out right, but they will also be very quick to throw under the Abus anybody who is around them who might have even contributed to the mistake or maybe had nothing to do with it at all, but the narcissist will make it sound like that. So, basically, their show of remorse is very calculated and it's in it's a formula where the expensive admitting to the mistake is very small in comparison to the positive return they get by not by by acknowledging the mistake. So for a non narcissist, this equation can also be utilized. So if you're not a narcissist and you're listening to this podcast wondering what can I do with this here, I'm going to help you with that. It's far easier to get a narcissist to admit an error when the benefit is obviously pointed out into discussion. So, for instance, in this case, if you can get the narcissistic boss to admit that a small part of what they did might have contributed to missing a commitment at work and show them how that will then encourage other people to do better work, product productivity, or that it will then increase the confidence in other people, or they will look up to them more or they will admire them even better for having done it. There has to be like immediate gratification here. So like as soon as the narcissist says, you know, I really overlook this and you know I and we all need to work together to come up with a solution. Oh, thank you so much for admitting that. Like you have to go out of your...

...way to demonstrate gratitude for the fact and appreciation that they've actually thrown themselves under the bus, even those like this little teeny, to anything that they admitted to, but that keeps the narcissistic boss at bay at work and allows them to be infinitely more productive with their coworkers, so with the people that are underneath them. Now, mind you, the person bringing this to light can't really be somebody who's underneath the narcissist, because that doesn't look really good. They don't take advice really well from that. They will take advice from somebody WHO's at their same level or above. So this is one of those cases where if you go to somebody outside, maybe it's an HR person, and say hey, this is the problem that we're having over here with this person in that hr our person is able to connect with the narcissistic boss and use this tactic that it is very effective in the workplace and then can help settle the piece and a lot of disputes that are going on. Next we're going to move on to empathy. So most narcissists are very skilled at faking compassion for brief periods of time so they can like say, Oh, you know, that's a shame that you went through that, or I'm sorry that that happened to you, and then they'll quickly turn it the conversation onto something that they overcame and how much worse their scenario was, because there's always this underlying competition that you get from a narcissist. So they can learn, in other words, how to and straight empathy, and usually they learned by watching other people, watching videos, movies and pathetics, or empasts as we call them, who do demonstrate a carrying response in times of trouble. But a show of understanding over a long time period for a narcissist is really nearly impossible. They're just not able to do it long term the way that an empath is able to do that. So in order to demonstrate empathy, a person must see things from another person's point of view. narcissists do not see things from other people's point of view, they see it from their point of view. That's the key to narcissism. It's selfishness. Okay, so that means that...

...they're thinking about themselves all the time. That's why, as hard as a narcissist may try, they're distorted perception of reality isn't going to really allow them to see things very differently. It's like asking a blind person to be able to see different shades of colors or what it looks like. It just doesn't work. So what does this look like in real life? Okay, so let's go back to in this case, we're going to pick on a spousal relationship. So a spouse has a situation where she went through like a loss of a job, let's say. And we're going to pretend that the narcissist is a male, although narcissist can be either male female. So please don't like write me about that. I know that. So in this case the narcissist is the husband and the spouse is the wife. And so she so she's a not narcissist, and she says, I've lost my job, it's really bad, and instead of expressing empathy, the narcissist is likely to go straight into like badgery mode. Well, let's figure out what you can do. Well, who is this person and why do they do this? And they want to like go after that's their version of trying to protect their spouse, is that they immediately want to go after and harm or cause the damage for the person that got them fired. Okay, fine, so moving on from that, the person who is looking for empathy isn't going to get it. So so the spouse who needs empathy or needs somebody to come alongside for them, they're not going to able to get it from a long term point of view. So, rather than going to the narcissist, the spouse really needs to go someplace else for that empathy. They can go to a councilor they can go to a friend, they can go to a parent, they can go someplace else outside of the spousal relationship, because that isn't going to be productive and it's only going to wind up causing more problems in the end. You you can't teach. If you teach a narcissist to be empathetic, it's going to be fake and phony. The person who needs the empathy isn't going to be able to receive it really we well, because they know it's...

...fake and phony and they resented and hate it even more. So that's just a disaster waiting to happen. So my point about empathy is when you need somebody to be empathetic, don't go to a narcissist, you know you're not going to get it. They're not going to be very supportive. It's going to be fake when it happens, and in that way you're actually able to see things from their point of view. You have to see it as though this is like a blindness. They cannot see. It's just not possible for them. Next is forgiveness. So granny pardons to those who make mistakes actually feeds the narcissistic ego. It sounds weird, but it's actually true. So when they're able to say, Oh, you're forgiven for this little thing that you have done, like in we're going to go back to the workplace scenario. So in narcissistic boss looks at employee who actually has done something wrong in this case, and says, Oh, you're forgiven for it. Now. There's a caveat to that. Once they do something like that, then now the person who's been forgiven owes the narcissist something and the narcissist knows it. They're tallying these forgiveness things up, so so they see it as like like little marks that they get to come back and they get to collect it back later, like like they're keeping a record, keeping a score of the Times that they forgiven. So don't think that forgiveness is given and then there's nothing expected in return. That is not the case at all. That is very much a tip for TAT kind of scenario. So again it's another opportunity for the narcissist to show how much better they are than other people. So, but, but there is a high price that's going to be paid when forgiveness is requested from the narcissist. First they might say they might forgive, but they are not going to forget, and they're especially not going to forget the fact that they forgave you for something, especially at work. It will come back up later. It will show up in a review, it will show up in conversations, it will show up in times when the narcissist is in trouble and then all of a sudden needs to throw somebody else that's underneath them under the bus, and so they'll pull out that thing that they forgave the...

...other person for on a completely unrelated project and say, yeah, well, I forgave you for this, almost like as a okay, we'll see, you need to forgive me for that because I forgave you for this. But even when the score is even, it is still not enough. So it's not just that you forget the narcissist has forgiven you and then and then they expect you to forgive them for something else later on. They will expect that over and over and over and over again. It is this never ending pool. So asking a narcissist to forgive you for something is not really a good idea. And I'm saying this for a reason, because if you really want a narcissist to be forgiving, there is a severe price that is going to be paid. So it is commonly believe that the that forgiveness is for the mental wellbeing of the victim and not the offender. But when the wounded person is the narcissist. So we're going to look at this from a completely different angle. Now I want to talk about it from a different regard. It's commonly believed that forgiveness is for the mental wellbeing of the victim and not the offender. But now let's say the narcissist is a wounded person. There's two things that they're going to do with the pain. They're going to add it to the list of deep rooted insecurities that they already have, of which no person is privy to, and then they're going to cover it up with bravado so that nobody can actually see it, find it whatever. The other thing that they'll do with it is that the discard it is inconsequential to their own self worth and therefore not even worthy of their attention. Either way, whoever did the offending to the narcissist. So this is a non narcissistic person offending the narcissist. They're not going to know the difference. So the narcissis still holds all the cards. So, anyway you look at forgiveness, the narcissist winds up being the winner. Don't play the forgiveness game with narcissists. That's the bottom line. It doesn't work. If you need empathy from a narcissist,...

...find a friend, look somewhere else. And if you're looking for remorse from a narcissist, just know that in order for a narcissist to show remorse in any way, shape or form, the benefit must outweigh the cost. There's a calculated formula that can be used. So when you're trying to understand can a narcissist be remorseful? Can they be empathetic or can they be forgiving? I hope this shed some light on those three different areas for you and instead of trying to get them to be like everybody else, because that's not going to happen. They're not going to change. They like who they are. Just remember that you have to see things from their point of view, and when you see things from their point of view and you understand how they operate, it is easier to walk around, to avoid, to not have to deal with in the same way that you would deal with somebody who might have a another physical disability of some sorts. It is not that hard to have to live with a narcissist, to have to work with a narcissist. What is hard is when you expect them to act and react the same way that everybody else does. I hope this was helpful and answers probably the number one question I get asked by people regarding narcissists is can they actually show any form of remorse? And so I hope I answer that for you and that this was useful. Have a great day. Thank you for listening to understanding today's narcissist. If you've enjoyed the episode, please subscribe to the podcast on Itunes to make sure that you don't miss another one. If you'd like to learn more, you can visit us at grow with christinecom thanks so much for listening and we'll be back next time with a new episode.

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