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Can a narcopath be cured? The short answer is that there is no cure for narcissism. The long answer is rather more complicated.
Understanding the Underlying Problem
The vast majority of information out there from the professionals is that narcopaths can’t be cured. The few self-confessed narcissists out there concur.
Personally, I regard their disorder as being hard-coded into their psyche.
Narcissism is on a continuum, from lacking in self-confidence at one end of the spectrum, to oozing in it by the bucket load at the other. A healthy level of narcissism is vital for anyone to have any self-respect. A common misconception is that people with narcissistic personality disorder is that narcopaths just have unhealthily high levels of narcissism, and cling on to the hope that if this could just be reduced a bit, it would bring the narc into a safer level – and therefore not have the disorder. This simply is not the case – because narcopaths have dangerously LOW levels of self-esteem. In fact they are positively wracked with self-loathing, feelings of inadequacy and a determination to be a permanent victim. It is only their false-self, their mask, that promotes the confidence and selfishness that is so synonymous with narcissism.
Absence of Emotions
The issue of lack of confidence is one element – the other is the complete lack of normal, regulating emotions such as empathy, guilt, remorse and love. These are learned in childhood from the age of around 5 onwards. If, as an adult, someone does not have these emotions, they can’t be taught. They can be mimicked (and in fact the narcopath is already expert at this) but faking them and feeling them are two very different things.
Someone who is very narcissistic is just an asshole – someone who has NPD is positively dangerous. Having worked with a number of other survivors struggling to cope with the discard, it is the challenges of making sense of it all, and clinging to the hope that their narcs disorder can be cured, that does so much damage. My view is that not only is there is absolutely no merit in trying to resolve things with, or cure, the narcopath, but that even thinking that it could be a possibility actually serves to do serious considerable psychological and emotional damage to victims.
Some hope that if they could just get their narcissists to therapy, there is hope. Achieving this is one problem – narcissists rarely agree that the problem lies with them. I would go further and suggest that acknowledging fault is tantamount to narcissistic suicide, for which their entire fake identity and false contruct would come crashing down like a house of cards. Quite simply, they will not do it.
Very occasionally it is possible to get a narcissist to therapy. Please see my page on Couples in Therapy, however. Their intent is not to go to learn, to improve, to understand – but to play out, and get valiaditon for, their Victim Narrative. They will twist a therapist time and time again so as to ensure that they exit the sessions feeling 100% validation that they are still the victim. Of what, I hear you ask. Nothing that any normal person will be able to understand – welcome to the twisted, counter-intuitive world of the NPD.
Mindset MananagementIt is for this reason that I am such a strong advocate of what I call Mindset Management. It is vital that the victim abandons hope of salvage or cure, and instead focus on severing ties and healing.
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