Narcissists are often thought of as being selfish, arrogant, and unkind. But can a narcissist be nice? Surprisingly, the answer is yes.
Many narcissists put on a façade of being generous and kind-hearted in order to garner attention and admiration. However, this mask sometimes slips when the narcissist feels threatened or criticized.
If you have ever been in a relationship with a narcissist, you know that their false persona can be very convincing – until it’s not.
The truth is, some narcissists can actually be quite kind and generous – but only when it benefits them in some way. So, the question remains: can a narcissist be nice?
The characteristics of a narcissist
Narcissists are often split into two categories: grandiose and vulnerable.
Grandiose narcissists are the ones we typically think of when we hear the word “narcissist.” They are extroverted, charming, and have an inflated sense of self-importance.
Vulnerable narcissists, on the other hand, tend to be introverted and are hypersensitive to any criticism. They also have a deep need for approval and validation from others.
The generosity of narcissists
Interestingly, both types of narcissists can be generous – but for different reasons.
Grandiose narcissists give because they want to impress others and feel good about themselves. They often give expensive gifts or make grand gestures to get attention and admiration.
Vulnerable narcissists, on the other hand, give in order to receive something in return. They may do things for you expecting some type of recognition or appreciation. And if they don’t get what they want, they may become resentful or even withdraw their generosity altogether.
The narcissist and empathy
One of the most defining characteristics of a narcissist is a lack of empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person.
Narcissists have a difficult time empathizing with others because they are so focused on themselves.
That said, they are not psychopaths, so they do have the ability to empathise. They just choose not to, because for them the only person that matters is themselves.
This means that they choose not to take into consideration how their words or actions might affect someone else.
One would think that this refusal to empathise would lead to all narcissists being selfish and ungenerous.
However, it does not work that way. Some narcissists are extraordinarily generous – but only when it benefits them in some way.
For example, a grandiose narcissist may give a large donation to a charity for the sole purpose of having their name attached to the organization. They may also give gifts to people they are trying to impress or win over.
On the other hand, a vulnerable narcissist may give a donation out of a sense of obligation or because they want something in return.
For example, they may do favours for people they know will subsequently fell indebted to them.
The narcissist and love bombing
One of the most common – and effective – things a narcissist does is “love bomb” their victims. Love bombing is when someone showers you with attention, gifts, and affection in order to win you over.
At first, it can feel like the best thing in the world. But eventually, the narcissist’s true colours start to show and the love bombing turns into emotional manipulation and abuse.
The narcissistic cycle of abuse
Relationships with narcissists usually develop in a series of stage – the idealization stage, the devaluation stage, and the discard stage.
In the idealization stage, everything is perfect. The narcissist will love bomb you and make you feel like you are the most important person in their life.
This is where the narcissist takes on the persona of the kindest and most generous person in the world.
You will be swept off your feet with an endless stream of gifts, romantic gestures and perfect dates, and you will not be able to believe your luck at having found someone as perfect as they are.
However, in the devaluation stage, the narcissist will start to withdraw their affection and attention.
They may find fault with everything you do and make you feel like you are never good enough.
This is often when the abuse starts.
They start to chip away at your self-esteem.
They may do things like put you down, gaslight you, or cheat on you.
Finally, in the discard stage, the narcissist will completely abandon you – either emotionally or physically.
They may leave you without any warning or explanation, and if you try to confront them about what happened they may gaslight you into thinking that it was all your fault.
So, can a narcissist be nice? The answer is yes – but it’s important to understand the motivation behind their actions. While they can indeed be nice, their niceness is usually just a façade to cover up their true intentions.
The bottom line is that narcissists are not capable of genuine love or generosity. The narcissist will do anything to control you – including being nice.
They may be able to fake it in the beginning, but eventually their true colours will show. If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, it is important to get out before they have a chance to emotionally manipulate and abuse you.
If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, be prepared for their true colours to show eventually. And if you’re on the receiving end of their generosity, don’t expect it to last forever.
Narcissists are notoriously fickle, and whatever they do always comes with strings attached. The day will come when they will want to call in the favour, and if you do not do so, it will not be pretty.