A recent study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review suggests that narcissists may never really regret hurting people. The study’s authors say that in order for the narcissist to truly regret his actions, he would need to have what they call “emotional empathy.” This is the ability to understand and share the emotions of another person.
The narcissist’s lack of this kind of empathy means that they are unable to feel remorse for the pain they cause others. This is not because they do not know that they have hurt someone, but rather because they do not care who they trample on as long as they get whatever they want. In their eyes the end justifies the means.
Narcissists – masters of the art of projection
Narcissists tend to blame other people or outside forces for their own shortcomings or failures. They do not have the insight or the courage required to face the truth about their own fallibility or to consider the implications of their selfish actions.
In fact when a narcissist wrongs someone, they project their motivations and ill will onto others. This makes it possible for them to create an alternate universe where it is in fact the narcissist who has been wronged, and the victim who wronged him.
The narcissist then justifies his bad behaviour and abuse as ‘self defence,’ squarely putting the blame for his own actions on the victim. This is where the posse of flying monkeys come in. It is their job to reassure the narcissist that he is in fact the victim, and to attack anyone who dares to question this. Cue the smear campaigns and abuse by proxy.
It is this kind of thinking and mental projection that allows narcissists to go through life without ever really having to experience true remorse or take responsibility for their actions. They close their eyes to the consequences of their actions on others, which allows them to maintain a sense of superiority and avoid feelings of shame.
Narcissists – all’s fair in…war
Narcissists have fragile egos and cannot take criticism. The perceive any contradictions or even the most gentle or positive criticism as a personal attack. As a result, they will do whatever it takes to prove that they are right, even if it means hurting the people around them.
As far as the narcissist concerned he is constantly waging a war against those who do not give him the respect or adulation he deserves. And in his mind, everything is fair game when it comes to defending his image and fake persona.
The narcissist is so self-absorbed that he often does not even realize that he is hurting other people. If you have ever been on the receiving end of a narcissist’s abuse, you know that they can be completely oblivious to your pain and suffering. They will often say things like “I didn’t mean to hurt you, I was just trying to help” or “You’re overreacting, it wasn’t that big of a deal.”
Can a narcissist feel regret?
Yes, a narcissist can indeed come to regret his actions. However this would not be because he regrets hurting someone else, but rather because he does not like the consequences that follow. He may regret getting caught or losing something he values as a result of his actions. In other words, the narcissist does not feel bad about what he did, but about what it cost him.
An example of narcissistic regret is what the narcissist feels when he loses a source of narcissistic supply. This could be a friend, family member, or even a lover. The narcissist may indeed regret losing this person, not because he cares about the pain he has caused them, but rather because he no longer has someone to reflect back his false sense of self.
So, can a narcissist ever feel real regret?
The answer to this question is that it is highly unlikely that a narcissist ever experiences genuine regret. They may feign remorse or guilt in order to manipulate the people around them, but the reality is that they are incapable of feeling true regret. Their lack of empathy means they do not understand or care about the pain they cause others.
The study’s authors say that it is possible for a narcissist to change if they are willing to do the hard work required. But given their general lack of empathy, it seems unlikely that many of them will ever bother. After all, why would they want to change if they are getting what they want? And why would they care about the pain and suffering of others when it doesn’t affect them in any way?
So next time you find yourself on the receiving end of a narcissist’s hurtful behaviour, don’t expect a genuine apology. The best you can hope for is that the narcissist has learned to be a little more careful about who they step on, and how hard.
For Further Reading
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)
- How to Deal with a Narcissist
- Narcissistic Abuse – How Narcissists Manipulate and Hurt their Victims
- How to Define a Narcissist: The 5 Traits You Need to Look Out For
- How Narcissistic Leaders Create Toxic Workplaces
- The Narcissist and the Enabler – a match made in hell
- Dark Triad Personalities in Romantic Relationships: Are You in Love with a Narcissist?
- The Difference Between Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Traits
- Narcissistic Supply – Feeding the Narcissistic Ego
- Narcissistic Injury – The Agony of the Fragile Narcissistic Ego
- 7 Types of Narcissistic Abuse with Practical Examples
- The 10 Stages of Healing After Narcissistic Abuse
- 8 Ways Narcissists Get Worse with Age
- Can a Narcissist feel Empathy? The Answer May Surprise You
- Can a Narcissist Love Their Partner? How Narcissism Impacts Relationships
- Warning Signs You’re Dating a Narcissist: How to Tell if He’s a Monster Behind Closed Doors
- The Devious Traits of the Female Narcissist – What to Look Out For
- Narcissist Meme Gallery
- How to Tell If You’re a Narcissist
- Does a narcissist ever truly regret hurting people?
- Can Narcissists Change? The Truth About Personality Disorders and How to Treat Them
- Can a Narcissist Ever Be Happy? Appearances May Be Deceptive
- Red Flag Alert – are you dating a narcissist? What to look out for before falling in love
- Can a Narcissist Be Nice? The Myth of the Generous Narcissist
- Can Two Narcissists Love Each Other and Have a Healthy Relationship?
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