Do Narcissists Know What They’re Doing?

There appears to be a lot of misinformation out there regarding narcissistic motivation. Does a narcissist know that they are manipulative and abusive? Do they know they are removing your sense of self and bringing crazy into your life? This article explores exactly that. But before delving in, the answer is no.


In a basic description, narcissists’ brains are not fully developed. It comes from the mother figure who is responsible for transferring empathy during infancy. Due to the fact, their brains are not built on understanding empathy; they have zero ability to feel it, give it or receive it. Empathy is vital to human development. Without empathy, you have zero reflection of what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes.


What is it like being a narcissist? For one, it is a lonely and confusing existence. It may not seem that way on the outside, as they holy terror into someone’s life. Again, empathy is such a crucial part of development they do not have the ability to experience life in the same ways as others. Narcissists are incredibly insecure and do not know it. They have tremendous trouble making a long-lasting, authentic connection with anyone, and that includes themselves. At the beginning of my research into narcissism, I read an amazing book: The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists by Eleanor D. Payson, M.S.W. She explains (paraphrasing); Narcissists experience people like an appendage. Imagine if you wanted to move your leg and it would not move. How frustrating that would be. When someone does not do what they want them to do, it becomes a battle. That includes but is not limited to; saying yes, where to eat, what to do, how to act, etc. Since they cannot experience your experience from a healthy brain, they do not understand your frustration.


Some people are diagnosed with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), and others with Narcissistic tendencies. “Narcissist” is a buzzword today for anyone who is a selfish asshole who only cares about themselves or is beyond self-involved. Someone with NPD could be a really good person and cannot comprehend why they have so many issues connecting and understanding the human condition. The general ‘asshole’ is just that. There is no diagnosis. Of course, there are reasons, but one of them is not NPD.

This is not a sign-on to start to date a narcissist or anything of the sort. There is no cure for NPD, nor is there medication. There have been instances of analysis helping someone with NPD, but it is highly intensive, and it would take that person to acknowledge that something is wrong with them and commit to finding an answer. Even then, there is no way for them to develop empathy, so it will always be a daily struggle.
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