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Can A Narcissist Change?

Author: Florida Women's Law Group
Date: Jan 31 2022

Can a Narcissist Change?

Narcissist is a term that is used as insult for people we view as self-obsessed, especially in this time of the selfie and self-promotion culture.  In clinical, psychological terms narcissism exists on a spectrum from mild traits to severe that results in full-blown narcissistic personality disorder.

Everyone can show some narcissism in certain situations or issues.  When these personality traits become constant and a disruption to life and relationships is when it becomes a disorder.  The question becomes can a narcissist change? 

Narcissism Defined

There are two main types of narcissist, the grandiose and the vulnerable.  The grandiose narcissist possesses the traits most closely associated with narcissism.  They are outgoing, self-centered, have a constant need for attention and admiration and lack empathy.  The vulnerable narcissist is more covert in their traits.  They present as having low self-esteem, introverted and reserved.  They both share the same core traits of believing they are superior to others, lacking empathy, refusing to accept blame and a need to be the center of attention.

Being in a relationship with a narcissist is a constant struggle and balancing act.  Their manipulative actions cause a toxic environment that leaves their partners in constant fear of letting them down.  If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you may be wondering if they can change.  Is it possible to change for the right relationship and for love? 

Can a Narcissist Change?

The answer as to whether a narcissist can change is, it’s possible.  A lot depends on their level of narcissism and if they are willing to put in the time and effort.  Someone who is on the lower end of the spectrum is more likely to change than someone who has full-blown narcissistic personality disorder.  If they are willing to change, and that’s a big if, therapy can help them learn coping skills and seeing things from other people’s perspective.  The biggest stumbling block is the narcissist themselves.  Since they view themselves as superior, rarely take ownership of their actions and do not take criticism very well, it will be difficult for them to acknowledge that they are the problem.

Being Open to Change

In order to be successful, a narcissist will have to want to change and be open to therapy and doing the necessary work.  You may be able to initially get them to therapy, but they oftentimes do not stick with it or are only doing it to appease their partner.  If they feel threatened by the possibility of you leaving, they may agree to therapy as way to lure you back in with the false promise of change.  Once they feel you are back in their control they will go right back to their manipulative ways.

In the Beginning They Were the Ideal Mate

When you first met your narcissist partner you probably thought all of your dreams had been answered and you had met your ideal mate.  They were attentive, showered you with compliments, liked everything you liked and doted on you.  This is what makes a relationship with narcissist a 100% mind game.  If they were this wonderful person in the beginning than they can change and be them again, right?  Nope.  The person you see now is their real personality.  They were putting on an act in the beginning and mirroring you to lure you in.  This is the hard part to accept, remembering that person makes you think they can do it, but they are incapable of consistently putting someone before themselves.

We do not want to say never, but the possibility of a narcissist changing is slim.  They must first admit that something is wrong and since they are better than everyone, they do not feel they are the ones that need to change.  It is difficult to change a person’s personality and teach them empathy.  The best advice for dealing with a narcissist is either learn to put up boundaries or walk away from the toxic relationship.

There is a way to successfully get out of a marriage to a narcissist.  The most important step is to have a plan.  It is not easy to divorce a narcissist but with proper planning it can be done.  At Florida Women’s Law Group, we have experience dealing with narcissists and know how to beat them at their own game.  We can help you successfully get out of this relationship and start a healthier and happier life.

Florida Women’s Law Group