While the term “narcissistic” is often thrown around in a flippant manner these days, narcissism itself is a true personality disorder. True narcissists believe that they’re superior to others and have little concern for other people’s feelings. However, while they appear to radiant confidence, narcissists are some of the most fragile, vulnerable people alive. They often will fall apart at the slightest bit of criticism.
And it is exceptionally difficult to be in a relationship with a narcissist, or with anyone who exhibits these traits.
Studies indicate that someday, perhaps, with therapeutic interventions, true narcissists might be able to maintain healthy relationships. But the truth is, narcissists lack empathy as well as other important building-blocks necessary for a healthy long-term relationship.
Here are 4 reasons why narcissists can’t be in serious relationships:
1. They don’t comprehend trust.
While narcissists may be vulnerable, they can’t comprehend that vulnerability goes hand-in-hand with trust. Therefore, they lack the ability to commit to a two-sided relationship. They don’t view weakness and vulnerability as opportunities to love, rather, as an opportunity to attack and manipulate. Often, this tendency comes from lessons learned during childhood from, possibly, their own narcissistic parents.
2. They’re manipulative.
In order to address their need for dominance, the narcissist will constantly and automatically look for angles in order to get what they want out of their partner. They have a plethora of manipulative tactics they will use in order to take advantage of you. And they will do so without batting an eye.
In a relationship with a narcissist, nothing is real. They show love only when they’re trying to get something from you, and never “just because.” Narcissists seek something, rather than someone.
3. They tend to be abusive.
Because of their fragile egos and need for dominance, narcissists will often respond to rejection and being told “no” with acts of violence and abuse, whether it be physical, emotional, or mental.
It’s of vital importance to note, however, that not all abusive people are narcissistic. However, the odds of committing abusive acts increases when in the context of a relationship with a narcissist. And while typically narcissistic men will display these abusive traits, narcissistic women can be abusive, too.
4. There is only them; there is no you.
Most experiments that have studied the narcissism/relationship correlation have found narcissists to be incapable of empathy. Without empathy, there is no “you and me”, there is only “me.” You are to the narcissist, in short, a means to an end.
However, these experiments show that the narcissist’s low emotional response and lack of empathy is automatic, rather than a conscious choice. That means that it’s not their fault—it’s simply how their brain is wired, just like any other mental or personality disorder.
With that in mind, it’s important to remember to treat every person, narcissists included, with decency and respect. While to be narcissistic has a negative connotation, it is an illness and should be treated as such. But that, by no means, is indicative that you should enter into a romantic relationship with a narcissistic. Be careful, but be kind.