18 thoughts on “When Narcissists Claim They’ve Changed

  • March 28, 2016 at 9:16 am

    I have been mistaken for a narcisist, I’ve recently realised I’ve got aspergers syndrome which has similar symptoms and am so trying to fix things, in my experience another chance is rare. That song “you’ve lost that loving feeling” springs to mind. My disorder makes me what I am, how sad.

    • March 28, 2016 at 10:06 am

      It’s not all that you are. Getting the correct diagnosis is actually a huge step forward. Now you can get the right treatment. Best of luck to you!

    • March 29, 2016 at 5:05 am

      I Think, for people who haven’t had a great deal of experience with these disorders, it is VERY easy to confuse the two,especially if one doesn’t know the individual’s whole developmental history. My father in law could come across as very narcissistic, but after he died, and after my son, who is profoundly autistic was born, more of his family and developmental history came out and it became very clear that his situation was more like yours. Back in the thirties, people didn’t know how to work social stories or to target empathy work, and so he grew into a man with very limited abilities to express his empathy, but a very strong feeling of what was right and wrong. He came across as a hypocrit, without actually understanding why. yet he was brilliant,he could spend a great deal of time trying to help his graduate students, he loved his Children in his way, he worried about them, and I now treasure the Pictures I have of him with his grandsons. It is so clear in them how much he loved them. I just wish I had seen what was happening with him earlier than I did.

  • March 28, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    @ 1234, Aspergers & NPD are not the same thing! I echo Holly’s sentiment in saying getting the correct diagnosis is the first step.

    I was raised by a narcissistic parent, and we are no contact because she is cruel and incapable of feeling empathy.

    My child has autism. My child clearly displays the emotion of empathy, sometimes almost to an extreme. My child misses social cues, and can come across as rude, but not cruel.

    Please be kind to yourself 1234.

  • March 28, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    They will never change. What is sad is for the wife (me), it has become a predictably comfortable zone. Until recently, when my kids and grandkids told me to get the hell away from him. I looked at a picture of myself just 6 months ago, when I spent a lot of time away from home doing other things. I actually looked healthy and happy. Now it has caught back up with me, and it is wearing me down piece by piece. I feel and look 10 years older. But it is predictable, and I can handle that. Only I can’t. The only way to get away is to plan in advance and go somewhere he won’t be able to contact me. Which is in the planning stage now. Wish me luck.

    • March 28, 2016 at 11:03 pm

      I wish you luck, but more than that, I wish you strength and resolve.

  • March 29, 2016 at 11:08 am

    I was raised by a narcissistic mother. She’s 80 now and I still go to her with knee-jerk speed because I am an only child and she’s all the family I have – I tell her things and she turns them around on me every time. I never learn. I so relate to the mention of the doctor saying, “quit doing that”. It’s hard to do when it’s all you’ve ever known. But I am trying. I’m finding good mother surrogates (at least ‘big sisters’ who are willing to ‘adopt’ me) and that helps a great deal. One of the greatest pain I have suffered in life is not having a healthy mother. It makes me want to gather up other daughters who likewise suffer and let them know they are worthy, and are not alone.

    • March 29, 2016 at 11:34 am

      That’s a good impulse–using your experience to help others, like you’re doing right now by leaving this comment. All the best to you!

  • March 29, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    You say you don’t believe that NPD people cannot change yet everything in here points otherwise.
    I grew up with a diagnosed NPD dad and yes, he still has NPD, however – he’s learned how to manage his behavior better. Took him a long time – he’s now almost 70. But… he did change.

    I feel terribly bad for people who have personality disorders. They are made fun of by the mental health community. They feel terrible themselves and have no way of really finding happiness. I think that the least we can do is not stigmatize them further.

    • March 29, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      I don’t think change is impossible (as I stated), and my intention is not to mock or stigmatize anyone, regardless of diagnosis. But I think that the loved ones of people with NPD have to recognize manipulation when it’s happening repeatedly and protect themselves.

  • April 1, 2016 at 3:35 am

    Why is it that I have to feel sorry for my borderline relatives who do all of this same crap but bashing narcissists is A-OKAY??? Is it because they switch into martyr mode?? I am tired of having professionals treat me like I have no right to be angry because “she doesn’t have skills”. The point is, I am sick of my world revolving around some toxic black hole whose feelings and emotions are all that matters to them. All Cluster Bs are narcissistic and some people are capable of change but only the ones who see a problem and not everyone does.

    • April 1, 2016 at 3:49 pm

      Not sure which professionals think you have no right to be angry? We all have the right to be angry if we feel like we’re being mistreated by the people in our lives. The anger is trying to tell you something important and can hopefully guide you toward healthy choices.

  • April 13, 2016 at 11:46 am

    I previously posted on the article you wrote on toxic relationships. Our couples therapist and my psychiatrist believe my wife has a psychological and/or behavioral problem. I’ve researched Borderline Personality Disorder and she lines up, clearly, with virtually all the symptoms, yet she also exhibits symptoms of NPD and the sister who raised her has similar behaviors. But my wife doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with her. She’s also addicted to alcohol and alcoholism runs through her family.

    Just adding my comments. On another site, they teach the three Cs when trying to deal with someone with a personality disorder:

    I didn’t cause it.
    I can’t cure it.
    I can’t control it.

    • April 13, 2016 at 1:11 pm

      Those are the same three Cs as when dealing with a substance abuser. How to not personalize things and keep placing the responsibility on the other person is really a key skill is keeping your sanity (especially since it sounds like your wife is not yet willing to take responsibility.) But if she’s in couples therapy, that’s somewhat hopeful. You have a professional to support you in helping her see that she has a role in the problems.

  • April 13, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Unfortunately, my wife has played the therapist as she plays me. At the most, she has admitted to having ‘hissy fits’ but I have a memory like a super computer and I repeated her hurtful, vicious, callous words, to which I received no response. Emotionally, she’s nine, which is when her mother died and she was sent off to live with one sister, then another. Denial and alcohol have been her ‘coping’ mechanisms, but what she’s needed for years was sobriety and psychiatry.

    • April 13, 2016 at 5:41 pm

      Maybe a new therapist who can’t be played as easily? Someone who’s more experienced with co-occurring diagnoses (as in, substance abuse plus mental illness) and personality disorders? I know, not so easily located but potential really beneficial.

      • April 13, 2016 at 6:09 pm

        Holly, I appreciate your feedback and insights. My wife has no desire to see another therapist. I was seeing one in Florida, this winter, and he has experience in trauma. He was the person who diagnosed me with C-PTSD. He asked if my wife would come to a session. I asked her. She declined. All she wants is for me to be her emotional anchor. She has no desire to help herself. Her big fear is that I’ll leave her, again. Yes, again. That happened about six or seven years ago. I stupidly returned and let her convince me that she would change. That lasted about six weeks. I’ve grown, even with my illness. She hasn’t and I’m trying to figure how to reclaim my life.

      • April 14, 2016 at 8:18 am

        Holly, thank you for your observations and insights. However, my wife has no interest in seeing another therapist, nor any therapist. The therapist in Florida who diagnosed me with C-PTSD asked if my wife would come to one of our sessions. I asked her. She declined. She lives her life in denial and she uses control and manipulation in the relationship(if you can call it that)with me. She cries about the fragile state of our marriage but refuses to do any ‘heavy lifting’, i.e., terminating her use of alcohol, seeing a psychiatrist and going for therapy. What I’ve gained from trying to understand her is that her world revolves around her and my only role is to be her emotional anchor, though she’s oblivious and unempathetic to my struggle with bipolar illness, nor does she comprehend how her abusive behaviors led to me developing C-PTSD.


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