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Can You Make a Narcissist Happy?

Updated on February 6, 2018
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The Little Shaman is a spiritual counselor, hypnotherapist, and a specialist in Cluster B personality disorders.

We all know that narcissistic people are unhappy a lot of the time. But can they be happy with the right relationship? Can the right person make a narcissist happy?

For some people, there seems to be this idea that if the narcissist finds another person, they will magically be happy because that new person will somehow be better, or that because the narcissist seems happy in a new relationship, that means the narcissist must have changed. It means neither of these things. What it more than likely means is that the relationship is in the idealization phase where everything is perfect and the narcissist has not yet discovered that this new person is just as flawed and human as everyone else in the world.

Narcissists see reflections of themselves in other people instead of the other person, remember. As long as that person still sees the narcissist as perfect and wonderful, everything is fine. As soon as the narcissist's facade cracks though, and this new person sees what the narcissist really is, that reflection becomes tarnished. The person becomes a negative reflection, a validation of the bad things the narcissist secretly believes about themselves, and the narcissist punishes the person for forcing them to acknowledge these things. It is a prolonged, often endless assault that becomes a vicious cycle. The more terrible things they do to a person, the worse the reflection this person represents becomes. In other words, the more they abuse you, the more they are forced to acknowledge what they believe they really are, which then leads to even more abuse. The other person eventually becomes nothing but a constant reflection and validation of the narcissist's self-hatred. Over time, the narcissist projects all of their own most hated qualities on to this person; the person becomes a stand in for the narcissist, and they simply abuse themselves by proxy by attacking this person.

This is one of the reasons the new partner or supply looks so appealing to them. All you look like is hatred and evil, because that's what they see in themselves. A new partner or supply is not tainted by all that. Yet. It will be. A relationship cannot recover from this kind of thing. It is in fact crippled and essentially over since the first time the reflection became tarnished, whether the other person realizes that or not. Of course, the narcissist was never in a relationship in the first place. A relationship requires acknowledgment of the other person. There is no relationship with a narcissist. You exist to make their fiction easier for them to believe and that's it. If you don't do that, chances are the relationship is not going to last. If it does, it will be miserable indeed.

This is why you cannot make a narcissist happy, and why it's pointless and even dangerous to try. Aside from the fact that it not possible to make another person happy, even if it were, they wouldn't allow it. Pathologically narcissistic people are chronically unhappy people. Most of them probably don't even have the capacity for true happiness at all. They seem to have no understanding of what it is and likely have never even experienced it. Their idea of happiness is having what they want. They believe happiness is something other people are supposed to give them, rather than something which comes from acceptance and understanding within yourself. The only way they are even able to function with any normalcy at all is that they insist everyone else buy into a fiction that they themselves do not even believe and cannot keep up for long. Their expectations are unfair, selfish and unrealistic - even impossible, and when people cannot meet them, the narcissist punishes the person mercilessly for letting them down. There is no way to avoid this. As a human being, everyone makes mistakes. Everyone gets tired or sick or has flaws or can't do something. Everyone has limitations. Narcissists do not accept that. They also do not accept perfection. If you don't make obvious mistakes, they will try to force you to mess up so they can attack you for your short comings. There is no winning with these people. If you're not perfect, they will punish you. If you're too perfect, they will punish you. There is nothing you can do to stop this behavior. This is what they are. They hate everyone for having things they don't have, and for reminding them why they hate themselves so much. The recipient of all this hate is you.

So if you want to make a narcissist happy, you must give up all of your needs. You can never need anything again. You must give up all desires, goals and dreams. You can never want anything, have anything or get anything. You must give up all of your past achievements and any drive you have to achieve anything in the future, or agree to give the narcissist credit for every single thing you do, get, have or earn. You must give up anything that takes away your attention from the narcissist, including your family, job, hobbies and friends. You must give up anything that makes the narcissist feel bad, rejected, abandoned or slighted in any way. You can never stand up for yourself. You can never expect fairness, compassion, consideration, decency, integrity, loyalty or respect. You must sacrifice yourself with a smile every time you are expected to do so without any thought to your own comfort, safety or well-being. You must carry all of the narcissist's emotional baggage for them. You must never disagree or have an opinion that is different than the narcissist's opinion. You must erase your personality and everything that makes you an individual. You must welcome being ignored until you are needed. You must admit that you are evil, jealous, deceitful, disloyal, cruel and abusive. You must never fail the narcissist in any way, make any mistakes, become sick, get tired or be a human being. If you don't do all these things, you will be punished for them nonstop or they will be ruined for you to the point that it no longer matters.

And even if you did all of these things to the letter and picture-perfect, you would still be abused. You will be set up to fail, or simply gaslighted into believing that you did so that you can be punished. This is because it isn't about you or anything you're doing. It's about the narcissist and always will be. It doesn't matter how much you do or how hard you try. If you're not willing to do even more, if you are not willing to be debased, degraded, humiliated and attacked in order to make the narcissist feel better about themselves and blow off steam, you will be accused of not loving them enough and you will be attacked worse. There is no end to their need and simply no way to successfully deal with a person this broken. It can't be done. They can't even deal with themselves. That's what they need you for.

In order to truly accept what the relationship with the narcissist really is, people have to get over not only the belief that somehow it's possible to make another person happy, but the belief that they somehow failed to do that. Buried in that belief is not just deep insecurity and a need to prove yourself, but also the idea that other people can be controlled by your behavior. This is not the truth, nor is it healthy to believe. The only person you have control over is yourself. Let go of the idea that you can - and worse, that you should - control other people. Other people have their own motivations, and especially in the case of narcissists, those motivations have anything to do with you. You're not responsible for other people or their happiness, so give yourself a break.

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