Can a narcissist change?

  • By BD
  • June 26, 2023
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A man sitting on grass praying

While change is possible for individuals with narcissistic traits, it is important to note that significant change in the core aspects of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) can be challenging. Narcissistic traits are deeply ingrained patterns of behaviour and thinking that develop over time.

Some factors that may impact the potential for change in narcissistic individuals include:

  1. Willingness to seek help: For change to occur, the narcissistic individual must acknowledge their problematic behaviour and be willing to seek help. However, narcissists often struggle with self-awareness and may be resistant to therapy or personal growth.
  2. Motivation for change: Change is more likely to occur when the individual recognizes the negative impact of their behaviour on themselves and others and genuinely desires to improve their relationships and overall well-being. If narcissistic traits have led to significant distress or negative consequences, the individual may be more motivated to change.
  3. Therapeutic intervention: Therapy, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) or psychodynamic therapy, can help individuals with NPD explore their underlying issues, develop empathy, and learn healthier ways of relating to others. However, therapy success can vary, and long-term change may require ongoing commitment and effort.
  4. Supportive environment: A supportive and understanding environment can contribute to the potential for change. Healthy relationships, family support, and a strong social network can encourage personal growth and provide positive reinforcement for new behaviours.

It’s important to note that not all individuals with narcissistic traits or NPD will be motivated or able to change. Change requires a deep commitment to self-reflection, personal growth, and a willingness to challenge deeply ingrained patterns of behavior. Additionally, change is a gradual process that may take time, and relapses or setbacks are possible.

If you are dealing with a narcissistic individual, it is crucial to prioritize your own well-being and set boundaries to protect yourself. Consider seeking support from a therapist or counselor who can provide guidance on how to navigate relationships with narcissistic individuals and take care of your own emotional health.