Can someone help a narcissist heal? Can a narcissist change if his emotional wounds healed?
Because most of the people I coach are people who live with a narcissist, sometimes they ask me what they should do to help the narcissist they live with get over the emotional wounds that turned him into a narcissist. That’s why I decided to write this article.
Narcissists and emotional wounds
You may be wondering what is an emotional wound to begin with. When a person gets emotionally hurt, especially in childhood , as an adult he becomes very sensitive to anything that would make him go through the same experience that hurt him. For example if a child was abandoned by his parents, he may grow up as an adult who fears abandonment.
Narcissists are emotionally wounded people. When a person develops an emotional wound he does not only become very sensitive to anything that touches his wound but he also changes his behaviour to protect himself from further hurts even if it meant abusing people around him. As I said in my article “why are narcissists so mean” most of narcissists’ mean behaviour is meant to protect themselves from being hurt by others.
Your contribution in helping a narcissist heal
It’s important to understand that a narcissist can heal completely only if he realizes that there is something wrong with him and decides to seek help by himself. Unfortunately most narcissists don’t even realise that there is something wrong with them.
Whether he understands himself or not, you can help him by doing the following:
Understand his emotional wounds
Not all narcissists were emotionally wounded the same way. The first step is to understand what kind of emotional wound(s) the narcissist you are dealing with has, before you try to help them get over those wounds.
To know what kind of emotional wound the narcissist you are dealing with has, you need to pay closer attention to what they are most sensitive to. For example, if he puts extra effort in making sure that you won’t leave him he might have developed fear of abandonment after being abandoned in the past.
Another thing that can help you understand a person’s emotional wounds is the kind of criticism that hurts him. All narcissists hate criticism but criticism hurts only when it touches an existing wound. For example, criticising a particular narcissist on his looks might hurt him while the same criticism might mean nothing to another narcissist. This is simply because the first one has no confidence in his looks while the latter is self-assured about his looks. See: what do narcissists want in a relationship.
How to help him heal
In order to live happily with a wounded narcissist, you will have to convince them that you present zero threats to their emotional wounds. Of course you won’t do this by telling him directly but you will convince them through your actions and your overall behaviour.
For example, the narcissist who fears abandonment, the best way to assure him that you present no threat to his wound would be: constantly assuring him that you are not interested in other men/women but him. You should also tell him about long-term plans you have with him in order to convince him that you have no thoughts of leaving. While this may not heal him completely it will ease his insecurities and prevent him from taking negative actions to keep you closer. See: how to make a narcissist happy.
Narcissists can be so abusive in order to protect themselves from being wounded again. A narcissist who fears abandonment can be so abusive or critical towards his partner in order to convince her that she is worthless so that she won’t leave him for another man.
Of course I’m not saying that you should stay in an abusive relationship hoping to change the narcissist. Use these tips only if you are dealing with a non-abusive narcissist or if you are sure that staying with them is more beneficial than leaving.
If you want more insight on how to help a narcissist heal and become less narcissistic you can read my book “the ultimate guide to making a relationship with a narcissist work“.