Healing narcissism: what’s in it for abuse victims?


I’ve had a few critics on my other blog because of my desire to understand people with NPD (this does NOT mean enabling them!) and my conviction that many people with this disorder can be healed. Some victims of narcissistic abuse think I’m wasting my time caring about “the narcs,” and dismiss all narcissists as evil and hopeless. Sadly, the mental health profession doesn’t offer much hope for people with this disorder either. Most therapists refuse to treat people with NPD (this extends to BPD for some as well, as it’s a similar Cluster B disorder). Even if you can find a therapist who will treat NPD, most insurance companies won’t cover a diagnosis of NPD because it’s assumed it’s incurable.

I won’t belabor the reasons why I think this view is wrongheaded since I’ve done so elsewhere, but there are benefits for victims too.

The estimated number of people suffering from NPD has been cited as 1-4% (mostly male). I think it’s actually much higher, because most people with NPD never present for therapy or are ever diagnosed. Usually they don’t think they have the problem; they think everyone else does. But many are not only aware of their disorder, they also hate it. If a narcissist presents for therapy, it’s usually because they have undergone a narcissistic crisis caused by a massive withdrawal of supply (losing a job, end of a relationship, incarceration, etc.)

But even if the estimate of 1-4% is correct, that’s still a lot of people. Since most narcissists are usually abusive in some manner, that’s a lot of people causing a lot of other people a unnecessary pain and trauma. If more narcissists were healed from their disorder, or even just trained in coping skills like CBT so they don’t act on their urge to manipulate or abuse others, that would mean fewer narcissists actively abusing other people, and hence, there would be fewer victims.


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