The 4 stages a narcissist goes through in therapy.


I saw this post (which was reposted by someone else) over at Psychforums. It’s written by a man named Tom Crown, who described the stages he went through when undergoing psychotherapy for his NPD. I have no idea whether he is cured or not.

The stages remind me of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ 5 stages of grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Realizing that one is a Narc is the same as realizing that something called “Sex” have been going around in the world for ages, and it is not, as you have previously thought, a religion , nor was it, as you sometimes guessed , a philosophy, but something totally different from that, and every body knows about it and enjoys it and you don’t.

It is like realizing that you are blind, and that other people could see.

Of course, in the beginning, this realization is a terrible shock, especially for a person whose most valued possession is his exaggerated and glorified self-image. facing that amount of “humiliating ignorance” shocks you.

Thinking about it deeper, and realizing what being a Narc really means, and how one’s lack of empathy must have harmed him and wasted many chances in life from him, and blinded him from lots of opportunities and made him lose where one could’ve easily won, all that had a hell of an effect on me when i found out I had NPD. This developed through four stages so far:

Anger ( at the world and myself and the books and the people who assure me that I have NDP and thus confirm my lethal ignorance)

Fear ( of this unknown world which I was scared of in the first place because it was filled by mean and unpredictable people, and now I add to this that even the little I thought i knew about their strange ways is lacking, and that I probably know nothing at all, and hence, until I learn what empathy is and catch up with what i have been missing, I am in GREAT DANGER)

Shame ( because after calming down and allowing my brain to work again, I realise that it is not the world in general and every one in it in particular that is mean, unethical and unpredictable, but that it is actually me who fits those descriptions)

Fighting Back ( feeling that I owe my self-image(my only true love) a lot.I turned him down by allowing myself to be deluded and failing to be a perfect person entitled to all the good things in life. instead of achieving this, I only achieved the shameful status of an NPD. Therefore, I must gather my strength and fight back this NPD imperfection thing until it is fully obliterated. if NPD means I am haughty I will force myself to learn modesty. If it means I am a compulsive liar, I would force myself to be more honest and direct than anyone alive, etc.

Of course in the first three stages, it is very unwise to expect a Narc to be rational when you reveal his true essence to him/her. At that stage, it is more of an accusation, or a threat, or a nightmare he/she wants to escape from than an attempt to help. Of course he/she would not be in the mode to share that shame.

In the fourth stage however, things would get better, and he/she would be far more appreciative for your (or anybody’s) help to “win the next battle”.


7 thoughts on “The 4 stages a narcissist goes through in therapy.

    1. It’s just a disorder. It doesn’t have to make you “evil” if you are aware of it and are mindful about the way you are treating others. Like Sam Vaknin and SLC said in that video, it’s been blown into something much more than it really is.


  1. The Covert Narcissist, having been well-read on abnormal psychology afflictions, accused me of being the Narcissist. Thus, I second-guessed my every thought, motive, spoken word, and action. It caused Cognitive Dissonance in me for quite a long time, and even now, I still fearfully question myself. I have been very much afraid, due to his accusations, of (as you put it so well), “… being the blind one, while it is others who can see…”. (Sorry, if that was misquoted a bit. I cannot remember exact wording). But, at any rate, I do ask myself, “How do I know that he wasn’t right, and that it really is Me who is the Narcissist??” Sometimes, I still don’t know because a Narcissist doesn’t usually perceive their own personality disorder, I guess. So, maybe it is truly, I, who is the blind one… I don’t really know, anymore. But, it my second-guessing myself might very well just be the trauma caused from him “Gaslighting” me. Only God knows, I suppose.

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    1. It’s incredibly crazymaking isn’t it? My ex did the same thing as yours did. He’s a sociopath and malignant narcissist , also has ASPD but when I was with him, he had me and everyone else convinced that I was the Narcissist and the selfish one. Gaslighting and recruiting flying monkeys for triangulation against me was an art form for him. He almost turned our kids against me, using my “selfishness” to smear me. And, at the time, I was selfish because my BPD and C-PTSD were very bad then, and I was fully sympomatic, so I wasn’t able to give back as much as I demanded. So he wasn’t altoghter wrong. People thought I was the crazy one because he always seemed so calm and collected and told everyone how “concerned” he was about me due to my BPD outbursts and inability to regulate ANYTHING. So, yes, to someone who doesn’t know about how narcissism really works, I probably seemed like the more selfish and the crazier parent. To this day, I question and wonder if I’m really a narcissist. I think I have lots of N traits so I just don’t know. I guess I have to accept that I’ll never know. I do know for sure that he’s one though, and a very evil one at that too. I’m almost positive I’m not evil (though he called me that too).

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      1. Oh, yes..they call us evil. Seems like their classic textbook phrase. So much of you story is exactly like mine. I think he was also purposely triggering me, so he could make me into the “crazy one”. Yes, cool and collected in front of others, he was. This, I believe, comes easily for them as they are used to wearing false-masks, in my opinion. But, for us…well, we are Real, so yes, we get emotional when baited, triggered, and (purposely) invalidated..not to mention triangulated and severely gaslighted ❤ ❤ ❤ Even as I write you these messages, I am given new insight and awareness, like a puzzle being slowly, but perfectly, put together!

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