Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is not considered to be a “mental illness,” but rather a personality disorder on the Cluster B spectrum that manifests in an inflated sense of importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. This leads to troubled relationships and often, people with NPD will verbally, emotionally and psychologically abuse the people closest to them, including spouses, children, friends, co-workers and other family members.
Experts tell us that narcissistic abuse could be the result of the narcissist’s own insecurity issues. While many narcissists seem to be the epitome of self-confidence, the truth is that they often have deeply rooted insecurities that make them feel “not good enough” or like they need to push others down in order to have any self-esteem at all. In fact, the traits of narcissism likely manifest in these people as a way to overcompensate for the underlying lack of self-esteem.
Of course, the narcissist’s need for constant validation, approval, and admiration (the need for consistent narcissistic supply) is contradictory with their inability and unwillingness to validate others. And when a narcissist is unable to get the narcissistic supply they need to feel alive, they often react with anger, dismissiveness, defensiveness and even direct aggression.
One of the biggest questions people ask when they figure out they’re dealing with someone who has NPD is whether there’s a way to resolve the issue. They want to know if narcissism can be cured. They ask if there’s a way for narcissists to heal and whether it’s possible for narcissists to change at all. In this post, all of those questions will be answered.
Can a narcissist be cured?
The unfortunate fact is that because of how narcissistic personality disorder manifests in those who suffer from it, they very often won’t seek any help for the issues they have. They literally can’t see anything wrong (due to being ego-driven, it would nearly destroy them to admit they might need to change or grow in any way). The issues they face in their relationships, at work and even just navigating through society lead to an increase in their self-focus and increased lack of empathy because they assume everyone is against them and they are the only ones who are “right” – they need to see themselves as different and special and as the exception to every rule.
They could potentially be treated with psychotherapy geared at changing their behavior patterns and to attempt to improve their personal relationships, but to get any results beyond simple behavior modifications, the narcissist would need to admit they have a problem, dig deep to find their core wound and work through it with a qualified therapist. Then, and only then, would a “cure” be possible. They would need to learn empathy and compassion remedially, much like someone who learns to walk later in life.
Is there a cure for narcissistic personality disorder?
Dr. David Hawkins says he’s healing narcissistic personality disorder. Before a viewer asked me to look into it, I wasn’t very familiar with Dr. David Hawkins, who reportedly “debunks the notion that sending your man off for individual therapy for his narcissistic traits is effective.
He suggests that it is not and that “you, the partner of someone with narcissistic traits can be very effective in helping him to heal.”
In this video, I’m answering a question from a viewer on those controversial statements. The question comes from Robyn Newberry, who wrote: “Angie Atkinson, what do you think of that Dr. David Hawkins who thinks Narcissism can be cured!? I’m like, why even torture yourself by trying to do the impossible!? I’m sorry, but after the pure Hell I went through, I couldn’t do it again to myself and my daughter especially.”
Can narcissists be healed?
After I made the video above, a woman who said her husband was being treated by Dr. Hawkins reached out to me. Here is my response to her claim that her narcissistic husband was being cured.
Are there narcissists who have changed?
Can narcissists change? Can a narcissist be cured? Is it possible, and has it ever happened? In this video, Richard Grannon, AKA Spartan Life Coach, and I discuss the possibilities of narcissists changing. Watch Narcissists Who Have Changed (Featuring Richard Grannon), right here.
But how can you be sure you’re dealing with a narcissist and not someone who is just traumatized and immature? I answered this question in this video.
Can narcissists change? Study Says Narcissists Can Be Taught Empathy
There was a study that claimed that narcissists could be cured by implying that they could be taught empathy. Well, sorta anyway. In this video, I’ll tell you what I think and explain the one valuable bit of information I find in this particular study.
What the Experts Say on a Cure for Narcissistic Personality Disorder
In this post, I gathered up the opinions of various experts in narcissistic personality disorder on whether narcissists can be cured.
What causes narcissistic personality disorder?
Most often, NPD is formed during childhood, often due to abuse or neglect, but in some cases, due to a parent who doesn’t set proper boundaries and over-praises the child, even when it isn’t warranted. In other cases, NPD can be formed later in life due to achieving sudden fame or even through a successful career move. This type of narcissism is called Acquired Situational Narcissism.
In this video, I explain the truth about narcissists and narcissistic traits.
Narcissism: Nature Vs. Nurture – How does narcissism develop?
In this video, I explain how narcissism can be the result of both nurture AND nature. What causes narcissistic personality disorder? What’s the psychology of it? Together, we’ll explore the causes of narcissistic personality disorder, both nurture AND nature, and then I’ll share my thoughts on whether narcissists are nurture or nature-based.
Ultimately, turning to narcissism ends up being how some people cope with the trauma that affects them in childhood. It becomes a survival technique they use in order to hide their extreme insecurities, self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy – often, even from themselves.
Additional Resources for Can Narcissism Be Cured?
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder Overview
- Narcissism Defined
- Top 25 FAQ on NPD
- How the Narcissistic Relationship Cycle Works
- Narcissistic Abuse Recovery FAQ
Updated November 2019
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.