- Alexandra Skinner Walsh
Do Narcissists Know What They’re Doing?
This is a question I get frequently.
Do they know?
Is it purposeful?
Why do they want to hurt me?
Whew, if that isn’t a loaded question with many nuances! The answer, it depends. Some narcissists are fully aware of their actions and DO make intentional choices that hurt others. However, not all narcissists are created equally. Some may be aware that they aren’t making the healthiest of choices but lack the insight to understand how unhealthy and harmful their behaviors are. Then there are some that have so little insight that they believe the false narrative they have created and truly believe that their victim is the one causing the harm and not them. Narcissism lives on a spectrum. The degree of intentionality behind their actions depends on where they fall on this spectrum.
If you’re asking these questions, I bet what you are really wanting to know is, "how do I get closure?" It can feel like we need to fully understand another’s choice(s) to heal. I get it! The brain wants answers and feels super uncomfortable if it doesn’t have them. However, you may never know the degree to which their choices and actions are intentional or not. You may never even know if they understand the degree of harm they have done. The good news, you don’t need to. Your healing does not hang on this. You do not need them to understand or make amends. You have all the things you need already within yourself to find healing, closure, and make peace with what has happened.
My advice to you, stop trying to find out a narcissist’s intention or purpose. Accept it for what it is; unknown. Shift your focus inward and begin doing things to help you heal. Find activities that give you purpose, surround yourself with people who support you, educate yourself on narcissism to get as many answers as you can, and get connected with a mental health professional who can help you work through your specific experiences. If you really feel stuck without answers. Create them for yourself.
Do you think they know?
Do you think it is purposeful?
Do you think they want to hurt you?
Create answers that focus on your healing because ultimately, they are just guesses. However, the biggest question of all this is, what do you want to do about it?
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