Can The Narcissist Change?
The overt narcissist has low self-awareness, they are not usually aware of their behaviours or how they affect the people around them. They don't have the mental capacity to know or understand what is appropriate and what is not appropriate. Because of this, the covert narcissist is unlikely to change without developing an awareness of their behaviours and how they affect people. However, it is unlikely that the covert narcissist will ever reflect on themselves or develop an awareness of their behaviours because they are self-absorbed and lack empathy. They are not going to change to help the people around them, because they only care about themselves, they only care about their own needs. If the overt narcissist does choose to reflect on themselves or does display a desire to change, it will only be for their own benefit. It will only be because they believe that they can gain something out of it, not because they care about you. For this reason, the covert narcissist is only going to change their behaviours if they are involved in a crisis. If they are involved in a time of intense difficulty or danger, where they have no choice but to make an important change.
During this time, they may make some changes to their behaviour, but once they have recovered from this event, it is likely that their behaviour will return to normal or
The covert narcissist can change. You may notice that they display a different personality in public than what they display in private or at home. They have different personalities for different people and different situations. They know when to switch to which personality. They know when to show certain behaviours and when not to show them. They can behave well in a social situation or when they are being observed. This suggests that they do have some level of control over the way in which they act or conduct themselves. Although the covert narcissist can change, you shouldn't have any hope or expectation of them changing. The covert narcissist may have the awareness to recognise that their behaviours are hurting people, but most often, they don't care. They are self-absorbed and lack empathy. They only care about their own needs and if they have to hurt other people to get their needs met, they will do it. The covert narcissist will only change their behaviour if they get caught. If they are forced to be held accountable for their actions. They won't change their behaviour because you don't like it or because it's hurting you. They will only change their behaviour if it affects their image or other people's opinions of them. They will only change their behaviour if it is having a negative effect on them, not because of it hurting anyone else. They don't care about how their behaviour affects other people, they only care about how other people view them. If their behaviour is going to affect how other people view them, they will change it. But it is not to help you, it is not because they care about you. It's only to make them look good in front of other people. It may seem as though they have changed, but they haven't. They are still the same narcissist, still only caring about themselves. Still, self-absorbed and lacking empathy. They might have changed some external behaviours to improve their image, but they haven't done any self-reflection or gone within. For them to change they would have to self reflect and resolve what is occurring within them.
This is something that no narcissist wants to do because it's very painful for them to reflect on all of the shame that has built up over the years. All of the things that they have done to people. Past failures, regrets, faults and mistakes. They have lived in denial for such a long time, they wouldn't know how to deal with reality. They would probably go insane or become suicidal. They wouldn't be able to cope with living in truth. This is why they choose to live in denial and do everything they can to escape reality. Because the truth of what they have become is too painful for them to deal with. They don't want to look at that, they don't want to reflect on that. They would rather just live in denial and act as though nothing is wrong. They would rather just live a lie and act like everything is ok. As long as they have the tools to manipulate and exploit people, and get the little hits of supply to keep them going. That's enough for them, they are comfortable in that environment and they are comfortable repeating the cycle. They might desire something more but they don't believe that they are even capable of establishing anything greater. They want more, but they expect you to provide it to them. This is why they manipulate and exploit people. They are very weak, fragile people who can't do it on their own. This is why they are so dependent on other people to fulfil their needs and to sustain them. If you ask the narcissist to change their behaviour because it is hurting you and they don't change their behaviour or adjust it in a way to accommodate you, and they don't display any empathy or compassion towards you, but then they change their behaviour only because someone else has noticed it and it's affecting the narcissist's image. That does not mean that they care about you. That does not mean they are going to change. They might change their behaviour, but it has nothing to do with you. It is not because they desire to be closer to you or they are trying to establish a connection with you. You may even find that there are many other dysfunctional behaviours that they are engaged in, that are very harmful to you. But they won't change those behaviours because no one has mentioned it, so it doesn't have a negative effect on their image. And you have to look at how long it took them to change that one behaviour.
How many years did it take? What if it takes them that long to change another behaviour that is hurting you? Are you willing to wait that long for them to change that behaviour? The narcissist will never make a significant change for a morally good, correct or honourable reason. Because that would involve them going within and realising that they are doing something wrong. Everything that they are focused on is external, it is outside of them. So they never reflect on whether or not they are doing something wrong. And they have no desire or motivation to do that because they don't care. They are self-absorbed and lack empathy, they only care about themselves. They never look at themselves and think that their behaviour is wrong or they want to be a better person. They only look at their behaviours to how they might affect them. If it has a negative effect on their image or if it might prevent them obtaining narcissistic supply. Only then will they change their behaviours.
And just as quickly as they changed their behaviours, they will change back to their normal or usual behaviours. Because they only made external changes, it's a false image, they didn't self reflect or do any work within. So it doesn't last, it's only temporary until their environment requires their behaviours to change again. They might make external changes, but they are not real or genuine. Which means that they will not be consistent and they could change at any time. My advice is to take away any hope or expectation of the narcissist changing. The narcissist has no desire or motivation to change because they are self-absorbed and lack empathy. They don't care about how their behaviour affects you, they only care about how it affects them. They will only make external changes to support their false image. It is never about helping or supporting you. And any external changes that they make could change at any time, depending on what is beneficial or favourable to them.
Regardless of how it affects you. This is why I believe that the narcissist cannot change.