Welcome to my new narcissism advice column in which readers ask me questions and I do my best to answer them. Note that although I know a lot about narcissism personally and professionally, I am not a trained therapist.
I miss my friend even though she was a narcissist. What can I do to fix it and handle the friendship?
The short answer is you can’t fix it. Repeat: You can’t fix it.
And if you try to recover the friendship she will still be a narcissist incapable of reciprocating as a true friend does. If she is a full-blown narcissist, she has a personality disorder that makes her unable to care about your realities and needs. She may fake caring from time to time, but she only “cares” in the sense that it affects her in some way and she will get something out of it.
I still miss my long-term “best” friend from childhood who also was a narcissist. It made perfect sense that I was drawn to her and she me, because we both grew up in narcissistic homes and were repeating familiar patterns. Also I felt sorry for her because her home life was even worse than mine, with a father who had a new family that did not include her, a narcopath part-time absent mother, a half-brother two steps from a jail cell, and an abusive stepfather. At her best my friend was charming, beautiful, funny as hell, and could be warm and sometimes step out of her narcissistic myopia. But she was also selfish, manipulative, cutting, rude, and disrespectful.
A few examples of her narc behavior: She rejected and ignored me for a year in high school after I came out; she smoked in my apartment despite the fact that I repeatedly asked her not to; she asked me to name my child after her when I got pregnant; and when I told her my partner was diagnosed with MS, she changed the subject and told me about a party she threw for her hair dresser.
Ultimately I cut ties with her as I began to understand my own narcissist family background and the abuse I had endured for decades. I haven’t reached out again in over 15 years. I still care, still miss her, still even love her, but as a narcissist friend she is incapable of an equitable relationship. She lacks empathy and makes just about everything about herself, and I have grown out of that kind of person in my life.
Take a look at your reasons for wanting your narcissist friend back. There is no “handling” a narcissist. In the end they handle you.
NOTE: My narcissism advice is just that—advice—and should not take the place of professional help—legal, therapeutic, or otherwise.
Have a question for me? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need to talk? I offer coaching services for people struggling with narcissism-related problems.
Julie L. Hall’s articles on narcissism regularly appear in The Huffington Post and PsychCentral.com. She is the author of the forthcoming memoir about life, and a few near deaths, in a narcissistic family (read excerpts).
Related Articles by Julie L. Hall
- Ready to End Your Dead-End Relationship with a Narcissist?
- Behind the Narcissist Mask: The Bully, Coward, Liar and Fraud
- How to Protect Your Child from Your Narcissist Spouse
- When the Narcissist Is Nice: What It May or May Not Mean and How to Handle It
- Five Things You Did Not Know About Narcissists
- Adult Children of Narcissists: Breaking Away from Family Control
- Understanding Narcissistic Rage and Why It Is Not Your Fault
- Adult Children of Narcissists Face Trauma-Induced Health Risks
- Why You Should Not Feel Sorry for the Narcissist
- Seven Sure Ways to Spot a Narcissist
- Narcissist Crimes and Misdemeanors: Real-Life Examples
- The Strength of the Scapegoat in the Narcissist Family
- What Raging Narcissists Break: A Damage List
- Remembering Mary Tyler Moore as the Chilling Narcissist Mother in ‘Ordinary People’
- More Horrid and Shocking Things Narcissists Say and Do
- The Dos and Don’ts of CoParenting with a Narcissist
- What the Narcissist Fears Most
- The Question of Forgiveness for My Narcissist Father
- Narcissists Are Hurt Machines to Their Children
- The Narcissist Family: Its Cast of Characters and Glossary of Terms
- Horrid and Shocking Things Narcissists Say and Do
- The ‘Overt’ Versus ‘Covert’ Narcissist: Both Suck
- On Being a Narcissist Magnet and Developing a Fine-Tuned ‘Nar-dar’
- The Dangerous Nihilism of President Narcissist and His ‘PostTruth’ America
- Caretaking My Narcissistic Mother Through Cancer
- Child of Narcissists Goes from ‘Death Dealer’ to Healer
- A Golden Child’s Story of Guilt in the Narcissistic Family
- The Terrible Dilemma of the Golden Child in the Narcissistic Family
- Raised by Narcissists? Why You Can’t Afford the Wrong Therapist
- Tolstoy Was Wrong: Narcissistic Unhappy Families Are Kind of All Alike
- Why I Hate the Word ‘Narcissist’
- A Daughter’s Story of One Hell of a Narcissist Mother