I'd like to build some on the line of thought in the last post. I made a case that the grown malignant narcissist was a difficult, devious and generally obnoxious child -- to their peers and siblings especially and primarily. The logic is that the malignant narcissist is a case of arrested development. They have never progressed on to emotional, spiritual and mental maturity. So you get a constant view of the child they were at six when watching the operation of the grown narcissist.
Let's go from the thought above to this thought: The narcissist is a malicious child cloaked in an adult body. Because the malignant narcissist has always been what they are it is impossible to "rehabilitate" them.
Let us look carefully at the concept of rehabilitation and what it truly means. We're going to do so with the assistance of Stanton E. Samenow, Ph.D. who has spent a whole career studying how criminals think. His observations on criminals are completely transferable to our study of malignant narcissists. Most criminals are narcissists. Robert Hare has established as fact that all psychopaths have narcissistic personalities. Just because the narcissist in your life has managed to stay within the law (or not get caught) doesn't mean they don't think like a criminal. They do. The main problem we put in front of ourselves when trying to deal effectively with narcissists is that we don't recognize that criminals and narcissists do not think like we do.
Quoting from page 7 of "Inside the Criminal Mind" by the above mentioned author Stanton E. Samenow:
"We must understand that criminals are different, that they do not think like responsible people and do not want the same things out of life. It is also time to realize that unless we help criminals to think differently, they will continue to prey on us all."
"Despite a multitude of differences in their backgrounds and crime patterns, criminals are alike in one way: how they think."
"A surprising number of people who deal with criminals do not know how criminals think. How a person behaves is determined largely by how he thinks. Criminals think differently."
Okay, now humor me and do a little exercise. Read each of the quotes above again and insert "malignant narcissist" in where you read the word "criminal". If you know anything about malignant narcissism you can see that it is a perfect fit. Narcissists, at the very least, are criminals in their operations in the moral and spiritual realm. That they can stay out of the reach of the law doesn't mean they are not criminals in their thinking. I have stated in other posts that the narcissist is an anarchist at heart. What is an anarchist but a criminal who recognizes no law as binding upon him?
One of the thrusts of Samenow's book here mentioned is that the concept of rehabilitation is not congruent with the experience of the criminal.
One last quote:
"But rehabilitation as it has been practiced cannot possibly be effective because it is based on a total misconception. To rehabilitate is to restore to a former constructive capacity or condition. There is nothing to which to rehabilitate a criminal. There is no earlier condition of being responsible to which to restore him." All emphasis in the above quotes are the author's.
Samenow is not addressing the issue of NPD in his book. I am not wanting to misrepresent what he is saying. I am the one drawing the correlation between understanding criminals and recognizing the same principles apply in dealing with people who are malignant narcissists.
I want to make sure you've taken in what is being said about rehabilitation. You can not REhabilitate someone to a condition to which they've never been habilitated to. The false assumption that at some point in time the narcissist has been properly integrated into society and relationships is just that...false...and dangerous. They have always held themselves apart and superior to society, its rules, its norms and expectations. The narcissist is above all that. He has never been "normal", so to think he can become normal by your reasoned arguments and firm application of boundaries and controls is simply an exercise in futility. He spurns your efforts to reform him because he is perfect.
To believe that the adult narcissist who was a narcissistic child can somehow be transformed into an empathetic and normal human being is naive at best. They are fundamentally broken. They have always been broken. You can not rehabilitate a malignant narcissist. They've never been integrated into human society. They've never been "habilitated". They have held themselves above us all. They have rejected humanity. To think you as an individual have the power in your little ole' self to make the narcissist what they have never been is a bit of delusion and God complex of your own that you need to get over.
The only hope for the malignant narcissist is with God Himself. If God can't change him...for goodness sake, why do you think YOU can? While you place the fate and future of the narcissist into God's hands you need to start putting the miles between you. The hope of the narcissist changing is so infinitesimally tiny that you need not waste time sticking around to hopefully see it happen. I realize that not everyone who retains a vain hope of the narcissist changing their spots is thinking they can "save" the narcissist. Some people want to believe in fairy tales so they can cling to a dream. A dream that a nightmare marriage can become a good one. A dream that mommy dearest will someday love me and I'll have a happy family. A dream that dad will finally treat me like a real human being. These dreams may give you comfort today, but someday as you stand there holding the dust of your dreams in your hands when confronted by the harshest of realities that the dream was always hopeless, you will realize how much of your life was wasted on smoke, vapor and ashes. I'm trying to save you that outcome.
For those of us who can acknowledge that the malignant narcissist is likely even beyond the reach of God Himself, we can heartily commend the narcissist to the devil. Christians: even Christ Himself recognized that some people have the devil himself as a spiritual father (John 8:44). "Your father, the devil" never applies so well as it does to malignant narcissists. Know it. Live accordingly.
Do yourself a big favor and buy Samenow's book, "Inside the Criminal Mind". It contains some fundamental and foundational changes in how we think about and deal with criminals of all stripes which includes the malignant narcissist.