Have you ever known a narcissist, and just can’t make sense of them? You are not alone. One day they are happy and understanding and the next day they are angry and want to ensure they make you feel as small as possible. Narcissists are difficult to understand because they are unpredictable in many ways. They have their patterns of love bombing and raging so they can be predictable; but they are unpredictable because only the narcissist knows how they will respond in any given moment. The narcissist has an ever-waning narcissist supply that must be refilled. The frequency in which the narcissist supply needs refilling is variable and depends on what is happening in their life at that time. That is why they can seem unpredictable, and you can never really make sense of the narcissist.
So, why does nothing make sense with the narcissist? You have established that they will belittle you, take advantage of you, and are cruel but you still always feel confused by them. The simplest explanation is that the narcissist doesn’t think like non-narcissists. They aren’t reasonable people who consider others in their choices. They are self-centered and inward focused. They can’t take the perspective of others and this makes them more confusing. When you try to make sense of a narcissist, you are trying to think like a non-narcissist and that is why you feel confused.
The narcissist never knows what they want because they lack object constancy and the ability to think constructively about their environment. They are reactive to the world around them and always on the defensive. The world isn’t something the narcissist interacts with to learn more about others, or even themselves. The narcissist is always in survival mode. They are constantly at risk of narcissistic injury, so they think of the world very differently than most people. They are laser focused on what could possibly harm them, so they appear to walk all over people in their lives. If you are in their way, they will do whatever is needed to ensure you are not an obstacle in their lives.
The narcissist is unable to find pleasure and happiness in themselves so they are constantly on the search for outside sources that can make them feel better about themselves. If you leave a narcissist alone in a room for 1 week, they won’t be able to feel pleasure or happiness because they don’t have the skills to develop those positive emotions within and on their own. They will feel vulnerable, and lost. The narcissist doesn’t live in isolation, however. They are in a world with people and situations they can manipulate and control as a way to boost their egos. The narcissist needs others as a way to feel better about themselves. It truly is part of their survival methods.
The narcissists chase happiness as a way to refill their ever-waning narcissist supply. The narcissist needs the next “high” to get that boost of self-esteem that they are unable to create on their own. It does seem counterintuitive though. The narcissist is arrogant and thinks they are better than everyone else, so why would they not be able to boost their ego on their own? This is because the narcissist’s life is a façade. It is a mask they wear so that the world doesn’t see how insecure they really are.
The narcissist can’t connect with people. If they could then they wouldn’t always need to find someone new to boost their supply. The narcissist burns bridges and can’t make lasting relationships, so they are always on the hunt for their new supply. A logical, non-narcissist would be able to look inward and see they are the problem. However, the narcissist cannot. They ruin a relationship and know they need to find someone new, but can’t look inward to learn that if they stopped destroying relationships then they wouldn’t always be on the hunt for a new supply.
Don’t waste your time trying to figure out the narcissist. Even if you do find some pattern in their way of responding, it will change. The narcissist has no idea what the next moment brings for them so there is no way you will be able to figure it out either.