Why do narcissists give only misery?
They seem to have the best of intentions. They say they love you. They say they want what is best for you. They say they want peace and happiness with you. Yet, everyone is miserable. Why??
You can only really give that which you have. If all you have inside is misery, then that is really all you can give to others. If you have jealousy, then you give jealousy. If you have anger, then you give anger. Sure you may be able to give glimpses of happiness when you do a favor for someone, but it isn’t sustainable.
If you have joy on the inside, then you give joy. If you have compassion, then you give compassion. If you have peace, then you give peace. Sure, even these people give glimpses of anger and crankiness, but it isn’t sustainable.
A miserable person may truly wish to help others on a deep level. This isn’t a question of good intentions. They may honestly WANT to make other people’s lives better and to serve others. The desire is there and real. They can serve the poor, help the sick, volunteer in hospitals and schools. They can even try to help their children and spouse. They can do chores around the house and do favors for their family. They can try to talk, counsel and give guidance. While some of these “things” may be useful to those around them, it will be shallow and short-lived. A miserable person cannot give genuine compassion to others. They can only give misery.
Again, I’m not saying that they don’t want to give compassion, that they don’t want to help. Some of them truly do. They are simply incapable of it. Many parents want to help their children, but instead are destroying them. Their parents destroyed them with their own misery and now they are destroying their own children with it. Thus misery continues, and the cycle continues.
A miserable person can and often will try to hide their misery. They cover it and mask it. They can do such a great job of this that it stays hidden for decades. They can even go so far as to hide it from themselves quite successfully. But eventually, those closest to them start to recognize that something is wrong. They start to feel uncomfortable and guarded around this person. Often at the beginning, they do not even know why. What is happening is that they are feeling the misery.
In my early marriage, I thought I had found the most wonderful husband ever. He seemed perfect for me. He appeared to really care about me and the world around us. My family loved him, and I loved his family. I felt truly blessed to have found such a great match and thought that we would be incredibly successful together. We got married, and things were great for quite some time.
Yet as the years went by, I began to feel more and more uncomfortable around him. I couldn’t put my finger on why though. I thought it was me. Maybe I wasn’t being loving enough. Maybe I wasn’t be forgiving enough when he hurt my feelings. Maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough. I knew that marriage takes effort. I remember telling myself, “Every marriage has issues. No matter who my husband might be, we would still go through phases of this. So it’s okay, and I just need to keep loving him.”
So I tried harder. But this never got better. In fact, it kept growing. I began to feel miserable around him. I didn’t like the way he talked to me and our boys. He seemed so cold and harsh so often. Yet, he always told me that he loved me and the boys.
I talked with him one day about compassion. He told me that he is an extremely compassionate person. When I questioned this, he got quite adamant about it. He told me that if I am going to tell him that he is not a compassionate person then that was going to make him very unhappy. He was so convinced. So I started asking myself, “If he is such a compassionate person, then what is wrong here?” He clearly “wants” to be a compassionate person.
Years of researching and exploring has opened my eyes. People in healthy relationships don’t spend their time googling words like toxic relationships, narcissism, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and so on.
It is quite simple - miserable people create misery for those closest to them. I realized that my husband desired to create a loving and positive environment, but that he simply wasn’t capable of it. His internal environment was full of turmoil and misery.
If you are in a similar relationship, with a spouse, a parent, a family member, etc, you may be asking yourself, “Do I really believe that they don’t love me?” You may be convinced that they do love you and yet the relationship is full of pitfalls. No, you aren’t crazy! It is very possible that they truly want to love you. They are like the clown that WANTS to cheer everyone up, but just can’t ever get their themselves.
Does this mean you need to have compassion for them, help them and stay with them?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having compassion for them. In fact, I think that is a wonderful and beautiful thing. You have compassion because of your own beauty inside of you.
Should you help them? No, absolutely not. You can’t! They will not hear it from you, and you will go crazy trying. If they are ever going to get help, it cannot come from those closest to them.
Should you stay with them? NO! Their misery is strong and it runs deep in them. Just think about how long it has been there. You can wish them the best and sincerely hope that they get help somewhere, somehow. But that misery will rub off on you if you stay. It is okay to have compassion for them and still leave.
You don’t have to hate them in order to walk away. You can recognize that they want a healthy relationship, but they simply aren’t capable of it. Not only that, they are not able to do the intense work that it will take for them to get there. You don’t have to fix them or this relationship. No one ever said that you have to be their miracle worker!