Many people erroneously believe that individuals with narcissistic personality disorder are incapable of feeling any emotion at all. There is, however, evidence to suggest otherwise.
While it is true that will cry crocodile tears to get sympathy, it is also true that they experience genuine emotional pain. But can narcissists ever cry genuine tears?
While many narcissists can indeed express emotional reactions through crying, they may not always be expressing genuine emotion. Instead, they may be using tears as a means to manipulate others or gain sympathy. They may also be seeking attention, but they do sometimes cry real tears.
Narcissists will exaggerate their emotions in order to get attention or sympathy from those around them. They may also cry in order to manipulate a situation or gain leverage over someone else in the room.
But sometimes, they also really cry, and a better understanding of their range of emotional depth can help you tell the fake tears from the real ones. Let’s take a closer look.
Can Narcissists Cry Real Tears?
As pointed out in an article written for PsychCentral, narcissists feel human emotions just like everyone else, and they may laugh or cry just like anyone else in response to emotional pain and joy. Often, however, their crying is likely not an expression of genuine emotion but rather an attempt at gaining favor from those around them.
They do this in order to acquire the narcissistic supply of adoration they desperately need to prop up their damaged self-identity. An empathetic person can often sense the level of inner turmoil and emotional pain they are hiding beneath a facade of grandiosity.
Because they need that narcissistic supply so badly, they often engage in selfish behavior and manipulation to get people to focus on their needs and give them the adoration they are unable to give themselves.
The painful truth about narcissistic personality disorder is that although narcissists are master manipulators, they are also damaged children looking for love. They often display a lack of emotion to hide the pain they really feel inside. This video discusses where some of that pain comes from.
This is usually the result of emotional abuse, and maybe physical abuse, that they suffered in their own childhood. They learned long ago to hide their tears, and because they developed what are essentially delusions of grandeur to hide their pain, they feel like they can’t reveal the vulnerability genuine tears indicate.
What is the Range of Emotions in a Narcissist?
Despite their reputation for being self-absorbed and insensitive, narcissists are capable of experiencing a wide range of emotions, just like anyone else. Here are a few of the emotions they commonly experience.
1. They Frequently Feel Anger
One of the most common emotions experienced by narcissists is anger. Narcissists may become easily frustrated or irritated when things do not go their way and may lash out at others in response. They may also become angry when they feel threatened or challenged and may use verbal or physical aggression to assert their dominance.
2. They are Filled With Guilt and Shame
Narcissists definitely experience feelings of guilt or shame. In fact, when narcissism forms in childhood, it is the result of the feeling that their true self is hopelessly flawed. It’s a distressing situation of childhood trauma that interrupts their identity formation.
They become filled with guilt, shame, and self-loathing to the degree that they bury their true self and construct a false self-image. They infuse that self-image with grandiose ideas of perfection and superiority, but their false ego can’t support those notions. That’s why they need the narcissistic supply of adoration to prop up their self-esteem.
3. They Can Feel Remorse, But It’s Rare
There are times when a narcissist may experience genuine remorse for something they have done. But since they are skilled at deflecting blame and avoiding responsibility for their actions, this is a rare occurrence.
4. They Feel Pride
Narcissists often have a highly inflated sense of self-importance and may believe that they are superior to others in a variety of ways. This can lead to feelings of pride and satisfaction when they achieve success or receive recognition for their accomplishments.
Narcissists may also take pleasure in being admired or adored by others and may feel a sense of pride when they are able to assert their dominance or control over others. While it’s not for all the right reasons, this is one positive emotion that narcissists frequently feel.
5. They Also Feel Excitement
Another positive emotion that narcissists may experience is excitement. Narcissists may be drawn to high-risk, high-reward activities and may feel a rush of excitement and adrenaline when engaging in such behaviors. They may also enjoy the thrill of competition and may feel excited when they are able to win or come out on top.
6. What About Joy and Happiness?
Finally, narcissists may experience joy and happiness, just like anyone else. While their sense of happiness may be contingent on external factors, such as success, admiration, or control over others, it is still a genuine emotion that they are capable of experiencing. Narcissists may feel a sense of joy when they are able to achieve their goals or when they receive positive feedback or validation from others.
Do Narcissists Feel Love?
This is a tricky question because narcissistic people hate opening themselves to the possibility of being hurt. They hide these kinds of uncomfortable feelings because they make them feel out of control and vulnerable.
Still, they do form strong attachments to some people, though they will heap narcissistic abuse on their romantic partners and other close relationship partners. Watch this video to learn if your narcissistic partner can genuinely love you despite their abusive behavior.
Ultimately, while narcissists are often seen in a negative light and associated with negative emotions, it is important to recognize that they are still capable of experiencing positive emotions.
What Kind of Tears Do Narcissists Cry?
There are actually different kinds of tears that narcissists may use for manipulation, control, deflecting blame, or to express genuine emotion. Here are several different kinds of tears that they might use for these purposes.
Insecure Use Tears
Insecure use tears are a type of emotional expression that are a result of feelings of insecurity or low self-esteem. Unlike genuine tears, which are often an authentic expression of emotion, insecure tears are a way for individuals to manipulate those around them and gain sympathy or attention. Covert narcissists are especially skilled at using insecure tears in this way.
Jealous tears are tears that are shed as a result of feeling envious or resentful toward someone else. When a person experiences jealousy, it can trigger strong emotions such as sadness, anger, and frustration, which can lead to tears. For example, when malignant narcissists are triggered emotionally, they will often turn to inflicting physical pain on loved ones to ease their emotional distress.
How Can You Tell If a Narcissist’s Tears Are Genuine?
One clue may be the context in which the tears are being expressed. If a narcissist is crying in order to gain sympathy or attention from others rather than in response to a genuine emotional experience, this may be a sign that the tears are fake.
Another clue may be the narcissist’s body language and facial expressions. Genuine tears are often accompanied by a range of physical and emotional responses, such as trembling, redness in the eyes, and a sense of vulnerability or openness. Fake tears, on the other hand, may be accompanied by a lack of emotional expression or a sense of detachment.
Ultimately, the ability to discern fake tears from genuine ones in a narcissist can be difficult, as they can be highly skilled at manipulating emotions and hiding their true intentions.
Narcissists are capable of crying tears, but they may not be crying for the same reasons as you or I. Of course, they are capable of human emotion, and they experience a wide range of emotions, including positive ones.
Their narcissistic traits, however, often result in abusive relationships, and in that context, they will use tears to manipulate their loved ones. Additionally, different types of narcissists may use tears for a variety of reasons.
Though they experience intense emotions, their lack of empathy prevents them from understanding your emotions and, therefore, your tears on a deeper level. They can suffer an emotional breakdown if their behavior results in a loss of supply that they need to survive.
There are plenty of reasons people cry, and that also holds true for narcissists, but some of those reasons are not because of a genuine emotional response.
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