Do Narcissists Need To Feel Needed Or Wanted?

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Narcissists have no problem in extolling their many virtues to anyone who will listen to them. They love bragging about their accomplishments and superior nature, and the main reason they feel this way is that they love getting that admiration and devotion in return. But you may be wondering if the narcissist needs to feel needed or wanted by others. How do they view that? 

Narcissists are typically not concerned with the needs and wants of other people in their lives, but being needed and wanted does boost their self-esteem. They want to feel important to other people, but they don’t really want to have to respond to someone else’s needs or even their desires.

Read on to learn more vital information about how the narcissist views the needs or desires of other people. It will give you important insight into many of their behaviors and the underlying causes for those behaviors. 

How Does a Narcissist Feel When Someone Needs Them?

Narcissists are notorious for their self-centered nature. Their focus is really only on getting their own needs met. That’s why when you’re interacting with them, they are constantly talking about themselves and little else. 

A narcissist will rarely take the needs or desires of other people into consideration unless it is to their own benefit. They feel entitled to all that they want or need, but have little concern for other people. 

If your need or desire for a narcissist plays into the grandiose ideas they have created for themselves, then they want you to go on feeling that way. They want you to need and want them, but not because they want and need you or even because they want to help fulfill your needs and desires. 

The focus has little to do with you. If you need them and they can use that to show the world how great they are, that’s why they would want you to continue needing them. It’s all really about them, not you, not your needs, and certainly not your happiness. 

Do Narcissists Want to Be Loved?

Narcissists are human, and so, like anyone else, they hope for love and caring relationships, but the problem is that when they actually find that, they feel vulnerable. Feeling vulnerable and exposed is like kryptonite for the narcissist.

Do Narcissists Want to Be Loved

They fear they will be exposed as the truly horrible person they believe themselves to be deep down. For that reason, when they find love, they often cannot become truly intimate with that person. They also tend to doubt the authenticity of the love any other person might feel for them. 

When they feel exposed, vulnerable, and are doubting the authenticity of the love someone might feel for them, they frequently turn to devaluing that person. They set their love interest up for failure by creating unrealistically high expectations for them. 

When the other person cannot live up to the narcissist’s expectations, the narcissist begins to devalue them. All through this process, the narcissist is feeling as though love is unsafe, not to mention truly elusive. 

Admiration is something that feels much safer to a narcissist because it is something that they can earn. As former therapist and narcissism expert, Mac Davidson notes, “The narcissist is constantly trying to improve their ‘worthiness.’” They can work for the admiration of other people, and thus, when someone seems to be admiring them for an achievement or talent, they feel like it is something more genuine. 

Additionally, love is something the narcissist cannot control. It means believing that the other person does truly love you; in other words, you have to take a leap of faith. That’s a tall order for the narcissist who much prefers being admired over being loved. 

Why Does a Narcissist Distrust Love? 

Why Does a Narcissist Distrust Love

Narcissists typically distrust love because of their early childhood experiences. Children first experience empathy and love from their caregivers, usually their parents. The caregiver’s role is to protect and soothe the child. 

To do that, however, they have to understand what the child is feeling. They have to be empathetic to the needs of the child. For people who develop narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), there was a breakdown somewhere along the line of empathy and attunement between themselves and one or more of their caregivers. 

That prevented the narcissist-to-be from feeling loved, and that led them to develop a distorted internal representation of what relationships are like and what love really means. It also prevented them from fully developing a sense of self otherwise known as an ego. 

What Happens When a Child Doesn’t Develop a Healthy Ego?

Your sense of self or ego is a necessary part of your internal support system. You need it to both stimulate you to act in your own best interest and soothe you when you are distressed. You also need that healthy sense of self to develop compassion, empathy, and understanding for others. 

When you have a healthy internal support system, you can effectively put yourself in other people’s shoes and understand what they’re experiencing. Without that healthy ego, you don’t have a reference point for those kinds of feelings. 

That’s why the narcissist has to turn to other people to get an ego boost. It’s why they must incessantly brag about themselves and their accomplishments. They don’t just want, but they need you to admire them so they can be reassured that they are good. 

Why Doesn’t a Narcissist Understand and Care About the Needs of Others?

Even though the narcissist knows what it feels like to need the admiration of others, they can’t turn that into an understanding that other people also have needs. They must stay constantly vigilant to any threats that might expose what they believe to be the horrible truth about themselves. 

Without a healthy ego, they don’t have the ability to soothe themselves or prop up their own self-esteem. They need others to do that, and they need that to be done on an almost constant basis. That leaves precious little time for focusing on anything else, even what their loved ones might need or want. 

They also feel a sense of entitlement to get what they need without having to give back for what they receive from others. They don’t feel as if they should have to concern themselves with what you need or want; rather, they believe it is you who should be concerned with the narcissist’s needs and little else. 

That being said, the narcissist has now qualms bragging about how much you or other loved ones need them. They will happily tell others how loved and important they are in your life, but it’s not because they are genuinely proud that someone loves, wants, or needs them. Instead, it’s because it shows everyone around them how great they are. 

Final Thoughts

Narcissists only need to feel needed or wanted insomuch as that shows other people how truly great they are and how much everyone loves them. That’s their egoic need for admiration that’s at work there, not a genuine desire to feel as though they are positively contributing to someone else’s life. 

Though a narcissist might not be interested in whether you need them or not, they will use any needs you have to manipulate and control your behavior. That’s their hypervigilance at work so they can feel safe and admired. If you have genuine needs that must be met, it’s best to look someplace other than to the narcissist for fulfilling them. 

Understanding more about how narcissists feel inside is vital to understanding how they view your feelings, needs, and desires. This article about why narcissists are afraid of intimacy can help you learn critical information you need to know.


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Narcissistic abuse takes a terrible toll on your life. I’m Patricia, and my mother is a narcissist, so I know what you’re going through. These blog posts will help you understand narcissism better and give you tips for dealing with the narcissists in your life. Healing starts here!

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