Forgiving a malignant narcissist isn't easy. Trust me, I know. It's one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.
But holding onto anger isn't an option. Eventually, it will destroy your body and your soul. The only way to reclaim your life is to let it go.
However, there's one complicating factor. A narcissist isn't going to apologize. That's because people with this disorder always think they're right. Lacking a moral compass, a narcissist will justify her actions. No matter what's she's done, she always has an excuse.
Even more maddening is the blame shifting. This is one of the many tricks employed by morally disordered people. Instead of accepting responsibility, a narcissist will try to make you feel guilty. She'll expect you to apologize, to her, for some imaginary or exaggerated "offense."
She'll stare you down until you utter the words, "I'm sorry." (Don't fall for this ploy. It's one that's used by nearly all difficult people, whom refuse to accept responsibility for their actions.)
Confronting a Narcissist
All I can say is good luck. What's likely to happen is the person in question will fly into what psychologists call "narcissistic rage." It's an ugly scene and one you probably want to avoid.
Usually, if someone has done something hurtful, the right thing to do is to politely tell them how this affects you. But there's no reasoning with a narcissist.
When challenged, a narc will often turn into a screaming Tasmanian devil. She'll also hurl all sorts of unfounded charges at you, in hopes of getting you to back down. (She'd also love to hear you say, "I'm sorry.")
Another possibility is that you will get an "apology." But it won't be sincere. It could also be followed by a string of additional accusations, with the aim of convincing you that you're in the wrong.
If you decide to write a letter, please understand that it's probably going to be shared. (Morally disordered people lack integrity.)
So, What Do You Do?
Don't expect a sincere apology from a narcissist. If it ever happens, it's likely to be a very long time. Meanwhile, vow to move on anyway.
This will mean forgiving the person who's hurt you, regardless of their lack of remorse. In general, narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths do not experience regrets or guilt. This is precisely what makes them so dangerous.
Forgiving a Narcissist
This will likely happen in stages. Start by wishing her well. That's right. Decide that you're going to live a great life, without her in it. Then, resolve to move forward. It might be very helpful to cut off all contact. Maybe, later, after you've healed, you can resume limited interaction. But not now.
Continuing to see her puts you at risk. With the wound still fresh, she can easily slash it open again. Being in her presence can also stir up feelings of anger, which you're trying to move beyond.
For the moment, the best thing you can do is to wish her well, and to find a new focus and purpose in life.
Wishing Her Well
As a Catholic, I found myself praying for the narcissistic female that caused so much trouble in my life. This greatly helped me learn to forgive her, eventually. If you don't pray, I highly recommend just wishing good things happen to the narcissist. For some reason, this helps to ease our negative feelings toward that person.
Finding a New Focus
This is the most liberating of all. The narcissist no longer occupies your thoughts. As someone else observed, if you dwell upon what has happened, it's like allowing an abuser to "rent space in your head."
If the narcissist was once part of your social circle, chances are you could use some new friends. (Female narcissists have a tendency to ruin our other relationships.) So, find a hobby or a new volunteer opportunity, which will allow you to meet new people. Or, contact someone you haven't seen in years.
Don't beat yourself up about being taken in by this con artist. People with disordered personalities are deceivers, and they are very good at convincing others they are kind and trustworthy. Even trained professionals can be fooled.
Educating Yourself About Narcissism
Please understand that I'm not a licensed mental health professional. But I do believe the first step towards recovery is understanding the personality traits of malicious people.
As clever as they may be, malignant narcissists share a list of characteristics, such as compulsive lying, an exaggerated sense of entitlement, a lack of respect for the rights of others, inability to feel remorse and a divisive personality.
Justice and Narcissism
Despite the title of one of the articles above, narcissists do not get away with it. At least not forever. Eventually, their bad actions up with them. If they only knew what they were doing to themselves, I'm sure they'd behave much differently.
Resources on Natural Healing from Emotional Abuse
Please visit this site's Natural Healing and Recovery with Essential Oils pages for information on how to support your body, mind and soul as you bounce back from narcissistic abuse.
Original Pixabay image top by Kapa65