A common misconception that keeps many people trapped within the narcissistic abuse cycle is that there is something that we can do to make narcissists happy.

You can’t make a narcissist happy because:

  1. Their expectations are unrealistic and unattainable.
  2. They have an insatiable hunger for constant admiration.
  3. Their lack of empathy prevents them from appreciating the efforts of others.
  4. Their inability to self-soothe keeps happiness out of reach.
  5. They’re driven by short-term gratification rather than long-term satisfaction.
  6. They are manipulative and controlling.
  7. They have a fear of vulnerability that prevents them from being happy.

In this article, I will guide you through these reasons so you can better understand why you can’t make the narcissist in your life happy.

1.) Their Expectations are Unrealistic and Unattainable

First, you can’t make a narcissist happy because their expectations are unrealistic and unattainable.

Narcissists have a distorted self-image and perceive themselves as superior to others. 

This self-perception translates into unrealistically high expectations from their relationships and those around them. 

A narcissist telling someone that they need to be perfect before she gives him a chance.

They are perpetually seeking the ideal partner, friend, or situation that aligns with their inflated self-perception, which is unattainable.

2.) They Have an Insatiable Hunger for Constant Admiration

The second reason you can’t make narcissists happy is their insatiable hunger for constant admiration.

Despite their outwardly strong persona, narcissists have fragile self-esteem. 

Suggested Reading: Do Narcissists Have Low Self-Esteem?

Because of this, they need constant reassurance to bolster their self-worth. 

However, since their self-worth primarily depends on external validation rather than internal self-affirmation, it’s a never-ending cycle. 

No matter how much reassurance they receive, they always want more. 

This constant need for attention and validation burdens those around them, making it impossible to make them happy sustainably.

3.) Their Lack of Empathy Prevents Them from Appreciating the Efforts of Others

The third reason you can’t make a narcissist happy is that their lack of empathy prevents them from appreciating the efforts of others.

Empathy involves understanding and sharing the feelings of others.

It’s a fundamental aspect of healthy, reciprocal relationships. 

However, narcissists often struggle with empathy. 

A narcissist being confused about what empathy is.

They are so consumed with their own needs and desires that they often disregard the feelings, needs, and well-being of others. 

They’re mainly focused on how people and situations can serve them. 

Because of this lack of empathy, they fail to appreciate the efforts of others, as they can’t fully understand or value the sacrifices made or the love shown by others. 

This empathy deficit limits their capacity for mutual give-and-take, making it difficult for them to experience deep satisfaction or happiness in their relationships.

4.) Their Inability to Self-Soothe Keeps Happiness Out of Reach

The fourth reason you can’t make a narcissist happy is that their inability to self-soothe keeps happiness out of reach for them.

Most people can comfort or calm themselves down when they’re feeling upset, stressed, or anxious – this is known as “self-soothing.” 

However, people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) often struggle with this. 

They tend to seek comfort, validation, and happiness from others because they can’t provide it for themselves. 

Suggested Reading: Why Do Narcissists Get Into Relationships?

This means that your efforts to make them happy will never be enough because the issue lies in their ability to process and manage their emotions internally. 

It’s like trying to fill a bottomless bucket.

No matter how much you put in, it will never be full.

5.) They Are Driven by Short-Term Gratification, Rather than Long-Term Satisfaction

The fifth reason you can’t make a narcissist happy is that they are driven by short-term gratification rather than long-term satisfaction.

What I mean by this is that they seek immediate satisfaction and pleasure and often disregard the long-term consequences of their actions.

Pursuing short-term gratification can lead to impulsive decisions that feel good at the moment but don’t contribute to their long-term happiness or well-being. 

Moreover, the pleasure derived from these quick fixes is usually fleeting, and once it fades, the narcissist is left with the same dissatisfaction they were trying to escape. 

This relentless pursuit of immediate satisfaction can create a cycle of brief highs followed by extended periods of dissatisfaction and disappointment, further distancing them from genuine, lasting happiness.

6.) They Are Manipulative and Controlling

The sixth reason you can’t make narcissists happy is their manipulative and controlling tendencies.

Narcissists often play mind games to maintain power and control in their relationships.

Suggested Reading: 12 Mind Games That Narcissists Play

A common tactic they use to do this is intermittent reinforcement, the delivery of a reward at irregular intervals.

This looks like the narcissist showering someone with love one minute and coldly pushing them away the next. 

It doesn’t happen that quickly (one minute), but you get the point.

This mind game that narcissists play prevents them from finding real happiness because their relationships are based on control, not genuine connection.

Relationships like this lack the authenticity and emotional intimacy that form the bedrock of fulfilling connections. 

The focus is always on maintaining control rather than mutual understanding, shared experiences, and reciprocal emotional support.

Ultimately, this type of dynamic leads to superficial relationships that can’t provide narcissists with lasting satisfaction or happiness.

7.) They Have a Fear of Vulnerability That Prevents Them from Being Happy

The seventh reason you can’t make a narcissist happy is that they have a fear of vulnerability that prevents them from being happy.

Vulnerability is central to authentic, deep connections with others. 

It involves being open about our weaknesses, fears, and insecurities. 

For narcissists, however, vulnerability is perceived as a threat. 

A narcissist being confused and unwilling to talk about his feelings.

Their self-image is based on being superior, flawless, and in control. 

Admitting to any form of weakness or need is contrary to this image. 

This fear of vulnerability prevents them from forming meaningful, deep connections with others, as they’re always hiding behind a grandiose self-perception. 

Consequently, they struggle to experience the joy and satisfaction that come from genuine, intimate relationships. 

Even when you make genuine attempts to please them or meet their needs, they’re likely to keep you at arm’s length out of fear of revealing their true selves.

What Should You Take Away from This Article?

A narcissist’s characteristics, personality traits, and behavior patterns keep you from being able to make them happy. 

Their misery has nothing to do with who you are as a person. 

I hope you found this article helpful. Thank you so much for reading it until the end.

About the Author

Hey, I’m Elijah.

I experienced narcissistic abuse for three years. 

I create these articles to help you understand and validate your experiences.

Thank you for reading, and remember, healing is possible even when it feels impossible.

If you’re ready to heal, visit The Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse to get started.
Share this post to help others trust their experiences.

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About This Article

We used Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create parts of this article to enhance its accuracy and readability. It underwent a strict human editorial process before being published. See additional information.

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