For a long time I thought it was me. I mean, part of it WAS me, but not all of it. I kept hanging on, just waiting for the acknowledgement—the apology. Neither of those things ever came.
It’s taken me a long time, but I’m OK with that now. Why? It’s never going to be their fault. If it’s not their fault, there is no need to apologize. Perhaps most importantly, it can managed not cured.
It doesn’t make it any easier on my end because I don’t understand this personality trait (or disorder—your choice). If someone else is hurt, or frustrated, or angry, SOMETHING has happened and caused them to feel that way. I, as a people pleaser, apologize whether or not I feel I did anything wrong. Why? Because I won’t invalidate their feelings. Even if the result wasn’t my intent, their feelings—their reaction—is legitimate. So, I apologize. I may try to clarify the what, how and why, but I respect their reaction and apologize.
A narcissist won’t do that. To do that, they have to step outside themselves and that is almost entirely impossible for them to do. They have “an excessive need for admiration, disregard for others' feelings, an inability to handle any criticism, and a sense of entitlement.” It’s in the very definition of the term. Not only do they feel entitled, but they have a complete disregard for others feelings.
I’m a sympathizer. I put myself in EVERYONE’S shoes. Mind you, this isn’t a good things either, but I would much prefer to try and relate to others than be disconnected from them completely, but that's me. It is difficult for me to understand being immersed in my own bubble entirely—so much so that to reach out to another risks bursting said bubble.
So I look at these people, and I know more than one, and I am dumbfounded. I see the emotional disconnect coming from them and ask why, how. Don’t mistake narcissism for introversion. They are separate issues. They may go together, but don’t have to. I know introverts who are altruistic and I know narcissists who are extroverts. So the two don’t always go hand-in-hand. You also shouldn’t assume someone who isn’t inherently emotional is a narcissist. There are people who simply are not highly emotional (I am not one of those people).
Narcissists, in contrast, are not non-emotional. In fact, they may be highly emotional, but their emotions are all about self. They are not emotional because of what you are doing or how you feel, but by how or what you are doing affects them.
It wasn’t until I came to truly understand narcissism that I was able to let go. It was then I was truly able to forgive. It was then that I came to understand that these people are not going to change. This is who they are—just like I am overly sympathetic. They are NEVER going to apologize because they honestly do not believe there is something for which they need to apologize.
It’s OK. I can sympathize with that and I forgive them anyway.