Let’s delve into the reality of dealing with challenging personalities, specifically narcissists. Discover why your love alone can’t change a narcissist and explore effective strategies on how to change narcissistic behavior.
Have you ever been told that “Love conquers all,” or “All you need is love”? Discover why your love can’t change a narcissist and explore effective strategies for how to change narcissistic behavior.
While these make for great song lyrics, they also make for great gaslighting weapons designed to make you believe that it’s your responsibility transform a narcissist.
These ideas may make you think if you can just love like Jesus, everything will be great. The gaslighting will stop, they’ll value you as a person, and they’ll finally realize all the wrong they’ve done to you.
This, my friend, is wishful thinking.
That’s why I want to talk to you about why your love can’t change a narcissist, and share something that can.
How to Change Narcissistic Behavior
I was prompted to think about loving the narcissist after a message came through on one of my videos on YouTube. This viewer wrote (I shortened it for the sake of time):
“Have you ever wondered if your videos may cause people to divide, rather than seek to love others? We serve a loving God that desires us to love Him most and love others as ourself (Mark 12:30-31).
God knows the full story. He tells us to talk to the other person. He tells us to love, forgive, seek peace, do not lean on YOUR own understanding. How much better place this world would be if we could seek to stop labeling others and looking for fault, and figuring out ways to be on guard against people all the time. How much happier we would be if we did things God’s way!”
I was going to respond to the message but realized that there’s so much to unpack here and it’s likely something that you’re struggling with too. You’re either asking similar questions or you’re struggling with people like who twist God’s scripture to bring shame to an already painful situation.
There’s much that I disagree with in this message, but for the sake of time, I want to focus on this idea of ‘love’.
Many people, especially Christians, are under the misconception that it’s our job to love unconditionally.
But there’s even much debate among scholars as to whether God’s love is truly unconditional.
Some will say that God’s love IS unconditional, as displayed in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
While His love is unconditional, His acceptance and rewards are not.
Others say God’s love is conditional because His love cannot contradict his goodness and holiness. But in his love, he provided a solution–the finished work of the cross–and all we need to do is repent to be in right relationship with Him. (Maybe with a few consequences to pay, but in with God nonetheless.)
Regardless of which side of the fence you fall on, what many are interpreting as ‘love’ is actually tolerance and enablement of sin, no repentance required.
So, if your love communicates tolerance to a narcissist, why would they change?
The truth is, the narcissist interprets your love as foolishness. They’re not thankful for it. They expect it.
Much like a sinner who hears the “God loves you so much” message and thinks, “OK, cool, I’m good then,” so does the narcissist feel in the face of your love.
Perhaps it’s time to reject the notion that you’re somehow a bad Christian if you don’t endure narcissistic abuse, and embrace the wise words of Proverbs 22:3: “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”
After all, here are people that the bible expressly says to avoid. So a Pollyanna approach to ‘love’ is likely to lead you right into the lion’s den.
So, if your love can’t change them, what can?
The fear of loss or pain is the only thing that will possibly motivate a narcissist to change. If there is a threat to something they have or want, they will make the necessary adjustments.
But don’t get excited, because they certainly won’t be happy about it and it’s not a transformation type change, like God does for us, it’s just enough to get or keep what they want. That’s it.
Before you get all excited and think, Great, I’ll finally be able to let my guard down, wait.
You will likely have to keep your guard up and boundaries in place as they will take the first opportunity they can to revert right back to the way they were previously behaving.
That’s why it’s crucial for you to learn how to set boundaries.
Your boundaries are not tools for making them change, but for you to be protected. So if you’re tired of being taken advantage of, it’s time to set a boundary.
Unfortunately, in many cases, if what a narcissist is potentially losing isn’t important enough to them, they won’t change and may even move on to an easier target.
Remember narcissists are self-centered, shame-filled, lazy opportunists.
Back to this woman’s comment from earlier. I too agree how much happier we would all be if we did things God’s way.
Yes, let us love like Jesus, but let us also follow all the provision he’s made for dealing with such people.
Yes, let us love like Jesus, but let us also follow all the provision he’s made for how to transform narcissistic behavior and effectively dealing with such people.
Did you know that there are actually 5 types of people God WANTS you to avoid at all cost? To find out watch this episode next.
Want to learn how to identify and deal with all types of difficult people? Grab your FREE Toxic People Survival Guide here.