Narcissistic Personality Disorder And Forgiveness

The researchers completed six studies that examined people’s willingness to forgive in a variety of situations, including cases from everyday life in which people were hurt or offended, hypothetical offense situations, and a laboratory-based game situation in which one subject was faced with aggressive behavior by another. Across all six studies, a sense of entitlement was associated with unforgiving attitudes. The researchers also tracked forgiveness over time, and again, found that narcissistic individuals would not let go of their grudges. The studies also revealed that the effects of entitlement operated independently from other major predictors of forgiveness, such as religiosity, relationship closeness, offense severity and the presence of apologies.

“These studies suggest that a sense of entitlement is a substantial barrier to forgiveness,” stated Exline. “Entitled people are likely to insist on full repayment before they will consider forgiving. If they don’t receive this payment, they will often hold grudges on principle. Over time, such unforgiving tendencies may prevent the healing of wounded relationships and lead to social alienation.”

Exline was the lead author on the Journal article, with contributing researchers Roy Baumeister from Florida State University, Brad Bushman from the University of Michigan, W. Keith Campbell from the University of Georgia, and Eli Finkel from Northwestern University.


From a CWRU press release.

6 thoughts on “Narcissistic Personality Disorder And Forgiveness

  1. It would be in THIS site’s best interest to DELETE the previous post as it is nothing but a shill for that particular site.

    Years ago, I was drawn into a relationship with one such woman. These people seem to be helpless at first and many men are drawn to be that helpful type of guy. And these women feel entitled to ALL the help that a person can give. And they bleed you dry; then get upset at you for finally having nothing left to give.

    We sought counseling: The therapist was initially drawn to her side seeing as how the narcissist is able to convince others that she ( majority of N are women whereas men are judged pyschopaths )was the one being put upon. When it became obvious that the situation was almost exactly the opposite as she had described to her, the therapist changed her opinions. This prompted my ex partner to go beserk and become verbally and physically abusive. Which is how things were in almost every daily encounter. She simply wants what she wants when she wants it and can’t understand why people don’t do what she tells them to do. She told the therapist that she can’t understand why I don’t simply behave the way she wants me to! She never felt any remorse and never ever apologized for anything that she did, no matter how heinous or terrible the outcome.
    The therapist said that there was no hope.

  2. That is why it is particularly galling to have a post on this Sam person’s site. There have been numerous books written on this very subject. The fact that a professed narcissist is making money off of the victims of his narcissistic behavior is a somewhat cruel twist of fate. He simply makes it once again and always, about himself.

    It makes me believe that it was sam vankin himself who posted the notice. There is bound to be 100’s of posts about this subject once one person has posted. It’s too bad that the initial post was left on as it was a very obvious advertisement for the site.

    I would recommend John Gunderson’s book on the Borderline Personality Disorder as it does cover the narcissistic personality and gives good references for further study on the subject.

    The fact that these ‘entitled people’ never apologize is well known; at least to those who interact with them. Apologizing would be akin to cutting off a limb as it reduces themselves ( in their mind- no one elses ) with respect to whoever it is they harmed. ON the other end of the same sliding scale- they attack first when there is no battle to be had. Belittling others makes them feel so much better than everyone else.

    The narcissists entire perception of reality is skewed; two people, one of whom is a narcissist and the other is not, watching the same event unfold will describe two entirely different things, depending on whatever internal requirements the narcissist has to complete their picture of the world. To admit that they are wrong is to admit that their view of the world and their own interactions in that world have been built upon a wrong construct. so they’d have to admit that they are living a lie. Few people are willing to examine their own life after such a revelation. The narcissist clings precariously to a shaky outcroping of reality. So they fight tooth and nail against all threats; perceived or otherwise.

    Everything is a battle and in their own words, they have to win. I have listened to these people tell me ” I must win” when they are talking about the most insignificant event in a person’s life. But to them, it of utmost importance. They make no distinction between small and major slights. Everything is a huge deal. And so they lash out.

    Most people simply write these people off as “evil”. I have listened to a number of people tell me that they are sick and tired of people telling them that they are evil. They then tell me that if they had a tank, they’d simply run these people over and be done with it. My mouth usually falls open just a bit at that point.

  3. I am just so astounded to read your words – it’s like looking in the mirror of my own most painful past.  In my case the pain can never end because I have a daughter who is a clone of her mother and after breaking free of one over a decade ago I am now shunned as a pariah by both.  I have painfully come to accept this from my ex instead of at least something like the  cordial mutual respect I would far prefer – but from my own daughter, too?  Still working on that one…still trying to come to grips that after a decade of child support and birthday presents and Christmas presents and far more with not even a single accepted phone call in return, she changes her name the month after her 19th birthday and my last support check.  I love her as a stranger anyway – how can I not, my own flesh and blood? -and always will, as much as my beloved son with whom I’ve miraculously maintained a mutual loving long-distance relationship over the years.

    All I could do, all I urge you and anyone else to do, is just somehow move on and find someone with whom you can share true mutual love and support.  I have.  It doesn’t erase the scars or wounds that someone who has never dealt with a NPD relationship will never understand, but at least it allows life to go on, with acceptance and growth and love.  

  4. Well, for both of you, I understand you’ve been through a lot — but as someone who loves someone with pathological nascissism, I believe I can see a bit better past the ridiculous exterior. That is to say, the person I love isn’t quite so badly afflicted as those you have been describing, so I can better see the person underneath and more importantly what causes this behavior.

    Nascissists deserve pity, believe it or not. Their intractable behavior boils down to simply having never grown up . . . and while you’d get upset with a child and punish him or her for doing bad things, would you hate the kid? It’s not their fault they simply don’t understand how the world works. It’s stupid, it’s inarguably a horrible flaw, but at the core it’s not malicious. This statement in particular struck me: “She simply wants what she wants when she wants it and can’t understand why people don’t do what she tells them to do.” Doesn’t that sound exactly like a child? A psychopath would know why he couldn’t have what he wanted, but would want it anyway and go after it in the worst of ways; but a narcissist simply pursues his desires because he doesn’t just understand why he shouldn’t have them. Not because he knowingly pursues something he knows is bad!

    So I’m not saying either of you should even so much as make an effort to repair things between you and your narcissists — you’ve been hurt badly, and I’m no counselor . . . but I’m hoping that the hatred in your hearts can ease a little if you think over what I’ve pointed out. Maybe if you realize that the people you have cared about or still do aren’t bad people, just ones with (big) flaws, you won’t feel so bad.

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