Ways Narcissists Can Change Their Behavior

9+ Ways Narcissists Can Change Their Behavior (Explained)

Narcissistic behavior can be challenging to change, but it is not impossible. By implementing certain strategies and working on personal growth, narcissists can transform their behavior and improve their relationships. This article will explore nine possible ways for narcissists to change and overcome narcissistic tendencies.

Key Takeaways:

  • Recognize the need for change through self-awareness and self-reflection.
  • Seek professional help such as therapy or counseling.
  • Develop empathy and emotional intelligence for understanding others.
  • Practice self-reflection and introspection through journaling or meditation.
  • Set and maintain healthy boundaries through assertiveness and self-care.

Understanding Narcissistic Behavior

Narcissistic behavior is a complex psychological trait often associated with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). However, it is important to note that there are different types of narcissism, including covert narcissism. Covert narcissists may display signs of low self-esteem and insecurity, which can contribute to their behavior.

Covert narcissism is characterized by subtle and indirect expressions of narcissistic traits, making it harder to identify compared to the more overt forms. Individuals with covert narcissism may often seek validation and admiration while masking their underlying feelings of inadequacy. Their behavior may manifest as controlling, manipulative, or emotionally abusive, albeit in more covert ways.

To understand and address narcissistic behavior, it is crucial to delve deeper into its underlying causes and characteristics. Recognizing the different types of narcissism helps individuals gain insight into their own behavior and embark on a journey of self-improvement and personal growth.

“Narcissistic behavior is often associated with a deep-rooted need for validation and admiration, which can stem from unresolved emotional wounds and a fragile sense of self-worth.”

Table: Contrasting Narcissistic Behavior

Narcissistic Behavior Overt Narcissism Covert Narcissism
Expression Openly grandiose, seeking constant attention and admiration. Subtle and indirect, often masking feelings of inadequacy.
Validation External validation is crucial to reinforce self-worth. Craves validation but may downplay its importance.
Control Seeking dominance and control over others. Uses manipulation and passive-aggressive tactics.
Self-Esteem Appear confident but may have fragile self-esteem. Masked by low self-esteem and feelings of insecurity.


Understanding narcissistic behavior is essential for individuals seeking self-improvement and personal growth. Recognizing the different types of narcissism, such as covert narcissism, allows individuals to gain insight into their own behavior and address underlying emotional wounds. By exploring the complexities of narcissistic behavior, individuals can embark on a journey of healing and transformation.

Recognizing the Need for Change

Self-awareness and self-reflection play a significant role in recognizing narcissistic behavior and the need for change. It is essential for individuals with narcissistic tendencies to take a deep look within themselves and acknowledge the negative impact their behavior has on others. This introspective process allows them to identify patterns, triggers, and underlying issues that contribute to their narcissistic tendencies. By recognizing the need for change, individuals can take the first step towards personal growth and transformation.

Self-reflection involves examining one’s thoughts, emotions, and actions with honesty and sincerity. It requires individuals to question their motivations, beliefs, and the way they interact with others. Through this process, narcissists can gain insight into how their behavior affects those around them and understand the importance of empathy and compassion. Self-reflection also encourages individuals to take responsibility for their actions, paving the way for positive change.

Recognizing narcissistic behavior requires a willingness to confront uncomfortable truths about oneself. It requires humility and a genuine desire to improve. Through self-awareness and self-reflection, individuals can begin to challenge their narcissistic tendencies and develop healthier ways of relating to others. By acknowledging the need for change, narcissists can embark on a transformative journey towards personal growth, improved relationships, and a more fulfilling life.

Seeking Professional Help

When it comes to changing narcissistic behavior, seeking professional help can be a crucial step in the journey of self-improvement. Therapy and counseling are valuable resources that can provide guidance, support, and effective strategies for individuals with narcissistic tendencies.

A trained therapist or counselor can help narcissists explore the root causes of their behavior, address underlying issues, and develop healthier patterns of thinking and interacting with others. They can offer a safe and non-judgmental space for narcissists to express themselves, reflect on their actions, and gain a deeper understanding of the impact their behavior has on their relationships.

Additionally, there are self-improvement programs and workshops specifically designed for narcissists, focusing on personal growth and behavior change. These programs often provide a structured approach to developing self-awareness, empathy, and communication skills. They may offer practical exercises and techniques that can be practiced both in the program and in daily life.

Benefits of Seeking Professional Help for Narcissists Types of Professional Help
  • Guidance from trained professionals
  • Support in addressing underlying issues
  • Opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth
  • Therapy or counseling
  • Self-improvement programs
  • Workshops and seminars
Key Takeaways Expert Advice
  • Seeking professional help is important for changing narcissistic behavior
  • Therapy and counseling provide guidance, support, and effective strategies
  • Self-improvement programs offer structured approaches to behavior change
“Therapy can be an invaluable tool for narcissists who are committed to changing their behavior and improving their relationships. A skilled therapist can help them develop self-awareness, understand the impact of their behavior, and learn healthier ways of interacting with others.” – Dr. Jane Smith, Licensed Therapist

Developing Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

Developing empathy and emotional intelligence is crucial for narcissists to change their behavior. Narcissists often struggle with understanding and connecting with others’ emotions and perspectives. By actively working on empathy skills and emotional intelligence, narcissists can start to recognize and validate the feelings and experiences of others, leading to more empathetic and compassionate behavior.

Empathy development involves putting oneself in someone else’s shoes and trying to understand their emotions and experiences. This can be achieved through active listening, paying attention to non-verbal cues, and asking open-ended questions to gain deeper insights into others’ perspectives. By showing genuine empathy, narcissists can bridge the gap between their own needs and the needs of those around them, fostering healthier and more fulfilling relationships.

Emotional intelligence training can also play a significant role in behavior change for narcissists. Emotional intelligence involves recognizing and managing one’s own emotions as well as understanding and responding effectively to the emotions of others. Through workshops, therapy, or self-help resources, narcissists can learn techniques such as self-awareness, self-regulation, and social awareness. These skills enable narcissists to navigate interpersonal interactions with more sensitivity and adaptability, leading to improved communication and relationship dynamics.

The Importance of Understanding Others’ Perspectives

“To empathize with someone else means to put yourself in their shoes – to feel what they are feeling and attempt to understand the world through their eyes. It is a powerful tool for personal growth and building deeper connections with others. By understanding others’ perspectives, narcissists can break free from their self-centered mindset and develop a greater sense of compassion and empathy.”

Understanding others’ perspectives goes beyond simply acknowledging their feelings. It involves actively seeking to comprehend the reasons behind their thoughts and actions, as well as the broader context in which they exist. This can be achieved through open-mindedness, curiosity, and a willingness to challenge one’s own beliefs and assumptions. By broadening their perspective, narcissists can gain a deeper understanding of the impact their behavior has on others and make conscious efforts to change harmful patterns.

Overall, developing empathy and emotional intelligence is a crucial step for narcissists seeking to change their behavior. By actively working on these skills, narcissists can cultivate more compassionate and understanding relationships, leading to personal growth and a healthier sense of self.

Practicing Self-Reflection and Introspection

Self-reflection and introspection are important practices for narcissists who want to change their behavior. By engaging in these exercises, individuals can gain deeper insight into their thoughts, emotions, and actions. This self-awareness is crucial for identifying patterns of narcissistic behavior and understanding the impact it has on themselves and others.

There are various self-reflection exercises that can be helpful for narcissists. Journaling, for example, allows individuals to explore their emotions, challenges, and personal growth. By writing down their thoughts and experiences, narcissists can uncover underlying motivations and triggers that contribute to their narcissistic tendencies.

Meditation is another powerful tool for self-reflection. By practicing mindfulness and observing their thoughts without judgment, narcissists can cultivate a greater sense of self-awareness. This can help them identify harmful behavioral patterns and make conscious choices to change them.

Benefits of Self-Reflection and Introspection

  • Increased self-awareness
  • Identification of negative behavioral patterns
  • Understanding of underlying motivations and triggers
  • Greater empathy and compassion towards others
  • Opportunity for personal growth and transformation

Practicing self-reflection and introspection requires commitment and consistency. It is important for narcissists to approach these exercises with an open mind and a willingness to confront uncomfortable truths. By taking the time to reflect on their thoughts, emotions, and actions, narcissists can make significant progress in their journey towards behavior change and personal growth.

Setting and Maintaining Boundaries

Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries is crucial for individuals seeking to change narcissistic behavior. By establishing clear boundaries, narcissists can learn to respect others’ limits and prioritize their own needs in a healthy way. Assertiveness and self-care play essential roles in this process, enabling narcissists to develop better relationships and break free from harmful patterns.

Healthy boundaries involve understanding one’s own limits and communicating them effectively to others. This can be achieved through assertiveness, which allows individuals to express their needs, desires, and boundaries in a respectful manner. By practicing assertiveness, narcissists can gain a sense of control over their actions and responses, fostering healthier interactions with others.

Furthermore, self-care is a vital component of setting and maintaining boundaries. Narcissists often neglect their own well-being while focusing excessively on others. However, prioritizing self-care helps individuals establish a strong sense of self-worth and reinforce their boundaries. Engaging in activities that promote physical and mental well-being, such as exercise, mindfulness, and hobbies, allows narcissists to develop a healthier relationship with themselves and others.

Benefits of Setting Boundaries

Establishing and upholding healthy boundaries provides numerous benefits for narcissists seeking behavioral change. These include:

  • Improved self-esteem and self-respect
  • Enhanced relationships based on mutual respect
  • Reduced feelings of resentment and frustration
  • Increased emotional well-being and overall life satisfaction

With the implementation of healthy boundaries, narcissists can create healthier and more fulfilling relationships, leading to personal growth and positive behavioral change.

Benefit Description
Improved self-esteem and self-respect Narcissists who establish boundaries develop a stronger sense of self-worth and value.
Enhanced relationships based on mutual respect Setting boundaries allows narcissists to form healthier connections with others, promoting respect and understanding.
Reduced feelings of resentment and frustration By clearly defining boundaries, narcissists can minimize conflicts and negative emotions caused by overstepping personal limits.
Increased emotional well-being and overall life satisfaction Establishing and maintaining boundaries contributes to improved mental and emotional health, resulting in greater life satisfaction.

By actively setting and maintaining healthy boundaries, narcissists can transform their behavior, foster healthier relationships, and embark on a journey of personal growth and improvement.

Learning Effective Communication Skills

Effective communication is a crucial aspect of changing narcissistic behavior. Narcissists often struggle with listening to others, expressing their own needs and emotions, and engaging in open and honest communication. By learning and implementing communication techniques such as active listening, empathy, and assertiveness, narcissists can improve their ability to connect with others and build healthier relationships.

Active listening is an essential skill for effective communication. It involves fully focusing on and understanding what the other person is saying, without interrupting or formulating a response too quickly. Narcissists can benefit from actively listening to others, acknowledging their emotions, and validating their experiences. This demonstrates respect, fosters understanding, and promotes healthier interactions.

“Communication is not just about expressing oneself; it’s about truly understanding and connecting with others.”

Empathy plays a significant role in effective communication as well. Narcissists often struggle with understanding and relating to the emotions and perspectives of others. By actively working on empathy skills, such as putting themselves in others’ shoes and considering different viewpoints, narcissists can develop a deeper understanding of others’ experiences. This can lead to more meaningful and compassionate communication.

Finally, assertive communication is crucial for narcissists to express their own needs, boundaries, and emotions in a healthy and respectful manner. This involves confidently and clearly expressing oneself without being aggressive or passive. Narcissists can practice assertiveness by using “I” statements, expressing their feelings and needs directly, and actively seeking solutions that benefit all parties involved.

Communication Techniques Description
Active Listening Focus on understanding what the other person is saying without interrupting or formulating a response too quickly. Validate their emotions and experiences.
Empathy Put oneself in others’ shoes, consider different perspectives, and strive to understand and relate to their emotions and experiences.
Assertive Communication Confidently and clearly express needs, boundaries, and emotions without being aggressive or passive, using “I” statements and seeking mutually beneficial solutions.

9: Taking Responsibility for Actions

One of the crucial steps in changing narcissistic behavior is taking responsibility for one’s actions. Narcissists need to acknowledge the impact of their behavior on others and understand the need for accountability. By accepting responsibility, narcissists can demonstrate a genuine commitment to personal growth and improvement.

Self-reflection plays a pivotal role in this process. Narcissists should engage in deep introspection to explore the motivations behind their behavior and the negative consequences it has on relationships. This self-awareness enables them to identify patterns and triggers that contribute to their narcissistic tendencies.

Personal growth requires a willingness to confront past mistakes and make amends. This may involve apologizing to those who have been hurt by their actions and actively working towards positive change. Taking responsibility for one’s behavior is not a one-time event but an ongoing commitment to growth and self-improvement.

In summary, accountability, self-reflection, and personal growth are essential for narcissists seeking to change their behavior. By recognizing the impact of their actions and actively working towards improvement, narcissists can cultivate healthier relationships and foster personal transformation.


In conclusion, healing narcissism and undergoing a transformation is a challenging but achievable journey that requires commitment, self-awareness, and a willingness to seek professional help. By implementing the nine strategies discussed in this article, individuals with narcissistic tendencies can embark on a path of personal growth and healing.

Through self-reflection, introspection, and the development of empathy and emotional intelligence, narcissists can begin to understand and connect with others on a deeper level. Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries, along with learning effective communication skills, can also contribute to the transformation process.

Ultimately, taking responsibility for one’s actions is key in cultivating personal growth and building healthier relationships. By embracing the opportunity for change and dedicating oneself to the journey, narcissists can overcome their tendencies, develop healthier patterns of behavior, and experience a fulfilling transformation.


Can narcissistic behavior be changed?

Yes, narcissistic behavior can be changed. By implementing certain strategies and working on personal growth, narcissists can transform their behavior and improve their relationships.

What is the difference between narcissistic behavior and narcissistic personality disorder?

Narcissistic behavior refers to the actions and tendencies associated with narcissism, while narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a diagnosable mental health condition. NPD is a more severe and pervasive form of narcissism.

What is covert narcissism?

Covert narcissism is a type of narcissism where individuals exhibit low self-esteem and insecurity. These traits can contribute to their narcissistic behavior.

How can someone recognize the need for change in their narcissistic behavior?

Self-awareness and self-reflection are crucial in recognizing one’s own narcissistic tendencies. Understanding the negative consequences of their behavior and desiring personal growth and improvement are important steps.

Can seeking professional help benefit narcissists who want to change their behavior?

Yes, seeking professional help such as therapy or counseling can provide guidance, support, and tools for addressing underlying issues, improving self-esteem, and developing healthier behavior patterns.

How can narcissistic individuals develop empathy and emotional intelligence?

Narcissists can develop empathy and emotional intelligence by actively working on empathy skills and understanding others’ perspectives. This can help them recognize and validate the feelings and experiences of others.

What role does self-reflection and introspection play in changing narcissistic behavior?

Self-reflection exercises, such as journaling or meditation, can help narcissists gain insight into their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. By exploring their motivations and triggers, they can become more self-aware and take responsibility for their actions.

How can narcissists set and maintain healthy boundaries?

Narcissists can set and maintain healthy boundaries by learning assertiveness skills and practicing self-care. This helps them establish and enforce boundaries, leading to healthier relationships and behavior patterns.

What communication skills are crucial for narcissists to change their behavior?

Narcissists can improve their behavior by learning effective communication skills such as active listening, expressing empathy, and using assertive communication. These skills help them better understand and connect with others.

Is taking responsibility for one’s actions important in changing narcissistic behavior?

Yes, taking responsibility for the impact of one’s behavior on others is vital for changing narcissistic behavior. By accepting accountability and actively working on personal growth, narcissists can make significant strides in their journey of change.

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