Narcissists can’t forgive!
OK, put this in the category of ‘No kidding!’According to a 2004 study by Julie Exline (et al) published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Vol 87, 2004), narcissism is a “robust distinct predictor of unforgiveness”.It would seem that the narcissisist’s innate expectation of special treatment and preoccupation of defending their own rights, make them terrible candidates to forgive and forget.
The authors summarize their findings as follows: “Entitled narcissists are readily offended, and they are eager to save face and to defend their rights.As such they tend to see forgiveness as a costly and morally unappealing option.”
Forgiveness really does require an ‘other focus’—not just seeing the ‘other’ as a nuisance, threat or a bother, but as a person made in the image of God– who is entitled to honor and glory—someone who has intrinsic worth that should be noted.Narcissists for a number of reasons can only see their own value, or at least can only see the need to protect their value as perceived in their own eyes or in others.Until that focus shifts, there truly is no hope for any forgiveness or reconciliation.Ironically, the untransformed narcissist is doomed to a life of ultimate dishonor.
By the way, it should now be humbly noted that to some degree, we are all narcissistic.Forgiveness requires a death of narcissism in me.