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Do Narcissists Cry? (+Resources For Narcissistic Abuse Recovery)

Do Narcissists Cry

Do Narcissists Cry? Read on to find out.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

The Spectrum of Narcissism

Narcissism exists on a spectrum.

This means that some people can have a more severe or mild form of narcissism.

Some narcissists are easier to live with than others.

Some people with narcissism are otherwise healthy people with a slightly inflated sense of self.

Is Narcissism Caused By Nature Or By Nurture?

Narcissism, like any other psychological issue, can have more than one known cause. It can be nature or nurture.

Related: How to NOT Raise a Narcissist? 7 Surefire Ways to Prevent Narcissism In A Child

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A narcissist isn’t necessarily a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder or NPD.

The official diagnosis of NPD requires that the person meet the diagnostic criteria as stated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-5-TR):

“A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).

2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.

3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).

4. Requires excessive admiration.

5. Has a sense of entitlement (i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations).

6. Is interpersonally exploitative (i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends).

7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.

8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.

9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.”

Note: Only a licensed professional in the field of mental health can make a diagnosis of any personality disorder, including NPD.

Do Narcissists Cry?

The narcissist does feel sad and cries.

But not for the same reasons that you and I do.

Because of their lack of empathy and their need to manipulate, they’re more likely to use their tears to manipulate other people.

Covert narcissists are more likely to cry than those who display overt narcissism.

Related: Is My Mother A Narcissist Quiz

Types Of Narcissists

Depending on whom you ask, there are different types of narcissists.

These different types share some common traits but differ in how their narcissism is displayed.

Some of the common types of narcissism include:

1. The Overt Narcissist

Also known as grandiose narcissism, overt narcissists believe that they’re superior and entitled to special treatment.

This makes them demand that others idealize them and indulge all their desires.

2. The Covert Narcissist

Covert or vulnerable or closet narcissists are less loud than overt narcissists.

They usually display feelings of low self-esteem and a higher likelihood of experiencing anxiety and shame.

However, they are still very self-focused and would often blame others and the world for their suffering.

Research suggests that covert and overt narcissism aren’t always mutually exclusive. That is, someone with overt narcissism might go through a period where they display covert narcissism behavior, for example.

Related: 5 Weird Things Covert Narcissists Do To Manipulate Their Victims

The Narcissist’s False Self

Narcissism is a coping mechanism. It’s a mask that hides the narcissist’s true Self, even from them.

The narcissist won’t allow themselves to be vulnerable and experience deep emotional pain.

That is, even when they feel sad, they don’t allow themselves to fully feel their sadness.

Instead, they may indulge in blaming other people. They may feel angry at the world, etc.

In this sense, their tears are unlikely to come from genuine pain and sadness.

Related: Can Abusers Change? Top 17 Myths About Abusive Men That Make Women Stay With Abusers

Reasons Narcissists Cry

To manipulate you into helping them or giving them what they want.

To shift the blame onto you and make you look bad.

To play the victim when confronted.

How Do Narcissists React When Upset?

If not crying, what would narcissists do to externalize their upset?

They manipulate, lash out, blame the world, or act compulsively as a way to self-soothe and avoid the pain of feeling their emotions.

Related: How To Emotionally Detach From A Narcissist? Top 14 Strategies To Protect Yourself From Narcissistic Abuse


Narcissists cry to manipulate rather than express genuine pain or sadness.

Being vulnerable and allowing themselves to feel their emotions feels scary.

Instead, the narcissist will use defense mechanisms, like rage, shifting the blame, guilt-tripping, and playing the victim.

Related: When A Narcissist Sees You Cry: Top 13 Reactions You May Be Familiar With

toxic relationships worksheets

Resources For Narcissistic Abuse Recovery


The Covert Narcissism Podcast | Renee Swanson

This podcast is devoted to understanding covert narcissistic abuse, its effect on the victims, and how to heal.

Navigating Narcissism with Dr. Ramani | Dr. Ramani

Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a licensed clinical psychologist, will help you spot red flags and heal from the narcissist in your life. The podcast features first-hand accounts from people who know this territory the best, the survivors.

Surviving Narcissism with Dr. Les Carter | Dr. Les Carter

Life with a narcissist is challenging, and Dr. Les Carter is here to assist. Whether you are feeling frustrated due to a narcissist’s inability to blend well or you are feeling constantly invalidated by their need for control and their lack of empathy, Dr. C is your resource.  


Narcissism and its discontents | Ramani Durvasula

Managing a narcissist | Ann Barnes

The psychology of narcissism | W.Keith Campbell

The narcissist deception | Ben Bradley

What we can learn from narcissists | Keith Campbell



By Hadiah

Hadiah is a counselor who is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey towards mental well-being. Hadiah not only writes insightful articles on various mental health topics but also creates engaging and practical mental health worksheets.

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