Do Narcissists Have Feelings?

Updated on February 9, 2019
SinDelle profile image

The Little Shaman is a spiritual coach & specialist in cluster B personality disorders, with a popular YouTube show and clients worldwide.

There is a common misconception that narcissists don't have feelings. This isn't true. Narcissists often lack empathy, but they have feelings of their own. Everyone has feelings, and in a way, narcissists have stronger feelings than most other people. Because what's called the narcissistic wound—the trauma or series of traumas that caused them to be a narcissist in the first place—usually occurred at a very early stage in the narcissist's development, they have never learned to control or understand their own emotions.

The invalidating environment most of them grew up in further compounded this problem, making it impossible for the narcissist to ever learn to trust or believe in their own feelings or be able to validate themselves. This means they now exist in a world of swirling, overwhelming, out of control emotions. Regardless of what you see or how well they hide it, unless they are an end-stage narcissist, which we often call a psychopath, they are filled with these raging emotions all the time. Narcissists are guided solely by emotion. Emotion dictates their reality. They are almost never rational or unemotional. That is how strong their feelings are. So yes, narcissists definitely have feelings. Even the calm, cold narcissist has feelings. Under the right (or wrong!) circumstances, you will eventually see them.

The thing is, the pathologically narcissistic person's feelings only revolve around themselves. They only have feelings for themselves. Consequently, any feelings they seem to have for others are revealed to actually be for themselves upon closer examination. Narcissists use other people as emotional pack mules. Because their feelings are so strong and so overwhelming to them, they cannot handle these feelings. They need other people to carry the burden for them. So they project them on to other people and say the other person is the host of the feeling: "I don't feel this way! You do!" But in reality, these are simply their own feelings that they are trying to deny.

For example, narcissists are usually filled with smothering self-hatred. This is a very hard emotion to deal with and impossible to deny. So they give it away. They don't hate themselves. You hate them. This makes it easier for them to defend against the horrible way this self-hatred makes them feel. They can deny this hatred and therefore defeat it. But as you can see, this feeling has nothing to do with you. It is not about you. It is not related to you. They are simply projecting it on to you because you're there. People who love narcissists find themselves in this position all the time. They are virtually human baggage carts, carrying around all of the narcissist's pathological self-hatred, rage and shame because the narcissist cannot carry it themselves.

It works the same way for positive feelings, too. A narcissist who says they love someone is usually referring to loving how somebody makes them feel, or what someone does for them. These, again, are feelings that revolve around and relate to the narcissist only, not the other person. This is one of the reasons narcissists lack empathy. It isn't that they don't understand emotion, exactly, but that even if they did it wouldn't matter because they can't see anything but their own emotions. Every single they do, see, think and say is colored by their feelings. The narcissist's perception and their feelings are inseparable. Emotion is the barrier between them and every other person—every other thing they are trying to do. It's why many of them can't hold jobs, can't sustain relationships, can't get along with people—it's the single driving force behind their entire being. Some of them realize this and some of them don't, but it is the same problem for virtually all of them.

There is one exception to this, and that is the psychopath. Psychopaths are what we can call "end stage" narcissists. Narcissism is a spectrum, and psychopaths are what you end up with when narcissism has reached it's absolute peak—when it is not possible to be any more narcissistic. Psychopaths do not seem to have any emotions at all, even for themselves. This is one reason they can fool lie detector tests. Their physical reactions to stress are so low that they do not register on the machine. Psychopaths are not afraid of things, they are not upset by things, they don't get sad and they don't feel love. They may feel a very primitive type of rage if denied something and perhaps an instinctual fear related to self-preservation that keeps them from, say, walking out in front of a bus but that's it. The more sophisticated or evolved emotions seem to simply not be there for the psychopath.

This is the most dangerous type of narcissist. Many narcissists do not engage in certain behaviors, such as killing people, because though they may find no moral qualms with it, they fear an injury or humiliation of the self if they were to be caught. Even if they don't care about people, they value their perpetrated, public image. Psychopaths do not function this way. They fear nothing. They value nothing. If they want, they take. Unlike most other types of narcissists, psychopaths don't care about feelings. They care about fulfilment.

Narcissists, in general, do have very strong, very dominant emotions. Even those that appear to never get ruffled have them and if you are around this person long enough, you will undoubtedly see them. However, if the suspected narcissist in your life seems to have zero emotion whatsoever, even for themselves, you might be dealing with a psychopath.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)