I am a specialist in Cluster B personality disorders who has worked with people with disabilities and mental illnesses for over 10 years.
Many people wonder if narcissists miss people that are gone. The short answer is yes, at times, they do. In that respect, on the surface, we could say that they are no different from anybody else. However, the difference is the reason why they might miss someone.
For pathologically narcissistic individuals, other people have a very specific, very important function. They are essential to the narcissist's well-being. Because they are unable to create, sustain, or regulate their own feelings of self-worth, narcissists must rely on others to do this for them. It would not be an exaggeration to say that without other people in their lives, the narcissist could even die. Narcissists that cannot keep people in their lives to sustain their feelings of self-worth often decompensate—they can become psychotic, dissociate from reality, and even become suicidal. Without other people to continuously rebuild, repair, and reinforce their self-worth, pathological narcissists have none.
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So, for their own selfish reason, they can miss people. More accurately, they miss what these people have done for them. If there is another person who can to take the missing person's spot and perform the duties the missing person performed, the narcissist may not react the same when they leave. They may be able to just walk away from the relationship without a backward glance. This is because narcissists do not value people as individual humans as objects. If these objects fulfill the same function, it doesn't really matter which one you use. There may be some that perform better than others, and if you are using a sub-standard one, you may attempt to switch to the better-performing object. They may also keep old objects around as a backup for extra security. Pathologically narcissistic people do not miss you, the person, because they did not really know you and do not care to. They only miss the things you did for them.
The biggest irony in all of this may be that you actually don't miss them either. How could you, when the person you thought you loved does not really even exist? What a dirty trick, right? What you miss is the potential you were chasing, the validation you were reaching for, and the hope you held onto. Because of trauma bonding, you miss the good chemicals your brain and body have come to depend on. What you do not miss is the narcissist.
The narcissist is, for all intents and purposes, a non-person. They are masks that have been placed over a shattered and extremely unstable identity. It is not possible to miss that which does not exist, and when feelings are examined, we mostly find that what people are really pining for deep down is the chance to prove they could get it right and finally make the narcissist love them. It's the unfinished aspect of it all that keeps people hanging on. Once people accept that this is never going to happen, they will often be able to move on from the relationship.
People sometimes ask, "If pathologically narcissistic people are destined to be so miserable and cannot be loved or love anyone, what is the point of their existence?" Only they can answer that. It is not up to other people to bring meaning to their lives. They have to find the way themselves, just like everybody else.
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.