A narcissist may tell you, “Of course I respect you. 

I may not show it, but I do.” Should you believe this person? Sadly, the answer is no.  The narcissist wouldn’t treat you in the demeaning manner she does if she respected you.

Abuse and respect are two very different things.  It’s like comparing dark to light, night to day, and kicking a dog to petting it.  You cannot respect something that you abuse. The two are opposites.

Respect is the deep admiration for someone due to their abilities, qualities or achievements.  It’s how we are inclined treat another person with the same care (or more) that we give ourselves.

Here’s why a narcissist cannot typically respect another person: 

  1. Narcissists have no empathy. 
    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V (DSM V) lists one of the traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder as, “lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others”.
  2. Narcissists cannot identify others as human. 
    They cannot put themselves in someone else’s shoes, or they wouldn’t be abusive.  People are objects or a tool to be used to get something the narcissist wants.
  3. Narcissists see themselves as superior to all others. 
    Healthy people see themselves as equal to others. Even if we meet someone initially, we may not see their qualities right away.  But we tell ourselves and deeply believe, that those qualities are there. We show them respect.
  4. Narcissists don’t respect people they like or dislike. 
    Think about the people in your life that you haven’t necessarily liked, but you had respect for them.  I can think of a boss or two that I disagreed with, but I knew there were traits that allowed my boss to earn a position of authority, and I respected that.  Respect can be even more important when we are dealing with someone we dislike. We treat them fairly, even when we don’t like them because we believe humans deserve respect.
  5. Narcissists act or hide behind their feelings. 
    Narcissists believe their feelings are justified and that they have a right to act on them, no matter who gets hurt. But there is no excuse to treat someone badly. Narcissists often say, “I treated her that way because she isn’t worthy of my respect.”  There is nothing that you could’ve said or done that determines that someone should disrespect you. There’s nothing that warrants someone to abuse you verbally, mentally, emotionally, psychologically or physically.  NOTHING.   

You have always deserved respect and you deserve it now.  

Finally, you are a person not just to be respected but admired.  You have the strength of dozens of men or women combined. You have been in a toxic relationship, yet you kept getting right back up after being knocked down.  You have persevered. You are stronger than you know. Keep striving for the peace and respect you deserve.