Are narcissists happy?

Danielle Hall
Danielle Hall, Psychiatric Tech 15 yrs.

I’ve had the good fortune or misfortune–however you want to view it–of studying a narcissist up close because he is my younger sibling.

I’m eight years older, so if you asked me if my little brother was a happy child, I’d say yes and no.

Yes because he was extremely precocious and curious. He also had a vivid imagination and he could entertain himself–he had to as a latch-key kid.

But also no because his narcissistic mother put herself and her own ambitions before my brother. While she was still struggling to make it, she could easily vent her frustration and anger on him, so he learned how to meet her at the door after work with a drink in hand. He really had to walk on eggshells as a kid.

My brother was not only precocious, but he was also effeminate, and the family knew from early on that he would grow up to be gay.

Unfortunately, by the time he entered highschool in the late eighties, he found another place of violence where he was tormented and bullied. Eventually he took refuge in a misfit clique, but ultimately highschool was too painful for him and he dropped out.

I’ve always thought it was very interesting that a young man who was bullied mercilessly would grow up to be a bully in his own right later in life.

For example, I’ve never been to a restaurant with him and not seen him degrade the wait staff and try to get a free meal –which he succeeds in doing most of the time.

When he was still a child, I observed that manipulation and lying came easily to him. These are skills that he has honed and have served him well as an adult–he tends to get what he wants by making people behave how he wants, and makes people believe only what he wants them to believe.

Although he’s highly intelligent, he also has no patience, and wants immediate gratification. He was shiftless as a teen, seemingly with no ambition, and my mother used to berate him for being a loser.

However, he defied everyone’s worst expectations when he became a successful underwriter in the burgeoning mortgage industry in the late Nineties and early Two Thousands.

Then he showed his resilience and resolve to succeed after the mortgage meltdown occurred. He found success as a real estate agent, and he loves the game.

He loves to compete, he loves to win and he loves to look down on the less fortunate.

Perhaps it’s the way he keeps the lines between winners and losers sharply delineated. He is constantly reinforcing the fact that he is a winner, and while this may hint at insecurity, it doesn’t make him an unhappy person.

I have read some people’s answers, and they think because narcissists get their kicks by belittling others, and destroying other people that they must be unhappy.

First of all, they don’t always destroy you; they just keep your self-esteem low enough so that you don’t succeed, and so they can better control you. They have to preserve the pecking order with them always on top. God forbid you gain any confidence and challenge their superiority–that’s why they keep you down, not because they’re unhappy.

Yes, they love to be, need to be, very much in control.

I know I have heard my brother state how much he hates anything chaotic. He needs to control his environment. I don’t know if this stems from a childhood of instability and insecurity–we moved at least once a year–but it’s likely.

All in all, my brother is very happy with his life. I’ve examined him closely to ascertain if this is a superficial happiness, because nobody is really that happy right?

Wrong. The ones that don’t know any better seem to be the happiest, and narcisssists are blissfully delusional people.

I can tell you, he is happier than I am. First of all, just because of the way he is wired, he will never feel regret, or guilt, the way I have, or a profound hopelessness and inability to find pleasure in anything.

If my brother ever feels lost and insecure, he recovers quickly and re-takes control.

Nobody’s life is perfect. My brother does get bored, but this he easily cures by securing the next victory or conquest–closing an escrow, adding another person to his trophy case.

Life is a competition for him, and he is good at winning.

Can my brother love?

He has been with his life partner almost twenty years. He trusts this man with his life, and he intends to leave everything to him. This man has been a loyal supporter of him, completely blind to his worst character flaws. It is what my brother sought and he found it: unconditional love.

But alas, his luck recently ran out. In 2016 he was diagnosed with end stage kidney failure, and has gotten progressively worse since.

My mother told me that he confided to her, “Why me, I’m a good person?”

I have likened my brother to a monster for the way he has treated me and what I know he is. He, nonetheless, believes fate is being cruel and unjust because he is such a good person.

I’ve watched him from afar battle desperately to stay alive–he has a pretty cozy life and he doesn’t want to give it up.

My mother remarked to me, “It’s such a shame; he loves life so much”.

Does this prove he’s happy or only that life is sweet, even to a spider?

I, for one, don’t believe that narcissists are miserable. They are human and subject to the same suffering we all are, but don’t doubt they they can also experience happiness.

Have you ever watched hogs blissfully lying in their own filth?

That is the narcissist.

Allyson Miller
Allyson Miller, Retired heart breaker and heart-break survivor
Randy Nino
Randy Nino, Adjunct Professor (2004-present)

Leave a Reply