If you’re currently in a relationship with a narcissist, and they’ve reamed you out about an innocent mistake you’ve made, you may wonder if they’ll truly forgive you or hold a grudge.
Or maybe you just went through a horrible breakup with a narcissist and are the current victim of a smear campaign and are wondering if the slander will ever end.
Often, narcissists will let a lot of things slide for the moment, so your question may be based more on your own guilt and shame.
Narcissistic abuse can wreak havoc on your self-esteem, so you may seek forgiveness due to your sudden inability to forgive yourself.
Either way, if you’re dealing with a narcissist, it’s only natural for you to want to know whether they hold grudges.
Narcissists hold onto grudges for dear life, as it gives them a hold over you the next time you bring up their wrongdoing or – God forbid – if you should ever try to leave.
But they will often continue the relationship and appear to let many things go.
They’ll throw the grudge back in your face when they need to as a defense mechanism, though.
Narcissists pretend to be perfect and will never acknowledge their own wrongs.
Instead, they’ll flip it around and make you look and feel like you’re the bad one.
But deep down, they know how badly they’ve messed up in life and may seem to be more forgiving than many partners – until they throw the grudge up in your face years later.
Narcissists are excellent actors. They know how to hide their true selves and pretend to be loving and caring. After an argument, they may seem to let your mistake go.
They may even take you back after you’ve cheated on them. But this is all an act.
Even though narcissists are incapable of empathy, they understand enough to know that they really aren’t perfect either – but this is a fact that they can’t acknowledge or accept.
If you screw up, they’ll often appear to be forgiving for the following reasons:
Narcissists are all about meeting their own wants and needs – in any way that they can.
If you blew an insane amount of money on a new pair of pumps, for instance, they may initially ream you out and then seem to let it go.
But they have ulterior motives. Now, they can blow money on a new iPhone and leave you to pay the rent that month – and if you say anything, they’ll remind you about that pair of pumps in your closet.
Once again, let’s use the financial example. If they repeatedly get fired while continuously spending more money than the two of you can afford, you may very well call them irresponsible.
But then they’ll turn it around and insist that you’re the reason for the financial troubles – and that pair of pumps will be used again as a prime example.
Since you can’t win an argument with a narcissist, you may eventually begin to agree with them just to keep the peace.
If you still feel buyer’s remorse over that pair of pumps, you may also start to believe that you’re the problem.
Narcissists love to have beautiful and successful arm candy to make others envy them and to show how superior they truly are.
But what confident and successful woman would tolerate narcissistic abuse?
Well, narcissists have the solution to that problem. It’s called devaluing.
They are experts at emotionally breaking women down to the point where they feel as though they deserve to be abused.
But when a woman shows her flaws, it could go either way.
Sometimes, the narcissist will start to look for another supply because they feel that woman isn’t good enough for them. Or other times, it may make them feel closer to her.
If she isn’t perfect either, they don’t necessarily need to keep up a facade to keep her. They may even be able to slowly reveal parts of their true selves.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Leave or be left?” Well, that’s the mantra of many narcissists.
Deep down they fear abandonment, so it’s easier to devalue and discard their supplies than face the ego blow of being dumped.
Once you screw up, they’ll always bring it up if you threaten to leave.
Maybe they’ll threaten to expose your affair on Facebook or tell your mom your shameful secret if you were to leave them.
Most narcissists are quick to discard their current supply to move on to the next.
Eventually, they’ll probably forget that you ever existed aside from sharing your flaws with future supplies to make themselves look like the victim.
Occasionally, however, narcissists may end up in lifelong marriages or long-term monogamous relationships.
But even though they stay, those grudges will be thrown in their spouses’ faces over and over again for the duration of the relationship.
Often, narcissists have struggled with abuse, adversities, or perceived injustices in childhood and have harbored those resentments for their entire life.
In this case, they may project that underlying anger onto their supplies. But this isn’t always the case.
If you were perfect, the narcissist wouldn’t have a strong enough hold over you to keep you around.
Your flaws give them the perfect excuse to cheat on you and treat you like a dog and get away with it.
In the criminal justice system, a common saying is that everything you say and do will be used against you. The same applies when you’re in a relationship with a narcissist.
Every secret you share and every mistake you make will eventually be used against you by a narcissist.
For instance, if you’ve told a narcissist that you’re behind on your taxes or are going through a custody battle with an ex-spouse, they’ll remember that and possibly use it as leverage to manipulate you into giving them what they want.
It’s the same scenario with grudges. They’ll often continue the relationship despite having a deep-seated resentment against you and either throw it in your face or threaten to publicly expose your mistake in order to manipulate you.
Most of the time, you are just another means for a narcissist to get what they want – whether it be a sugar mama, affirmation, adoration, or a sense of power and control. Regardless, it’s all about the benefits to a narcissist.
Narcissists also have a sense of entitlement. Although they expect you to cheerfully do for them out of the goodness of your heart, you’ll owe them for any minor favor they did for you.
You’ll also owe them for every minor mistake you made, such as slacking on dish duty.
If you’ve ever cheated on a narcissist and they agreed to stay with you, it’s not because they forgive you. Instead, they want a free pass to cheat themselves.
So, now they can spend hours flirting with Facebook bimbos and expect forgiveness by bringing up the fact that you physically cheated.
Or they can engage in an office affair and feel that you have no right to be mad if you were to catch them red-handed due to your own dalliance.
In the end, any type of domestic abuse – narcissistic or otherwise – is all about power and control. And narcissists have many ways of gaining power over their supplies.
It may simply be threatening to expose a shameful deed or secret of yours or drilling their grudge against you so deeply in your soul that you begin to feel like a complete failure.
If you could only do x, y, or z correctly, your relationship would be so much better.
But this is all a lie. Domestic abuse is never your fault, and you’re only human, you’re going to make mistakes, and you shouldn’t be held as a prisoner of your past.
If a narcissist can’t let go of a grudge against you, let go of them. Forgive yourself and move forward with your life.