Crying is one of the most natural human emotions, which is directly associated with pain, hurt, joy, exhilaration and overwhelm.
It’s easy to assume that narcissists are too cold-hearted to cry, however that’s not always the case. While some narcissists never cry, others can cry at the click of a finger!
The only reason a narcissist cries is for pure manipulation. Either they need to garner sympathy from you so that you don’t leave and will continue to hand over supply to them… OR they’re doing it to control you in some other way.
Narcissists never cry for anybody else, they only cry for themselves.
Let’s explore the question of why do narcissists cry and what’s behind their tears.
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A Bit About Narcissism
Throughout childhood, the narcissist suffered some type of trauma, which caused them to unconsciously perform a soul rejection. This could have come in the form of neglect (emotional or physical), or it could have come from excessive pampering, giving them an unhealthy, skewed version of themselves.
Either way, the narcissist completely severed the connection with their True Self in order to shelter themselves from their most painful truth – that they are a flawed human being, just like everybody else.
Their True Self was causing them to feel such deep levels of shame, defectiveness and unworthiness, which left them feeling rejected and abandoned. They simply could not acknowledge those aspects of themselves, so they subconsciously allowed their ego to take over and rule the show.
For the survival of the ego, it needs to make sure that under no circumstances does the narcissist ever glimpse the painful truth that they are in fact not perfect. In order to achieve this, it has created a False Self, which is a complete inversion of who they truly are.
The False Self lives in a fabricated reality, whereby the narcissist is a superior and perfect god. With that superiority comes entitlement and arrogance, because they believe that the entire universe revolves around them and that everybody in it is merely a tool for them to use.
The whole issue with the False Self’s reality is that it doesn’t actually exist. However, for the psychological survival of the narcissist, the existence of the false reality is absolutely crucial. If that world were to ever diminish and fall away, they would be left with nothing but their empty black hole inside, which is where their True Self used to live before they banished it.
For the ego’s false reality to continue on, it needs to be regularly inflated (fed). The narcissist’s ego relies on constant validation from the outside world that their false reality is in face ‘real.’
The way that the narcissist achieves consistent affirmation is through attention. Both good and bad attention are utilised, because it all serves to confirm for the ego that, “yes, you do really exist.”
On a deeper level, the narcissist cut off their own access to the divine life force energy, which we are all born with. It’s through this life force energy that we are able to experience true love, happiness, empathy, kindness and compassion.
Narcissists are quite literally Energy Vampires.
Without having access to those things, the narcissist has forsaken themselves to a life without a conscience, without the ability to ever feel any of the true human emotions.
Ultimately, the narcissist is left with an empty black hole inside that can only ever be temporarily satiated through extracting (stealing) the life force energy of others. This is called narcissistic supply.
So, when a narcissist emulates crying, sadness or any other human emotion, it’s important to remember that it can never be real coming from them. They actually do not have the resources to experience those emotions.
Therefore, if they are using feigned emotions to try and control you, it’s nothing more than emotional blackmail.
Why Do Narcissists Cry?
The fact is, narcissists don’t feel sadness or remorse like we do, but they can imitate it incredibly well if the circumstances are ripe to serve their agenda.
If you’ve ever witnessed a full-on pity party thrown by the narcissist, complete with heaving shoulders, racking sobs and a torrent of tears, you would be forgiven to second-guess what I’m about to tell you.
The only reason a narcissist cries is for manipulation.
The narcissist’s tears are intricately designed to control other people and situations, which means those tears need to be especially believable.
So, if the narcissist doesn’t genuinely feel the heavy emotions required for such a physical display of sadness, how do they manage to pull it off?
The answer is quite simple. After all of their years watching you cry because of the things they’ve said and done, plus through their observations of others crying, they know how to replicate it down to the finest detail.
Given that there is no actual grief, remorse, pain or sadness behind the narcissist’s crying, the whole act amounts to nothing more than a Hollywood performance.
Do Narcissists Believe their Own Tears?
On some level, the narcissist does believe their own crying, but probably not for the reasons you’d think.
In a moment of loss, pain or sadness, the narcissist isn’t authentically feeling any of those heavy human emotions, because they lack capacity to do so. What they’re experiencing is the utter fear that they’re about to lose their control over a person and/ or situation.
That feeling of terror inside of them is most definitely a real feeling because losing control for them equates to losing precious narcissistic supply.
Let’s use some examples.
- You’re about to walk out the door because you’ve had enough of their behaviour.
They cry to play on your empathy and get you to stay in order to continue handing over your energy and resources to them.
- A close family member of theirs dies.
The narcissist cries for themselves because they’ve lost a valuable ally who believed their false reality and helped to prop it up for them.
The narcissist doesn’t cry for you or anybody else. They cry for themselves and what they’re set to lose (or have just lost).
Narcissists Cry to Gain Sympathy
If the narcissist is not getting what they want, they will cry to gain sympathy. This is where their emotional stuntedness comes into play and you’re really just dealing with an overgrown toddler.
Essentially, the narcissist isn’t getting their needs met, so they’ll cry.
Their tears will pull at the heartstrings of those who do have the ability to experience compassion. Those empathetic people will lend a listening ear, try to help the narcissist out and just generally offer support and attention.
The narcissist will make others feel guilty and ashamed if they don’t feel sorry for them and help them. What it all boils down to is that the narcissist is refusing to take responsibility for themselves and their ego (in all of its godliness) expects others to bear that responsibility for them.
Empaths in particular will be feel the energy of the narcissist’s neediness and will want to do everything in their power to alleviate their ‘pain’ for them.
What all of this attention equals is narcissistic supply. Crying places the narcissist at the centre of the universe again, whereby they are the central focus.
It doesn’t matter how many despicable things the narcissist says and does, their superiority complex dictates that they are never wrong.
How this plays out is that the narcissist continuously sees themselves as being the victim at the hands of everyone else.
As soon as anyone tries to hold the narcissist accountable for their behaviour, their ego will immediately project the very things that they were doing, back onto the victim. In doing so, they effectively turn the true victim into the perpetrator (in their false reality).
If a narcissist’s ego ever feels as though it’s under attack, it will target the person responsible, line them up and set out to annihilated them. Throughout this storyline, they will be portraying themselves as the victim, which all serves to justify their atrocious behaviour.
In the narcissist’s false reality, they truly do believe that they are the victim at your hands. Even the act of you escaping their abuse, victimises them in their mind.
“How dare you take my drug (supply) away from me!”
The narcissist will cry as much as necessary to reinforce that their storyline is ‘real’ and gain sympathy from others in the process.
Narcissists Cry to Control
Being the master manipulators that they are, narcissists have no issue with crying to control other people.
Covert narcissists in particular are adept at turning on their crocodile tears in order to get those around them bending to their will. They’ll cry if they don’t get their own way, they’ll cry if they’re not getting enough attention (supply) and they’ll cry if you try to escape.
For the narcissists who scarcely (if ever) cry, in the rare moment that they do, it dramatically enhances the effect. Their tears in this case make you think that they must genuinely, deeply care if they’ve actually been brought to tears.
You can expect a non-crying narcissist to turn on the waterworks if you’re trying to leave their abusive cycle and break free. This is a panicked effort on the narcissist’s behalf in retaining control over you and keeping you onboard as their supply.
Narcissists Cry Out of Fear
The whole purpose to a narcissists life is to be continuously seeking out and extracting narcissistic supply. Without their supply, they will fall into a pit of darkness, resentment and self-loathing, which is who they truly are underneath it all.
Anyone who’s ever been with a narcissist will tell you that glimpses of this hidden monster will emerge when they are low on supply.
A grandiose narcissist is generally more extroverted and confident in nature, making it easier for them to gain attention and admiration from those around them.
They might be good at a certain hobby, do well within their career and be attractive enough to be constantly gaining the adoration that they seek.
Grandiose narcissists can turn over their sources of supply pretty frequently, however that becomes harder as they age and their looks and resources fade.
A covert narcissist is much more introverted, less charming and less confident. Their ego will still believe that it’s just as superior and entitled as the overt narcissist, it’s just that they gain their supply in a different way.
The covert narc will hook in their sources through displaying false modesty and feigning empathy, hoodwinking people into thinking they’re not narcissistic at all. Covert narcs are forever the victim!
Covert narcissists will want to lock in their supply for life, as way of security.
There are also the altruistic narcissists, who get their validation via doing things for other people. I know, doesn’t sound very narcissistic at all, right?
With the altruistic narc, it’s the experience of, “I’m going to help you and you’d better put me on a pedestal for it or else!”
Then there are the malignant narcissists who are much more calculated and gain supply through causing pain in others. In fact, malignant narcissists are driven by the need to control every aspect of their partner, to a sickening degree. Malignant narcissists will not let their victims escape easily.
No matter which type of narcissist you’re dealing with, the fear of losing their supply is terrifying to them. They are no different to an ice addict, who will lash out and literally do whatever it takes to get their hands on another hit of their drug.
For a narcissist, not having a source of supply is a fate worse than death.
Therefore, having a narcissist cry if they fear the loss of their supply is actually pretty standard. Whether they’re at risk of losing their partner, losing their public status or losing anything else that feeds them supply.
The problem is, healthy, empathetic people don’t realise they’re facing a devil in disguise and will fall for the ploy hook, line and sinker.
That’s how people manage to keep getting reeled back into abusive relationships over and over again. I can attest to these exact tactics, which my narcissistic ex used on me multiples times, keeping me bound to him sucking out my life force (little did I know).
When Narcissists DON’T Cry
If you’ve been around a narcissist long enough, you’ll probably notice that they often don’t cry in situations that actually should induce an emotional response.
There are many situations in life, which can be highly stressful or emotional, where non-narcissists can easily become overwhelmed with emotion. The birth and death of family members, financial stress, medical issues, successes and achievements with hobbies and work, just to name a few examples.
Yet, the narcissist remains neutral in their expression. What is with that?
On a base level, the narcissist doesn’t actually feel happy, sad or stressed, therefore having no expression of emotional is quite natural.
The only reason they’re not choosing to activate the ’emotion’ manipulation is because they deem that there’s nothing in it for them. If crying or feigning any type of emotion will bring them a pay off, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll use it!
More About Narcissists & Crying
Do Narcissists Cry When Someone Dies or at Funerals?
Sure, a narcissist may cry when someone dies, but not for the deep sadness that we would feel at the loss of someone close. In fact, some narcissists will show no emotion at all with the passing of a friend or family member.
Here’s why a narcissist may cry when someone dies:
- Attention – to shift the spotlight of the whole event onto them and claim as much of the focus as possible.
- Loss of supply – crying for themselves because they’ve lost a valuable source of supply.
- Feeling ripped off – if they didn’t get a sizeable inheritance.
- Enhance their public image – if they need to be seen as the grieving widow/ child/ parent/ best friend.
- Anger – “how selfish of them to leave me – how dare they!”
Do Narcissists Cry Alone?
Given that crying is only ever used as a form of manipulation, there is no logical reason for a narcissist to cry when they’re alone.
You can expect for a narcissist to turn on the tears when you walk into the room, giving off the idea that they have been crying, however that’s a further manipulation to play on your empathy.
Unless they’re grieving the loss of supply in their life and are feeling extremely low because of that, narcissists won’t cry alone.
Do Narcissists Cry During Movies?
Narcissists don’t typically cry during movies like an empathetic person does. But, if they can truly see themselves in the character on the screen and feel that story as their own, they can certainly cry.
Their tears aren’t a show of empathy towards the external story or person though, the tears are purely for themselves.
If they want to give you the impression that they’re a sensitive new age person, they can definitely feign tears and emotion in movies during the love bombing phase. These tears are used to manipulate and hook you in.
Do Narcissists Cry When You Leave Them?
Ohhh heck yes, narcissists cry when you leave them! The one phase of the relationship you can almost 100% count on for the narcissist to cry is when you finally get the strength to free yourself.
They won’t cry when you’re not there and they are left alone. No, they’ll save those tears for when they need to put on a public show about how victimised and broken they are at your abusive hands.
They will also save their tears for you.
They want to shame you and make you feel guilty as hell for pulling your life force energy away and leaving them. Their hope is to use your compassion and good morals against you as a weapon, in order to get you back or hold you there.
Narcissist Fake Crying
Narcissists were really born for the stage. The narcissist fake crying is so real, they can fool even the most intelligent among us.
Something I struggled with, after leaving a two-decade long narcissistically abusive relationship, was the fake crying.
As an empath, I fell for my exes fake crying multiple times. Those tears even held me in the relationship for an extra seven years after telling him I was done (for the first time)! I really came out questioning my own intuition, since I was so easily hoodwinked by a manipulative, dark soul for so long.
Narcissists learn how they need to react and behave in certain situations in order to achieve their goal… which is always to gain attention, resources and narcissistic supply.
And for that, they win the Oscar.
But, what about when you’re the one to cry. How does a narcissist react when they see you cry? Find out in the article below.
How Do Narcissists React When YOU Cry?
Narcissists either love it when you cry, or they hate it.
They have no capacity to feel any empathy for what you’re feeling or going through, so you won’t get any compassion from them.
If your crying is caused by another person or situation, those tears don’t benefit the narcissist in any way, so you must stop. Your crying is taking precious attention and supply away from them, which is unacceptable.
If your crying is caused by the narcissist, whether they are happy tears or sad tears, the narcissist will be stoked. These tears make them feel incredibly powerful to be able to elicit such an emotional response from you, which feeds their ego.