The Little Shaman is a spiritual coach & specialist in cluster B personality disorders, with a popular YouTube show and clients worldwide.
Many people in relationships with narcissistic people are operating on the premise that one day it's all going to be worth it. One day they will push the right button and the walls will come down. One day they will explain the right way and the narcissist will finally understand. One day, the suffering and the abuse and the misery will be worth it. One day they will find the key that unlocks the amazing side of the narcissist permanently and it will be beautiful all the time.
This is a common belief and it's very attractive, but it's not true. The only way this could happen is if the pathologically narcissistic person suddenly became an integrated person with an intact identity and the ability to create, regulate and sustain their own self-worth. Ask yourself as sincerely and purposefully as you can: how is that supposed to happen?
The problem is that people believe the narcissist's behavior is caused, created or can be fixed by them. "I will heal them! I will fix them! I will change their behavior by changing mine!" This is a fantasy because it is not based in reality in any way. The type of problems that narcissists have can only be fixed by them doing inner work - if these problems can even be fixed at all. Some of the problems probably can, but some of them probably can't. You can't put Humpty Dumpty back together again. It just can't be done.
For example, a very common belief is that pathologically narcissistic people's biggest problems come from not being loved or validated. People then believe the solution is that they will love the narcissist back to health. In theory, this makes sense. If they can see that someone loves them, that will heal their trust and self-worth issues, right? It may even be that this could help some people, but it is usually a painful waste of time with pathologically narcissistic people. You see, in order to be healed by love, someone has to believe they actually are loved. They have to understand what love is. They have to recognize it. They have to accept it. None of these things happens with a narcissist. All that happens is the harder the person tries to prove their love, the more the narcissist denies it. It is exhausting, painful and pointless. They couldn't believe you even if they wanted to. They are seeking love even though they don't know what it is or how to recognize it. If you were searching for something but you didn't know what it looked like, it's a pretty sure bet that you wouldn't find it - even if you were looking right at it.
By trying to reason with a pathologically narcissistic person or challenging their erroneous conclusions, you are asking somebody with critically flawed perception to use that flawed perception to recognize the flaws in their perception. You might as well ask them to be a foot taller. This is not something this person can do. They cannot recognize your sacrifices in the name of love because they cannot recognize love. They will turn harmless actions into vindictive, cruel ones, they will turn considerate actions into selfish ones, they will turn kind actions into manipulative ones all by assigning motives and feelings to you that you do not have. How do you prove it's not true? You can't. It's a trap and all that happens is you get hurt.
Nothing changes for the narcissist. Not really. They didn't believe you before, they don't believe you now and they never will believe you. Believing you would make them vulnerable to whatever horrible thing you are going to do to them once you've got them in your evil clutches. It's not going to happen. That's one of the reasons that if they do show vulnerability, you can almost guarantee that a period of abuse and devaluation will soon follow. They have to counteract that weakness they think they showed and make sure you know you didn't get one over on them. This is a person fighting an endless battle that is beyond what we can really understand or even imagine, and you cannot help them. It's sad but it's the reality of the situation and the sooner it's accepted, the less painful it is.
You're not going to get what you want from this person because they don't have it to give to you. That's the bottom line. There is no way to unlock the awesome side of their personality so that it stays around all the time. That's not who they are. The evil, cruel, hysterical, raging, silent or crazy one is not who they are, either. They are essentially nobody, a person with no identity who is simply struggling to get by in a world they don't fit into or seem to understand very well. Many narcissists were themselves raised by narcissists and they were taught very early that people are fake, kindness is not real, love is a lie, the only way to deal with others or get needs met is through manipulation and the only person that matters is themselves because nobody else cares. They want love but are unable to recognize, understand or reciprocate it. They want to connect but are either unable or unwilling to show vulnerability and sincerity. They want respect but it only goes one way. They want others to be concerned and caring toward them, but couldn't care less about others.
There is no reward, recognition or thanks for your suffering here. There is only pointless effort that results in nothing. Save your energy for healing.