I’ve found many people wonder if narcissists truly know right from wrong, since they do so many cruel, evil acts without regard for how they affect other people. This often means narcissists get a free ride since many people assume no one could be capable of knowingly causing so much pain & suffering. Besides, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a disorder after all- they can’t help themselves for acting this way, right?
I believe that is very wrong.
Personality disorders are different from other mental disorders. PTSD, for example, is actual physical damage to one’s brain that causes the flashbacks, anxiety, memory problems, etc. Schizophrenia also is brain damage that causes a person to experience hallucinations & delusions. Personality disordered individuals have no physical brain damage. Instead, their disorder describes a means of behavior rather than an illness. Physically, the brain of a narcissist is just fine unless they have sustained an injury. Narcissistic Personality Disorder only describes their behavior.
Another argument that I believe proves narcissists know right from wrong is their behavior. They save the worst of it for behind closed doors. Narcissists rarely abuse in front of other people. In fact, my mother rarely abused me in front of my father. He only saw her abuse me a few times when the fact is, she abused me many more times than I can remember. She also warned me many times not to “air our dirty laundry” which meant I was not to tell others what she did to me in private. My narcissistic mother in-law was much the same way- she would treat me like absolute dirt when we were alone, yet as soon as someone came into the room, she was sweet as could be. I guess it’s no wonder so few people believed me about how horribly these two treated me- they put on quite the show in front of others.
Those who know right from wrong hide their actions. Consider the following Scripture:
John 3:20-21 “20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” (NIV)
I firmly believe that yes, narcissists do know right from wrong. They choose to do wrong because their thinking is so skewed. Sadly, they don’t want to improve themselves like most people do. Maybe they are too afraid of what they would find if they did some soul searching. After all, their low self esteem is at the root of narcissism. They may be afraid that what they would find inside is too hideous for them to deal with.