4 Reasons Why Narcissists Are Basically Unhappy People

Published by
Janey Davies, B.A. (Hons)

A narcissist is a person that has an over grandiose sense of self. Narcissists also tend to be unhappy people and there are some good reasons why.

They believe they are put on this earth to be admired, revered, adored and that the world revolves around them. With so much self-esteem you would imagine that they would live their lives in a state of perpetual happiness, but this is not so.

When a narcissist’s needs are being met, when they are made to feel unique, special and extraordinary, they are blissfully happy. The problem is that when their egos are not being continually stroked, they become resentful, angry and dissatisfied with their lot in life.

These examples show what would make a narcissist unhappy:

  • They are not flattered anymore
  • They are criticized
  • They are ignored by those of a higher status
  • They are treated the same as everyone else
  • They are not the centre of attention
  • Their advice is not listened to
  • Other people given the spotlight
  • They are questioned about the veracity of their stories
  • They are laughed at in company

The things that make narcissists deeply unhappy people is that all their happiness comes from external forces: they rely on flattery, on their looks, their accomplishments, their possessions, and so on. So if any one of these factors was to prove to be less than special or amazing, their whole world would collapse around them.

Here are the reasons why narcissists are basically unhappy people:

They base their happiness on external factors

This is the main problem with narcissists, everything they associate with happiness is related to outside influences or factors. It could be material things like having the best car in the neighbourhood, getting the best promotion from all their colleagues, or simply having the most attractive wife.

They want to be admired for these external reasons, but the problem with that is their self-esteem is bound up with outside influences and does not come from their own self-confidence. If any one of these things is lost or disappears, then the narcissist quickly has to start from scratch to build up their esteem again.

When they are alone

Narcissists need a constant stream of attention and suffer when they are on their own as their sources of flattery dry up. A narcissist uses other people as a mirror to reflect back to themselves their uniqueness and if they are alone they cannot do this.

When they receive the admiration from someone else, they are instantly gratified and are happy, but being alone makes them delve into their own psyche where they might come face to face with the person behind the mask.

They desire perfection and cannot live up to it

In a narcissist’s world, everything would be perfect, but in reality, this can never happen. The narcissist spends their entire lifetime striving for perfection in themselves and the things they surround themselves with. But even to outsiders who would judge them and their lifestyle as pretty amazing, to the narcissist, it is never quite enough. This is one of the basic reasons why narcissists are basically unhappy people.

They are never happy with what they have got

Narcissists have to be the best, have the best and be regarded as the best. To this end, they are destined for a fall. A narcissist may be a stunningly gorgeous young woman, but that will not stop her from striving for better looks. Because narcissists believe they are special people, they think they should have everything laid out for them, and even if they do, they are still not happy.

So what makes a narcissist happy?

A typical narcissist wants to be the centre of attention and be admired by all those around them. They desire flattery and adoration from their peer group, in particular, those of a high status group, and want to be at the top of that hierarchy.

They enjoy this ‘top dog’ status as it cements their ego and helps to boost their self-esteem. Being at the top, whether it be the most beautiful, successful, and famous, powerful, financial or intelligent feeds into their notion of an over-indulged sense of self.

To conclude:

The happiness of a typical narcissist would appear to lie with what other people have to say about them. To a narcissist, the only true way to happiness is to be admired for their high status. Unfortunately, this is rarely sustainable and the narcissist soon finds this situation untenable and moves on to find other people in which to mirror their success.


  1. https://www.quora.com
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com

View Comments

  • You just explained why Meghan Markle keeps attacking The Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William & Duchess Catherine. They are all above her in Royal Status. She loved the attention at first but found it untenable. She had to move on and is now mirroring Oprah. It's why she announced that she was pregnant at Princess Eugenie's wedding. It took place at St. George's Chapel where she was married months earlier and the focus was not on her. Her wedding day was the pinnacle of admiration of her entire life. She simply couldn't stand being in that same place and all the focus on another bride. She had to do something. (I personally think she made it up on the spot. But that's another subject altogether.) Thanks for the great article ~ INFJ

  • The narcissist creates their false identity of happiness throughout a majority of their life. In selfies, they maybe are smiling but that doesn’t prove anything. They can’t accept the sad truth that others are sufficiently happier and better off than they are. That might fake it, but people with empathy and humility have more than they ever will and that would be happiness, and at least some true friends that actually care about them. Narcissistic people may have friends and/or could even be married, but it’s all for show. Their dumb, ridiculous are false identities that cover up their miserable, pathetic existence. The sad truth is, they are angry, bitter, and miserable. I’ve been practicing in psychology for nine years now. I am not the only psychologist who says this.

Published by
Janey Davies, B.A. (Hons)