My name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.
Is the narcissist ever sorry for what he had done to others, for his victims?
The answer is that the narcissist sometimes feels bad. He experiences all manner of depressive episodes and dysphoric moods.
The narcissist goes through a full panoply of mood disorders and anxiety disorders, sometimes experiences panic. It is not pleasant to be a narcissist, but the narcissist has a diminished capacity to empathize.
So he rarely feels sorry for what he had done or for his victims.
He almost never puts himself in the shoes of his victims.
Actually, the narcissist doesn't regard his victims as victims at all.
It is very common for the narcissist to feel that he had been victimized, deprived and discriminated against.
He projects his own moods, cognitions, emotions and actions, as well as his own frailties, weaknesses and shortcomings onto others.
He attributes to others that which he hates in himself.
Sure, the narcissist feels distressed because he is intelligent enough to realize that something is wrong with the circumstances of his life.
He compares himself to others and the outcome is sometimes not very favorable.
The narcissist's grandiosity is one of the defense mechanisms that the narcissist uses to cover up for this disagreeable state of things.
But the efficacy of the narcissist's grandiose fantasies and inflated false self is partial and intermittent.
The rest of the time when it's not working, the narcissist is immersed in self-loathing and self-pity.
He is under distress and duress most of his waking life.
In a vague way, the narcissist is also sorry for those upon whom he had inflicted the consequences of his personality disorder.
But this is only in a vague, diffused way. The narcissist knows that people around him are unhappy and he understands that it has something to do with him.
Mostly the narcissist uses even this state of things, unhappy people surrounding him, to aggrandize himself.
He says to himself, poor things, they can never fully understand me. They are so inferior, they try, but they fail.
And this exactly is the source of their unhappiness that they cannot be like me or at least grasp my grandeur.
It is no wonder that they are so depressed.
The narcissist puts himself at the center of their world, the center of the world of his closest nearest and dearest.
He thinks of himself as the axis around which everything and everyone revolves.
When confronted with major crisis, for instance, a traumatic divorce, financial entanglement, with emotion at work, the narcissist experiences real excruciating life-threatening pain.
This is the narcissist cold Turkey, his withdrawal of symptoms.
Narcissistic supply, like any other drug, is habit-forming, psychologically speaking. Its withdrawal has broad implications, all severely painful.
Only then, when the narcissist had hit rock bottom is the answer to our initial question.
Unqualified, unequivocal and unambiguous, yes, the narcissist is in pain, is devoid of his stream of adoration and other positive reinforcements and he is sorry for what he is and for what he had done.
But this is merely a fleeting moment. Within days, within weeks, within months, the narcissist recovers his former self, embarks on a new hunt for narcissistic supply, objectifies and dehumanizes everyone around him once again and never looks back and never feels sorry.
He is a hunter, a predator. They are the prey. This is the state of fame. This is the world. They better get used to it.