Unreasonable Expectations of Narcissists

Unreasonable Expectations of Narcissists

Excessive admiration! Automatic compliance! Ideal love! Favorable treatment! Constant recognition of their “specialness!”

These are only a few of the expectations that a person with narcissistic personality disorder carries. Their sense of entitlement supports their unrealistic expectations. They expect to be worshiped. They expect unreasonable admiration and compliance to their every whim. They expect perfection. In their eyes, this is ideal love, and they expect that. They feel that they deserve it more than anyone in the entire world.

These unreasonable expectations are impossible to meet and will drive a person crazy along the way. I’ll give you a few personal examples.

My parents, my boys, and I were playing cards around the kitchen table. My husband came home from work. He had stopped by the store on the way home and bought a package of chocolates and hot chocolate mix. He carried them in, proudly displaying them as this wonderful gift for the family, and placed them right in front of us. We said, “Thanks. Looks good. We’ll have some after dinner.” And then continued our card game. We reacted no differently than we would of had my dad bought that stuff. It was a normal reaction and a genuine thank you. But it wasn’t good enough for him. He stormed upstairs with his feelings all hurt. Knowing he was upset, I went up and checked on him. He told me that no one cared that he had done that “very special thing for us.” Telling him that we were appreciative and would have it later tonight was simply not enough. He expected us to “ooooh” and “aaaah” over it, making a big fuss over how grateful we were for his “incredible” act of kindness.

My husband, our youngest son, and I went for a walk with the dogs one evening. The two of them were walking side by side on the sidewalk in front of me. My husband started asking our son about how school was going. “Normal” conversation was always challenging with my husband. He expects answers to be given in a certain way, yet no one knows what that way really is. So you constantly feel like you are tap-dancing around, trying to come up with satisfactory answers. This was no different. Our son was studying human geography. My husband asked, “Oh, what are you studying in that class?” Our son had been working really hard in that class. With exhaustion in his voice, he replied, “Oh, everything.” He started to continue from there, but my husband huffed in frustration at his answer and threw his hands up. He was so busy judging his son’s “inadequate” answer in his own mind that he failed to hear that our son was overwhelmed in that class. The conversation ended, and they walked on in silence. Later that night, my husband complained to me that his son won’t give him a “real” answer to such a simple question. His own expectation of what an answer is “supposed” to look like keeps him from being able to have a simple conversation.

Narcissists carry internal expectations of how everyone is supposed to behave, act, think, and just be. They hold an internal image based on these expectations. Yet they don’t ever communicate this with you. You are just supposed to know how you are expected to behave, act, think, and be. Not only that, but their internal image and expectations often change on a whim. How things are supposed to be one day will certainly not be the same the next day. No wonder we all go crazy around them. 

We can learn a lesson though from this narcissistic trait. They are not disappointed by life, but rather when their expectations of life are not met. It is not life that is hurting them. It is their internal thoughts about life. 

The Trouble of Expectations:

  • Cause us to worry and be anxious
  • Cause us to be disappointed in ourselves and others
  • Cause us to carry regret and anger
  • Cause us to see ourselves and others as failures
  • Cause us to blame ourselves and others
  • Cause us to stay trapped in more expectations and blame
  • Cause us to give up and quit trying

So, while we will never be able to explain this to a narcissistic person, we can certainly learn this valuable lesson ourselves. Our own expectations get in our way. They prevent us from enjoying life as it is. They keep us from accepting ourselves and others. They even prevent us from being genuine, real, and spontaneous.

What are Your Expectations?

I could write a whole other article on the unreasonable expectations of a narcissistic person. They truly take their expectations to the extreme, and don’t realize at all the damage that this does. But what about your expectations? Your own expectations also get in the way of your true enjoyment of life. While they don’t do the same amount of damage, they are still there for all of us and still get in our way.

I made a mind map of my expectations, at least the ones I am conscious of. I am sure I carry more, and I am working to become more aware of them every day. Here is my mind map of expectations.

Mind map of expectations

Make your own mind map. Become more aware of your internal expectations that are in your way of truly enjoying life. Drop the expectations. If your marriage isn’t successful, guess what? It doesn’t mean you are a failure! It only seems that way because you “expected” to have a successful marriage. There is nothing wrong with desiring a successful marriage. And if that is what you have, great! I am extremely happy for you! But if you do not and you are still holding on to that expectation, then you are doing yourself a lot of harm. Drop the expectation so you can face reality with openness and without judgment. You will find a new internal strength that comes surrounded by a new-found peace!

For more information specific to Covert Narcissism, check out my other website here.

For more information on Toxic Relationships, check out our other blog articles on this topic.

One comment on “Unreasonable Expectations of Narcissists

  1. I see all that what you’re saying as spot on! I would like to try the mind map. I never really thought about my own expectations and how they have short-changed me. I’m still getting reacquainted with myself and learning about my identity outside a 30 year abusive marriage. Thank you for this!

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