How To Heal Your Narcissism

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About Lion Goodman

Lion Goodman is the co-founder of Luminary Leadership Institute (, an accelerated initiatory program for leaders of businesses and organizations. With his partner, Carista Luminare, Ph.D., he developed a program to help couples transform old patterns of insecurity and trauma into a secure and passionate relationship: Confused About Love ( Lion is a co-founder of The Tribe of Men, an initiatory program in Northern California, and he served as the Director of Men’s Programs for The Shift Network, where he produced the Ultimate Men’s Summit, attended by 20,000 people around the world. He is the author of three books: Creating On Purpose (with Anodea Judith, Ph.D.), Transform Your Beliefs, and Menlightenment: A Book for Awakening Men. He resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, but considers himself to be a world citizen.


  1. I tend to disagree with the idea that happiness or having good relationships relies on us caring about others as much or more as we care about ourselves. I don’t want to get into deep moral philosophy, but the main thrust of my theory is that people are happiest when we focus first on making ourselves happy, and only focus on others’ happiness as a secondary concern.

    I care about a lot of other people, but caring about others, for me, is an extension of caring about myself. I care about others’ well-being because their well-being enhances my well-being. Conversely, I tend not to care about people who do not affect my well-being, and I only marginally care about people who have a marginal effect on my well-being.

    This would probably make me a narcissist under your rubric, and I don’t deny the charge, but I would disagree with the idea that it’s a non-ideal way to be. Generally, the more influence I have over someone’s well-being, the more influence they have over mine, so the result is that I end up caring most about the people whose well-being I can most affect. Under such a system, it seems as though I would maximize my positive influence on the world.* Also, your suggestions for reducing my narcissism wouldn’t help with that, which leads me to believe that maybe we’re talking about different things.

    Your concept of narcissism sounds like it may be close to what I call “self-absorption.” Where a narcissist cares only about herself, a self-absorbed person sees only herself. A narcissist can be well aware of other people and their feelings/interests/goals, and just not care, which a self-absorbed person lacks that awareness (and may care an awful lot). I think it’s much easier to pitch to people why they should stop being so self-absorbed, for all of the reasons you outlined in your post. I think convincing people to care less about themselves is a tougher sell.

    *The danger with my system, of course, is that it’s possible for a person to gain too much influence, where he ends up wielding influence over people who have no influence over him. I don’t really have an answer for that, though I think the concept that “power corrupts” is a problem for almost every moral system.


    Joanna: Lion Goodman, I’ve thought for years there should be a NA group. Narcissists Anonymous. But would they come?

    Ray W: Great article Lion, and I know personally of what you speak…it’s a rough passage but do-able. Maintenance is perpetual creation.

    Carista L: Yeah, baby, you are walking your talk….being with a man that WANTS to heal his narcissism is soooo healing…..

    Joanna: Yes it is Carista!

    Carista L: Joanna, I had to laugh at your NA comment. They would come if and when they feel like it, which may be never

    Joanna: Exactly Carista. Only if their ‘supplies’ all ditched them due to ultra a-hole behavior, but it takes a certain type to feed them, the other half of this behavior.

    Carista L: Yes, it takes two to do the Real Narcissistic Tango. But as a healer of narcissistic wounding, and a healee of it (most of the human race), it all distills down to a massive confusion about what love is and is not. No one means to be hurting another. I see it as a major clusterfuck of unprocessed patterns of shame, guilt and self rejection, appearing as endless faces of confusion how to connect. We all need connection. I see that most people do not know how to ask for what they need in a direct, safe and loving way to another.

    Joanna: Yes, it’s a giant web of entanglements around hurt and insecure attachments, empty of love usually, and full of disempowerment in relationship desires, assertions, etc. But ultimately all empty of these projection screens, and full of love to return ultimately to those brave enough to return to true.

    Donna S: I wish I had enough self time to be narcissistic!

  3. This is a great article. I would encourage the partners of narcissists / borderline narcissists to carefully consider why they are staying in a relationship, and to take care of themselves. I stayed in a relationship with a borderline narcissist because of the children. After years of suggesting solutions for our marriage, I felt happy when he decided to get help. What I did not expect was having to deal with trauma from what I am coming to understand are symptoms of emotional abuse. I often wonder what I could have done differently for myself. I believe that if I had set stronger boundaries or an ultimatum, the relationship would have been over. Maybe I would have experienced other horrible feelings – and so would the children. So, at the end of the day I feel it was worth it but just wanted to share these thoughts as a preview of being in a relationship with someone like this over a long period of time. Please take care of yourself.

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