Would a narcissist who lost their memory “forget” how to be a narc?


I saw this posted on Psychforums in the NPD forum:

I’ve long thought what might happen if an N suffered complete lose of memory. Would he remember he was narcissistic? There is a novel in which this happened. Ursula Brangwen in D H Lawrence’s “The Rainbow” falls gravely ill and recovers as a near as damn it normal person.

I know it’s a weird question but it’s interesting. I’ve read that sometimes people who suffer head trauma (without severe brain damage or damage to only a small part of the brain) that produces complete amnesia occasionally display dramatic personality changes when they awaken–even to the point of seeming to have a completely different type of personality than they did originally. It’s as if they are forced to use a different part of the brain and form a new personality — and new brain connections — from scratch.

In most cases, language and other basic life skills are left intact, but I have read of rare cases where even though the brain is left largely undamaged, the person must literally “grow up” and relearn basic skills. This learning usually happens at a much faster rate than it would for an actual child growing up, because the individual already has the brain of an adult.

Think of the System Restore function on your computer. Your computer gets a virus or has some other serious issue. You set the computer back to an earlier date before the problem started. Yes, you lose important files and other saved information (which can be replaced later) but the problem is gone. It’s the same concept — a traumatic brain injury that results in amnesia could work like “system restore” for a narcissistic brain. You could also erase the hard drive and re-install it. (That would be analogous to a more severe injury where the narcissist would have to start out again as a virtual infant–and receive the sort of nurturing they never got when they were a real infant.)

In either case, is it possible that a narc who suffered complete amnesia and could remember nothing of their past, might “wake up” with the capacity to learn empathy and become a non-narcissist?

If so, it gives new meaning to the idea that the best cure for a narcissist is a kick in the head.

21 thoughts on “Would a narcissist who lost their memory “forget” how to be a narc?

  1. Hmm… this is interesting! In my personal experience it doesn’t always work, unfortunately. My ex actually became worse after his last bout of memory loss. I never got the entire story as he was away in training for the military. I just know there was an accident and he had significant memory loss. It did change his personality, but not for the better. Perhaps it wasn’t a total reset of his memory…

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    • I’ve heard of blunt force head trauma causing someone’s personality to change for the worse too. I guess it could go either way. I think a total reset would be necessary, but easier said than done.

      Most narcs hate being in a position of dependence on others, as your ex may have been after his injury. That’s why a lot of them grow even worse as they age, or if they become sick.

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  2. Memory loss per se may not be enough. Considering dementia and its memory loss, which can result in a previously mild-mannered person becoming aggressive and even violent when memory of self is absent begs the question of how much memory or what kind of memory we are talking about. It’s an interesting thought though, but one where my own knowledge falls far short of competent.

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  3. Pingback: Would a narcissist who lost their memory “forget” how to be a narc? | Down the Rabbit Hole

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