Some Folks Never Seem to Learn
Some folks never seem to learn. At least, that’s the way it appears. They do the same problematic things time and time again. Marriage after marriage, job after job, they make the same mistakes, and experience the same adverse consequences. This leaves conscientious folks scratching their heads. Why can’t they see the folly of their ways? What is it exactly that they just don’t seem to understand? Can’t they see that it’s their choices and actions causing all the problems? And if there’s something preventing them from learning, what exactly is the obstacle?
Human beings are distinguished by their incredible capacity to learn. And that’s true for even the most hard-headed among us. Even bad actors learn, and often plenty at that. However, just because a person might learn, it doesn’t neccessarily follow that they will glean from their experiences what most others sincerely hope they will. In the end, it’s what a person takes to heart that makes all the difference. And even more importantly, it’s how a person lets the lessons of life impact their heart that determines whether they will grow in character.
Barriers to Profiting from Experience
How we process the events in our lives, what we take from them, and how we allow them to impact us are all matters of the heart. And a heart can be closed to meaningful learning in many ways and for a variety of reasons. When hearts and minds are open, however, and mindfully process experience, positive growth is the inevitable result.
In their arrogance and gandiosity, some narcissists believe they have little to learn. So, even in the face of defeat such narcissists typically resist changing course in the way most folks wish they would. While they might modify their tactics (of manipulation and image and impression management), they abhor the idea of changing either their basic outlook or their stance against the world. To do so would mean not only admitting error but also subjugating themselves, a notion they vehemently detest. So, they look for ways to preserve their image as well as their ways of operating.
Real change, meaningful, lasting change, ultimately requires a change of heart. And the inherently pompous heart of some narcissists simply abhors the notion of subordination to anyone or anything “bigger” than themselves. In fact, some narcissists are so grandiose that they can’t even conceive of anything bigger than them. This is a major impediment to any positive change and growth.
My books In Sheep’s Clothing and Character Disturbance were the first to make a distinction between the major narcissist types. Moreover, they were the first to expose the tactics and behaviors that obstruct character growth.