Is there hope?
The fact that you want to help a narcissist -- to "save" him or her, as it were -- is a manifestation of your good nature and of your true love for the fictional character you thought was a real person.
It takes time for the simple truth that narcissists are predators to sink in. I mean that you can "know" a thing cerebrally and yet not really KNOW it. It hasn't sunk in enough to make you clear out contradictory assumptions and beliefs yet. Frankly, it takes some mental deprogramming.
So, if you have recently realized that someone in your life is a narcissist, it is no wonder that you are still thinking that you can change him or her, that you can get through to them, that you can help them.
They DO have feelings -- for THEMSELVES. And our ability to empathize makes us feel sorry for them. They really do suffer with this disease.
But make no mistake: their bouts of pain are few and far between. They are "drugged" with narcissistsic supply most of the time. They are high on it and they feel fine. Because they are making someone else miserable.
You feel sorry for the damaged little child inside the narcissist -- not the demon that ate him or her and now possesses them = the work of art, the fictional character, standing before you. THAT is diabolical, sadistic, malignant, and predatory. The proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing. THAT has no feeling for anybody. It ain't human. It would be the first to tell you so: it is a god. It has nothing but disdain for humanity, in any sense of the word. No sympathy is appropriate or even possible for THAT. Because it is a predator. It eats humans.
Hence our conflicted feelings, which are actually just feeings for two different beings confused.
In the comments you can see a sharp difference between those who've recently found out about narcissism and those who've been there. Those who've been there are absolutely pessimitic about ever getting through to a narcissist.
Even those who say that sometimes the best choice is to not leave but rather find some way to draw red lines within the home that keeps the predator at bay. Even THEY don't think you can help the narcissist.
Both groups just have to accept each other as they are at this point in their seperate lives. What I like about this community is that you all do that. It makes for a peaceful and informative resource.
The problem with narcissists is that they won't stop abusing their minds. They won't stop willfully unknowing the truth. They'd rather die. They won't stop thinking absurdly (such as by thinking they exalt themselves when they stoop to the despicable level of abusing the defenseless). They'd rather die. They won't stop altering "their reality" by deluding themselves. They'd rather die.
It's as simple as that. They aren't the only people who mess with their minds. But they are the only people who still do it 24-7 as a little child does, living in a fantasy world so that their personal narrative is a complte work of fiction. They are the only ones who would rather die than stop doing it.
Consider what all they'd have to admit to themselves if they did. Could anybody bear to confront such a reality about themselves? It's the proverbial "demon at the door."
It's what keeps them on that runaway freight-train ride, what prevents them from ever coming clean. And so we see the bizarre phenomenon of people shovelling faster to dig themselves out of the hole they've dug themselves into. Crazy, but it happens all the time. And not just to narcissists.
Bottom Line: when people would rather die than stop doing something, they won't ever stop doing it. No matter what. They are obdurate.
But we each have to see this for ourselves. No one can just teach it to you: only experience can. And that is as it should be. If it were easy to convince you that narcissists are beyond help, there would be something wrong with you!
So, wherever you are in this process is fine. You may still want to try. You may still hold out hope against hope. Just don't mess with YOUR mind: try to face facts squarely every step of the way on your journey.