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how do narcissists treat their pets

How Do Narcissists Treat Their Pets?

Pet ownership is incredibly popular and has been associated with improved psychological health and social functioning. Many people choose to keep pets as a way to nurture and demonstrate love. Unfortunately, those with narcissistic personality traits may take a different approach to pet ownership.

Lack of Compassion

Rather than displaying warmth, narcissists often take a detached, indifferent approach to their pet’s needs. They may not seem to acknowledge the pet when it behaves in a positive way, nor offer them much affection or attention.

Self-Centered Needs Rule

Narcissists may make decisions about their pet from a self-centered place, disregarding the individual needs of their pet. For example, they may buy a breed that fits their own image, instead of researching and finding a breed which suits their lifestyle. They may also neglect to meet their pet’s nutritional needs, in order to save time or money for themselves.

Dominating Behaviour

Narcissists may try to exert a sense of control over their pet. They may become domineering, punishing or trying to control their pet’s behaviour out of a need to be respected, rather than to encourage a healthy bond.

Negative Impact

The lack of compassion, self-centeredness and controlling behaviour that a narcissist may display can have a negative effect on their pet. An animal may suffer:

  • Psychological distress
  • Physical illness
  • Behavioural problems

Narcissists may be unaware of the consequences of their behaviour, or simply be unable to empathize with their pet.

Alternative Approaches

Those who struggle with narcissistic traits can still be great pet owners, by taking a more selfless attitude. By investing time into understanding the needs of their pet, providing nutritious food, plenty of exercise and loving attention, pet owners with narcissistic traits can create a healthy and happy bond with their pet.

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