Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements) – One of Nine Narcissistic Personality Disorder Criteria DSM 4
Narcissists tend to live in a bubble. They surround themselves with Yes-men or women, who hang off their every word. If you don’t dance to their tune, that they are something really special, then they will dismiss you and you will find yourself, very quickly, on the uninvited list. You won’t find too many Narcissists hanging out with those that put them down or constantly criticize them. They generally just don’t engage with any, who don’t see them in a favorable light.
When your primary objective in life is to constantly be consuming attention and admiration, you need to be around people that will continually feed you a generous supply. You also need to seek out potential new sources, because you never know when you’ll have to replace old supply and new supply always trumps old supply.
They are often so convincing and so dominant in their role as a superior, that you will often find them in supervisory positions within companies. They are assertive and dominant and are very good at rallying people around to their side and their fake version of reality. On the outside this looks like leadership, but a Narcissist isn’t a company man or woman. They have only one interest – self-interest. If you get in their way or try to expose them don’t expect them to play fair. They will attempt to destroy you and when you speak out against their abuse you will end up looking like the one with the problem.
One of the tools they use to spread their delusions of grandeur is story telling. Because they are compulsive liars, they are adept at spinning tales of their heroism, feats of daring and acts of brilliance or bravery. Rewriting the truth is a skill that they have mastered. A Narcissist will challenge anyone who doesn’t support their version of reality. They will attack their adversary’s character. They will tell lies and try to turn people against them. Anything to take the attention off of their own duplicity.
“In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country,” – Donald Trump
The delusions of grandeur that a Narcissist exhibits are not the same as those suffered by other impairments like Schizophrenia, or like those of patients that have experienced brain injuries that have scaring on the frontal cortex. They aren’t walking around thinking they are Jesus Christ or Napoleon.
A Narcissist is aware of the lie they are telling, but the process becomes like a room full of Dominoes. They will change the story to make themselves look good and then in the next retelling, they will change it a little more and so on and so on, until they are illustrated in a way that makes them look more talented, more accomplished, more heroic and just displaying characteristics that are far superior than everyone else. Because they surround themselves with admirers, they seldom get any negative feedback or resistance, so they feel entitled to claim the lie as truth. And everyone knows if you repeat a story enough times the lie gets lost and becomes the truth. Repetition is how the subconscious remembers and how the legend survives.
They will also fudge credentials, degrees and step into roles and jobs they know they aren’t qualified for, all in an attempt to gain an even better level of supply.
They advance their agenda by challenging the character of the opposition and slandering anyone who opposes them. The truth can never come out, so they deflect, deflect, deflect and fight their adversaries with a ferocity that is unwarranted and often, cruel. It’s all about winning and in this game where their fragile ego is on the line they must win at all costs.
Because they spend all of their time around people that they have carefully sculpted as their followers, it does come as quite a shock to them that someone would disagree with them. They’ve spent a lifetime in this bubble and so the reality of the real world often alludes them, which is why they seem to lack insight into their own behavior and how people actually perceive them.
At the same time, narcissists are walking contradictions. While they exude the perception of confidence and at every turn display a bombastic ego, what’s really going on inside is a very different story.
They are slave to the opinions and validations of others. They need their legion of minions and followers just to get to an emotional level of ‘feeling good.’ They cannot regulate their own self-esteem or their own sense of self-worth, so while they need these others to make them feel good, the Narcissist will hate them for his or her dependence on them and their gullibility for following someone he or she knows is a total fraud . They also hate their own weakness for needing these same people they believe are so beneath them.
When you understand that their primary objective is to obtain supply at all costs, their behavior starts to make sense and can actually become predictable. They lie to make themselves look good and attract followers (supply), they make up stories and tell the tale over and over again and each time it’s an even greater exaggeration of the truth. Anyone that opposes them or threatens to expose them gets the wrath of all wraths, which is meant to destroy their antagonists and serve as a warning for others. They lack insight into their own behavior so they cannot see it for what it is and they are so used to having people agree with them and pumping them up, that they believe the are entitled to lie and blow their own horn.
If you’re ever at a point where you are wondering if the person you’re with is lying and telling stories I’d say the mere fact that you’re wondering is a very big red flag. Every story, achievement or victory should pass the sniff test. That means – is there proof? Is there a record of it? You can’t always trust witnesses because if they are followers their version of reality isn’t necessarily truth. The most important factor is how your partner reacts. If you question a supposed event and they fly off into a rage, deflect or attack you – you’ve got your answer.
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I love all of your articles, and your attention to detail as you explain the many different behaviors and character traits of narcissists is on point ☺️ I don’t believe you “brought politics into it” at all, you simply provided an example of a person in politics that exhibits many of the traits you’re describing. Anyone that pays attention can see for themselves that Trump fits the criteria if they examine him objectively. BTW, yes, ppl are so divided here in America when it comes to partisan politics. It’s toxic and downright disturbing sometimes. Great article
Heike, that is outstanding! He probably sent her the flowers, well, without he did.
Mine would send them to a friend who would then deliver them and when I looked unhappy because…what’s wrong with our address and it’s an obvious ploy to pretend to be so loving…I was the ungrateful one.
I wish I could be up to his standards and pretend to be …oh…so grateful…play his game. I can’t. He’s playing with our marriage and more importantly our family, our children I’m trying to protect….I really wish I wasn’t so weak…but I wasn’t being weak, just dissapointed.
This was my experience…call him out on a lie or just simply contradict him and it was if I had accused him of murdering an innocent child?! His reaction was so over the top each and every time! His face would turn bright red and distorted and his body launguage was so threatening. “Are you calling me a liar?!!!” I even tried to soften the argument with, “I’m not calling you a liar, perhaps you just don’t have the facts right or all the information or you have forgotten you said that, etc… but that was a good enough excuse for a full out fight and of course, he was justified. And again, I would be left doubting myself. Because if what I had said caused such a reaction, perhaps I was wrong? And of course, I didn’t want the one I was so dependant upon to be so upset and angry, he might just leave me. Ooh, as I right this I can really see the similarities with my parents. Such a scary place for a child to be in! And so they wind their deceitful web, tying it a little more tightly with each contradiction. No wonder they break us down. But what I’m trying to work out is, why do they get so angry? Is it because their whole existance, the front they put on is a lie? Omg I could actually feel sorry for him Oh No, that’s being an empath!
This description of a narcissist above is the exact same description of a ‘senior’ social worker whom Ive had the unfortunate task of being in the receiving end and trying to fight back re my grandchildren. These people should be certified insane and banned from ‘leading’ a group which can cause destruction in childrens and adults lives.
I’m in agreement. Thank you for saying something. I was married to a covert narcissist who is still a children’s therapist (of all professions) and it’s unfortunately a lost cause to attempt any sane movements towards justice as her flying monkeys are also within the system in our state. I have chosen to deal with my situation as passively as possible in hopes that she can move on to another job and perhaps the system can then be rid of her influence. There are really good people in social work, however the work does seem to attract a disproportionate number of narcissists, or at least willing narcissist supply that is then manipulated by a few in stronger positions of power. I’m amazed at how children’s best interests can be minimized. I wish you luck, steadfastness and a filter for the gaslighting that may be thrown your way through your experience.
Savannah, I personally don’t have any issues with you bringing up narcissism in the same sentence with Donald Trump. We don’t get to pick and choose narcissists that we like and don’t like. They are either one or they are not. I am a Republican and can be fairly certain he is very much a narcissist. For all of you wondering some of the characteristics … his picture would be next to the definition. You are an AMAZING, INTELLIGENT, GIFTED writer. I’ve studies these traits extensively after many years of experiencing narcissists. You are the best I have found in your defining/diagnosing and articulating the definition of narssisism. Unless you have been with one you have no idea what you have experienced. Thank YOU for sharing. You are a brilliant educator/writer.
I can agree with most of what is written here.
However, why oh why do you go political ??
AS A PROFESSIONAL, YOU KNOW BETTER.
the entire column would have stood fine with out this added comment.
care to add one about another president?
stain on my dress!!
He wasn’t a Narcissist. I generally stay away from politics. I’m not American – I’ve got no ponies in this race. I mentioned it because it supported a point. That’s all.
Savannah – I love your articles and they have gotten me through the darkest of times. Bringing politics into it does nothing but alienate part of your audience. I don’t agree with your premise of our President but love all your other advice!
I totally agree. I always felt it comforting to go to your blog but dont know if I will return seeing that you have entered into politics. I support President Trump for all he is doing for the American people and dont agree with the reference.
Patricia – so if someone doesn’t agree with your politics you will no longer listen to anything they have to say on any other subject? This is a big problem America.
Savannah you are dead on including Trump’s quote. He is the most glaring and public example of everything a narcissist represents. Anyone who takes offense is in denial as we all have probably been in our narcissistic relationships. It’s a well known fact that many leaders unfortunately have this affliction.
Sandra I think the more telling aspect of the comments I’m getting is all about the division – the message seems to be “if you don’t agree with my politics then I can’t like you or support you in any way.” It’s so partisan in the States. Where I come from our leader looks like a Disney prince, everyone regardless of party, thinks he’s an idiot and we go on with our day. We don’t take it so seriously, so it’s interesting to see it first hand.
Dear Savannah, I’ve been a huge fan of yours for a very long time, and your insight over the years has been so helpful to me in understanding the horrible experience with my narcissist ex. Your strategies for continuing to heal have been more helpful than you’ll ever know…. and I’m very grateful.
But I also wanted to express my thoughts about the reply you made… in reference to ‘our leader looks like a Disney prince, everyone regardless of party, thinks he’s an idiot….’
I have to admit reading this was a trigger for me.
My narcissist would use words like that to diminish me and my thoughts and opinions.
It was a strategy for control and superiority….and to break down my self worth.
‘Everyone thinks you’re overreacting’
‘Everyone thinks you’re too emotional’
”Everyone we know thinks you’re not a good communicator and can’t understand a word you say.’
I’m also a Canadian, and certainly have my thoughts about our country’s leader, but I don’t think that everyone shares my opinion…or thinks he is what I feel he may be.
And one of the things I have learned from my narcissist, is that I don’t use generalized terms like ‘Everyone, no one, never, or always’…. when trying to express my opinion or point of view to someone.
Those terms …when used by my narcissist…. were weapons meant to isolate me… and make me think that since I was the ‘only one’ who thought a certain way, and ‘everyone’ else thought the way he did, I was obviously wrong…. again.
Savannah, I always look forward to your articles–always very affirming and helps me keep moving forward. So true about surrounding themselves with ‘yes’ people… the narc I dated had almost exclusively women “friends” – no men. (w/ exception of one male friend from high school – who I never met but he seemed in awe of this guy–“he could enter a bar and call every woman “honey”… yea, something to be in awe of… (?) I guess, if you’re a narc.
It’s amazing to me, all of these women friends just want the small pieces of his time/attention that they can get. And, they are always there to support/believe all of the crazy stories (lies) he weaves about his exes. You are totally right – they just re-tell the stories and revise until their target looks crazy. So true about the narc needing new fresh supply always– the narc I knew just joined two new groups at church…. it’s all about new supply.
Thank you for all you–
“They are slave to the opinions and validations of others. They need their legion of minions and followers just to get to an emotional level of ‘feeling good.’” When I read this I thought of my ex — who I run into fairly often in our tiny town — and how it must be getting harder for him to get supply. He is nearing 70, is getting those big liver spots that don’t heal, and has a red road map on his face from all his drinking. In short, he’s losing his looks. What I wondered as I read this is won’t he need MORE supply now that age is deteriorating his good looks? If supply is indeed a type of addiction for them, won’t they need more and more to get the same level of high? My father (the original N in my life) grew more and more isolated and came to openly disdain people by the end. He couldn’t be bothered to put on the facade of glowing youth and possibility that had defined him all his life. It was like we could see the true disconnect that he lived within. My ex had to go for a younger woman after me. He has money so in a way he can buy love but I just wondered: have you noticed an escalation of need for supply as people age? Aging sure is scary and your self-esteem takes a dent or two just from losing youth and beauty. How do narcissists cope I wonder? Any thoughts?
I can’t provide an answer–I have often wondered the same thing (my ex is 70 now). And these narcissists are SO preoccupied with the appearance of others, exchanging partners as they feel the current one no longer provides the appropriate image of a chosen companion. But do they not see themselves? Are they delusional when they look in the mirror, when they see their waistlines expand and their hair falling out? I especially think of Trump, who has turned into a blimp, whose wrinkles have multiplied, and whose hair (his ultimate physical pride and joy) is thinning to the point he will soon be balding. This HAS to bother him, right?
It is so sad to think of all the people who married or entered serious relationships thinking their love would last and that they would grow old together, only to discover there was no love there (ever) and they would be replaced when their imperfections got in the way of their partner’s agenda.
Vicke Lee, I like your response. It made me think of how my father just kept going for women younger and younger until he was dating women my age! As my sister and I said, “Doesn’t he realize what bait he is fishing with?” But I don’t think they do. I know my ex laps up any and all attention but is astute enough to say he understands about the age difference and to act humble…until he gets you. Then once you love the guy…bam! He uses every destructive tactic at his command. I think part of the drug is the high of destroying a strong, beautiful and YOUNG person. I had a dream once he had his foot on the back of my neck as I knelt before him. He was crowing with victory. Destroying something beautiful and kind is ‘supply’, too.
Savannah, you hit the nail on the head with your article of a narcissist and their feeling of “grandiose thinking”. My ex was a pro at telling lies. He told them so often he had me believing them. But as soon as I figured out that his stories were lies, l began confronting him on his lies. That’s when I became the mean person and not his sweet angel. I asked him why he lied and was treating me so bad. He said I was not the woman he married. We recently ran into each other at the voting place. We talked and exchanged that we still had feelings for each other, then he gave me a loving kiss. He came by the house the next day and started in being critical on the same old things I was doing wrong. When I reminded him he said I “accept you just the way you are”, He left, thank goodness. He is becoming less toxic every time I talk to him. He is 75 and living a very lonely life, his problem not mine.
Just had a phone call from the police as Exnarc is accusing me of sending flowers and a threatening card in his name to his new supply…
I don’t even know her name or know where she lives/works..
Four months no contact and he still tries to get under my skin, they are relentless!!
Luckily I have an “alibi” when the flowers were ordered…
Savannah,thank you, good as always. You saved my life two years ago, when I was thinking I was going insane. You taught me that I wasn’t and I got out from the relationship and things are improving since then. I just wanted to add my little advice here: guys, don’t even trust written proofs (records) of anything. Always trust only your instincts. My ex forged his own divorce papers, with signature of his wife, lawyers, the judge…. So… you get the point: they won’t stop at anything….