*Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love – NPD criteria DSM4
Have you ever had a conversation with someone, who you know is rather arrogant, and all of a sudden, they start boasting something about themselves (their abilities, work, appearance, achievements, sexual prowess) that is so outlandish and obviously untrue, that you have to stop yourself from laughing out loud?
In these types of conversations, it may take you a few seconds to realize, by their straight face, that they’re serious. But by that time, there’s an awkward silence, you’ve done an internal eye roll and that little voice inside your head is bouncing all over the place and it keeps asking, “Oh my God. Are they serious? This is a joke right?”
If you have, you know what it’s like to have a conversation with a Narcissist. The word conversation is probably somewhat generous, because the exchange is often a one-sided, self-promo on someone whose primary aim is to convince you of how incredible they are.
You can usually tell they’re in this delusional state by the smug look on their face. If challenged you can be sure that you will be faced with a verbal assault, either to your face or behind your back. This begs the question, do they really believe what they’re boasting about?
The fact that they’re so defensive leads one to believe that they know it’s a smoke screen and that they’re upset at being discovered and called out. However, if they repeat a lie often enough, it takes on the air of truth in their own mind. The lengths they can go to to perpetuate a lie are remarkable. This is indicative of someone who is preoccupied with image and perception, rather than reality.
If you pair that with their sense of entitlement, it’s almost as if they feel they have the right to make up whatever they want and have an expectation that you will believe it.
The perception of being a successful business person is just as important than actually being a successful business person – the perception of sexual prowess is more important than the reality. This isn’t to say that they don’t want or wish for actual success, it implies that in the absence of reality, perception will do.
Living in fantasy world might seem to be the proverbial empty calories, but it still accomplishes the necessary task of filling them up.
While there are Narcissists that do achieve success, the vast majority are often too crippled by insecurity and doubt to put in the time and effort success requires. Many will latch onto successful partners and siphon opportunities and connections through them.
They seem to be singularly focused on perpetuating this superior image to others. It allows them to obtain the supply they so desperately need. Obtaining this supply is always their number one priority. It is the monster inside of them that constantly needs to be fed. The false image they’ve created is a tool, like a fork, which allows them to facilitate their feed.
The Narcissist is never at a loss for company and they purposely surround themselves with flying monkeys – people who give their unfaltering devotion and who jump to do their bidding. These flying monkeys make it easy for them to live in fantasy land. They believe their lies even when presented with the truth. They back up their stories, provide alibis, eye-witness accounts and they help to grow the legend.
The key for all those recovering from Narcissistic abuse is to not accept people or words at face value. Demand proof. Hold people accountable and always make sure that words match actions.
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