Saturday, February 18, 2006

Narcissistic Grandiosity

Why does a narcissist's false image need to be so ridiculously grandiose?

A person who never outgrows the need to be the center of attention is a case of arrested development. She behaves like a little child because she thinks like a little child. And truth has no objective reality to a little child. To a child's way of thinking (Magical Thinking) yelling down any assertion to the contrary makes whatever she says true. So, the bigger the truth to deny, the louder she yells.

In other words, she regards truth as a relative quantity, not an absolute. It is determined by sheer volume.

And, by "volume," I don't necessarily mean just decibles of sound. There are other ways to make her version of the truth bigger than yours.

One way is by just being stubborner about it. This is where you get the typical childish quarrel that goes like this ...

Did!
Did not!
Did!
Did not!
Did!
Did not!
Did!
Did not!
Did!
Did not!

... till the more childish antagonist gets the last word. If you run into an adult who does that, look out. He or she may be a malignant narcissist.

Another way to make your version of the truth bigger is by sheer exaggeration. This is why, for example, children and terrorists often needlessly exaggerate a lie into a whopper: they think that by doing so, they make it more true.

Exaggeration: that's what a narcissist is doing by projecting a grandiose false image. It's her way of "shouting down" the shaming image of herself reflected in the mirror of a parent's eye.

We all internalize and carry that picture around with us our whole life. It stamps its impression deeply on our self-concept. In the case of a narcissist, it is so unlovable, abject, faulty and severely disfigured that she must paint a much thicker ("louder") coat of make-up on it than people with other personality disorders. That is, she must project a more gratifying false image to obliterate the truth.

This means that an image of herself as merely important isn't grandiose enough for the narcissist. You might think of it as too small a dose to kill the pain. I think this is why a narcissist needs to be nothing less than a god.

Yes, that's laughable, but that's the way a three-year-old thinks. This is why narcissists and many who know them say that not being the best makes a narcissist feel like they're the worst. If they're not perfect, they're contemptible. There is no middle ground.

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1 Comments:

At 7:54 AM, Anonymous Lars Johansson said...

Hello Kathy,

This seems to fit amazingly well with my former friend. What very many times happened was this, although I hadn't started it, HE started an argument AS IF I had started it. For example

He: "Everybody believes that the movie (a movie poster was seen) is about bungy jumping, but of course it is about parachuting."

Me. "I never for my life believed that the movie was about bungy jumping."

He: (annoying look as if he has his mind on both about all the people who belives so about the movie and also all stupidity in the world that he has to correct)

 

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