Being mentally little children, who feel small and insignificant in a world of giants, narcississts likewise are always on the lookout for an opportunity to make themselves feel important. Like little children they play "Pretend."
For example, I know of a man whose first family moved out on him, and, when another woman and her children moved in, they were overjoyed at the sight of the swingset and the basketball hoop. You could tell those poor kids had nothing and suddenly felt rich.
But letting their delight in these things show was a big mistake. The jerk suddenly stopped mowing back by the swingset, so that the weeds grew so tall around it they couldn't play on it. And he started parking old junker cars underneath the basketball hoop.
It was so obvious -- because that was the only part of the lawn not mowed, and there was no need to park those vehicles right under the basket. Those boys often looked wistfully at it, but I never heard them ask if they could play.
I'm sure I know why they didn't.
Been there. Everyone who's ever lived with a narcissist has.
My mother told me about about a man many years ago, whose sons worked hard all week on the farm (back in the days when they chopped wood, milked cows by hand, and plowed with horses). They had to come and ask him every Friday evening for a little money to spend at the local dance. And he always took off on a long walk out in the fields to make them chase him all the way out there for their pay.
I used to call it playing "Keep Away." Psychologists call it "witholding."
By witholding whatever they know you want, narcissists make themselves feel important. If you are observant of little children, you'll notice they do the same thing. For example, a child can be bored with a toy and about to leave it lay -- till she notices that some other child wants it: then she plays Keep Away.
Never forget that: the narcissist you are dealing with is full grown but every bit the three-year-old, and not a sweet one, either. He or she is case of arrested development, a person still living in that childish world of make-believe where everything is "Pretend." Pretend you're grown up by putting on Mom or Dad's clothes and play-acting "grownup." Pretend you're important by play-acting like you are.
It's a power play too, of course.
I know a woman in whom it's a knee jerk reaction: whenever someone says "Will you...?" or "Can I...?" the first thing out of her mouth is, "You'll have to wait." However long you can wait, she will make you wait longer.
They often have to make you beg or grovel too.
When they see your eyes light on something you want, they look at it and see nothing but a stick to use as leverage on you. It's the Teeter-Totter Game, to make you pray to them for it.
Just think how awful it must be to have to constantly do crazy stuff like that to kill the pain of that deep, down wretched self-concept you must constantly flee into denial of. If they didn't cruelly hurt others, I would feel sorry for them.
Moreover, most of them had brothers and sisters who went through the same thing in childhood but didn't turn out that way.