The Grandiosity Is a Side Issue
I do not understand why authorities generally consider grandiosity to be the chief character trait of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I have never heard a reason for this, and I cannot imagine one. Unless, of course, it is the grandiosity of the narcissist on their couch that irks a psychiatrist most.
But that's no reason to consider it the most important thing about him or her.
Frankly, I view grandiosity as one of the less important aspects of NPD. It seems to me that it is just an irrationale, an excuse to "justify" the narcissist getting what she wants. She says, "I want it and I want it now, and I should have it, no matter how much it hurts you, because I'm infinitely more important." Whack.
In other words, she thinks she's so important ONLY because deluding herself thus is the one way she can irrationalize what she's about to do to you.
Just like a three-year-old, right?
So, the grandiosity is a RESULT of the fundamental problem, not a cause. It would be more appropriate to consider childishness the most important characteristic of NPD.
And most of the narcissists I have known, or know of, did NOT come off as grandiose. Indeed, they hid it well and came off as anything but -- beneath a glib veneer of false modesty and even the "common-man" act to portray themselves as just your "regular guy." Their grandiosity is subtle. Like Mr. Hyde, it only comes roaring out in the dark, behind closed doors, when they're stomping and bullying somebody who can't fight back.
Once you're aware of their grandiosity, you can spot it in the things they say and do that betray an exaggerated sense of entitlement. Once you check up on their tall tales about themselves, you find that they are charlatans and liars who haven't done or achieved what they say they have. But most people don't see what the narcissist does in the dark; they don't notice the little things that betray an exaggerated sense of entitlement; they never check up on the tall tales.
And otherwise, all that grandiosity stays carefully hid behind the mask.
Another thing that mystifies me is why authorities almost never mention the desperate and avaricious need for all available attention. Here's an example from the main site in Getting It All:
An automobile is one place a narcissist can abide those near and dear, because they can't come between him and the only thing he will pay attention to, the road. To keep his passengers from paying attention to each other, he can bust any conversation they try to have by flying into a road rage. He is so compelled to make them stop talking to each other that he can seldom tolerate their talking long enough to find some ostensible excuse. Hence, they usually can't even tell which other driver he is supposed to be mad at, though it probably goes without saying that it's for the usual offense of "cutting him off." To get their attention off each other, he yanks the vehicle around, making reckless moves. Naturally, his passengers fall silent and shift their attention to him and everything he could crash them into.
Sneaky, eh? By the time narcissists are adults, they've learned a million tricks like that to hijack all available attention. This all-consuming need for ALL available attention is most evident in the lengths a narcissist will go to deny others present any regard or attention. And, if narcissists cannot get it all, they sulk off because they literally cannot stand to be in a place where anybody else is getting any attention! Haven't psychiatrists noticed this yet?
This addiction to attention is far more important than grandiosity. It lies at the heart of the disorder. For, the attention of others is the narcissist's mirror. She's glued to it, because she IDENTIFIES with her reflected false image in it...in this profound disorder of the self.
That's what causes all the other ramifications of NPD. The narcissist spends her whole life improving that false image, by association with the high and mighty and by vandalizing the images of all others so that hers looks good by comparison.
In other words, she tears others down to exalt herself. This is the mentality of the rapist.