Saturday, January 06, 2007

Why Narcissists Lie Like Crazy

Why is a narcissist's pathological lying so bizarre? Because it is just "pretending."

We can imagine it. Well, unless you've never pretended anything.

Let's say that someone wants you to go somewhere. You don't want to but feel a need to spare the other person's feelings by saying that you are busy with some big project that day. You're on the phone, talking with him or her, pretending to be taking time out from this project. As you describe the work you're doing, do you notice something?

In your mind, you actually BELIEVE what you're saying.

Hopefully, only till you hang up the phone. That's what pretending is. Now imagine being stuck in that mode. Unable to step back out of the Looking Glass Room. Rather like a child who has an imaginary friend and expects Mother to set a place for that friend at the dinner table.

That's why narcissists tell you lies they know you couldn't possibly believe. They are just children playing Pretend. Like any little child playing Pretend, they get mad at any other child who doesn't play along. They cry, "No! You're not supposed to say/do THAT! You're supposed to say/do THIS!"

That's all narcissists want: they just want you to play along. Otherwise you make it hard for them to pretend.

But they couldn't care less what you think. Indeed, you DON'T think in their game of Pretend, because you are just a character in a work of fiction they author by revising reality serendipitously on the fly. You know - improvisation.

More here. See also The Faces of Narcissism.

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At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That would also explain why they can lie with such apparent honesty. They honestly believe what they are saying or doing. It also explains why so few of their relationships can survive a conflict (and all humans within a long-term relationship will at least have one conflict). If the relationship is to continue, then the conflicting party must accept their version of events or the relationship must end. Just as my sister is now trying so hard to get me to take responsibility for something that I didn't do and making our relationship contingent upon my accepting or in reality, playing along.

This article also takes me back to my childhood when after one of my dad's terrorist attacks, I would try to talk to my mom about what had happened and would always be met with the reprimand of, "Oh, you always just remember the bad things." My sister never remembered or took them very seriously because she pulled inward into her own world. Nothing much has changed nearly fifty years later except my dad and my sister are now completely consumed by their imaginary world. Real life is much too dangerous for the frightened and fragile persons that they truly are.


At 5:43 PM, Blogger Louise said...

This makes so much sense! I have never understood WHY the lies are so frequent, especially when they are easily disproved. It just defies logic.

As kids, she was the star and I was her audience, and frankly, I was okay with that. Being in the limelight never was a goal for me (which she never understood). Later, Lil Sis never seemed to really grow up. Older, yes- mature, NO.

She deeply resented my husband's taking HER place in my life- he also keeps me entertained (typical Leo) but is sweet and not at all narcissistic. (He has been so wonderful the past 3 weeks and helped my family deal with LS's suicide and the necessary aftermath) She just couldn't deal with her audience (me) growing up and developing a life of my own.

Somewhere I have a photo taken at our wedding just before the vows that is frightening in retrospect: it's a picture taken of a mirrored reflection- I am smiling and she is standing just behind me, arms up and out with hands held like claws menancingly over my head, her face drawn into an angry cartoonish snarl. Later, she said it was supposed to be a funny joke.

What sister does something like that 5 minutes before her sister's wedding?

I don't know who caught the shot- maybe an aunt. But it was so close to the truth of our relationship and I just didn't know it. Our relationship was a lie for decades.

And I just remembered something else! She said she would take my bouquet home to San Diego (I lived in Baltimore at the time) and have it professionally preserved for me while we were on our honeymoon. Later, she told me it had been ruined- I was disappointed, but she was so convincing that she felt bad about it. I wonder now.

Might be a shorter process to write down the truths told rather than the lies! Haha!

At 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Narcissists create their own reality, inside their own heads, and it has nothing to do with actual reality.

I would offer, as an example, President Bill Clinton. That is how he was able to become 'slick Willie.' (I agree that many politicians, regardless of party affiliation, may have NPD.)

At 8:57 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

My guess is that that political Ns are like Lee Harvey Oswald, insincere (he was a communist only to get attention). They will pretend to be an adherent of whatever ideology will be to their advantage...and change it if the wind shifts (viz, Jacques Chirac).

My red alert went off about Clinton, too.

The serial infidelity.

The 1000-page "My Life" PART I. Part 2 was only about 700 pages I guess :)

The agreement of all his former aids that he is notorious for blowing up at people in sudden, terrible, and inexplicable rages - only to act like it didn't happen the next day.

His aids also often report the effect of a crowd on him: "like a drug," I heard one of them say. His eyes light up and he goes into a state of bliss at the sight of a crowd paying attention to him, taking very long pauses in his speaking, with intermittent giggles, to suck every last bit of applause out of them while he beams with delight in the glow of that glory. Aids report that he often gets so wound up in turning on the charm that he makes ridiculous promises he can't keep just to suck their admiration.

The pathological lying ("I never had sexual relations with that woman" - when he knew it was but a matter of time till we got the proof that he had - and "It depends on what you say 'is' means.")

The failure to kill OBL when he had a chance. Most likely for the sake of his IMAGE, because Europe would have criticized the act.

From this distance we can't know for sure, but I'd never take a reckless chance and vote for someone I knew things like that about.


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