The “No, you!” defense
If you call them out on their crap or if they suspect you can see through their smoke and mirrors, they will say that it’s you—or others—who are all these things. Or that all of it is false and nonsense. They may even say that they are honest, caring, and authentic, and that you don’t understand these things, you are projecting, you are pretending, you are triggered, you are gaslighting, you are narcissistic—you are whatever buzzword they have learned!
Because people with narcissistic tendencies can be interested in human psychology, too. A lot of them actually work in the helping, teaching, and medical fields or pretend to be experts and intellectuals on social media. Some of them are really smart, eloquent, and popular, which makes their statements more believable to an unaware audience.
They can learn all these fancy terms and phrases, yet they often don’t understand or even care about how to apply them correctly. Here, it’s another tool for manipulation. For them, learning means finding ways to justify all of their disturbing thoughts and behaviors, or use the knowledge as a tool against others for personal gain.
They will do anything but accept reality and become a decent person—yet they can play one quite well.