Separating the Narcissist’s Delusion from Reality
In this rewritten version of history, the narcissist is the one waiting for an apology — not the other way around. This is why in the case of extreme narcissism, the narcissist may be very isolated.
We have to imagine the other perspective, if we want to grasp reality. Here are a few examples:
- The narcissist who adores their children.
The other side of this is that their offspring never received any praise. What you believe to be parental pride is actually just bragging. They’ve got the best kids. Meanwhile their children have no idea that their parent tells anyone anything about their achievements. In fact, the narcissist may show disinterest or downright disrespect for their children.It’s important to note here whether the narcissist’s adult children are in his or her life. If they’re nowhere to be seen, something is fishy with the narrative you’ve been told.
- The narcissist who has been burned by others.
They may tell you tales of rejection and heartache, but their ex may be someone who was pushed to the brink. For instance, a narcissist who cheated on his wife for a decade divorces her. He remains friendly with her, accepting her persisting praise and devotion while she hopes they will reconcile, until she begins dating again, at which point the narcissist feels abandoned. He wanted the ex to remain hung up on him and certainly didn’t want her to find someone new first.Obviously, when you look at the whole story, it’s the ex who has every right to hard feelings. So the narcissist does some editing: “I wanted her back. Anyone could see that. In the end she actually left me!”
- The benefactor narcissist.
This one gives a lot of money and time to others, whether that means to charity or personal acquaintances. But they’ve never given anything without the whole world knowing about it. They aren’t altruistic, so they can’t accept making a sacrifice without praise. If they gave to charity, everyone in their social circle would know exactly how much and when.If they gave money to a friend or family member, the part of the story you’ll never hear is how that person become beholden to them. They may have taken on the role of personal assistant, doing every little task the narcissist asked of them. The narcissist may make the other person agree with everything they say, bolstering the narcissist’s confidence and belittling the recipient. If the recipient fails to praise the narcissist, they will be cut off.
Become your own detective. When a narcissistic person tells you about his or her life, make sure you can connect the dots. Is there corroborating evidence that confirms what he or she told you? Look around their environment. Truly great people have something to show for it. Is this the life of an admirable person or have you entered an echo chamber of narcissistic delusion?