In order to function, a narcissist, whether they are an adult or child needs
“narcissistic supply.” Narcissistic supply is the things, people, emotions, or
situations that internally generate strapping feelings of self-importance and
grandiosity. These feelings can start at an early age and are commonly found
in the narcissist’s exaggerated version of their life achievements or talents to
the point of pathological lying. Narcissists are categorized as either Cerebral
or Somatic. Cerebrals derive their narcissistic supply from their intelligence,academic achievements and so forth, whereas Somatics derive their narcissistic supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess, and “conquests.” Not unlike the sociopath, narcissists without proportionate successes will demand (either overtly or covertly) to be recognized as superior.
With striking similarity to the narcissist, the sociopath is nearly always male
and they “place self-interest above all other considerations and are masters
at rationalizing their actions, the responsibility for which they often attribute
to someone else” (Nance, 2003, pp. 85–86).
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- The stories told are usually dazzling or fantastical, but never breach the limits of plausibility, which is key to the pathological liar’s tact. The tales are not a manifestation of delusion or some broader type ofpsychosis; upon confrontation, the teller can admit them to be untrue, even if unwillingly.
- The fabricative tendency is chronic; it is not provoked by the immediate situation or social pressure so much as it is an innate trait of the personality. There is some element of dyscontrol present.
- A definitely internal, not an external, motive for the behavior can be discerned clinically: e.g., long-lasting extortion or habitual spousal battery might cause a person to lie repeatedly, without the lying being a pathological symptom.
- The stories told tend toward presenting the liar favorably. The liar “decorates their own person” by telling stories that present them as the hero or the victim. For example, the person might be presented as being fantastically brave, as knowing or being related to many famous people, or as having great power, position, or wealth.
Pathological lying may also present as false memory syndrome, where the sufferer genuinely believes that fictitious (imagined) events have taken place. The sufferer may believe that he or she has accomplished superhuman feats or awe-inspiring acts of altruism and love — or has committed equally grandiose acts of diabolical evil, for which the sufferer must atone, or indeed has already atoned in her/his fantasies.