Why do Narcissists Lie?

Why do narcissists lie? “Because they can”…as the cliché goes. Seriously, many narcissists do lie and they lie constantly. They lie about their education, they lie about their achievements, and they lie about extramarital affairs or what they had for dinner. If someone else is boasting about their 2012 Mercedes, a narcissist will claim (s)he has a 2013 Mercedes just to make her/himself appear more superior.

Narcissists may lie for a variety of reasons which include seeking admiration or to hide their flaws or mistakes. They commonly lie to seek attention. In some cases, a person with this type of personality disorder will lie in order to make the person (s)he is lying to question their own sense of reality.

Narcissists use lying and deception as handy tools to get whatever they want. A narcissist will look you right in the eyes, without blinking, and lie right to your face. Narcissists become so skilled at lying that many of them believe that they are telling the truth. Others use constant lying as a way of controlling the people around them.

Probably the most common lie is due to the unusually strong need a narcissistic person has for people to admire him or her. In an effort to make her/himself feel more important, or more talented, or powerful than(s) he is, an individual with a narcissistic personality may grossly exaggerate when he tells of his or her accomplishments. It is not beneath him or her to tell lies about another person in an effort to diminish the other person’s accomplishments. By doing so, a narcissistic person believes he will make himself or herself seem better in the eyes of those around him.

Another very common reason for lying is evident in the narcissist’s need to gain attention. It is not unusual for them to make up stories about themselves in an effort to make others view them as more interesting. Narcissists may also tell lies in order to make people feel sorry for them in an effort to seek attention as a victim. They have been known to tell people they have cancer or some other disease when, in fact, they don’t.

Types of Lies

What types of lies do they tell? The following examples of “conscious” lies are what a narcissistic 16 year old might say to her parents when they left her home “alone” for a night: (These examples are compiled by Randi Kreger from BPDcentral.com. Read her full article Here.)

  1. Lies of omission: telling the truth but not the whole truth in a way designed to mislead (“While you were gone I watched a DVD”–not mentioning the five people who were also over and who drank beer).
  2. Not speaking up when asked a direct question: (Silence when asked, “What did you do when we were gone?”)
  3. Making up facts that are not true: (“I did my homework while you were gone”).
  4. Embellishing the truth is a way that misleads: (“I took care of the cat”–meaning she petted it a few times but forgot to feed him on time or change the litter box).
  5. Insisting that a truth is a falsehood: (“I did not have friends over!”).
  6. “Gaslighting”: an attempt to erode another’s reality by denying their experience (“No, the house looks exactly like it did when you left. Is there something wrong with your vision?”).
  7. Acknowledging the truth but assigning motives that were never there to make yourself look better: (“Yes, I had people here but only because I was so lonely without you that I was getting very depressed and started crying”).
  8. Keeping secrets for the wrong reasons: (One of the friends stole the mother’s expensive earrings).

Unconscious Lies

There are also unconscious lies that the narcissist believes on a conscious level. Being truthful takes the ability to be honest with yourself, because if you’re not honest with yourself- you won’t be honest with others. For example:

  1. When a narcissist says that everyone loves and respects her when it’s obvious to others it’s not true, that’s an unconscious lie.
  2. They project their own feelings onto others. For instance, their “You hate me,” means “I hate myself” (or “I hate you”). These tend to be more “untruths” rather than overt lies.

Attitude toward Lying

If you have to deal with a narcissist, you face a major problem; it is the narcissist’s attitude towards lying.

Most adults have learned that lying tends to be destructive in the end and that it ultimately leads to isolation and loneliness. It hinders any sincere communication and hence the narcissist will find her/himself increasingly on the outside and eventually excluded.

However, as much as the narcissist notices this isolation and may react with increasing panic, it does not bring about a modification of the narcissist’s lying, which is one of their major coping strategies.
The attitude of the narcissist towards lying is immature and simple: If the narcissist lies and gets away with it, (s)he interprets this as being clever and superior to others. The narcissist views lying as an excellent tool to obtain what (s)he wants; it is also a means to demonstrate how stupid others are. A person who wishes to engage in real communication, or shows openness, will be viewed by the narcissist as an utter fool who deserves to be exploited. Willingness to communicate and to show openness will be viewed by the narcissist as weakness or stupidity.

The Effect of Lies

Whether conscious or unconscious lies, the results are the same for the people involved in narcissistic peoples’ lives:

  • Lies erode trust and intimacy. One man said,” I learned never to really trust her. It leaves me feeling very alone in the relationship. I don’t trust her about our finances. I don’t trust her regarding the parenting of our children. I don’t trust her with my heart anymore. I simply don’t trust her.”
  • Some people come to believe the lies that the narcissist tells about them. A man went to therapy for years to “fix himself” until a therapist indicated his wife might have NPD.
  • Narcissists confuse and paralyze others around them—especially when they use gaslighting which drives others to question their own sanity.
  • It is an understatement to say that the people around them feel betrayed and hurt. Betrayal leads to a lack of trust, which reduces intimacy, which destroys relationships.

References:

  1. www.bpdcentral.com/blog/?Why-Do-Narcissists-and-Borderlines-Lie-So-Much-24
  2. www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stop-walking-eggshells/201112/why-some-narcissists-and-borderlines-lie?page=2
  3. http://www.chameleongroup.org.uk/npd/lies.html
  4. http://wisegeek.com/what-is-the-connection-between-narcissism-and-lying.htm#did-you-know
Share with your friends









Submit

About Alexander Burgemeester

12 Responses to “Why do Narcissists Lie?”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. ziba says:

    I enjoyed your articles.
    I am dealing with narcissist too and unfortunately he is my husband.

  2. Debra says:

    Tell me please. How does one deal with a person of this nature if one has no choice? Should they be confronted with their lies? Can one prevent it in their children? If so, how?

    • Gary says:

      Knowing whether someone is a true narcissist, or just a selfish jerk isn’t an easy determination to make. Narcissist are rare. I’ve met lots of selfish jerks in my life, but only two people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

      I bring that up first, because it makes all the difference in the world when dealing with that other person. NPD is a severe mental illness. People who suffer from NPD don’t form intimate connections with the people in their lives in the way that that the rest of us do. Narcissist want to attention and to be admired by the masses, but other than that, the narcissist is only concerned with what they can use you for. Even with their own parents or children, while they may feel some sense of entitlement or social expectations for them to behave in a certain way as members of a family or as parents to their own kids, but they lack any genuine feelings of love. Understanding that, it’s easy to see why a narcissist doesn’t have a problem with constantly telling you lies. It would be kinda like you telling lies to a virtual girl on a computer screen. No matter how disgusted the virtual girl became with hearing your lies, it wouldn’t really bother you.

      Narcissist care about your feelings about as much as you care about a chicken’s feelings. All they really want is for you to give them their required attention and admiration, and anything else just isn’t important. The only way for a narcissist to be able to tolerate being around someone else, is if they can find some way to gain from the situation. Even with their own children, the narcissist will accept the social responsibility of being a parent, but their real motivation will be to use the child as tool to get attention or praise from others.

      Narcissist feel that telling lies is a necessary part element required to manipulate you and everyone else in their life, and instead of complaining, you should just be grateful that they’ve allowed you to be in their life at all.

      Telling the narcissist that it wrong to tell lies and that it hurts people would be a complete waste of your air. They can’t understand how something that’s so good for them can be a bad thing; regardless of who else gets hurt.

      If on the other hand, said person is just a selfish jerk who is capable of being a better person with the proper motivation, the Yes, by all means tell them what you really think!

  3. It’s the best time to make a few plans for the future and it’s time to be happy.

    I have learn this put up and if I could I desire to counsel
    you some interesting things or tips. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article.

    I want to learn more issues approximately it!

  4. paris says:

    Yep they lie!!!
    I spent almost three years with the Lying King!
    Thank God, I am done and didn’t marry this despicable human being.
    They are serial killers of the soul!!

    • Lou says:

      Best description ever – serial killers of the soul. My other half’s ex still has emotional issues now and it’s only in the last couple of years I’ve realised he lied about her. He’s been lying about me to his friends – he tells them I’m jealous and possessive when I’ve never been any such thing – we just have trust issues because he slept with his ex behind my back (denied I existed to her so I don’t blame her), joined dating websites and blocks me on Facebook once he started adding new female “friends” He needs their adoration and he lies about me to get it. Poor man with the jealous girlfriend. Yes we have trust issues and he tells them all that but he doesn’t tell them what he did to break my trust… And now he’s stopped me socialising with his friends… I can’t decide if he’s jealous when they say they like me (actually he is he even said it makes him sick haha) or if he’s worried I’ll find out just how bad the lies about me are (I suspect it’s that TOO)…. Either way I’ve put up with it for 11 years – his ex lasted 12 years… But now I’m done. Narcissists are not human… When they say they love you they mean they love how you make them feel… Superior, wonderful, loved…. They don’t care how they make you feel when they have narcissistic episodes and don’t dare tell them.. They can’t handle the truth about themselves… Eventually you will display signs of mental Ill health and bang their friends will say oh my gosh he was right about her… Poor man and so it goes on… Serial killers of the soul…. Spot on. I’m done too x

  5. June says:

    I would like to find other people to talk with, for support. The lies, the smear campaigns and finding and using your own friends to use against you to make you appear crazy. I have never known anyone like it. Amazing people will listen to someone so totally nuts. Seeking attention and claiming to be the victim.

    • Light One says:

      Dear June,
      I would also like to talk to other people dealing with a narcissist. I had no idea what I was getting into when I married my prince charming, and it has been a steady pattern of destroying my confidence and the professional loving happy woman I was when when met. I have to move forward and feel so confused. I wish you well. What is your situation?

    • movies989 says:

      Amazing isn’t it that the people who actually are the victim don’t seek out attention.

  6. Summer says:

    I have been married to a narcissist for 8 years now. The major gaslighting has left me questioning my own sanity on a daily basis. He has been physically abusive in the past and when he’s drinking and or taking drugs(lies about this) demorilizes myself and my children. Most recently he has lied to my children about me.
    I never had him arrested in the past( I felt sorry for him). He was never really “sorry” for anything he ever did to me or diminishes what he did and angerly replies “I apologized for that!” I’m separated from him now and will get a restraining order tomorrow. He texted me 28 times yesterday “where are you?”
    I’m surprised I made it this far. The control was out of control.
    Run don’t walk if you meet this type of person. Get out while you can.

  7. ct says:

    Hey I just got out of a relationship and I did doubt it for a little while on and off but I think she probably has NPD. We met through work, she lives 3300 miles away. She is 8 years older (im 25) She is a single parent looking after her daughter (who twice recovered from kidney cancer). Her son lives with her ex husband. She got very involved with me very quickly and I had not experienced any relationship as meaningful as the one I thought I was in with her. Here are some of the texts she sent me like 2 or 3 weeks after speaking to her for the first time:
    “I love you. I dont believe in much religion but I do in fate. I love you more than I thought I could. You make me feel sexy and gorgeous. You also make me smile”

    “I haven’t felt that way in a very long time. I hope one day you’ll want yo spend the rest of your life with me. I promise to make you happy sweetie. Love you:-*”

    Now very early on.. she would act jealous and overprotective. I would be hanging out with my guy friends.. and if I was maybe 1 hour late after saying I would call her.. she would flip out. Start crying. So I would too.. professing my love for her and devotion to her in no uncertain terms. Then we would make up. Being so far apart the relationship was largely me spending the early hours of the morning on skype with her. She was very sexy, very alluring. Very naughty minded. She would constantly ask me to get her pregnant. Would outright say that she wanted a life with me. It seems so naive now as it was so early on in the relationship. Then soon after, she started talking the many guy friends she has on social media. I could see her snapchat count going up. She would claim she was busy but I would still see her available on various apps. She made me feel terrible for questioning her on anything, like I was smothering her, being overprotective, overbearing, controlling etc.
    So she was planning to come over to the uk. While she was doing this.. I found out from another guy I work with that she was planning to meet with him when she was over. Just for their kids to meet, they both insisted. I questioned her about it for ages. She said I should date a few other girls. But would still get.. intimate with me over Skype. It seemed like she was confused… and on and off, on and off.. I would doubt her then feel terrible for it. She still met up with me when she came over in august. We took a train journey to the town in work in (the town my coworker lives in). She kissed me twice on the journey… i was starting to think that things would be ok. I genuinely had barely ever been happier. She had got dressed up nice. But showed no interest in any of the suggestions I had for what we could do that evening (go for a nice meal, take a walk in my home town). On that train journey she grabbed my phone from me and started reading messages to a friend I had confided in about my relationship problems. Some messages I had sent said that I had nude pictures of her and felt like posting them and that it was no less than she deserved. We got off the train.. she broke down.. stopped talking to me.. sent the messages to her phone so that she could read them later. Made me get back on a train in the other direction “or she would walk for good”. So I did. She told me she might come to my house but she needed time to think. So I got to my home town, and waited for her at the station. She loved me right? So she would come. But she called me and said she had decided to go back to London. So i asked for proof. She eventually sent me a picture of her hotel room.. so of course I felt awful. How could I keep putting her through this with my lack of trust? If all she said to me was the truth.. then this woman was perfect right?
    So i knew she had a good time with my work colleague that weekend. They seemed to hit it off and started posting pics of them together and their kids together on facebook. During the few weeks that followed I was still in contact with her. One day she called me on skype, appeared to break down and then told me that she had slept with my coworker and that he had got her pregnant. She even went into detail about how it all went down. She claimed to be so hurt by the message to my friend that he had picked her up that night. They had been relaxing on the sofa, he had been comforting her and then it happened. He had been a little rough with her the first time on the sofa.. then went upstairs and did it again. My reaction to this was one of complete subservience. I said I was ok with it as long as she still wanted me and not him and that it was all just a mistake.
    She then backtracked and said it was all a lie, and that I always assumed the worst of her. Time went on, my perceived jealousy and insecurity persisted (hahaha) and we kept arguing. She told me the truth about them and backtracked a couple of times. We argued alot.. I would block her as she maintained that we could only be friends and I would tell her I wasn’t comfortable with it as I still wanted more. She would then start to say she loves both of us. “But him and I are not how you think, we connect as adults, we talk about life” she would say. I live with my parents. He lives with his daughter, with a spare room in his own house, in a country she wants desperately to move to. I would continue to question her about her snapchat count and status and stuff. She still said we could be f… buddies. She said I should visit her there and help her move. Everything I’ve read about Ns ticks all the boxes with her.
    So one day a couple of weeks ago.. she finally tells me the truth for the final time. I am in work… she says he doesn’t want to see her any more because of the distance, that they did sleep together that night, and that she got pregnant. She told him she miscarried and then told him she hadn’t. I confronted him and he admitted it. He said “sorry mate these things happen”. I said they had both lied to me about it for so long. He maintained that he had said nothing to me. Which is mostly true. We had one conversation where he was kind of condescending and said there were plenty more fish in the sea. I hated him so much for this. I projected alot of my anger on him. All part of her plan. So i left work, AWOL. I put a brick through the back window of his new car. She nearly drove me to suicide.. I spent the whole day working out how I would end it. Eventually the night came and I got cold and hungry. And went home. Such a lucky escape. So she is still planning to move in with him. One of her friends (who she had always told me not to speak to as she just liked to sleep around, was a blabber mouth etc) has since revealed that she used to leave her daughter with one of her guy friends (they used to date) and would go out to bars and not be back when she said she would.
    I had little to no repercussions from damaging his car.. I’ve since told everyone I trust in the office about my coworker and about her. My bosses referred me to occupational health as I had mentioned that I was very very low that day. But between that time I read about NPD. I wondered if I was just being bitter about losing her… but I really see that I had the lucky escape in that I didn’t have money or material possessions to give her. Life with her would have been unbearable. She never once conceded that she was wrong on any point. She would occasionally say she never meant to hurt me. She would always contradict herself.. even in the same sentence. She would reply to my completely cogent points with “I’m not going back and forth. I cant deal with the stress”. When I eventually made up my mind that she had NPD.. I told her that in the most well meaning way.. she should seek therapy. Not that she will. She told me to “stop trying to be somebody”.
    If anyone has made it this far, thank you so much for your time. I’m in a good place now.. its all very fresh but I feel a sense of great pride that nearly all of my instincts were correct about her.. I just had too much belief in humankind and was too open with the wrong person. I know to set myself boundaries in my next relationship, to see the warning signs. She blocked me on everything.. but I still have to see his face every day at work. I’m not just being bitter or nasty as I know he will get manipulated hard too.. and stands to lose more.. but he is one ugly hunchback weasel. Then again I know the lengths she would go to try to isolate me “don’t speak to anyone else about our personal business. What is between us is between us” etc.
    When I told her I was suicidal that day.. she was more concerned with the damage to his car than my wellbeing. She said “well if you kill yourself you are stupid. You have family”. A valid point but expressed in a way only a truly heartless narcissist devoid or genuine empathy/emotional truly can. The realisation that it was fake only now leaves me with a feeling of slight disappointment that it didn’t work out. All of this was over 4 months. I also now feel a lucky escape.. given that if I had a baby with her like I planned to.. It still would certainly not have stopped her urges to sleep around. She is broken. I wanted so much to help her given all that she had told me about her life.. but that is what narcs feed on. Or at least that is how I perceive it. Anyway…
    There’s so much more that I could say but.. I think I’ve typed enough now.
    We will all get over these unfortunate monsters. I will love again.. as will all of you. It felt good when I thought it was reciprocated. Now I know how good it will feel when it REALLY is. Haven’t even had a response yet but this was very cathartic to type out. Thanks in advance lol.

    Peace everyone. ;)

  8. At the time you may feel as though nothing is going to be achieved through the
    discussion; you might be creating your own self doubt by not
    believing that you’re worthy of being listened to and recognising that you have a problem.

    When a specified question is being asked, in normal circumstance, the
    eye will probably be looking to the left to recall the pictures
    inside the memory. Give your suspect more than enough
    room to make errors and ensure that you do not ever accuse him if you don’t have proof that might be used in court if necessary.
    Although, going the first sort route can be be extremely costly obviously, although within the event that
    it indicates everything to you personally, you could like to make sure that out.
    A conviction is a conviction, is really a conviction, period.
    If in the event that you’re trying to get an authorities
    spot that you make admissions pertaining on the background, do so when you complete the application.

Leave A Comment...

*