Is the Narcissist Just Deluding And Following Instincts?

Q: I have been reading quite a lot recently about NPD, in the course of trying to deal with years of trouble with my father. Can’t say if he is NPD or not, I’m not qualified, but his behaviour certainly ticks all the boxes. I think in his case it’s exacerbated by poor management of diabetes and other such things. Anyway, a question has been going round in my head about Narcissists. We often talk about the manipulation, the emotional blackmail and the cruel way they set people up as scapegoats. I’ve seen some discussions about how or what they feel. What I haven’t seen and makes me curious is how aware they are of their own behaviors? We know they will deny everything, refuse to take any responsibility and tell bare-faced incredible lies when confronted with stuff they’ve done, but do they realise they are doing that? I do feel (though I cannot know) that for my father reality really is what he says it to be that moment, although catching him in one of these fantasy-lies is a guaranteed trigger for a violent rage. What confuses me slightly as that some of these things that he does require quite a significant amount of planning and subterfuge … making up a plausible story, spreading the rumours, even planting evidence over a period of months and then a carefully orchestrated courtroom style confrontation in which I’m the only one who didn’t get a script. Even if it’s just a raging tantrum he’s managed to concoct out of nothing in a few minutes, it still seems quite a sophisticated event to put together.

All this from someone who (contrary to his belief) is not really very clever or intuitive in other aspects of life. My reading of blogs and comments leads me to believe there is nothing unique in my experience. So what are they doing? Deluding themselves and following instincts? Is it all quite simple and just seems like the creation of an evil mastermind to those of us targeted? or are they consciously assembling all of these building blocks of manipulation with full self-awareness? I never worked it out confronting him, you’ll get the threats and plate throwing long before you reach the truth. For my own sanity I’ve gone No Contact, so I’m asking you 🙂

A: Congratulations for going NO CONTACT with a toxic father, whether or not he is NPD. Who says that narcissists aren’t clever or intuitive (in some areas- such as finding people’s weak spots)? Most of them are not self-aware, their denial system is too strong. As far as NPD individuals go, they are so manipulative that they can reason their way through all kinds of outrageous behavior (including planting evidence) without it ever seeming like an untruth to them. You are right on when you suspect that what they say (not what is real) is their reality and can change moment to moment. Their egos are very fragile and they have such a strong defense system, getting through to them to uncover the truth would be like trying to break through a thick cement fortress. If you get close to winning an argument or catching them in a lie, they will become aggressive rather than “lose”. Most of them believe the old adage that the best defense is a good offense. Although the above holds true for most narcissists, there are exceptions to this. Some truly are just “evil” and unscrupulously plan out what they are going to do with full awareness and there are others who are somewhat aware and will even apologize when caught in a lie and promise not to do it again (but they always do).

3 Responses to “Is the Narcissist Just Deluding And Following Instincts?”

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  1. kat says:

    Great post and answer! I have always wondered this about my abusive npd mother!The lengths that narcissistic people go through to carry out their evil plots always amazes me!I have often wondered what if they put all this energy into doing good things but then I then I remember the cruelty of npd. NPD people love to cause pain,definitely seems they are sadistic! Thanks for this post,Very helpful!

  2. Ken says:

    Hi! Many thanks for the answer. I guess I should clarify what I meant by clever/intuitive … first of all, I was only referring to my father, not others with whateverPD.

    As you say, all the scheming and manipulation indicate quite a high functioning individual who works out how to get what he wants from others. It was the apparent contradiction that struck me because, whilst my father has an incredibly high opinion of his abilities in everything his actual success in anything other than his former profession has been obviously absent, most especially in forming relationships, communicating effectively, not getting ripped off by passing scam artists etc.

    And it seems obvious why if you listen to him, he’s just wrong about most stuff and, more importantly, doesn’t believe anyone else has a valid point of view so won’t be corrected, and hence never learns.

    What I actually had in mind, mostly, was hearing him air his views on what some other person has done, what motivated them, how he took revenge. It’s laughable rubbish, but then I guess we should all be grateful he’s convinced himself he has destroyed some hapless soul who slighted him, when the truth is they usually laughed it off, or didn’t even notice whatever he did. I know from personal experience he’d keep on with more extreme measures until he’s decided you’ve learned your lesson, he didn’t worry at all about things like bringing a kitchen knife along to screaming fits he had at me as a child.

    Maybe the truth is my father is a very prolific, but often poor manipulator, at least now anyway. The raging, threats and rumour spreading are, as I think about them, the outbursts of his previous schemes visibly unravelling. Ultimately, he does exercise some degree of control over a dwindling number of people but, apart from some of them sticking around, it doesn’t seem to work out that well for him.

    In terms of cleverness and intuition, or my view of it, if he had directed 10% of this malevolent mental energy into analysing how and why his little plots fail then he’d either have sought help or turned into a truly dangerous man long ago. But there I am, expecting what sounds like empathy from someone who who has that chunk missing.

  3. JPJ says:

    The Narcissit is smart. A Narcissit is a preditor and knows the signs of weakness and when to go for the kill. They know all the tricks in the book and will go to no lengths in order to win.
    So I don`t believe he operates by instinct or is full of delusion. He knows what is going on all the time. It takes intellegence to plan,stalk,lie and manipulate.
    Beware….run if your inner voice tells you danger lerks behind a smiling face that just dosen`t feel right.

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