Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder often come up with elaborate and grandiose stories about themselves and the people in their lives.
You may have personally encountered such individuals in your own life. For instance, the narcissist in your life may spread misinformation about you or someone you know, causing discomfort and distress and confronting them about their lies only led to further deception.
Narcissists manipulate the truth and embellish their accomplishments to gain admiration and control over others. We must recognize their lies to protect ourselves and establish genuine and honest relationships. This article aims to delve into the motivations behind why narcissists feel compelled to create extravagant stories.
Why do narcissists make up stories? Here is why
They make up stories to mislead and manipulate, allowing an individual with narcissistic personality disorder to control the narrative and shape perceptions of themselves and their surroundings. Narcissists create a web of lies through skillful deception that can make believers out of skeptics.
Narcissists aim to capture attention and showcase their brilliance, accomplishments, and superiority. Constantly retelling these stories reinforces their inflated self-image and protects them from feelings of inadequacy. These narratives reinforce the false belief that they possess exceptional qualities and unmatched experiences.
These nine personality traits make up narcissistic personality disorder and cause the narcissist to create extravagant lies:
Narcissists have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, feeling superior to others. On the other hand, they feel very insecure and need reassurance from other people to maintain that feeling that they are indeed superior.
They often fantasize about unlimited success, brilliance, power, love, and beauty. Although they have these dreams of success, they are setting themselves up for failure by setting the bar too high and not doing enough to make those dreams a reality.
- They believe they are special
They want to be around other people they consider special. Relationships they form are superficial and viewed in terms of how they benefit the narcissist. They like to surround themselves with individuals they envy, who have everything they wish they had in their life.
- A need for excessive admiration
They need to be the center of attention, monopolize conversations, and hate to be ignored. If somebody else has an achievement they are being celebrated for or a special skill that garners them attention, the narcissist will look to steal some of that attention for themselves.
- A sense of entitlement
Narcissists feel entitled to all the attention they desire and think they are so unique that people owe them praise. When they do not feel they are getting the attention they deserve, they may resent others for not giving it to them.
- Exploitative behavior
People with narcissistic personality disorder see other individuals as a means to an end; they will exploit people’s vulnerabilities to get the desired benefits. They tend to behave in this manner without any remorse for the consequences of their actions.
- A lack of empathy
Narcissists cannot feel empathy for others. Without empathy, one cannot consider the feelings of others, giving them the inability to form genuine and meaningful connections. To the narcissistic individual, people are a source of supply.
- Envy of others
Their sense of entitlement often leads to envy of others. If they are so special and deserve everything the world has to offer, why does somebody else have the things they want while they do not? This may make them put others down desperately to make themselves feel better.
- A demonstration of arrogance
They often exhibit arrogant behavior and completely ignore the effects it can have on the people around them. Narcissists think they have all the answers, not seeing the value in others. They may be rude and condescending when you try to express your opinions and ideas.
By understanding the nine traits of narcissistic personality disorder, we can navigate their manipulative tactics and prioritize our well-being in relationships. More information on how to deal with a narcissist can be found in a previous article.
How do narcissists tell stories?
They use various manipulative tactics to trick others into believing their grandiose stories. They are master manipulators willing to do whatever it takes to make themselves look better in the eyes of others, often bending the truth to their own will to get the desired benefits.
Most of us have encountered someone with narcissistic personality disorder with wild stories that seem too good to be true. These stories often highlight the positive aspects of a narcissist’s character while downplaying the significance of their shortcomings.
Narcissistic individuals will use the following techniques to deceive and control others:
Narcissist magnifies their achievements, abilities, and experiences to create an inflated image of themselves. They turn ordinary feats into mind-blowing accomplishments. By embellishing stories and inflating their achievements, they seek attention and admiration.
Distortion of truth
Narcissists distort facts and manipulate information to suit their narrative. They selectively choose what to disclose, introduce falsehoods, and reinterpret events to further their self-interest. This enables them to control others perceive them and uphold their deceptive image.
Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic employed by narcissists to undermine their victim’s sense of reality. They make their victims doubt their sanity through denial, distortion, and twisting of facts, sometimes making them believe things happened when they did not.
Playing the victim
Narcissists assume the role of victims to gain sympathy and manipulate others. They craft elaborate stories of mistreatment or hardship to evoke compassion and gain emotional control over those around them. They love to convince you that they are the victim and have been wronged.
False charm and charisma
Narcissists utilize their charismatic traits to deceive and manipulate others. They skillfully employ charm, presenting a likable facade to gain trust and make their lies appear more convincing.
An individual with a narcissistic personality disorder will use a combination of these exploitative techniques to get you to believe their stories and stop you from digging deeper into their lies. If you understand these behaviors, you can better formulate a strategy to deal with them.
How to tell if a narcissist is making something up?
You should look into the inconsistencies in their stories and be aware of the low probability of the events in their stories happening. Including multiple rare occurrences simultaneously indicates that an individual with narcissism is creating a false narrative.
It can be challenging to discern when a narcissist is fabricating information. They put much effort into covering up their lies and maintaining the illusion; however, some sure signs can help unveil their deception.
Here are some indicators to look out for:
By paying careful attention to a narcissist’s lies, you can notice discrepancies or contradictions in their false narrative. Narcissists struggle to maintain consistent stories over time and often provide conflicting details. These can indicate that the individual with narcissistic personality disorder is fabricating this story.
- Lack of evidence
It is a good idea to request evidence and documentation when dealing with the claims of a narcissist. These individuals with NPD face difficulties providing tangible proof supporting their stories and may become defensive when asked for evidence. We can discern the truth and protect ourselves from their manipulations by seeking concrete evidence.
Careful observation and critical thinking are essential when detecting a narcissist’s lies. Remember to trust your instincts and remain vigilant to safeguard yourself from manipulation. You can effectively navigate their deceitful tactics by recognizing these signs.
Should you call out a narcissist for lying?
No, confronting a narcissist on their lies can be useless because they are simply not listening to what you are saying. It is doubtful that they will take any feedback or criticism constructively; they will take a confrontation about their lying as a personal attack and act accordingly.
For change to occur, the narcissist needs to be willing to change and make the effort. Bringing up their faults when they are not ready to change, you cause them to get defensive and shift the blame to you. If you call out a narcissist for lying, make sure you are aware of the consequences and ready to deal with them.
You need to assess the situation and be aware of the impacts on your safety and well-being. Assess whether confronting the narcissist about their lies will put you at risk of emotional or physical harm. Narcissists can react aggressively when confronted, so they have plans to de-escalate the situation.
Prioritize your emotional well-being and set boundaries with the narcissist. This may involve minimizing engagement, distancing yourself from their manipulation, and focusing on your self-care. Share your concerns with trusted friends, family members, or professionals who can provide guidance and support. They can offer an outside perspective and help you navigate the challenges of dealing with a narcissist.
Calling out a narcissist for lying should be based on your safety, well-being, and personal circumstances. Be prepared for potential resistance and have a proper plan to deal with the repercussions when they occur.
What happens when you call out a narcissist for lying?
They will react very defensively, using various methods to get themselves out of the situation entirely. The narcissist will challenge you and do everything they can to show that they are telling the truth. They get really upset when confronted about anything related to their behavior.
Knowing that calling out a narcissist can strain the relationship and worsen manipulation and control dynamics is essential. Remember, you are exposing them as a fraud, and they take this very seriously; their fragile self can’t handle it.
There are some common reactions a narcissist might exhibit when confronted. If you have called out the narcissist in your life for lying, here are some possible outcomes you can expect:
Narcissists are prone to denying their lies. They may become defensive and attempt to shift focus away from their false narratives. They may even gaslight you to doubt your perceptions or memories. Denial is a powerful tool.
Confronting a narcissist about their lies can threaten their carefully constructed image. In response, they may become aggressive, lash out verbally or emotionally, or even engage in retaliatory behavior to protect themselves.
Admitting to minor lies
Sometimes, a narcissist may reluctantly admit to minor lies but downplay their significance. They may try to convince you that their dishonesty was necessary or justified in the context of their self-preservation. Admitting to a minor lie is a fair price for hiding their more significant lies.
No acknowledgment or accountability
Some narcissists may refuse to acknowledge or take responsibility for their lies. They may dismiss your concerns or attempt to gaslight you further, making it challenging to resolve the issue or achieve closure. Unfortunately, accountability is not a strength of individuals with NPD.
It is crucial to prioritize self-care, trust your instincts, and establish boundaries when confronting a narcissist about the truth. Having supportive people in your life can provide valuable guidance in navigating these complex interactions.
What makes a narcissist tell the truth?
They will tell the truth when it is in their self-interest. Narcissists struggle to consistently speak the truth due to their underlying personality traits and motivations, so for them to be honest, they need to see how it will help them satisfy their narcissistic needs.
If narcissists believe that revealing certain information will enhance their image or secure a particular advantage, they may choose to tell the truth. Their tendency, to tell the truth, is selective by nature; they choose when it is convenient for them.
Here are a few factors that contribute to a narcissist telling the truth:
Narcissists may choose to be honest if it serves their immediate self-interest or aligns with their desired image. When admitting minor mistakes or revealing truths that enhance their grandiose self-perception, they may opt for honesty to improve their reputation.
In certain circumstances, when confronted with undeniable evidence or significant external pressure, a narcissist may feel compelled to tell the truth to avoid severe consequences or public exposure. The fear of damaging their meticulously constructed image or losing control can motivate them to disclose the fact selectively.
A narcissist may strategically tell the truth as a form of manipulation. By revealing a partial truth or offering seemingly truthful information, they aim to gain trust, exert control, or manipulate others’ perceptions for their gain.
It’s important to note that even when narcissists tell the truth, their motives and intentions may remain rooted in their self-centered worldview. They may still distort or manipulate the truth to suit their agenda or protect their ego.
You can influence a narcissist to be more truthful by:
- State what you know is true
Getting them to lie about something that you know is true can give you confidence that they are lying. Narcissists are vulnerable when caught in a lie, this makes them uncomfortable, and they may tell the truth to get out of the situation.
- Present evidence
Show them evidence that proves they are lying. They may still try to justify their lie, but if confronted with undisputable proof of their lies, they may break down and finally be honest. Just make it difficult for them to keep up the lie, and you may find the truth.
- Be honest
When confronting a narcissist about lying, you don’t want them to find out you’ve been hiding anything. Remember, they will use anything they can to justify their lies, so if they find out you are not being honest, they can use this against you to justify their lies.
- Please pay attention to their agenda
Always be aware of the underlying motives behind what a narcissist says and does. If they are giving you praise, it is probably to serve their own needs or get something from you. Narcissists always have ulterior motives.
- Distinguish their words from their actions
Actions speak louder than words, and this is even more true for the individual with narcissistic personality disorder. They will often lie to make you think what they want. It is the sum of their actions that shows the truth.
- Don’t believe half-truths
Narcissists love to tell part of the truth, omitting essential details to satisfy your curiosity while maintaining their story. A good liar can use the facts to support their lies. They give you just enough to move on and leave it alone.
Narcissists may tell the truth when it benefits them, or they face pressure. However, being cautious of their underlying motives and potential distortions is crucial. Strategies like presenting evidence, stating known truths, being honest, paying attention to their agenda, and being wary of half-truths can help you see through the lies.
Narcissists often make up elaborate stories about themselves and others to manipulate and control people. They lie to gain admiration, reinforce their self-image, and maintain control over others. Recognizing their lies is essential for protecting ourselves and building honest relationships.
Narcissists use exaggeration, distortion, gaslighting, blame-shifting, playing the victim, and false charm to deceive others. Detecting their lies can involve looking for inconsistencies, lack of evidence, shifting blame, and a lack of empathy.
Confronting a narcissist about their lies may not yield positive results and can strain the relationship. They may deny, become aggressive, or refuse to acknowledge their lies. Accordingly, narcissists may tell the truth when it serves their self-interest or when faced with external pressure.
Influencing them to be more truthful can involve presenting evidence, stating known truths, being honest, and being aware of their agenda. However, it’s important to remain cautious of their motives and potential distortions.
A resilient writer who has emerged from addiction, depression, and anxiety with a renewed sense of purpose and a powerful voice. His journey has shaped his writing, allowing him to explore the complexities of the human condition intimately. Also blogging about mental health at www.medium.com/@Patrickmeowler