Some characters appear conceited and confident, but it’s all an act. Underneath it all, they know they’re a fraud. They desperately want to be looked up to and admired. So, they put on a good show. That’s the way it is with the more “vulnerable” (or “neurotic”) type of narcissist. They make themselves feel important by acting important.
Grandiose narcissists don’t just act important. And they more than feel important. Rather, such folks sincerely believe in their greatness. They think of themselves as “special.” And they see themselves as superior to others. So, they feel “entitled” to do as they please.
License to Use and Abuse
Because they believe in their own greatness and discount the value of others, grandiose narcissists tend to use and abuse in relationships. They way they see it, you’re lucky to be in their lives anyway. Perhaps that’s because they have a lot of money. Or maybe they have power, social position, or fame. But sometimes, they don’t have any of these things and still believe in their greatness. You see, grandiosity is more a matter of mentality than it is reality.
Because you don’t really have value to them, grandiose narcissists will wantonly exploit you. I know one grandiose narcissist who stayed with his relationship partner until he’d finished using her parent’s money to complete his graduate training. Then, instead of merely ditching her, he started playing around. His career wasn’t set just yet. And he still valued the financial security her family represented. But she finally found him out, he’d gotten much more secure. So, he calmly suggested if she didn’t like things she could simply take a hike. He didn’t really care. He’d already taken all he’d wanted from her anyway. On the other hand, she had to walk away from a considerable investment. She’d invested her time, her money, and plenty of emotional support. And all she had to show for all that investment was a broken heart and an empty bank account.
The “Heart” of the Problem
Grandiose narcissists use and abuse so wantonly because they have little heart. They lack empathy. And they have little shame. And the more lacking they are in these things, the more easily they exploit. Their shamelessness and heartlessness reflects the malignancy of their narcissism. And in that malignancy, they feel no remorse for the pain they cause others. (See also: Shame, Guilt, Regret, Remorse, and Contrition). I’ll have more to say on this next week.
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