Confronting Narcissistic Grandiosity

Narcissistic Grandiosity

Narcissistic grandiosity manifests in two very different ways. That’s because there are two types of narcissism. (See also: Two Main Varieties of Narcissists.) The more “neurotic” or “compensatory” narcissist desires your adulation. But inwardly, they have a poor sense of worth. Some label these narcissists, therefore, as the “vulnerable” type. What makes them vulnerable? Look upon them with adoring eyes, and they feel good. At least they do for a minute. But treat them less adoringly and you trigger their feelings of inadequate self-worth.

You can confront compensatory grandiosity with relative ease and safety. Vulnerable narcissists need reassurance. So, the more you reassure them, the better they feel about themselves. If you dare, you can confront their dependence on external approval. You can even inform them how to healthily value themselves. You can invite them to back off the pretentious image they project.  And you can invite them to be more “authentic.” Then you can both start to know and feel good about who they really are.

Narcissistic Grandiosity of a Different Kind

You can’t deal with or confront the truly egomanical narcissist with the same ease. Egomaniacs have a narcissistic grandiosity of a very different kind. They aren’t compensating for anything or projecting a false image. They act in haughty ways because they truly believe in their own greatness. As mentioned last week, such folks neither can conceive of nor do they respect any “higher power(s).” (See also: Narcissists Can’t Recognize a Higher Power.) They harbor a nearly delusional belief about their worth and power. And if you confront that attitude directly, they’ll only attack and debase you.

You can effectively confront a grandiose narcissist. But you have to focus on behavior and its consequences. It helps to focus on the distorted thinking predisposing behavior, too. Factual truth can put a dent in these folks’ delusions of grandeur. But you can’t show animosity when presenting it. Nor can you get anywhere by cutting the grandiose narcissist down to size. That’s tempting, but also futile. It only invites their resistance. And it invites them to “dig in their heels” about how they cope. Just stick to the facts. They’ll try to deny them, naturally. But in the end the truth will trump all the lies. And that’s how they might eventually acquire the motivation to course-correct.

I’ll have more to say on this and related topics next week. Find even more information in my books , especially Character Disturbance. Also, search the numerous other timely articles on this blog.


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43 thoughts on “Confronting Narcissistic Grandiosity

  1. From one who knows, having a relationship with a GN is not worth the effort, it’s like a dog chasing its tail.
    I realize there are those who cannot go NC with the GN, and I truly feel for you. It’s a never ending frustration of problems and unnecessary drama.

  2. They are vindictive. Dr Simon states in sheep’s clothing the need to protect yourself.
    Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

  3. The vulnerable narcissist though lacking the sure grandiosity of the GN can still be awful to deal with. They are highly judgemental and it takes very little to earn their contempt. They tend to be hyper aware of how they come across and can be perfectionists.
    It doesn’t necessarily don on them that others have different values based outside of the superficial and those values might even be superior to their own.

    1. The Comdey programme THE BIG BANG THEORY. Sheldon Cooper is most probably autistic, BUT also Highly Narcisisstic and is vulnerable man. Very Childish.
      In doing my own sort of research. Theresa Knorr and the Dylian from the Columbine tragedies were at the vunarable end. Never under estimate these creatures, They may just take you with them, down to that meaningless pit of despair that is their true self.
      I know I have been there. They just keep pushing that self destruction button.

    2. Very little to earn their contempt like “pass the salt” they are truly pathetic creatures. The grandiose/classic narc can be far more dangerous but at least you can have an intelligent conversation with them until it’s time to run (pardon the pun).

    3. I agree with you wholeheartedly. My husband quickly vacillates between adoration and contempt. They are sanctimonious and judgemental…with no insight whatsoever. It is amazingly clear now that I am aware and am better able to withstand his onslaught of manipulations.

  4. The vulnerable narcs are a right pain in the ass and they more resemble recalcitrant toddlers in adult bodies but they are pathetically infantile. They are pretty easy to spot from the get go. The are forever using a full deck of stunted defense mechanisms such as feigning innocence – they never admit to any wrong doing even if you catch them in the act. “I didn’t, I wasn’t, it wasn’t me”. They are always baiting and goading, poking and prodding always using little digs and subtle put downs. They employ condescending and sarcastic comments which seem to make them feel superior which in reality only makes an emotionally intelligent person cringe. They throw temper tantrums and are more inclined to go Full Chucky more so than any of the others. They talk total shit and babble on incoherently such as non sensical conversations, word salad and circular conversations. They really, really are pathetic.

    I look after one he’s got a hell of a lot more wrong with him than just a Schizoid/Narc cormorbidity – Problem 1. Throw in some Disorganised Schizophrenia, a bit of Asperges add a dash of Alzhiemers, a splash of Early Onset Dementia and voila! He’s a surgeon of madness! After his last major melt down, this happens at about the quarterly mark, I locked him outside the house and told him he wasn’t coming back in unless he calmed down and started to behave like an adult. That was the straw that broke the camels back, I sat him down and read him the riot act. He’s off to the docs next week for a full on overhaul. I’ve got a 3 page brief for the psychologist.

    I think he was a gift from God. He was given to me as an insurance measure to protect against any further attack by the predatory class. I am using him as target practice LOL. In other words honing my skills in dealing with them. Living with him has been of benefit because I’ve been able to fortify my boundaries. Their strategies are the same just that the preditory/grandiose class are more intelligent and covert. The one thing I can honesty say they all HATE is being ignored. The more grandiose they are, the more wounded they will be if you ignore them. The more grandiose types go for the illusion and MUST, MUST, MUST be seen and receive that precious validation of their existence. So don’t give them any.

    1. Eudoxia, That is some funny description. It appears you have shown him his place, a highchair. Good luck with your project. 🙂

      1. LOL Andy @ highchair. Yep that pretty much sums it up. Their are benefits from being around a fragile you are not emotionally attached to despite what I said in my post to Joey about there being none. And there are NONE when you are emotionally attached to them.

        When you’re not you do get to sharpen your teeth on them -wicked grin- You can also study then in depth. I take notes all the time and I do see him as a project. I am going to learn all their ins and outs and I’m going to use that to share that information with and pass onto others who are unfortunate enough to have to deal with them. We need to channel their evil into a modality in order to cure the evil – that’s the holistic approach anyway, so I see this as an opportunity not another curse.

    2. The more grandiose types go for the illusion and MUST, MUST, MUST be seen and receive that precious validation of their existence.

      You will be scapegoated. They will project everything that they truly are onto you. You have no choices. You are a commodity a device, an object, an item.
      You have no feelings, you are an inanimate object that serves a purpose.
      They are calculating, what they want just like all CD’S is control. They will do anything to get/maintain it.

      1. Joey,

        Summed up exactly as they see us. Yes we are nothing but a “toaster” to these freaks. They will never stop finding evermore new and creative ways to destroy us. To bring us down to their level to make us submit to their will. They will slander, malign, debunk, castigate, intimidate, defile, threaten, bully, harass, shit pick, complain, whine, sabotage, back stab, undermine, gaslight – I could go on forever.


        They are a liability and should be seen as such. Particularly worse if you have them in your family which many of us know only full well here – IT NEVER ENDS WELL. But in saying that Joey – it did actually in the end didn’t it sort of. Once we were rid of them but it takes an enormous amount of courage and effort to remove ourselves from their lives and a considerable amount of time to heal from the deep scars and wounds these masters of chaos cause.

        When you have them in your family it is necessary well actually CRITICAL to toss the time honored tradition of “Blood is thicker than water” over our shoulders and say NO IT ISN’T. I believe too many people are stuck with these retched creatures because of ingrained beliefs we must be loyal to family. Not while my butt points to the ground my friend. An abuser is an abuser. By being one they forfeit any right to my loyalty, love and respect. My tribe is a pscyhopath free zone and it will stay that way. Life begins when CD are removed from our life for good.

        1. I will never recover. I lost to much and they took too much from me. The grandmother and mother combination had lost control first time round ( Her own son my uncle) The grandmothers sister also. They replaned new strategies were implimented. They colluded and collaborated. My brother was the scapegoat, I was the golden one. The split us up when I was little in order to maintain that position. It nearly worked. The mother last just a year after I left. I was so brainwashed, I just took it. But I had known the answer since I was 17. She and the grandmother were sadistic. They just loved the pain they caused, It made them feel SOOO SPECIAL. To hurt and to humiliate you own children, to cause anguish, misery and pain. OOOOHHHH HOW SHE JUST LOVED THAT, SSSSSSOOOO MUCH. I had started to cry when she had subjected me to an act of humiliation. She started to vigorously brush her hair, then she started to make sounds like she was having an orgasm over my destress. Heavy breathing and moaning

          1. Joey
            Yes that would be difficult to live with those memories. What a freak she was ! Moaning and brushing ! Sounds like a horror movie. But you did get out of there and I hope you find peace ad joy now. And how is that new job working out?

          2. Joey I sincerely hope the rest of your life you will be surrounded by genuine, authentic, caring, honest and empathic people. You deserve it. That would have been horrific what you went through. I am so glad you found the grace and courage to remove yourself from them and did not become one. Be patient and kind with yourself. Don’t let another person ever put you in a one down position ever again. You have the force of will within you. You will see them for what they are if you have the misfortune of another one coming in. For some reason they hone in on us like bees to honey. Keep your defenses up and stay vigilant you will be a prime target for their kind. You have the knowledge to work them out early and I have little doubt you will use that for the purpose you have it in the first place.

            Getting back to the CD not recognising a higher power no they do not. But there is a higher power and I believe we are guided by that higher power. We are not put through these trials and tests without a reason behind it. The Universe is not random, it is intelligently designed for a purpose and I think we are all here for a reason. That may not be evident as yet but I believe it will be long before we pass out of this life.

            As for your mother if you can call it that – It’s how they get their kicks through other people’s distress, they are really are not human. I am firmly convinced at this point in time they are not human. The look like us, they talk like us, but they are NOT like us. I think we have two very distinct sub species on this planet I really do. She tried to suck your soul out and she failed. It was only your life force keeping it alive for all those years. Now you have it to yourself don’t be surprised to find in time those wounds will be healed and you will regain what you lost and a whole lot more, bigger and brighter than ever before.

            Peace Out Joey you have done well my friend despite the horror of most of your life :-

          3. Joey, I hope your brother is doing good. One thing I learned from my ex about the scapegoat, my son was the scapegoat and my daughter the favored one, was that he did not try to influence my son so much to think like him like he did my daughter, he basically rejected him. He tried to verbally abuse him but my son had me there to protect him. I am so sorry you had to go thru that. They were truly taken over by pure evil. Its so good you are not one of them. My son today is still struggling. If only I had known what I was dealing with.

    1. SYdneY you are starting to notice! Yep they are everywhere. I totally disagree with the stats and as specially the ones in the DSM. 1% of the population my butt! More like 35% I reckon if not more. At one stage in my life not all that long ago I was literally surrounded by them – not now. But NOW I can clearly recognise them. As Joey said earlier Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

  5. There are so few people who understand these types of behaviors unless one has experienced them. All I know is I had a sibling that emotionally abused my parents, me, and his ex-wife. But, unless others really knew what to look for he could be so charming. One day his mask fell and I was horrified to see what was underneath.

    I’ve since gained incite about two others in my life who created family chaos and I’ve gone NC with all three, it has really empowered me.

    Their behavior was so covert, no one else saw it, it was aimed at me, so I thought it had to be my fault and I had no way of explaining what I was going through. Having to defend oneself over and over to others is a soul sucker and I refuse to do it now. If I have a gut feeling about someone I walk away. Family is only a word it shouldn’t be a measure of tolerance. I love my friends, I do not love most of my family nor would I turn to them in time of need. That says it all to me.

    Everyone has unique experiences to bring here and I am truly sad for the scars that some of you will carry forever. The abuse these CDs inflict is silent, there is no bruising or broken bones. One can’t report this as child abuse or elderly abuse or any kind of abuse because it’s insidious, it’s covert and undermining, it’s frightening.

    I became fascinated about this topic because I was exposed to it. I don’t talk about this to anyone except my husband, and one friend who sat up and took notice when I started talking about my ex-sib a few years ago. She took psychology in college, she asked me a few questions and SHAZAM we had him pegged. What a great moment it was to be validated!

    1. Thank you SYdNeY, you took the words out of my mouth. I have said this before and so have others. They are like a diffrent species of human, they are predatory in some way, they are calculating and vey very very very covert.
      They guilt and shame ALWAYS. IT IS NEVER THEM, EVER, they lie constantly and manipulate always ” whats in it for me,How can I get what I WANT”. They are So Deeply,and I mean Deeply SELFISH, Amoral is a better way of putting it.
      It take you breath away just how self centred they are, this is the aspect of my family I just could not believe. They have no Morals , ethics or principles because they are just so,so self centred.

  6. Good morning Joey, I see you’re an early riser like I am.

    On the topic of family, I could not believe the venom and hatred that spewed out of my ex-sib. I can still take myself back to the moment I discovered what he was. Nothing could have prepared me for the sickening person he is and I won’t forget it.

    When I left home I was 18 and my ex-sib was 12. He was exhibiting “sick” behavior then but I didn’t take notice, I didn’t know what that meant. My parents would sometimes say to me that he was “sick in the head” and “you don’t ever want to get him mad”. OMG what a life they must have led. Since we weren’t close geographically I was not privy to much of what went on but my mother said to me on a few occasions she was afraid to be at home with him alone when my father went away on business. I was not equipped to really understand what she was saying and not much could be done when she let this out years after he had left home. They coddled him and paid dearly for their weakness. No boundaries whatsoever.

    Fast forward to the present, no one hears from him except his one and only daughter. I do keep in touch with her and I’m watchful, she and her father were estranged for 3 years and when they reconnected she said “I don’t want to hear anything negative about him, as far as I’m concerned he can do no wrong”. Alrighty then. She is 23.

    Her father identifies as an introvert but he is most definitely anti-social, he is covertly passive-aggressive and takes no responsibility for anything he does, or says…ever. Everybody is a loser, he hates women, he can’t keep a job and is a recovering alcoholic. He even blamed my parents for the proposal to his now ex-wife, like it was their fault he got married. He lies and manipulates and my mind cannot go where his goes, it’s impossible for me to keep up. When I explained this to another sibling I’m in contact with he said “yeah he has issues”…are you kidding me! The mere fact he emotionally abused our parents should warrant more than a “yeah he has issues”. If the sick-sib didn’t go underground then the one I keep in contact with would still be in denial and trying to keep him in his and his families lives….why, “because he’s my brother”. I asked this sibling if the sick-sib abused your in-laws like he did our parents would you tolerate it. He said “no I wouldn’t” and I said “then I don’t get it”.

    1. Sydney
      What happens to us through time is we here over and over again certain phrases, believing that if society holds these as truths they must be true, so therefore our beliefs are formed, without any real thinking and deciphering the legitimacy of the so-called gospel sayings. There are so many of them! Blood is thicker than water. But it’s family. Till death do us part. Never give up. You can make anything happen if you set your mind to it. blah blah blah blah.
      Once we learn that they sayings aren’t how you must live your life, and we start using our brains to sort things out do we make better life choices.
      Personally, I like to read books in the Buddha realm. It teaches how to use your brain and to rid yourself of all these preconceived notions and thoughts.

      1. Problem is not the belief itself. It is good social rule.
        Problem comes from lack of wisdom or life lessons, knowing when to hold good social rule in abeyance for a short while.

        “Blood is thicker than water”
        Naive: Right. Let me concede for family.
        CD: Right. Let me exploit the morons, my life-long zero-cost suppliers.
        Wiser one: A good general principle, but not applicable to everyone. Even my own child shall have a fixed quota and no more.

        “Till death do us part”
        Naive: Right. Considering the long-term scheme, let me tolerate/forgive a bit now.
        CD: You really think so, serve me dumbo till you die.

        1. I am a Christian and I cannot tell you the number of times I was counseled not to divorce, to separate if there is abuse but to try and work it out. Of course these people were well intentioned but had no knowledge of CD’s. I didn’t either at the time. I have had a friend tell me ” I don’t think less of you because you divorced”, which I think means she did. Whatever. I know God understands and I would hope those Christians that are aware of these types would understand as well. It is good to realize when these words of “wisdom” just don’t fit.

          1. I have a SIL who is a devout Christian and will not accept the fact she has a CD for a brother-in-law, who behind her back cannot stand her. She is a woman, she is giving and generous, he perceives this as a weakness. He was charming and funny in her presence. It was his greatest tool to manipulate.
            This CD has nothing to do with them anymore because his mask fell one day and the SIL told him “all you have to do is apologize and I will forgive you”. She said it knowing EVERYTHING me and my parents went through with him and said to me, she is a Christian and Christian’s forgive. I threw up my hands.

            Great thing is, the CD ex-bro would never apologize for anything, even caught red handed, he didn’t say it, do it, have it, whatever the situation was, his go to sentence “it’s not my fault”.

          2. kat
            I guess to them emotional abuse, verbal abuse, spiritual abuse and living with someone breaking you down isn’t abuse? Why are we never urged to leave unhealthy situations while we still have strength and sense of self? Why aren’t we taught that it’s ok to leave a marriage if it’s unfulfilling, for whatever reason? So what if we divorce if it’s what we need. Marriage can be the death of one’s self. “work it out” how about pack your things and go.
            I have a friend who keeps saying “I was a failure at marriage.” Her husband is a CDN who broke her down through the years to where she had no self esteem left. And she, herself, sees others who divorce as failures. I guess that puts me down as a failure friend, I’m divorced.

        2. From what I understand about forgiveness it means cancelling the debt you think that person owes you. Cancelling the debt is when you don’t look to that person to fulfill any needs or desires of what you believe they owe you. You cancel the debt when you forgive. No expectations of that person, so they no longer have power over you. You are free of them. Free to set up appropriate boundaries and know that this person is toxic and you will not allow them into your life.

          1. Kat,

            My SIL has never explained forgiveness this way. My SIL wanted to forgive the CD ex-bro to ease her conscience for asking him to apologize. In the end he wouldn’t have had to do anything, she felt guilty for asking him to apologize. She thinks her husband (my other bro) blames her for their estrangement because she confronted him.

            You know what really kicks me in the teeth about her, I have done everything for my parents – her in-laws who were beyond generous to the entire clan, right up until they died and then I finalized the legal stuff. This allowed my SIL and all other sibs to live their lives without any responsibility and I would bet my last dollar she wouldn’t fight this hard to keep a relationship with me. She bent over backwards for the CD bro with no return on her emotional investment. I’ve scratched my head raw on this one.

          1. Joey,
            Good for you… using “was”. 🙂
            It is a feat coming out clean when surrounded by bunch of them right after birth. People have trouble getting rid of one single spouse.

  7. This is so true Lucy and it just encourages more negative feelings within ourselves because we think that’s the way we are suppose to live our lives. I see friends tolerating disrespect from “family” and it’s always the same song and dance…”their my family what can I do”.

    I hate this one: “Well that’s just the way she is”…

    1. “Family comes first”. I told my BF, “No, family does not come first. There is no lineup.” He says well that’s good to know.

    2. gggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr @ “oh it’s just so n so” ENABLERS are as bad as the abusers. If nobody tolerated them they would not be able to get away with it.

      Roses are red, violets are blue
      My heart is pure while your love is true
      If it is not, I will surely say
      F^^&% off human filth go away!

      I had another encounter with a CD he was a bloke I hired to do some yard work and supply wood. Anyway he started coming over here for no reason, so I curtailed that. He turned up again after that for no reason and I told him that it wasn’t on. So the next load of wood he bought me had been struck by lightening and wouldn’t burn. So I promptly fired him. He turned up AGAIN pretending he didn’t get my 2 phone messages or 2 text messages that clearly explained the situation and pretended like nothing was wrong. I fired him again to his face this time. F&*^ them. They really are something else entirely and it’s something that needs to be eradicated off the face of the planet.

      Ok that’s my vent and ooh two F words! LOL okay have a great weekend fellow spiritual warriors! And MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!

    3. Sydney,

      My answer is “don’t bother.” When my neighbor asked me if the CDN in my life showed up, if there was a doctor present that can vouch for me, I replied with one comment, “Don’t need one, call the police.”

      Thank you, I am not living in fear, a CDN teaches you all about fear. I have a police report from NE, and their agreement that this is not my problem, that is is hers.

      She may live in another state, and is in her 70s, but when that person now owns a gun? Yeah, you call the police if they show up. I have never had reason for her to scare me until now, but when they ask the question on the permit application what they don’t ask if if there is a history of mental illness, they ask if there has been any treatment. Not when there is none.

  8. I made the attempt, and what I was given in return was that I am “mean and cruel.”

    Those angry with you for speaking the truth are living a lie.

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