Narcissism and the War on Truth

The War on Truth

As he interrogated Jesus, Pilate rhetorically asked: “What is truth?” This famous quote makes a poignant point. Truly objective truth has always been illusive. But for too many these days, it’s simply relative. Psychologically speaking, our perceptions largely define our reality. However, depending upon how evolved our consciences are, most of us will at least seek the more objective truth. That is, folks of character want to know when they’re seeing things straight and when they’re not. So,  they strive to validate their perceptions and perspectives.

Sadly, we live in the age of rampant truth distortion. In politics, it’s called “spin.” In advertising, it’s called fair marketing strategy. Deceptive verbiage and misleading claims are made all the time. Experts in persuasion know this well. And they’ll tell you the key to persuading is how you “frame” an issue. There are so many ways to deceive. You can lie even by presenting a litany of true facts. Some lying in advertising got unbelievably egregious we even had to create an official agencies to hold would-be deceivers to account. Still, the relentless assault on truth goes on. And, unfortunately, we’ve grown all-too-accustomed to it.

The most character-impaired among us have huge issues with the truth. In fact, they hate it. Why? Because to see, accept, or heed the truth would get in the way of their self-serving agendas. So, not surprisingly, they sometimes wage all-out war on truth. Just as with any other obstacle in their way, they want it gone. People of decent character care about the truth. They want to know it and do their best to tell it. The more character-impaired a person is, the more the truth is expendable.

Narcissists and the Truth

Narcissists have a curious relationship with the truth. They think so highly of themselves they can easily equate their perceptions with reality. The more character-impaired they are, the less they seek validation of their perspectives. For many, reality is simply what they say it is.

Convinced of their superiority, narcissists are also convinced of the superiority of their point of view. So, they’ll can cling to it despite being challenged by opposing perspectives. Traditionally, professionals have thought this a matter of denial. But by definition psychological denial is an unconscious defense against unbearable emotional pain. When narcissists distort, they do so consciously and intentionally. Their war on truth is deliberate. Some think they’re simply oblivious to others’ views. However, usually they’re acutely aware. They might well know that others see things differently. But they simply don’t care what others think. Moreover, believing themselves superior, they just know they’re right and everyone else is wrong.

When Things Get Out of Hand

Most narcissists are not delusional. But their truth distortions can border on the delusional. They can lie so much, so often, and so apathetically that they start to believe their lies. Most of the time, their lying is tactical and self-serving. And most of the time, they don’t actually believe their falsehoods, they just want others to be swayed. But they can go too far, even in their own minds. That’s when their war on truth can get really dangerous. (See also: Delusional Grandiosity and Narcissism.)

A Key Character “Commandment”

As introduced in Character Disturbance, the “Fourth Commandment” of solid character is:

Have the utmost reverence for the truth for it can truly set you free. Be ever mindful of humankind’s incredible capacity to deceive, including oneself. Honestly and humbly acknowledge and reckon with your shortcomings and mistakes.

Another famous saying asserts that the truth has the power to set us free. But what does that mean, exactly? And what does it mean to revere the truth? The answers to these questions have important emotional, psychological, and spiritual dimensions. And we’ll explore these dimensions in more depth in upcoming posts.

9 thoughts on “Narcissism and the War on Truth

  1. My sister is a narcissistic sociopath. She has lied for so long that she believes her own lies. She has ostracized virtually everyone in the family, plus several former friends. Her own son won’t even talk to her. Yet she still maintains there’s nothing wrong with her. WE are all wrong and judgement. Have I mentioned that she is “Christian?” She uses God against you. Claiming to know His mind. I have gotten beyond being angry with her, I pray for her soul.

    1. The TRUTH is ALL I really EVER wanted to know; i.e. WHY DO WE EVEN EXIST??” I have learned that the TRUTH is a lot like a piece of red hot charcoal; don’t try and hold it in your bare hand. FACT: I accidentally uncovered TRUTH that ‘NO ONE’ is “supposed” to KNOW. As a result of my pursing the TRUTH to expose THE TRUTH to the people are suffering & being abused by NOT KNOWING the (area of) THE TRUTH; America’s Tax Inspector General (TIGTA), IRS, FBI, DOJ, Indiana’s governor’s; and others: have spent large sums of money reading my writings about the TRUTH; and like wise profiled me as a “paranoid.” When that diagnosis was disproved (in 9yrs of trials, & gun backed threats) they came up with “he’s a schizophrenic!” (They thought with a little pressure applied on me with threats of violence, that I would “crack” and give them something to arrest me for.) Then it was “paranoid schizophrenic,” then obsessive compulsive;” then “bi-polar;” then “narcissist.” The mentioned “govt” staffs came to my house with guns and got in my face with threats; NO WARRANT or PROBABLE CAUSE for ANY crime I had committed (just the opposite was true, a bank & I had them in a cage holding the proof of THEIR felony activity. The bank was soon put out of business, my Spouse & I drug into the courts). Then I was paid a visit at my self-employment work and threatened with being put in handcuffs, beat up and arrested for resisting arrest; and what they were doing; they said; was “constitutional, was a form of serving THE COUNTRY, and protecting MY rights!!” My family avoids me like the plague and blames me (Christians) for all that went “wrong” in the family. My family was ripped to shreds in ancient times after making tremendous improvements in all realms of ancient society. (My ancestors were the GOLD masters of ancient times, they invented many MUSICAL instruments; i.e. family of Midas; education skill based education “slavery” was there biggest business ((all the ancients WANTED Phrygian slaves over all the other slaves)) their stone skills wer widely learned; like their jewelry, furniture, rugs, roads, chariots, war tools, etc etc. skills; all of which came after they organized farming and “animal husbandry” practices.) I happen to be a type of person who can see deeply into the past; and can see that my family (and 100% of humanity) IS reliving the trauma of ancient human past. The exact same “psychological formats of human behavior ” are as real today as in ancient times; there are just more people with all the different types of disorders; that are multiplied, divided and proliferated for PROFIT that is used to create large scale war and perversion of what is truly positive. I tried to demonstrate what i just said with a study published in 1991. Journal of Psychological Type, Volume 21, 1991, pages in the 60’s. This study SHOULD have been done 50 years to the time of publication. (The subject LOOKS shallow on the surface to a majority of shallow people; however, the study is most certainly very deep.) Do you think anyone really understands what I’m talking about? Maybe 10% of the population? Yes, I know, I’m weird; I want to know the truth; to which there is no end; in learning.

    2. Lori,
      So she’s gotten to the point of believing her lies? After how many years of lying would you say she came to that point? I’m curious. My X is a CDN overt. I don’t think he believes his lies – yet.
      The pretending to be a Christian to suit her needs takes her to another low.
      I’m glad to hear you’re beyond being angry and now pray for her soul. REally that’s all one can do. We can’t help them.

  2. I grew up with a weak understanding of the truth. As a child I had loving parents, however, my mother taught by example to rationalize all behaviors. She would lie to herself by stretching and molding the reality of a situation so it ended up that she was right and others were wrong. When I did something wrong she would help show me a perspective that protected my ego. Of course they were lies, and this habit of molding and ignoring reality confused my understanding of the world I lived it. I mean, really confused it. It’s not a big deal to tell children they are wrong when they are. They can handle it, or will learn to handle it. It will help them see the world clearly.

    Yes, the truth will set you free. I grew up and eventually understood what was going on. I stopped lying to myself and I stopped trying to speak to others in a manipulative fashion. It’s amazing how people sense honesty and respect you for it. Being honest simplified interactions and allowed me to understand myself better and make sense of the world I live in.

    Creating conceptual frameworks of how the world operates, based on lies that were made to protect your ego, will only lead you to confusion and anger. It can not produce results.

    I deeply believe a lot of people’s problems are rooted in a lack of ability to be truthful.

      1. Andy D

        Look out Please for any sign of a Still face. In your Daughter. Because I am Convinced that there is a link between facial expressions and emotions,
        Children have to recognize.

        If they have a still face, then there is a problem

        1. J,
          I had to look up Still Face. :-)
          I think my daughter is past that stage. But, last time I met her, she wanted me to lie about rechecking her homework. Mainly because she preferred to play a game with me. That was fair enough as it was just rechecking homework, but still, lying is not good. Better was just to state what she preferred. I just said no that time. Maybe I will do better next time.

          1. Andy, you could try having conversations with her about the truth so that you help her understand better. There are also movies, books, stories that can help you gently introduce her to morality. Instead of telling a child to be truthful it is best, in my opinion, to explain why this is important and why it is better than lying. Be patient with her because all children are self-centred and a bit narcissistic, and they all have a tendency to test the limits of others, or even to test their own ability to deceive. It is normal for a child to be like that. The task of a good parent is to slowly guide them towards maturity and morality.

          2. Thanks Maria.
            Yes, completely agree. It is always better to explain “why do something”, rather than instruct “what must be done”. In long run, better to coach, than to direct.

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