Grandiosity is a principal feature of a certain type of narcissism. (See: Two Main Varieties of Narcissists.) Narcissists of the grandiose variety don’t just think they’re great. Some just know they’re great. They truly believe in their special status and their power. And because they often feel omnipotent, they can act in ways that reflect their perceived invincibility.
There’s a big difference between a really healthy dose of confidence and pathological grandiosity. And you can’t always gauge the difference by a person’s status, wealth, or accomplishments. Some grandiose narcissists have plenty of reason to boast. Others have virtually nothing to show for themselves. Narcissistic grandiosity is mostly a matter of exaggeration – especially exaggerated self-importance and capability. And, when such grandiosity goes unchecked, it can lead to much bigger problems.
Crossing the Line
Making exaggerated claims is one thing. Believing your inflated claims is still another. And acting in accordance with those claims can lead to disaster. Take one pro football team franchise owner. No question how he loves the game. No question he knows the game. And there’s also no doubt about his managerial skill. The problem comes with believing he knows more than he does – that he can coach better than someone who’s spent their whole life coaching. Or that he can manage the team better than someone who’s dedicated their whole career to managing teams. Narcissists can’t seem to help their inflated thinking. As one researcher once put it, “they are legends in their own minds.” (Read about “egomaniacal thinking” in Character Disturbance.)
There is a thin line between narcissistic grandiosity and delusion. And it doesn’t take much for someone with an inflated sense of self to cross that line. That’s especially true if such a person indulges in elation-inducing drugs like cocaine. They can easily feel omnipotent. And that can have disastrous consequences. The grandiose among us are usually not truly delusional. But they’re almost always riding the razor’s edge. That’s why their behavior seems so irrational to us. And that’s why it seems like they might be out of touch with reality. But in truth, they know what’s real and what’s not. But they put nothing before the grandiose image they seek to project. And that, as I have asserted many times before, is because they neither recognize nor serve any “higher power” or authority. (See, also: Narcissists Can’t Recognize a Higher Power.)
Narcissism Over the Edge
Next week I’ll be talking about what narcissism unchecked can look like. Be advised that what I’ll have to say I know is controversial. But there is a relationship between certain personality predispositions and some clinical disorders. And I’ll be talking about that very thing in next week’s post.
Again, Character Matters will not be broadcast live this weekend. What you hear aired on the network are prerecorded shows. And soon, the network’s presence on the internet will cease. But you can still access all the podcasts on YouTube. And I’ll announce when a new platform is found for this popular program.