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.
36 thoughts on “When Narcissistic Grandiosity Crosses the Line”
Thank you Dr. Simon. Comparing the two main varieties of narcissists, vulnerable vs. grandiose it’s easy to see how the vulnerable works to ‘fix’ the problem with a ‘tinge’ of grandiose. “I failed/hurt someone” so now I will elevate myself to cover the flaw. Simplistic yet that’s what I witnessed in my relationship with a narcissist. Denial is still there. No remorse for the offense. The narcissist strategy is to cover the flaw with a ‘better more grand’ version of ‘self’. Amazing to witness this firsthand, in hindsight of course. Likened to a dual personality where the flaw becomes the doorway to an alter ego. And as I can now see, the door swung both ways depending on the circumstances. An up and down version of the narcissist. Manic depressive? Maybe. The energy required to stay up (grandiose) would deplete the narcissist to present the other (vulnerable) side. How beautiful is hindsight! How sad to witness such destruction to oneself. Choices!!!
I look forward to your next ‘controversial’ post… always learning, humbled in victory, grateful to God for his compassion and mercy on my soul.
Just got to say, Fathers Day was really hard! The Narc in my life pretended once again that he was not “trying” to hurt us. Couldn’t even give a darn card to his dad. Pathetic, always trying to be served and never serve anyone but his own ego.
I’m grateful my other CD is actually working on our relationship. He’s getting older now and is finally coming to grips with the fact that it’s really just me, him and God. Everyone else has just used us and when held to account has run for the hills!
Narcissists of the grandiose variety. I have never dealt with, but I live in the U.K and in the countryside. All of the CD’s I have had in my life, HAVE ISSUES of some kind due to being 2-3yrs old. But look just like ADULTS. My problems start when I TREAT THEM AS ADULTS and expect them to deal with situation alone. This is when things GO REALLY BAD for ME.
Shalom Joey. (Shalom: highest blessing of wellness). As a newbie to this discussion forum, the subject of personality disorders is not new in my studies.
You peaked my interest with the words “problems” and “expect”. Experience is a great teacher. Wisdom is how to apply experience. The issues you describe are real to many of us who desire a mature and healthy relationship.
How to discern maturity in others comes with observation and time. No expectation offers the freedom to “see and hear” with discernment. No expectation belongs to you and allows you to end the conversation or relationship without injury (problems). That is the power you have.
“Slow walk” your time with people. Friendships, if they are true, will evolve over time. Much love to you on your journey!
That was really powerful. Thank you.
Unfortunately most Cd’s and Narcs do behave like 2-3 yr olds. In fact that is about the age of my grandkids. Just witnessed a 36 yr old behave just like his kids this weekend. Actually hurt my dog and then declared “Hah, gotcha back ya little sh..” I said hey, he said that’s for making me slip on her pee on the floor in the kitchen, I almost killed myself.
Wow, like my anxiety ridden dog even planned that???? She gets anxiety ridden around kids and hateful, childish adults. Weird huh???
I am sorry fathers day was a disapointment. I am a little lost here, in your first paragraph you talk about “his,he,” in the second paragraph you say “she.” I am not sure who your talking about, I am trying to follow along and probably missed a few of your posts. Would you mind clarifying who you are referring to.
He referred to my dog as a little shit. He was being vindictive as usual towards my dog. I didn’t address it as up until then we were having a nice time without incident. But as always, he went off into his grandiose state of HE KNOWS BEST about everything.
This weeks’ topic is of much interest to me in that the X is what I’d classify as grandiose Narc and what has always perplexed me is was he delusional. I never thought so, but he is so far on that edge that it’s hard to tell.
I’d say Trump is grandiose Narc and May have crossed the line into delusional. And I’m not talking politics nor will discuss then and compare him to other candidates or former presidents, I’m saying he is a blatant outright in your face case study of a Grandiose Narc. Is he delusional? I don’t know. A grandiose Narc with the highest power a Narc could ever want. It’s scary watching him tear down my country.
There are few people that truly are delusional in real sense.
I guess it goes by following reasoning:
– if I repeat lie enough number of time, then people will tend to believe it especially the ones that possibly cannot know the truth (did not hear, did not see firsthand).
– even if others do not believe the lies, it doesn’t really hurt me, because others cannot disprove the lies
– even if someone does prove that it was a lie, by that time I would have spewed 99 more lies, so I win 99 out of 100 cases.
Good points. I don’t believe that they believe their lies just because of the fact they keep repeating it. It’s their method to try to get you to believe their lie, just for the fact it’s repeated.
I have experience with a truly delusional person, who is schizophrenic, and that’s an entirely different experience than a liar continually lying the same lie.
I think I just answered my own question.
Andy, who is life with you? I’m hoping you still have some positive contact with your daughter.
Thanks for asking. 🙂
Yes. I do have positive contact, but it is sort of minimal at the moment. I am meeting my daughter regularly, though with long gap of 2 months due to big distance. She is chirpy and charming. Thankfully my wife did not indulge in alienation. Hoping to sort out vacations stay with me.
Perhaps he has some narcissistic tendencies. He did however clean up some of the problems this country was having, building the wall, preventing terrible inflation. He knew what the conservatives and patriots wanted and strived very hard to actually achieve some goals. Now we have a truly DISTURBED character in the white house unfortunately. The child-sniffing clueless delusional psychopath called Biden. My gosh he is 1000s of times worse than big-egoed Trump, At least Trump was behaving like a leader. Look at at all the inflation, look at insane trannies marching in to speak to him in the white house to try and get tax payers to fund lunatics so they can have a sex change. His draconian pandemic measures to name a tiny few. One seriously has to wonder whats going to happen since putting this scary Biden and his administration into power
I’m not as eloquent or well-read on this subject as some of you…just had some flashbacks while reading this article.
Remember my husband saying several times over the course of our marriage “I should be ruler of the world” and one time looking directly in my eyes and saying (sweetly, of course), “I want you to worship me.”
(And I’m here reading because the last couple of weeks I’ve been questioning whether I was wrong to separate from him – we’ve been separated for 19 months, close to divorce). The confusion is real with covert narcissists….he’s still a “nice guy, great dad, etc.”
Blog does capture everything, but if you prefer you can try out first book In Sheep’s Clothing for a concise and complete text on covert aggression.
I am not sure if those statements of your husband would qualify him as narcissist. But, if his major thrust is on projecting “nice guy, great dad, great but victimized husband” no matter what is the situation, then he probably is covert aggressive who is just covering up his deeds. Rarely people are that good.
Hi, Andy –
I have read In Sheep’s Clothing. It was really the first book I read that opened my eyes to my reality. When I separated from my stbxh, he engaged in all but one or two of the manipulative maneuvers. I was ready for them because I had read the book. It was a hard book to read – it started my grieving process.
“Rarely are people that good.”
Yes, I agree. I know my own tendencies and wrong thinking and have tried to be open about that and take ownership. Somehow, my husband never could admit to struggling with anything or having any temptations in life. I really believed him for a lot of years.
That comment “I want you to worship me” made me literally groan out loud with disgust. What a major turn-off.
May I ask you a few questions? Knowing what you know about and have experienced with your husband, would you choose him as a close friend and confidante? Is he a friend to you and has your best interests at heart? Is he kind and gentle with you? Does he belittle you? Does he build you up? Is the focus always on his needs and not yours? Can he still be a good father although you live separately?
Please take care of yourself. You’re going to need all your strength to get through this difficult time.
Many CD cover up the fantasy world they live in in their heads. This fact will come out when the CD makes a ridiculous statements such as if they ruled the world or everyone listened to them it would be a better world. Truly the CD does believe they would be would be a better leader. I have dealt with several that make these kind of statements.
When the CD makes these statements a normal person may just brush it off as a goofy comment and say to themselves “Right, sure you would make a good ruler, only in your mind” and shrug it off. When someone says these things its a big “Tell.” The CD does believe all that and more.
Some CD living in their fantasy worlds can have a psychotic break from reality when they feel their fantasy world is threatened or shaken up to the point they are faced with the true reality of their life. Instead of owning the true reality and facing it the CD creates another mask, facade, reality, whatever you want to call it, they create anything that will protect themselves from looking in the mirror and change their twisted thinking.
Andy and Lucy have presented some thought provoking comments which I would heed. We don’t know much about your particular situation so it can be difficult to give you a lot of advice. However, given the experience both Andy and Lucy have in this field of CD it doesn’t bode well.
It tends to be the older the CD gets the worse they get in all the displayed twisted thinking. Like Andy pointed out, lies beget lies until we don’t know what truth is anymore except the CD’s lying truth. It all becomes a jumbled mess.
I would encourage you to read all of Dr. Simons books, read the archives which go back almost a decade, perhaps more. Watch Dr. Simons You Tubes and know he is a known around the world for his lifetime work in study and treatment of “Character Disorder” which is the name of Dr. Simons second book.
I would also encourage you to keep posting and commenting, you will learn a lot and also receive needed support, clarification and responses to any questions you may have. Below is a link to an article where Dr. Simons points out what one needs to look for.
Stay strong and keep reading, “The Truth Will Set You Free”
When you have, as I have had in my life. The baby in the pram (Stroller), the infant in the cribe. The main difference is ENVY and JEALOUSY (Envy is a reaction to lacking something) (Jealousy is a reaction to the threat of losing something).
At the vulnerable end, ENVY and JEALOUSY it is what rules their thinking. And ruins the lives of those closest to them. Until you can get away !!!!!!
And it’s great to be away, isn’t it?
I also think greed and pride are part of the equation.
I forgot all about the pram, I had a big buggy which I did call a pram with an accordian top, it was so big I could put both my children in it. Sure brings back a nice memory with my children. I think it would be fitting to put the bonnets on the CD brats in the pram too.
I was looking at a picture of my son at his 5 year old birthday party, he was having a tantrum. His face was all snarled up, his eyes big and glassy and he was beet red. Yup, sure reminded me of the adult CD, the only thing is I don’t think they make a high chair big enough.
They are big baby brats. BBB’s. I have a visual . . . a pretty good one! Thanks for the laugh.
The sad fact is, the laugh is really on them, they are all so insanely ridiculous. Can you imagine filming the CD individuals we talk about on this blog playing together and their deceitful intrigues? I bet if we tied them all together in a story line we would make a bundle.
A Narcissist’s Prayer
That didn’t happen.
And if it did, it wasn’t that bad.
And if it was, that’s not a big deal.
And if it is, that’s not my fault.
And if it was, I didn’t mean it.
And if I did.
You deserved it.
Is there a big poster for this prayer?
Do you know my husband? 😉
But, jokes apart, how is it possible that all CDs are so alike? It is almost like they studied together…
It is odd isn’t it? Maybe its just that when they go down that excuse road it leads to the same outcomes.
That’s what is so great about Dr. Simon’s work, his books and this comment section, is that when you read enough and study the various character disorders they do have a commonality, and then become predictable.
Forewarned is forearmed . . . . .
Wondering how is your friend doing in the hospital?
So grateful for the information on this site and the books. It has changed my life. I spent most of my life blaming myself for not knowing how to deal with people like this. I mistakenly thought/believed if I could just get them to understand how much they were hurting me, they would stop. As you know, that did not work. Just made them worse. Been practicing and it’s paying off. Lots of people went away when I stopped being a doormat.
Currently wrapping up dealing with an attorney like this (figured out his true colors after the cost of switching attorneys outweighed the benefits). It’s amazing that even though he’s suppose to be on my side, he’s not. He’s on his side.
He pretends he’s a good guy and things are never his fault, it’s all a misunderstanding, he forgot, I didn’t leave my phone number (again) – you get the picture. Meanwhile, not doing his job, ignoring my requests, padding the bill (very obvious padding of the bill), saying he’ll send me something (I need), then not sending it. When I follow up, no response. Crazy making BS if I let it be… Been holding my own by sticking to the facts and pointing things out as they happen in a matter of fact way. He typicaly comes up with an excuse and blames others. I know it’s BS. We are at the end of the process and I had called him out in the least attacking way possible (matter of fact)about his padded bill and he offered to write it off and said he was enclosing a letter from the opposing party “and certainly did not want to my frustration” . Do you think the letter was attached? Naw, of course not. I waited a week and pointed that out. It was sent. Turns out in that letter it says they also included a VERY important document that I need. When I asked his secretary to send it, she has no idea what it is or where it is, it’s not in the file, and he is “out of town”. I wait a couple of weeks and send a follow up email. Crickets. I sent another, more matter of fact email today to his and his secretaries email address.
Withholding seems to be his favorite power play. Enjoys frustrating me as well as provoking fear and anxiety?
It’s extremely aggravating and, when I can detach enough from the craziness of it and view it like a scientist, kind of fascinating. He knows I’m documenting. He knows I can go to the board (actually already did to figure out my rights). I can also write an accurate review of the “service” I received. Yet he still plays his games. Makes no sense. I’ll be so glad to dump his crazymaking a$$.
Just recognized that in many ways I am still being triggered by his gaslighting and exploitation. It’s a terrible trapped feeling and often hard to escape in the moment and recognize that it’s happening – that I have lost perspective and am giving away precious energy and power.
Does anyone have any tips for dealing with these times? Been doing deep breathing, exercise and giving myself plenty of time to process my emotions before I respond.
Wow. I need to read through this again before I make a reply. Yes, your attorney is another bum, this one taking your money, and all the rest.
I’d quit paying his bill for now. You may actually owe him zero. And I’d bet that he’d drop your bill if you agree to not report him. You’re being double attacked, by the person in your lawsuit and the attorney who is SUPPOSED to be representing you.
I’ll get back with this. REally busy at work right now.
I had the same problem with my attorney overcharging me. I did file a complaint with the Lawyers Board of Ethics. I refused to pay the rest of the bill. I had another attorney who is also an accountant go over my bills, he said this guy would never want to take it to court as he has to prove why he charged what he did.
In my state one has 10 years to file the complaint, if I take him to court the burden of proof is on me, if lawyer takes me to court the burden is on him.
Its a case of opportunistic scum bags raping the rape victim.
I can imagine this is not unusual. They know people are in need and relying on them. Lots of predators out there it seems.
I contacted the Bar to ask where the lines were – boundaries – and what my options were. Some states offer free fee arbitration, and this one does. I dug a little more and it turns out that, like what you said, most will agree to write off the bill because they don’t want to risk the client writing a bad review and/or having to spend the time/energy/money fighting it. He was clearly in the wrong. I literally went line by line down the bill in my email and pointed out what was billed vs what was actually done. He wrote it off. BUT, he’s making me pay my dangling things in front of me, then withholding them. He’s toying with me, has been all along. Gonna backfire on him. I do recognize I have power in this situation too. Can’t control him, but can hold him accountable.
Like you said, opportunistic and thought I’d be easy prey. Been holding my own, but it does take a toll dealing with him. I
I sure hate to hear of these types of situations. You pay a professional to represent you and your rights and they take over parasiting off you where the the other parasite left off. The sad part is, lawyers are a brotherhood and protect each other. Thanks for sharing and pray you are successful.