Lying is one of the myths associated with narcissism.
And the reason there are so many nonsensical myths about narcissism is that people came online and without any qualifications and any relevant credentials, declared themselves to be experts on narcissism. And so they propagated, unmitigated, trash and rubbish.
And so let's inspect eight or so of the myths.
First of all, unambiguous physical or sexual abuse rarely results in adult secondary narcissism. To be afflicted with narcissistic personality disorder, one needs to be pedestalized, idolized, pampered, instrumentalized or parentified as a child, and then abruptly and cruelly discarded by the parent.
The adult narcissist spends a lifetime trying to recapture those lost moments of parental idealization.
Myth number two, narcissists do have emotions, but they have access to and experience only negative affectivity, rage, envy, hatred and the like. So they do have emotions.
Number three, narcissists do have empathy. They have a truncated form of empathy, cold empathy, which allows them to spot and leverage the vulnerabilities in their targets.
Next, narcissists dread abandonment. They have separation insecurity or separation anxiety. They dread abandonment exactly like borderlines do. Narcissists are often dysphoric, often depressed, especially when they fail to secure narcissistic supply.
Number five, grandiosity is about being unique.
Grandiosity is not about being the best. It's not about being the greatest. It's not about being the most. It's about being unique, special, sui genevis, one of a kind. So the narcissist can brag, for example, about being the perfect loser. The uninterrupted failure, the quintessential victim, being a loser, a failure and a victim, doesn't strike people as grandiosity, but it is if you are the ultimate victim, the peak of loosership, etc.
So the grandiosity is about being special.
Next, some narcissists are pro-social, communal. These narcissists are morally upright, altruistic, and charitable. They are ostentatious and grandiose about it all, but they still are friendly and integrated in society, sometimes as pillars of a community.
Next, narcissists cheat, romantically cheat, I mean, extramarital affairs. Narcissists cheat less often than psychopaths because they're prone to abandonment anxiety. They're terrified of losing their partners. Narcissists are less faithful during the bargaining and devaluation phases of the shared fantasy, but in all the other phases, they're actually unusually faithful.
We misattribute to narcissists traits and behaviors because most of you are misled, especially by people online, and few of you bother to read scholarly literature, including these self-styled experts.
But misattribution is a general problem. There is something called misattribution error, or attribution error, or attribution bias.
That is, when we attribute to other people motivations that reflect on who they are, rather than analyzing the decision-making process of other people, we say, well, that's the way they are. And this is called attribution error.
We misattribute the most likely motivations to our actions and to other people's choices and behaviors.
Often the picture is much more complex and involves layers upon layers of occult hidden reasons and causes.
I'll give you three examples.
Take, for example, toxic relationships. When you ask people, why do you stay in a toxic relationship, some of them will say, well, trauma bonding, or some such phrase, which they have little idea what it means.
But sometimes people remain trapped for decades in toxic relationships, not because they pity the partner, not because they love the partner, not because they're bonded with the partner, but because they seek to continue to punish their mates for past transgressions, real transgressions, perceived transgressions, or imagined transgressions.
There's a dynamic of vengeance going on in many toxic relationships.
I recommend that you watch the movie, Who is Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Take another example. Sunk costs.
People make new decisions or persevere with old ones because they had already invested resources, however minimally, in a certain course of action. They chose a course of action and they had met investments, minimal investments.
Any investment, however small, yields commitment. And this is regardless of outcomes. The outcomes could be negative. The person can even foresee correctly that the outcomes may be negative.
But the fact that he had invested in the course of action means he's going to continue to the bitter end.
And finally, let's take as an example, celibacy.
Some narcissists opt for lifelong celibacy because they are incapable of either sustaining a sexually active long-term relationship, and they are also incapable of having casual sex because it undermines the sense of uniqueness and grandiosity.
So these narcissists are in a bind. They're in catch-22. They can't have sex in long-term relationships and they have abandonment anxiety. They're afraid to lose the partner so they don't cheat and they can't have casual sex. So they end up being celibate.
As you see, nothing is as it looks. Very often when you come across a lie or a deception or a confabulation, you should ask yourself, how does the other person perceive it?
If it is someone with borderline or narcissistic or antisocial personality disorder, they may well not realize that they're lying. Their world is constructed on falsity.
What is the false self? It's false. The world is founded on fantasy.
The world of people with cluster B personality disorders is founded on a fantasy defense gone awry, malignant fantasy.
And so they have great difficulty to tell the difference between reality and alternative reality, reality and fantasy. It's all blurred. It's all fuzzy. It's all dreamy, dreamlike.
And so don't be too harsh on these people.
Psychopath is the only one who uses lying and confabulation and prevarication to obtain goals.
But even with the psychopath, often there is comorbidity, for example, with borderline, or with narcissism. It's pretty common.
So be more understanding. Try to go to the roots of the lie. Try to see what function the lie had fulfilled.
Do you remember the classification? The eight roles of lies, the eight functions of lies.
Try to understand why you are being lied to and then create the environment in the circumstances where the person with cluster B may feel safe enough to tell you the truth