I am Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.
The narcissist is convinced that he possesses an unerring sense of rhythm until his wife tells him that he has none.
He thinks that his comments, observations and insights are original and pithy until he discovers that he is numbingly verbose, repetitive and coarse.
He attributes to himself a great sense of humor until he rereads some of his writings and finds how convoluted and dull his pitiful efforts at being witty are.
In his mind, the narcissist poses arabesque and lucid and incisive, but he often learns that it is not.
This utter lack of self-awareness is typical of the narcissist. He is intimate only with his false self, and the false self is constructed meticulously from years of lying and deceit.
The narcissist's true self is stashed, dilapidated and dysfunctional in the furthest recesses of the narcissist mind. The false self is omnipotent, all-powerful, omniscient, all-knowing, omnipresent, everywhere, creative, genius, irresistible, perfect, brilliant and glowing.
But this is the false self.
The narcissist often is none of these things.
Adcombustible paranoia to the narcissist divorced from himself and his constant and recurrent failure to assess reality fairly is more understandable.
The narcissist's overpowering sense of entitlement is rarely commensurate with his accomplishments in his real life or with his traits.
And when the world fails to comply with the narcissist's demands and to support his grandiose fantasies, the narcissist suspects a plot against him by his inferiors.
The narcissist rarely admits to a weakness, an ignorance or an efficiency. He filters out information to the contrary. It's a cognitive impairment with serious consequences.
Narcissists are likely to unflinchingly make inflated and inane claims about their sexual prowess, their wealth, their connections, their history or their achievements. All these confabulations are embarrassing to the narcissist's nearest, dearest, colleagues, friends, neighbors and even to onlookers.
The narcissist's tales are so pathetically absurd that he often catches people off guard.
Unbeknownst to the narcissist, he is derided and he is mockingly imitated. He fast makes a nuisance and an imposition of himself in every company.
But the narcissist's failure of the reality test can have more serious and irreversible consequences than public mockery.
Narcissists are academically unqualified to make life and death decisions, often insist on rendering. A narcissist would treat someone medically. He would interfere in engineering decisions. He would commit errors based on his inflated sense of self and grandiose fantasies, which may cost lives.
Narcissists pretend to be economists, engineers or medical doctors when they are not.
But they are not con-artists in the classic premeditated sense. They, for instance, don't do it usually for money. They firmly believe that though self-taught, self-educated and auto-deducts, they are more qualified than even the properly accredited sort.
Narcissists believe in magic and in fantasy. They are no longer with us in effect.