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Narcissist's Grandiosity: Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence, Perfection

Uploaded 9/27/2010, approx. 5 minute read

I am Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

It is healthy to daydream and fantasize. Fantasies are the anti-chamber of life. They often anticipate its circumstances.

Daydreaming is a process of preparing for eventualities.

But healthy daydreaming is different to grandiosity. Narcissistic grandiosity has four components.

First of which is omnipotence. The narcissist believes in his own power, powerfulness, his omnipotence.

Believe in this complex is a weak word. The narcissist knows that he is omnipotent. It is a cellular certainty, almost biological. It flows in his blood, permeates every niche of his being.

The narcissist knows that he can do anything he chooses to do and excel in it.

What the narcissist does, what he excels at, what he achieves, depends only on his volition, he thinks.

To his mind, there is no other determinant of success.

Hence the narcissist's rage when confronted with disagreement and opposition. Not only because of the audacity of his evidently inferior adversaries, but because it threatens his world view. It endangers his feeling of omnipotence.

The narcissist is often fatuously daring, adventurous, experimentative and curious, precisely owing to this hidden assumption of can do and dare do.

He is genuinely surprised and devastated when he fails, when the universe does not arrange itself magically to accommodate the narcissist's unbounded fantasies. When the world and people in it do not comply with his whims and wishes, the narcissist often denies away discrepancies, from his memory.

As a result, he remembers his life as a patchy quilt of unrelated events and people.

Another strand of grandiosity is omniscience.

The narcissist often pretends to know everything in every field of human knowledge and endeavor. He lies and prevaricates in order to avoid the exposure of his ignorance. He resorts to numerous subterfuges to support his god-like omniscience.

Where his knowledge fails him, the narcissist feigns authority, fakes superiority, quotes from non-existent sources, embeds threads of truth in a canvas of falsehoods.

The narcissist transforms himself into an artist of intellectual prestige. As he gets older, this invidious quality may recede or rather metamorphose. He may now claim more confined expertise, but still he claims expertise.

The old age narcissist may no longer be ashamed to admit his ignorance and his need to learn things outside the fields of his real or self-proclaimed and self-imputed expertise.

But this so-called improvement is merely optical. Within his territory, the narcissist is still as fiercely defensive and possessive as ever. He still claims superior knowledge and superior authority with no commensurate achievements, accomplishments or academic record.

Many narcissists are avowed auto-deducts, self-learners. They are unwilling to subject their knowledge and insights to peer scrutiny, or for that matter, to any scrutiny.

The narcissist keeps reinventing himself, adding new fields of knowledge as he goes along. This creeping intellectual relaxation is a roundabout way of reverting to his erstwhile image as the erudite Renaissance man.


A third element in the narcissist's grandiosity is an omnipresence.

Even the narcissist cannot pretend to actually be everywhere at once in the physical sense. Instead, he feels that he is the center and the axis of his universe, and that all things and happenstances revolve around him, and that cosmic disintegration would ensue if he were to disappear or to lose interest in someone or something.

He is convinced, for instance, that he is the main, if not the only, topic of discussion in his absence. This is called the ideas of reference. He is often surprised and offended to learn that he was not even mentioned. When invited to a meeting with many participants or a party, he assumes the position of the sage, the guru, or the teacher-guide whose words carry a special weight.

His creations, his books, his articles, his works of art are extensions of his presence, and in this restricted sense, he does seem to exist everywhere.

In other words, he stamps his mark, puts his mark upon his environment.

He stigmatizes his environment with his fame, his celebrity, and his works.

Finally, there is a much more elective strand of grandiosity, which is narcissist's the omnivore, perfection and completeness.

This is another only element in grandiosity.

The narcissist is an omnivore. He devours and digests experiences and people, sights and smells, bodies and words, books and forms, sounds and achievements, his work and his leisure, his pleasure and his possessions.

The narcissist is incapable of enjoying anything because he is in constant pursuit of perfection and completeness.

Classic narcissists interact with the world as predators do with prey. They want to own it all, to be everywhere, to experience everything. They cannot delay gratification. They do not take no for another, and they settle for nothing less than the ideal, the sublime, the perfect, the brilliant, the all-inclusive, all-encompassing, the engulfing, the all-pervasive, the most beautiful, the cleverest, the richest.

The narcissist is shattered when he discovers that a collection he possesses is incomplete, that his colleague's wife is more glamorous than his, that his son is better than his in math, that his neighbor has a new flashy car, that his roommate got promoted, that the love of his life signed the recording contract.

It is not plain jealousy. It's not even pathological envy, though this is definitely a part of the psychological makeup of the narcissist.

It is the discovery that the narcissist is not perfect, not ideal, superior, or complete.

This discovery does him in.

As anyone who shared a life with a narcissist or a new one, they're likely to say, what a waste, waste of potential, waste of opportunities, waste of emotions, a wasteland of arid addiction, a futile pursuit.

After the narcissist's impossible grandiose fantasies.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Narcissist's Pathological Grandiosity

Daydreaming and fantasizing are healthy activities that prepare individuals for eventualities and planning. However, pathological grandiosity is different and has four components: omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, and perfectionism and completeness. The narcissist believes in his own omnipotence and is convinced that he can do anything he chooses to do and excel in it. The narcissist is shattered when he discovers that the collection he possesses is incomplete, that his colleague's wife is more glamorous, that his son is better than he is in math, that his neighbor has a new flashy car, that his roommate got promoted, or that the love of his life signed a recording contract.


Narcissist: Confabulations, Lies

Confabulation is a common human trait, but the distinction between reality and fantasy is never lost. However, the narcissist's very self is a piece of fiction, concocted to fend off hurt and pain and to nurture the narcissist's grandiosity. The narcissist fails in his reality test and is unable to distinguish the actual from the imagined, the real from the fantasized. The narcissist's countenance, no disagreement, no alternative points of view, no criticism. To him, his confabulation is reality.


Narcissist's False Self vs. True Self: Soul-snatching

The narcissist's life is a spectacle, with free access to all, constantly on display. The narcissist flaunts a false self to solicit narcissistic supply, attention, and admiration from his audience. The false self is an adaptive reaction to pathological circumstances, but its dynamics make it predominate. The false self is far more important to the narcissist than his dilapidated, dysfunctional, shameful true self.


Narcissist's Routines

Narcissists have a series of routines that are developed through rote learning and repetitive patterns of experience. These routines are used to reduce anxiety and transform the world into a manageable and controllable one. The narcissist is a creature of habit and finds change unsettling. The narcissist's routines are often broken down when they are breached or can no longer be defended, leading to a narcissistic injury.


Expose Narcissist’s Secret Speech

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses how narcissists use code and a cipher to manipulate others, including various techniques such as counterfactuality, victim language, projection, gaslighting, and passive aggression. He advises ignoring the hidden message and not responding to the occult message when communicating with a narcissist. He also discusses the evasiveness of narcissists and psychopaths, their competitive nature, and their use of alloplastic defenses to shift blame and deny responsibility for their actions. Finally, he explains that mentally ill people cannot be reasoned with, and their speech acts and decisions need to be deconstructed.


I Can Achieve and Do Anything If I Only Put My Mind to It

The belief that there are no unrealistic aspirations and that positive outcomes are guaranteed is narcissistic and delusional. To avoid self-deception, we need to accept our limitations, learn from our mistakes, and develop a growth mindset that embraces challenges and sees failure as an opportunity for growth. To develop a realistic self-assessment, make a list of your positive and negative traits and ask others to do the same. Compare the lists and grade the answers on a scale of one to five.


Why Narcissists Love Borderline Women and Why They Hate Them Back

Narcissistic mortification is a challenge to the false self, which crumbles and is unable to maintain defenses and pretensions. Narcissists use two strategies to restore some cohesiveness to the self: deflated and inflated narcissist. Narcissists engage in mortification, a form of self-mutilation, to feel alive and free from commitment to their false self. Narcissists seek out borderline women to mortify them and experience the unresolved primary conflict with their mother.


Grandiosity as Cognitive Bias (Kruger-Dunning Effect)

Grandiosity in narcissism is an inflated self-image that is divorced from reality and self-perception. It is a set of cognitive biases constructed on a foundation of cognitive deficits that emanate from a flawed reality test. The narcissist perceives reality wrongly and lacks empathy, making it impossible for them to anticipate others' reactions, needs, and preferences. The narcissist's grandiosity is a derivative phenomenon that relies on cognitive biases, such as the Dunning-Kruger effect, where they overestimate themselves and underestimate others.


Narcissist's False Modesty

False modesty is a defense mechanism used by narcissists to protect their grandiosity from scrutiny and to extract narcissistic supply from others. The narcissist publicly chastises themselves for being unfit, unworthy, lacking, and not formally schooled, but this is only to hedge their bets and secure adoring, admiring, approving, or applauding protestations from the listener. False modesty is a bet, and having received the narcissistic supply, the narcissist feels much better. The narcissist is a pathological liar, and with false modesty, they seek to involve others in their mind games and manipulate them.


Narcissist: Your Pain is his Healing, Your Crucifixion - His Resurrection

Narcissists need their victims to suffer to regulate their own emotions and feel a sense of control. They keep a mental ledger of positive and negative behaviors, with negative behaviors weighing more heavily. Narcissists need counterfactual statements to maintain their delusion of being special and superior. The grandiosity gap is the major vulnerability of the narcissist, and they are often in denial about their limitations and failures.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2023, under license to William DeGraaf
Website Copyright © William DeGraaf 2022-2024
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