Narcissist's Vulnerability: Grandiosity Hangover

Uploaded 11/1/2011, approx. 3 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited. The grandiose fantasies of the narcissist inevitably and invariably clash with his drab, routine and mundane reality. We call this constant dissonance between reality and fantasy at the grandiosity gap. Sometimes the gap is so yawning, that even the narcissist, however dimly, recognizes its existence. And still, this insight into his real situation, into the abyss between imagination and what's really happening, this insight fails to alter the narcissist's behavior. The narcissist knows that his grandiose fantasies are incommensurate with his real accomplishments, with his knowledge, his status, actual wealth or lack thereof, physical imagination or sex of it. And still, he keeps believing, as though this were untrue, as though his fantasy and reality fully match, and the former is firmly grounded in the latter. The situation is further exacerbated by periods of relative success in the narcissist's past, has been and also ran narcissists suffer from a grandiose tragedy hangover. They may have once been rich, famous, powerful, brilliant or sexually irresistible, but they no longer are. And still they continue to behave, as though little has changed. The bolding, pot-bellied narcissist, courts women aggressively, impoverished tycoon, sinks deeper into debts, trying to maintain an unsustainable and lavish life. The one author novel, the one novel author, and the one discovery scholar, still demand professional difference and expect attention by media and superiors alike. The once potent politician maintains regal heirs and holds quarts in great pomp. The wisened actress demands special treatment and presses chronologically. It is not uncommon to come across a group of people who still live in a bygone era, glorious past. This mass pathology, mass psychosis, is self-reinforcing. On each other's delusions, pretensions and lies, ostrich-like, they bury their collective head in the sand of time, harking back to happier moments of omnipotent submissions and omnipresence. So shared psychosis on a mass scale. The grandiosity hangover and the grandiosity gap are the two major vulnerabilities of the narcissist.

By exploiting these two, the narcissist can be effortlessly manipulated.

This is especially true when the narcissist is confronted with authority, finds himself in an inferior position, or when his narcissistic supply is deficient or uncertain.

There are few things that the narcissist finds devastating.

Any statement of fact which seems to contradict his inflated perception of his grandiose self. Any criticism, disagreement, exposure of fake achievements, belivelling of talents and skills which a narcissist self-infutes or fantasizes that he possesses.

Any hint that the narcissist is actually subordinated, subjugated, controlled, owned or dependent on a third party. Any description of the narcissist is average, uncommon, indistinguishable from many others. Any hint that the narcissist is weak, needy, dependent, efficient, slow, not intelligent, naive, gullible, susceptible, not in the know, manipulated or a victim.

The narcissist is likely to react with rage to all these.

And in an effort to re-establish his fantastic grandiosity, his inflated ego, he is likely to expose facts and stratagems that he had no conscious intention of exposing.

The narcissist reacts with narcissistic rage, hatred, aggression or violence to an infringement and breach of what he perceives to be his entitlement.

Narcissists believe that they are so unique and that their lives are so cosmically significant that others should differ to their needs and cater to their every whim without ado.

The narcissist feels entitled to special treatment by unique individuals over and above the regular Joe Schmoe.

Any insinuation, hint, intimation or direct declaration that the narcissist is not special at all, that his average, common, not even sufficiently idiosyncratic, to warrant a fleeting interest will inflame the narcissist.

Add to this negation of the narcissist's sense of entitlement and attack on his uniqueness and the combustion is inevitable.

Tell the narcissist that he does not deserve the best treatment, that his needs are not everyone's priority, that he is boring, that he can be catered to by an average practitioner, medical doctor, an accountant, lawyer, psychiatrist, that he and his motives are transparent and can be easily gorged, that he will do what he is told, that his temper tantrums will not be tolerated, that no special concessions will be made to accommodate his inflated sense of self, that he is subject to procedures in court, elsewhere.

Telling many of these that the narcissist will lose control, the narcissist believes that he is the cleverest, far above the mating crown.

When contradicted, exposed, humiliated, or berated, when told you are not as intelligent as you think you are, or who is really behind all this, it takes sophistication which you don't seem to have, so you don't have formal education, or you are old, you are weak, or, God forbid, you are stupid.

What did you do in your life? Did you complete your studies? Did you have a degree? Did you establish or run a business? Would you define yourself as a success? Would your children show you that you are a good father?

Any such attacks, implied or direct, on the narcissist's uniqueness, and he blows it late?

Many of these questions cannot be asked outright, in a variety of social settings.

But if a narcissist stops you, harasses you, threatens you, use these sentences. They will make him go away.

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