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No Grandiosity Without Victimhood

Uploaded 3/18/2024, approx. 11 minute read

Victimhood and grandiosity are two facets of pathological narcissism.

They are pillars of this defense mechanism.

The compensatory aspect of pathological narcissism relies heavily on falsifying reality.

And there are two ways to falsify reality.

One of them is to say, "I'm godlike.

I'm a perfect being." That is grandiosity.

It's a cognitive distortion.

But similarly, another type of cognitive distortion is victimhood.

It's to say, "I am not responsible for anything that's happening to me.

I'm angelic.

I'm perfect.

I'm blameless.

I'm impeccable.

I'm immaculate.

Things are happening to me because I am supremely and infinitely good."

As you see, both victimhood and grandiosity are two sides of the same coin.

And indeed, the narcissist succeeds to combine them in a way that is highly specific to pathological narcissism.

He says, "I am a victim because I'm godlike." Now, how do you square this incredible circle?

The narcissist says, "I'm perfect.

I'm a genius.

I'm drop-dead gorgeous.

I'm hyper intelligent.

I'm super accomplished.

I am unprecedented.

I am incomparable.

And because of this, people envy me.

Because of this, they want to take me down.

It is my perfection that drives people to insanity.

They victimize me because I am a kind of divinity or deity.

It is the fact that I'm a genius, the fact that I'm irresistible, the fact that I'm amazing and fascinating and unique, the fact that I'm perfection, reified.

These facts drive people to the point of misbehaving.

These facts engender the misconduct of people.

That's why they victimize me.

That's why they trespass on my property.

That's why they steal my work and my ideas.

That's why they do these things to me.

I am a victim because I am perfect.

And this is the way the narcissist succeeds to combine grandiosity and victimhood.

But of course, the narcissist's version of victimhood is grandiose.

The narcissist says, "I am chosen because I'm unique.

I am targeted because I am incomparably perfect.

I am made the butt of conspiracies and collusions because I am all-powerful and all-knowing, omnipotent and omniscient.

People want to take me down because they envy me.

They are mediocre.

They are pedestrian.

They are average.

And I'm not.

And they can't tolerate this.

So the narcissist creates a plausible narrative where it is his nature, grandiose, inflated and fantastic as may be, it is his nature that drives people to victimize him.

He is discriminated against.

He is ignored.

He is rebuffed.

He is excommunicated.

He is appropriated.

He is abused.

He is maltreated.

He is mistreated.

And all this because people find his supremacy, his incontestable superiority intolerable.

They need to remove him from their lives because he keeps frustrating them with his perfection.

This is the combination.


Of course, this means that grandiosity, both grandiosity and victimhood are cognitive distortions.

They are ways to divorce reality.

Both grandiosity and victimhood falsify the truth.

Both of them impair what we call reality testing.

Both victimhood and grandiosity are narratives of perfection in an otherwise evil, imperfect world.

So these are grandiose narratives, exactly like paranoia.

Paranoia is also a grandiose narrative.

I'm the center of attention.

I'm at the focus of malign and malevolent planning and conspiring and so on.

So this is the paranoia is narrative, which is highly self-centered and highly inflated and highly fantastic.

The victim's narrative is I'm chosen.

I'm special.

I'm unique because I'm super nice because amazingly empathic.

I'm an empath because I am, I don't know what I am targeted for who I am.

So these are grandiose narratives.

But in addition to that, clinically speaking, both grandiosity and victimhood are what is called reaction formations.

Reaction formation to remind you is when you act in ways which defy who you truly are.

You cannot accept yourself as you are.

You reject yourself.

You're ashamed of yourself.

Sometimes you feel guilty.

This is known collectively as ego destiny.

And so you compensate for this by pretending to not be you, by pretending to be someone else, by adopting a fake identity.

So for example, someone who is a latent homosexual would become homophobic.

He would reject homosexuals ostentatiously, thereby proving to the world that he is not homosexual.

Similarly, the narcissist is weak.

He is fragile.

He is vulnerable.

He's broken.

He's brittle.

The narcissistic personality organization is potentially the weakest, most enfeebled form of personality known in psychology.

It's even much more fragile and much more vulnerable than the borderlines.

So the narcissist compensates for this innate, innate weakness, compensates for it by pretending to be super strong, by claiming that he is godlike, that he is perfect, that there's nothing he cannot do. He can accomplish anything if he just puts his mind to it. By insisting that he is all-knowing and all-powerful. This is compensation for the truth. The truth is the narcissist is a bad object. The narcissist is a group of voices, a coalition of voices inside himself that keep informing him how weak he is, how stupid he is, how ugly, how inadequate, what a loser, how unlovable, and to compensate for this he pretends to be. Someone else.

Someone with properties and traits and qualities and characteristics which are the exact opposite of who the narcissist truly is.

And this is known as reaction formation.

Victimhood is also a reaction formation because the narcissist knows deep inside that he is being abusive, that he is abrasive, that he is sadistic, that he is cruel, in short, that he is truly a bad person.

And so to compensate for this, he pretends to be a victim.

It's a form of reaction formation.

I'm not the abuser.

I'm a victim.

That's victimhood.

I'm not weak.

I'm super strong.

That's grandiosity.

Now, there's a group of narcissists who do not possess a bad object.

They possess an idealized object.

They have voices inside themselves, introjects, that keep informing them that they are really godlike.

They are really perfect.

They are really omniscient.

They are really omnipotent, etc., etc.

They are really perfect.

This is the idealized object.

The idealized object tends to support grandiosity.

The idealized object drives the narcissist to believe that his grandiose fantastic claims about himself are actually true and that the false self is not false.

This is the idealized part.

And yet even this kind of narcissist resorts to victimhood because victimhood is morally superior.

The narcissist regards the world in terms of a morality play.

He is all perfect.

Everyone is imperfect.

He is all good.

Everyone is evil, etc., etc.

This is known as splitting.

It's a primitive, infantile defense mechanism.

And in order to belong to the group of angels, he cast himself.

The narcissist cast himself as a victim because victims are all good.

Ironically, many victims of narcissists do exactly the same.

They split the world.

The narcissist is a demon, is diabolical, is demonic, is all evil.

And they, the victims of the narcissist, are perfect, angelic, impeccable.

They have no contribution and no responsibility to what has happened to them.

They are, in short, idealized victims.

So we see that grandiosity and victimhood are two sides of the same coin.

They involve cognitive distortions, in other words, misperceptions of reality, which are emotionally invested in.

There's an emotional investment in falsifying reality.

This is not reframing, by the way.

Facing is when you see reality in a new light, which is true, an actual new light, a new light that conforms to the truth, to facts, and to reality.

That's reframing.

This is not reframing.

This is falsifying reality, period.

Faking it.

So grandiosity and victimhood are cognitive distortions because they don't correspond to reality at all. They're not real. They're narratives, fantastic narratives, nonsense.

Similarly, narcissism and grandiosity and victimhood are also reaction formations. They constitute a rejection of something inside the narcissist that the narcissist feels ill at ease with, that the narcissist rejects.

Most notably, his or her shame.

Nasty is a compensation for this shame, but so is victimhood.

In both cases, the narcissist is rendered perfect, impeccable, immaculate, and this is a good definition of pathological narcissism.

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