The classic grandiose narcissist performs at center stage in the spotlight. (This post refers to male and female narcissists.) He/she demands your total unblinking attention. I recall a number of these individuals whom I have known personally and professionally. They grab the psychological space in a room. They regal us with stories of their perfect lives.
How often have you been psychologically accosted by a narcissistic personality? They won’t leave you alone. They are filled with stories of their latest triumphs. They talk about their superior family members who are the highest academic and professional achievers. Everyone that provides them with narcissistic supply is extraordinary not because they are fine human beings but because they have gone to the right schools, have obtained superlative grades, have high graduate degrees and multiple offers in professional career positions that will pay them extraordinary salaries. I am not disparaging those who achieve in these ways. I applaud those who succeed in these arenas. They are most often fine people.
The point is that the narcissist must tell these stories in order to make him look better than anyone else. He or she is not only bragging about his own accomplishments but extends them to family members who then become a part of his narcissistic domain of adulation and praise. When I have tried to actually have a conversation with these narcissists it is as if they cannot hear you. They don’t acknowledge anything that you are saying. You might as well not be there. You could nave placed a cardboard cutout of yourself in place and left. There is no genuine interaction with narcissists. They give speeches, make grandiose comments, and won’t stop the mindless chatter.
You want to get away from them. You make the decision to excuse yourself and some of them follow you with their “I have a perfect life” rant. Learn to leave the scene early. It is not worth your time and attempts at listening or trying to be heard to remain in these circumstances. The narcissist is always there for his close-up. For him, you are part of the inanimate stage set.
It is still remarkable to watch narcissists and recognize each time how completely wrapped up in themselves they are. They carry with them load upon load of narcissistic supplies–the praise of others, the accomplishments of family members, the constant name-dropping, comments about their extraordinary professional and personal achievements, etc.
I think about those who are married to one of these individuals and cringe at what they have to hear every single day. It is exhausting. Besides the braggadocio the narcissist is highly critical and demeaning to those closest to him. He picks away at the slightest mistake and manufactures reasons for disdaining you out of whole cloth. These are bald lies that the narcissist twists into his “truth” about you and your innumerable shortcomings and poor character traits. Remember that these cruel pronouncements are psychological projections and have nothing to do with your character or capabilities at all.
Study the narcissistic personality in-depth so that you are highly informed. Practice self care. Get the sleep, exercise, nourishment and respite that you need and deserve. Use your creativity gifts and discover others that have been hidden as a result of being involved with the narcissist.
If you are married to a narcissist you may decide that you can no longer live with this person who is always giving speeches to self and throwing you crumbs and volleys of criticisms. Make a plan that works for you. Talk to a few friends whom you trust and are available to listen with empathy. In some cases meeting with an excellent therapist can be helpful. Pay close attention to your intuition. It is always accurate and reveals the truth.