Narcissists are pathological liars. It is their default position, even when the truth would serve them better. They have no principles or values. They only want to be seen as doing good, but don’t actually want to be kind or good to others. Since they do not want to work too hard at this false illusion lying acts as a very effective short cut. So long as people believe them and their attitude is that if they keep repeating the same lie to the same person, they will eventually believe them. Most of the things that they lie about are things that others would not have even thought was worthy of lie, but to a narcissist, perception is everything and so they spin a tangled web of lies to create an image. A narcissist does not take any responsibility for their actions so it doesn’t really matter what they say. In fact, a narcissist will see it as point scoring (and a win) if s/he can get you to believe their lies (any lie), while they are creating their false persona.
They do it effortlessly and absolutely without shame or remorse. The narrative is usually peppered with some truths, but this is just to make their story more credible. What is the most confusing for non narcissists is they are left wondering why someone would behave like that, what is the point? The point is that there is no point, the are just playing out a drama in their head, where they are the protagonist and everyone else is playing a supporting role.
The other problem is that a more honest person does not expect people to lie, especially those close to them and certainly not to that extent. So it can take a long time to work out what dynamic is in action. It creates confusion in the other person as they will be questioning their own ability to fully understand what is being communicated to them rather than question the motives of the narcissist.
Once you do work it out and point out a lie to a narcissist, you can either expect absolute denial (said with such conviction that it is easy to think that you made a mistake) or you will meet with rage “what you are calling me a liar?” i.e. I am allowed to lie to you but you are not allowed to notice or call me out on it.
Things that narcissists will lie about:
- Their academic and career achievements.
- Awards and medals that they might have one in sporting events or other activities
- Previous “romantic” relationships
- The amount of money they have
- Deep involvement in some sort of spiritual “organisation”
- Sexual exploits
- Stories where s/he his hero or victim
- A complete exaggeration of skills set. I speak fluent French = I can ask for a glass of water in French. I am psychic = I know how to manipulate people, I am a fantastic businessperson = I have never started a business of my own.
- Your personality traits
- The intimacy of the relationships they have with others
- Glowing compliments that other people paid them
- Negative things that other people said about you
- Where they were and what they were doing
The list is endless and the extent to which they lie is difficult to comprehend because most of their lies are pointless.