What Narcissists Think And What They Say

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what narcissists think

Do you know someone who has an excessive need for admiration and disregards others’ feelings?

Well, most understand narcissistic behavior, but we’re not sure what makes drives their actions? Or what narcissists think and what exactly do they mean. Learn more in this article.

Here’s What What Narcissists Think And What They Say

Not surprisingly, there is a great deal of interest in narcissism at the present time. Like most human traits and characteristics, narcissism falls on a spectrum from mild egotism and feelings of over-entitlement to delusional grandiosity, demands for admiration, and an utter lack of concern for other people. It is not uncommon for pathological narcissists to exhibit some sociopathic tendencies as well. Sociopaths (technically people with a diagnosable antisocial personality disorder) demonstrate a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others, and a lack of empathy or remorse despite lying, cheating, and stealing.

In my 30 plus years of professional experience, I have come across my fair share of narcissists in a clinical setting. Many due to marital conflict, some due to legal problems, several owing to professional difficulties, and a few who presented with typical “grist for the therapy mill” such as anxiety and depression.

While this is certainly not a review of controlled research findings, I believe I have glimpsed the minds of a good number of narcissists and can therefore render these illustrations for your consideration.

While These Examples Are Highly Simplified Generalizations, In My Experience, They Nevertheless Convey The Basic Workings Of How Many Narcissists Think.

A narcissist hoping to bum a ride to a party with a “friend” gets a call from him.

Friend: “Hey, I was just rear-ended. My car is too damaged to drive and I’m waiting for the cops.”

Narcissists’ Words: “What?! Oh…Ah…, are you okay?”

Narcissists’ Thoughts: “Damn! Now I have to find another way to get to the party. What a hassle.”

A narcissist who borrowed money from a “friend” is asked when he can pay it back.

Friend: “Hey, when do you think you can give me back the money I lent you?”

Narcissists’ Words: “Oh, yeah… I meant to get that back to you, sorry. I’ll get it to you as soon as I can.”

Narcissists’ Thoughts: “Damn! I was hoping he wouldn’t ask for it back. Maybe if I stall long enough he’ll eventually stop asking for it.”

A narcissist’s spouse sees a sexually suggestive text on the narcissist’s phone and confronts him or her.

Spouse: “What is this? And who sent it to you?”

Narcissists’ Words: “Oh, that? It’s nothing. A friend of mine sent it to me because he/she wants my advice on how to handle it.”

Narcissists’ Thoughts: “Crap! That was careless of me. I’d better call Bob/Betty to help me create a backstory and cover this up. Damn her/him for snooping on my phone.”

A narcissist learns that his or her spouse has a terminal illness and probably has only one year to live.

Spouse: “I’m going to fight this thing and do anything it takes to beat it!”

Narcissist’s words: “I know.”

Narcissists’ Thoughts: “This sucks! Now I’ll be expected to play nursemaid—and who knows how much money this is going to cost. And then I’ll be alone and have to find someone else to be with.”

This is only a small sample of what I’ve come to learn about narcissists’ typical thought patterns, and how they operate as human beings. This is why I usually advise people that the best way to deal with narcissists is to avoid them whenever possible. Sadly, but also not surprisingly, many people who have the great misfortune to marry an extreme narcissist go through divorce. This is often due to the narcissist “trading up,” but also because of the beleaguered spouse finally having enough of the narcissist’s selfish, manipulative, deceitful behavior.

Related: How To Respond To Passive-Aggressive Behavior

What is particularly chilling, however, is that narcissists often gravitate to certain jobs and occupations that can feed their insatiable appetites for power, control, admiration, and personal gain. Hence, politics, law, medicine, and business tend to appeal to them.

Of course, I have no actual scientific evidence that this is true, so consider it my firm, anecdotal, professional opinion. And, naturally, not all people working in these professions are diagnosable narcissists. Rather, it is my view that they are very well represented in these fields.

Therapy for narcissists essentially comes down to helping them learn methods for impulse control and intellectual compensation. That is, “successful” narcissists can exercise restraint, exert some control over their impulsive behavior, and compensate for the glaring gaps in their emotional repertoires with sheer intellect (e.g., knowing to say “please” and “thank you” without having a clue why it is important to do so other than it gets you what you want, or it gets you in trouble if you don’t).

Severe narcissists with poor impulse control and an inability to intellectually compensate for their emotional deficits usually end up ostracized, alone, or in prison. But most sadly, on occasion, an extreme, pathological narcissist with very poor impulse control, minimal intellectual compensation, and even severe sociopathic features make it to the very pinnacle of success. At least for a while…

What Narcissists Think And What They Say

To get a better understanding of pathological narcissism, and why it’s potentially so dangerous, see this post.

Related: Healthy Disagreements: 11 Tips for Talking to Someone You Disagree With

Remember: Think well, Act well, Feel well, Be well!

Dear Reader: The advertisements contained in this post do not necessarily reflect my opinions nor are they endorsed by me. —Clifford

Copyright 2018 Clifford N. Lazarus, Ph.D. This post is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional assistance or personal mental health treatment by a qualified clinician.

Remember that no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to influence narcissist thoughts. Don’t let them drain your energy in the process. If you find this useful, share your thoughts with us in the comments.


Written by: Clifford N. Lazarus, Ph.D.
Originally Appeared On: Psychology Today
Republished with permission

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