Narcissism

Is This How Narcissists Think?

The simple and clear thinking pattern which aims to confuse

Posted Nov 23, 2020

Thomas Tucker Unsplash
Source: Thomas Tucker Unsplash

People with strong narcissistic tendencies and behaviours or NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) apply a thinking pattern that is very different from ‘normal’ people. If you want to get a grip in your dealings with a narcissist it is important to understand where they are coming from and in this article, I will explain the driving thoughts of people with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) or those with strong narcissistic traits.

The 5 main thoughts that form the narcissist thinking pattern

1.   I am the best and the only one important

This can translate in: the best in politics, the prettiest of the team, the most intelligent of the department, the most important family member, the richest guy around and so on.

The starting point of any line of thought is that they are the best and the most important. It is also the endpoint of any line of thought.

A narcissist is continually working to mask their insecurity and barking, acting and convincing others that they are the best. It is their way of making sure their underlying insecurity will not be discovered, making them feel safe. Because the biggest threat for them is to be seen for who they are: a fragile ego, low confidence and unlovable.

Confirmation of ‘I am the best’ needs to come from other people in the form of attention, support and admiration and often the narcissist will create a situation where they will force positive comments about them. One of the ways they do that is to bring the focus of attention back to them as the most important topic of conversation.

2. There is only black and white

Grey areas are a no-go territory. Grey is confusing and can undermine the statement that ‘I am the best’. A narcissist is very simple and clear in their opinion. And once they have an opinion, they stick to it. Reconsidering and discussing the pros and cons is not an option. The world is how they have defined it.

They divide the world into winners, which they clearly are, and losers. Even when they lose, they will give it a twist, so they can still consider themselves as the winner. Them losing will be down to other people misbehaving, cheating, or even fraud.  

3.  You are with me or against me

The narcissist judges people on their ability to give them what they need: attention, admiration and confirmation. They collect people around them (flying monkeys), who will talk to their mouth and happily act on their behalf. People are there to serve them. Stronger, they should feel it is an honour to serve them. These people solidify the position of the narcissist.

People who are ‘against’ them and hold different opinions are qualified as losers and enemies. Narcissists happily create smear campaigns, undermine whatever their enemies stand for and cut their head off, in order to feel taller. The enemy deserves punishment and narcissists are experts in finding the ones that really hurt.

4.  The only truth is my truth

Narcissists are delusional in their perception and interpretation of events. They won’t let the objective truth get in the way of their view of the world. And their view is always serving their idea of ‘I am the best’. With that comes ‘I am always right’. They can’t deal with criticism and negative feedback. It makes them angry and aggressive. And they have the ability to reframe situations, twist what happened or bluntly lie in order to be right.

It is not possible to have a respectful discussion, where you challenge their opinions. That is felt like an attack, which makes you the enemy and you will be on the receiving end of their punishment.

5.  I don’t care about you, I only care about me

Narcissists lack empathy and emotional awareness. There is research that suggests they miss the part of the brain that regulates empathy. It makes them dangerous. Their lack of emotional awareness blocks them from realizing how wrong they behave towards other people. And there are plenty of examples where people have been physically hurt or neglected by a narcissist, without them thinking they did something wrong.

Imagine an encounter with a narcissistic boss

You have prepared a proposal to change the distribution of a product. What you didn’t know was that the original logistics were designed by your boss, a few years ago. Your boss thinks ‘I am the best’. Therefore his logistics were the best and your proposal is attacking his position. He is not able to consider a slight change because his thinking is black and white. Your proposal means you have become the enemy and you are in for a punishment: put downs, smear campaigns and impossible assignments. He will reframe your proposal and kill it off and openly or secretly, he wants you out and will do anything to get you out. You might as well resign, right here and now.

Imagine being in a relationship with a narcissist

Your partner loves talking about herself and her assets or achievements. She is the best. At the start of the relationship, you thought that was very endearing, but now it because irritating that she seems to be always better. In everything. No greys, no ‘room for improvement’, only lady perfect. Disagreeing isn’t an option because she’ll make your life hell through her punishments: silent treatment, insults, no sex. Talking about it doesn’t work. Her view of the world means that she is always right and she doesn’t care that she emotionally hurts you, that your confidence is gone and that you are upset.

Imagine a country being led by a narcissist

This person would be on a personal journey, looking for personal glory. Acting the ‘I am the best’ and shouting out clear statements that wouldn’t leave room for grey: ‘The refugees are at fault, the socialists are wrong, all women are monkeys’. They will attract a following of people who are looking to simplify their lives (apparently that was one of the attractions of Hitler according to Dr Craig Malkin).

In order to be ‘the best’, the truth will be manipulated to suit the story of the leader and anyone who gets in the way will get the treatment (Hitler shot people or sent them off to concentration camps).

Conclusion

If you have a narcissist in your life, keep in mind that their way of thinking will guide them into their actions and opinions. Knowing this will help you keeping yourself safe and sane and being better equipped to deal with them.

References

Interview Dr Leslie Car - Dr Craig Malkin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2M87QPwPIs&t=954s

Want to know if you know a narcissist? Check it out via this brief quiz https://drdestress.wufoo.com/forms/do-you-have-a-narcissist-in-your-life/