Friday, February 13, 2009
Article By EOPC
In honor of: Dan Jacoby, Doug Beckstead, Yidwithlid, Ed Hicks, Brad Dorsky, Gareth Rodger, et al:
The grandiose fantasies of the narcissist inevitably and invariably clash with his drab, routine, and mundane reality. We call this constant dissonance the Grandiosity Gap. Sometimes the gap is so yawning that even the narcissist - however dimly - recognizes its existence.
Still, this insight into his real situation fails to alter his behaviour. The narcissist knows that his grandiose fantasies are incommensurate with his accomplishments, knowledge, status, actual wealth (or lack thereof), physical constitution, or sex appeal - yet, he keeps behaving as though this were untrue.
The situation is further exacerbated by periods of relative success in the narcissist's past. Has-been and also-ran narcissists suffer from a Grandiosity Hangover. They may have once been rich, famous, powerful, brilliant, or sexually irresistible - but they no longer are. Still, they continue to behave as though little has changed.
The balding, potbellied narcissist still courts women aggressively. The impoverished tycoon sinks deeper into debts, trying to maintain an unsustainable and lavish lifestyle. The one-novel author or one- discovery scholar still demands professional deference and expects attention by media and superiors. The once-potent politician maintains regal airs and holds court in great pomp. The wizened actress demands special treatment and throws temper tantrums when rebuffed. The ageing beauty wears her daughter's clothes and regresses emotionally as she progresses chronologically.
Human collectives - firms, nations, clubs - develop Grandiosity Hangovers as easily and as frequently as do individuals. It is not uncommon to come across a group of people who still live in a bygone buy glorious past. This mass pathology is self- reinforcing.
Members feed on each other's delusions, pretensions, and lies. Ostrich-
like, they bury their collective head in the sand of time, harking
back to happier moments of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence.
The Grandiosity Hangover and the Grandiosity Gap are the two major
vulnerabilities of the narcissist. By exploiting them, the narcissist
can be effortlessly manipulated. This is especially true when the
narcissist is confronted with authority, finds himself in an inferior
position, or when his Narcissistic Supply is deficient or uncertain.
Here are a few of the things the narcissist finds devastating: Any
statement or fact, which seems to contradict his inflated perception
of his grandiose self. Any criticism, disagreement, exposure of fake
achievements, belittling of 'talents and skills' which the narcissist
fantasizes that he possesses, any hint that he is subordinated,
subjugated, controlled, owned or dependent upon a third party. Any
description of the narcissist as average and common, indistinguishable
from many others. Any hint that the narcissist is weak, needy,
dependent, deficient, slow, not intelligent, naive, gullible,
susceptible, not in the know, manipulated, a victim.
The narcissist is likely to react with rage to all these and, in an
effort to re-establish his fantastic grandiosity, he is likely to
expose facts and stratagems he had no conscious intention of exposing.
The narcissist reacts with narcissistic rage, hatred, aggression, or
violence to an infringement of what he perceives to be his
Narcissists believe that they are so unique and that their lives are
so cosmically significant that others should defer to their needs and
cater to their every whim without ado. The narcissist feels entitled
to special treatment by unique individuals, over and above the regular
Tell the narcissist that he and his motives are transparent and can be
easily gauged, that he will do what he is told, that his temper
tantrums will not be tolerated, that no special concessions will be
made to accommodate his inflated sense of self, that he is subject to
court procedures, etc. - and the narcissist will lose control.