Lying is a core element of narcissistic abuse. The lies that narcissists tell put them in a position from which they have a tremendous amount of power and control over the people they abuse. With that being said, it is very important to look underneath the surface of a narcissist’s lies to uncover the truth behind the things that narcissists lie about.

Narcissists lie about things that contradict their grandiose self-perception. They actively seek out opportunities to lie because the lies that narcissists tell help them twist the reality to hide all of the painful attributes and emotions that they see and feel about themselves.

In our articles Why Do Narcissists Lie and How Can You Tell When a Narcissist Is Lying we cover a lot of important information about narcissistic lying but in this article we are going to zero in on the hidden aspect of the things that narcissists lie about.

Narcissists Lie About Things That Contradict Their Grandiose Self-Perception

There’s no denying the absurdity of the lies that narcissists tell. You could confront them with all the proof in the world and they will still find a way to lie in such a convincing manner that you can do nothing but second-guess yourself.

To truly understand narcissistic lying, you first must understand how lies help narcissists protect their grandiose self-perception. You should read our article How Are Narcissists Made to grasp a full understanding of this monumental element of narcissism but it is believed that narcissism, and subsequently their grandiose self-perception, originates from an unhealthy/abusive childhood upbringing.

There are many different theories to the specifics of this upbringing that we cover in that article, but generally speaking, it consists of primary caregivers who are emotionally unavailable, unresponsive, and inconsistent with the narcissist.

This level of emotional neglect prevented the narcissist from having their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs mirrored by their primary caregivers so they never got the validation, admiration, and reassurance that they needed to develop a realistic sense of self and have a healthy cognitive development.

The word “realistic” is a really important word to remember when trying to understand a narcissist’s grandiose self-perception. The reason being that since narcissists never got the emotional support that they needed to develop a realistic sense of self, it would be easy to assume that they never developed a sense of self, but that wouldn’t be true.

a victim of narcissistic abuse learning about a narcissist's sense of self.

Since they weren’t getting the validation, admiration, and reassurance that they needed from their primary caregivers, narcissists turned to their external environment to find the validation, admiration, and reassurance that they needed to develop a sense of self.

A simple example of this would be a narcissistic woman constructing her sense of self out of the validation, admiration, and reassurance that she gets from her external environment for being really beautiful. It is an emotionally stunted, immature, and superficial approach to constructing a sense of self but it is the only option that these emotionally neglected individuals felt that they had.

With that being said, this approach to constructing a sense of self isn’t necessarily where things went wrong for a narcissist as far as cognitive development and emotionally stability goes. The thing that really set them up for failure was how unhealthy their cognitive development was because of the neglect they experienced from their primary caregivers.

This made them emotionally stunted and immature which is a problem because to get the validation, admiration, and reassurance that they needed from their external environment, narcissists needed to construct a falsified identity out of their perception of what society values the most.

Since they are emotionally stunted and immature, they weren’t able to look past society’s superficial exterior so they constructed an identity out of the most superficial, materialistic, and trivial aspects of life.

A child choosing between real and superficial aspects of life.

While the narcissist was constructing his/her falsified identity and grandiose self-perception, the emotional neglect that they were experiencing also gave them a ton of painful emotions about themselves.

But because of their unhealthy cognitive development, they don’t have the emotional skills required to manage their painful emotions (e.g. a sense of inadequacy, being unlovable, unwanted, insecure, vulnerable, etc.) so they use their falsified identity and grandiose self-perception to suppress them.

The painful emotions that narcissists have are powerful ones so they need to be constantly fueling their falsified identity and grandiose sense of self with the validation, admiration, and reassurance that they get from their external environment to remain emotionally stable, and therein lies the problem.

Because of how superficial, materialistic, and trivial their falsified identity and grandiose sense of self are, they are extremely weak and incapable of maintaining the suppression of the narcissist’s painful emotions.

This lack of control over their own painful emotions jeopardizes their emotional stability and makes them feel extremely vulnerable. To protect themselves, they try to build an environment that they have total control over so they can prevent their grandiose sense of self from being contradicted.

One of the most important parts of constructing this environment is convincing both themselves and others of their grandiose perception of themselves. They need everyone, including themselves, believe in their charming, successful, innocent, honest, desirable, goodhearted, charismatic, virtuous, and grandiose self-perception. One of the quickest ways that they can do this is by telling convincing lies.

30 Things That Narcissists Will Lie About

The list of things that narcissists lie about could go on forever but below are 30 of them! The important thing to keep in mind when thinking about the different things that narcissists lie about is that their lies are designed to protect their charming, successful, innocent, honest, desirable, goodhearted, charismatic, virtuous, and grandiose self-perception.

a narcissist explaining that her lies are random and don't make sense.
  1. How much money they make (e.g. lying about not having money to get money from you or lying about how much money they have to make you think that they can take care of you).
  2. Who their romantic partners have been.
  3. Who they know.
  4. Where they went to school.
  5. Their height, weight, and/or age.
  6. Their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs.
  7. The strengths and weaknesses that they have.
  8. Their kids’ strengths and weaknesses.
  9. Things that they’ve done or haven’t done.
  10. Places that they’ve been (e.g. traveling or coming home late at night and lying about where they’ve been).
  11. How something happened (e.g. lies of omission/half truths).
  12. Things that they’ve said.
  13. Their core values.
  14. How other people see them.
  15. Their work ethic.
  16. Their performance/role at work.
  17. Their spending habits.
  18. Their hobbies.
  19. Their plans for the future.
  20. The possessions that they have.
  21. Their own accomplishments.
  22. The good/bad childhood that they had.
  23. The way people have treated them in the past/How they have treated others in the past.
  24. Their own trials and tribulations.
  25. The morals that they have.
  26. Things that other people have done (e.g. flying monkeys).
  27. Their relationship with past partners.
  28. Their character.
  29. About their internet activity (e.g. it is common for narcissists to hide their porn addictions, other romantic partners, etc., so they might lie about their internet activity).
  30. The personality traits, characteristics, strengths, etc., of the people they abuse to portray them in a negative light.

What Should You Take Away From This Article?

There are so many different things that narcissists can lie about, but as a general rule, narcissists lie about things that contradict their grandiose self-perception.


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