Lying is a very normal behavior narcissistic people take part in. There are many different types of lies as well, and depending on where you look, people have different names for them. 

There are white lies that occur when someone lies to protect someone’s feelings. Lying by omission occurs when someone simply leaves something out. There is lying by exaggerating or embellishing any given situation. Lying to gain something. Or even lies because they’re easier/more believable than the truth which means they’re essentially for the sake of expediency. 

With that being said, narcissistic lies have a much different dynamic to them and it has a lot to do with their personality traits. 

When you combine a narcissist’s charm, intelligence, arrogance, vindictiveness, manipulative tendencies, grandiosity, lack of empathy, need for power, control, and dominance with their immature perception of the world, falsified reality, and insecure need to be accepted, admired, reassured, and validated, five clear reasons why narcissists lie begin to emerge

Narcissists lie because they’re so arrogant that they feel as if they have a right to whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want. They lie to ensure they’re able to dominate, manipulate, exploit, and silence others. They lie to maintain their falsified reality, and they lie because the truth inconveniences them. 

A narcissistic man in a blue shirt deciding which why he is going to tell,
A narcissistic man thinking about lying

A Narcissist’s Arrogance Enables Deceit

A narcissist’s emotional stability is dependent on their ability to keep their negative emotions suppressed in their psyche. To do so, they spend their entire lives fabricating a reality/public image that portrays them as an individual worthy of society’s acceptance. 

As a non-narcissistic person, this dynamic could seem ridiculous because simply being yourself is enough to be accepted by society. But a narcissist’s emotional immaturity causes them to have a very corrupt perception of the world.

Many researchers believe that this immaturity is due to an unhealthy/abusive childhood, which explains their inability to regulate their own emotions, build their own self-esteem in a healthy way, and fear of abandonment/rejection.

But their emotional immaturity also lays the groundwork for a narcissist’s belief that they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want. 

How? 

When a non-narcissistic person tells a lie, they know they are lying. They may appear as if they believe their own lie, but somewhere within their psyche they know that what they said or did wasn’t honest. 

A non narcissistic woman acknowledging her lie to herself.
A non-narcissistic woman acknowledging that they lied in their head.

Narcissists don’t have the same ability to call themselves out on their own lies (even if it is in their own head) that non-narcissistic people do. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they believe their own lies, it has more to do with their ability to compartmentalize and suppress certain aspects of their lives. 

What am I getting at?

To an extent, narcissists truly believe the reality/public image they’ve created for themselves. This leads to a tremendous amount of arrogance, confidence, and sense of superiority. Those characteristics combined with their emotional immaturity feeds their belief that they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want.

In other words, for a narcissist, lying isn’t a big deal when it serves their agenda. They’re so good at compartmentalizing certain aspects of their life that if they’re not called out on their lie, they don’t feel the negative emotions that a non-narcissistic person would feel when they lie. 

A narcissist has the confidence and arrogance to believe that they aren’t subjected to the same rules that non-narcissistic are, therefore they believe that lying is something they’re entitled to do when it serves them.

Narcissists Lie to Manipulate, Exploit, and Dominate Others

There are two very common ways narcissists lie to manipulate, exploit, and dominate others. One is through a form of projection and the other is through the enlistment of flying monkeys

The form of projection I’m referring to is narcissistic rage, which can manifest in two ways. It can either be quite explosive and terrifying, or it can be very passive aggressive

Narcissists are very insecure, vulnerable, and have astonishing fragile egos. Their inability to regulate the type of negative emotions that come from their unstable emotional state is why they spend their entire lives fabricating a reality/public image that appears “perfect” or at the very least, severely underrated by the world (covert narcissism). 

This is quite problematic because their emotional immaturity means that they actually build their self-esteem by blindly following their perception of societal norms. What ends up happening is that their accumulation of very trivial/materialistic things becomes their identity. 

For example, narcissists gravitate towards things like social media, appearances, money, sex, and other insignificant details about one’s identity. While non-narcissistic people focus on love, kindness, honesty,  security for the ones they love and so on. 

Their tendency to build their self-esteem off of very trivial things is the reason why their egos are so fragile. In a world filled with authentic people, the potential of someone accidentally contradicting their identity is incredibly high. 

a narcissistic woman in a red dress throwing herself into a narcissistic rage
A narcissistic woman throwing herself into a narcissistic rage because someone made a comment about the likes on her social media post

When a narcissist’s identity is contradicted, all of their negative emotions get triggered. The emotional distress that comes with all of their negative emotions is unbearable so they use narcissistic rage to project the emotions out of them, and this is where their vindictiveness comes in. 

“The need for revenge, for righting a wrong, for undoing a hurt by whatever means, and a deeply anchored, relenting compulsion, in the pursuit of all these aims which gives no rest to those who have suffered a narcissistic injury—these are features which are characteristic for the phenomenon of narcissistic rage in all its forms and what sets it apart from other kinds of aggression.” – Heinz Kohut 

In other words, when a narcissist experiences a narcissistic injury, an ego injury caused by their reality being contradicted, their vindictiveness means that narcissistic rage becomes a tool they use to make the person who initiated the narcissistic injury feel as bad as they do.

Under these circumstances, the purpose of lying would be to gain something, which is usually a sense of control. Where these lies manifest more often is in a more of a passive aggressive approach. 

For example, imagine that your narcissistic manager gives you a horrible performance review simply because you voiced legitimate concerns about their performance the month before. 

Or imagine that your narcissistic partner pulls a long list of complaints about the relationship out of thin air the moment you tell them that their behavior is wrong. 

Their lies are simultaneously blatant and subtle and they work so well because narcissists are good at formulating believable lies, which leads us into part two of this section which embodies a more dominant form of lying: flying monkeys.

Flying monkeys are people that narcissists manipulate into turning against you, and they usually emerge when a narcissist is at risk of being exposed. Circling back to the reality/public image that they work so hard to create, it is impossible for them to maintain it 24/7.

If you’ve been with a narcissist for an extended period of time, you’ve probably noticed their ability to be admirable in public but a monster behind closed doors. It can be really hard to watch someone who willingly traumatizes you on a daily basis, be considerate for others. 

With that being said, what you might not have noticed is that by experiencing narcissistic abuse, you are in a very unique position because you’re one of the only people who know their true identity. 

a woman in a tan dress witnessing how two-faced her narcissistic husband is
A depiction of a woman witnessing her narcissistic husband be a saint in public while thinking about how awful he is at home.

This puts the narcissist in your life in a very vulnerable position, especially when the relationship is coming to an end. There are two scenarios you’ll likely witness with the narcissist in your life that circulates around their vulnerabilities. 

The first scenario one may have occurred when you first met them. Did you notice how they had this uncontrollable tendency to put others down? 

  • The narcissist might have told you insane stories about their “crazy”.
  • The narcissist could have been a sibling or parent trying to turn you against other family members,
  • A narcissistic co-worker/boss disproportionately targeting specific members of the work environment. 

This was nothing more than them grooming you into accepting their distorted version of reality that portrays everyone but them as the problem. 

Why? 

It is a defense mechanism they use quite frequently to ensure that if someone from their past were to approach you and warn you about their behavior, you wouldn’t believe them.

The second scenario is where flying monkeys come into the mix. Imagine that the relationship has come to an end, you’ve been able to acknowledge that what you’re experiencing is abuse, and you’re moving on with your life. 

What’s next? One of the most traumatizing phases of the narcissistic abuse cycle.

Much like a child who has done something bad, the narcissist in your life is terrified that you’re going to tell on them. They have a crippling fear of rejection and abandonment. They know that if you were to expose how abusive they are, they’d be rejected, shamed, and abandoned by society. 

So in a cowardly grasp for control, they try to destroy you by spreading demeaning lies and gossip to your friends, family members, and even authoritative figures like doctors, therapists, and law enforcement. 

a narcissist in an orange shirt recruiting flying monkeys
A narcissist spreading demeaning lies about someone else to recruit flying monkeys.

If done successfully, the lies and gossip that they told will silence your voice because nobody will believe you. Keep in mind that narcissists specifically target those you’re close with or have some importance in your life to isolate you. 

It is incredibly traumatizing to watch the ones that you trusted gobble up the narrative the narcissist fed them that portrays you as the abuser and them as the victim.

The worst thing about it is that 99.99% of the time there is absolutely nothing you can do because flying monkeys truly believe the narcissist’s narrative and have been known to go as far as participating in the manipulative smear campaign led by your abuser.

To sum up everything that has been stated,  lying to manipulate, exploit, and dominate others is a core dynamic of narcissistic abuse.

Narcissists Lie Because They Believe That They’re Entitled to Greatness

Narcissists often tell lies that are designed to amplify/highlight their greatness. The lies they tell are incredibly captivating because of how skilled they are at creating a narrative that coincides with their grandiosity

These types of lies are quite peculiar because it appears that narcissists don’t have much to gain from them, and a whole lot to lose if they were to be exposed. 

To best explain this, we’re going to dive into the mindset of a covert narcissist. Covert narcissism is very much the black sheep of the narcissistic family. Their grandiosity, entitlement, and arrogance manifests in a very depressed manner

A covert narcissist lacks the social skills that the other types of narcissists often use to get into positions of power in their given field, but they fully believe that they’ve entitled to success, riches, admiration, and considered the best in every way imaginable.

But their covert personality often prohibits them from being able to accumulate what they desire. Instead of acknowledging their inadequacy, they believe that society as a whole is too ignorant, jealous and mal-intended to acknowledge their greatness. 

I call it the should’ve, would’ve, could’ve method. They have an encyclopedia of excuses that always begin with “I should’ve, I could’ve, I would’ve” and end with the blame being projected onto someone else.

a woman who is a covert narcissist saying something to show how underrated she is.
A covert narcissist using the should’ve, could’ve, would’ve method.

While  malignant, communal, and grandiose narcissists may not have the same approach that covert narcissists do, have the same underlying belief of global injustice. 

Therefore these types of lies are used to validate the narcissist’s version of reality. The feeling narcissist’s get when they’re able to seduce others into accepting their reality is exhilarating. 

This idea of a narcissist’s behavior patterns being designed to seduce others also translates to the way they interact with themselves. 

Almost as if they get so invested in suppressing their negative emotions and maintaining this glorified/falsified reality that they also seduce themselves in the process. 

Meaning that these lies of greatness that they tell are not only for society but to also soothe their emotional instability.

Narcissists Lie Because the Truth Is Inconvenient For Them

With the amount of arrogance and grandiosity that a narcissist has, being self centered comes naturally. Lies that emerge because the truth inconveniences the narcissist have a large amount of gaslighting embedded in them, so they’re important to be aware of

Imagine that you are in a relationship with a narcissist and catch him/her on a dating app. You instinctually confront them about it because it isn’t the first time that they’ve done something unfaithful, but they hit you with a bold-faced lie.  

A narcissistic man lying to his wife about being on a dating app.
A narcissistic man telling a bold-faced lie.

At a quick glance, you may believe that the narcissist told the lie because he/she is so arrogant that they honestly believe that they don’t have to follow these unwritten rules of a relationship. 

You wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, but there’s also a high probability that they told the lie because they know the truth will likely bring a lengthy conversation that they want no part of. So, they rather just lie, gaslight you, and move on with their day.

In other words, your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs aren’t a part of their agenda unless they need something. This is a very self centered approach to a conflict that is very, very common in the narcissistic realm.

What Should You Take Away From This Article? 

In the narcissistic realm, lying is a behavior pattern that serves very specific needs of the narcissistic individual in your life. Narcissists lie because of their arrogance, desire to be in power and have control, their belief that they’re entitled to whatever they want, and because of their self centered tendencies. 

Lying is actually a huge aspect of narcissistic abuse and requires your undivided attention. Now that you have a great understanding about why narcissists lie, it is time to move on to the next article in this series about lying in the narcissistic realm, How Can You Tell When a Narcissist Is Lying.

Get a Free Healing Bundle Every Week!


  • 1 Educational Video From a Mental Health Professional
  • 1 Informative PDF About Narcissistic Abuse
  • 1 Journaling Exercise With Multiple Prompts
  • 7 Affirmations for the Upcoming Week
  • Lifetime Access to Our Private Online Community

Get a Free Healing Bundle Every Week!

  • 1 Educational Video From a Mental Health Professional
  • 1 Informative PDF About Narcissistic Abuse
  • 1 Journaling Exercise With Multiple Prompts
  • 7 Affirmations for the Upcoming Week
  • Lifetime Access to Our Private Online Community

All of the content that Unfilteredd creates is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for clinical care — please visit here for qualified organizations and here for qualified professionals that you can reach out to for help. This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policies.

Suggested Readings:

How Can You Tell When a Narcissist Is Lying?