After months, years, or even decades of being abused and manipulated by a narcissist, a common question you might have is, “Why do narcissists lie?”
Narcissists lie to protect their false self, control and manipulate others, avoid taking responsibility for their actions, and to create drama because they lack empathy, have a strong sense of entitlement, and are impulsive.
In this article, I will guide you through these seven reasons to help you better understand the reasoning behind the lies narcissists tell.
1.) To Protect Their False Self
The “false self” concept in narcissism refers to a fabricated persona or identity that the narcissist has constructed.
This false self typically embodies qualities the narcissist wishes they had or believes will make them more admirable or lovable.
It’s not just a facade; to the narcissist, the false self is an essential part of who they are because it helps them get narcissistic supply.
The creation of this false self stems from deep-seated insecurities and self-worth issues, often rooted in early childhood experiences.
Suggested Reading: How Are Narcissists Made? (Insights from Dr. Jolie Avena)
To protect this fragile self-image, it isn’t uncommon for narcissists to engage in lying or other deceptive behaviors.
This is because any challenge or perceived threat to the false self can result in feelings of shame or vulnerability for the narcissist.
So, to prevent these feelings from surfacing, narcissists often lie to ensure that the false self remains intact and untarnished in the eyes of others and even themselves.
2.) To Control and Manipulate You
Narcissists use manipulative and controlling behaviors to maintain power and control in their relationships and interactions with others.
Lying happens to be one of the most powerful tools in their arsenal that they frequently use to do this.
By lying, a narcissist can keep others off balance, ensuring they remain in a position of authority or control.
For instance, they might lie about events or conversations, making others doubt their memories or perceptions.
This tactic, known as “gaslighting,” can undermine the individual’s confidence on the receiving end, making them more susceptible to the narcissist’s control.
Additionally, by controlling the narrative, narcissists can present themselves in the most favorable light possible, deflect blame, or avoid taking responsibility for their actions.
This helps them maintain their image of perfection associated with the false self and further ensures their dominant position in relationships or other situations.
3.) To Avoid Taking Responsibility for Their Actions
Narcissists have a particularly challenging time admitting mistakes or accepting criticism.
This is because of their fragile ego and need to maintain a positive self-image.
You see, taking any type of responsibility for a wrongdoing would shatter their constructed perception of perfection.
Therefore, lying is a convenient way to deflect blame or avoid consequences.
When faced with potential consequences or criticism, a narcissist might twist the narrative, deny facts, or shift blame onto others.
Suggested Reading: 7 Ways Narcissists React to Criticism
This not only helps them avoid taking responsibility but also preserves their self-image and the perception others have of them.
For narcissists, the need to maintain their facade is so great that they go to great lengths to avoid any form of accountability, even if it means lying to others.
4.) They Lack of Empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
For most people, this inherent quality is a moral compass guiding their interactions.
However, narcissists often have a diminished capacity for empathy.
Their primary focus tends to be on their own needs, feelings, and experiences, often at the expense of others.
This limited ability to feel for others means that narcissists may lie without considering the consequences their deceit might have on others.
On top of this, they might not grasp their lies’ emotional or psychological impact, especially if they stand to benefit from them.
For the narcissist, the end often justifies the means.
If a lie propels them forward or benefits them somehow, they typically do not concern themselves with the fallout it may cause for others.
5.) They Have a Strong Sense of Entitlement
Narcissists have a strong sense of entitlement; it is one of their core characteristics.
A sense of entitlement means feeling that one inherently deserves certain privileges or special treatment just because of who they are.
People with a strong sense of entitlement believe they have a right to more than others, even if there’s no real reason for that belief.
As a result, narcissists often feel that the typical rules, social norms, or moral standards that apply to others don’t necessarily apply to them.
This belief can lead to various problematic behaviors, including lying.
When narcissists feel entitled to certain privileges or outcomes, they may see lying as a justified means to achieve their goals.
If they believe they deserve something — attention, admiration, material gain, or any other form of gratification — they think it’s perfectly acceptable to lie to get it.
After all, in their eyes, they are only taking what they rightly deserve.
6.) They Are Impulsive
Impulsivity is characterized by actions taken without forethought or consideration of the consequences.
While not exclusive to narcissists, impulsivity is often a feature in some of their behavioral patterns.
Their need for immediate gratification, attention, or validation often outweighs the careful consideration of the implications of their actions.
For impulsive narcissists, lying is almost reflexive — a spontaneous reaction to a situation without thinking about its long-term consequences.
For example, if they’re faced with a question revealing a lack of knowledge or a flaw, they might impulsively lie to maintain their image.
Over time, this impulsivity can result in a tangled web of lies as they might need to create more lies to support the initial deceit.
7.) To Create Drama
Drama and chaos can serve multiple purposes for some narcissists.
Suggested Reading: Why Do Narcissists Create Chaos?
Firstly, it places them at the center of attention, satisfying their need for validation, admiration, reassurance, power, and control.
Secondly, by creating conflicts between others, they can divert attention away from their actions or flaws.
It’s a form of deflection where the focus shifts from them to the drama they instigate.
By lying, they can generate misunderstandings, sow seeds of doubt, or pit individuals against each other, and by creating this drama, they regain control and reposition themselves in a more favorable position that helps them evade accountability.
What Should You Take Away from This Article?
Narcissists lie to protect their false selves, control and manipulate others, avoid taking responsibility for their actions, create drama because they lack empathy, have a strong sense of entitlement, and are impulsive.
About the Author
Hey, I’m Elijah.
I experienced narcissistic abuse for three years.
I create these articles to help you understand and validate your experiences.
Thank you for reading, and remember, healing is possible even when it feels impossible.