Tag Archives: Grandiosity

5 Defenses Used By Narcissists To Hide Inner, Extreme Fragility

 

 

As we have seen in many other articles that I have published on this site, despite superficial indicators of the polar opposite, internally narcissists are wracked by intense feelings of self-doubt, inadequacy, vulnerability, fragility, worthlessness and self-loathing ; in essence, their internal, camouflaged self is that of a highly anxious, uncertain, frightened and deeply insecure child.

And, because it is so painful to live in a state of mind which is acutely conscious of these weaknesses, the narcissist desperately needs to  defend him/herself, psychologically,  from living in a state of perpetual awareness of them and so, unconsciously, develops defensive psychological mechanisms in an attempt to keep them mentally subjugated and prevent them impinging upon and  dominating his / her conscious awareness.

Below, I list some examples of the kinds of psychological defense mechanisms the narcissist employs (on an unconscious level) in order to be able to keep his / her potentially paralyzing, self-denigrating inner feelings at bay.

PSYCHOLOGICAL DEFENSE MECHANISMS EMPLOYED BY THE NARCISSIST :

GRANDIOSITY : The defense mechanism of ‘grandiosity’ serves to protect the narcissist from his / her inner feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy.

PROJECTION : Projection is a psychological defense mechanism employed by individuals to deny and repudiate faults that exist in themselves by attributing them, instead, to other people. For example, a narcissist who is controlling and demanding may acuse others of being controlling and demanding.

ENTITLEMENT : This defense mechanism, a kind of ‘the-world-owes-me-a-living’ attitude is used to disguise inner feelings of being fundamentally undeserving of anything good in life.

FANTASIES OF GREAT SUCCESS : Internally, the narcissist feels deeply inferior to others and an object of scorn and contempt ; fantasies of great success help to defend against this. S/he may, for example, believe they are an, as yet, undiscovered genius who will, sooner or later, achieve the recognition of which s/he has, thus far (due to the imbicility of others, naturally), been so cruelly deprived, and become the object an envy, jealousy, worship and devotion (i.e. his/her rightful place in the world). Or, the narcissist may fantasize about having great power and control over others to protect against feelings of impotence and incompetence.

ARROGANCE AND SANCTIMONY : Narcissists can hide behind attitudes of ‘better-than-you’ and ‘holier-than-thou’ to ward off inner feelings of inferiority and shame.

Taking all of the above into account, one way to view narcissism itself is as a psychological defense to distance awareness from an inner, psychological reality that is too emotionally painful, distressing and potentially catastrophic to confront directly.

To read my previously published article about how narcissistic mothers may invalidate us, click here.

Alternatively, to read my previously published article about charateristics of narcissistic parents, click here.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Childhood Trauma Recovery