Why narcissists try to make us feel insecure
Narcissistic people are known for the kind of relationship they establish with their own self-image . They consider that the aesthetics they transmit, that superficial part of themselves, is something that deserves all the possible care to fit well with an idea of "perfection" that they create to their measure.
That is why it is common to see that narcissistic people try to be the center of attention through the simplest excuses, and try to create a mythology of themselves that can be transmitted through their social circles.
But there is something else that characterizes the narcissist: try to make other people feel bad about themselves and have doubts about their potential .
- Maybe you are interested in this article: "Narcissistic Personality Disorder: How are narcissistic people?"
Narcissism and harmful social relationships
The tendency of narcissistic people to underestimate others in a subtle or explicit way is strongly related to his way of being and his egocentricity ; it is not a coincidence that both characteristics occur at the same time.
But ... what exactly is it that makes this type of people throw themselves fully to reinforce this kind of toxic relationships? These are the main keys that explain it.
1. Cognitive dissonance
If something characterizes narcissistic people, it is that they not only believe that they are worth more than the rest, but that they endeavor to make this belief be supported by the facts.
That means that, if he senses that an event can be interpreted as something that calls into question the superiority of oneself over others, the narcissist will create a new interpretation of what has happened or, one that allows him to continue trusting in the validity of his beliefs about his own perfection.
This phenomenon whereby the clash between two incompatible ideas produces discomfort and uncertainty is called cognitive dissonance, and we tend to tend to solve this kind of problem in a more clumsy way imaginable, whether we are narcissistic or not. In the case of the latter, they will resolve this tension between ideas by acting as if, directly, that proof of the other's value had not occurred.
For example, if someone has taken better marks than oneself in an exam, the narcissist can attribute this fact to the luck of the beginners (no, it does not have to make much effort to build an alternative interpretation to the obvious one). Also, not only will you believe in this "new truth", but also on many occasions he will transmit it to others . The goal of this is to make this interpretation gain strength and be internalized by its social circle.
Somehow, a narcissist will make reality fit with force with personal beliefs that he uses to structure his own identity. And if that happens by humiliating others or by minimizing the merits of others, it will.
- Related article: "Cognitive dissonance: the theory that explains self-deception"
2. Frustration at the lack of special treatment
Narcissists believe that they need special treatment because they are them. When they prove that others do not offer them the exclusive treatment they deserve in theory, it is very easy to blame others instead of reviewing their beliefs about your self-concept
In particular, treating others as if they were not worthy of their company in the face of the evidence that they do not recognize the genius of oneself is a recurring departure from this class of people.
3. Lack of empathy
Being narcissistic implies having levels of empathy significantly below what would be expected in an average citizen. This means that, beyond the motivations that may lead to humiliate and underestimate others, When this happens the narcissist has no reason to realize that he has made a mistake .
The simple fact of seeing how it is done and said to hurt others is not a sufficient reason to correct certain behaviors. That is, there will be no compensation mechanism at times when others are hurt: remorse will tend not to appear or to be very weak, which allows us to continue trying to influence negatively on others.
4. Undermining your neighbor is useful
There will always be a part of the population willing to believe the criticisms and comments of contempt that come out of a narcissist's mouth. These suggestible people will act as if they really are not worth much, and will feed the ideas of grandiosity of the narcissists.
Somehow, without realizing it, they will let themselves be emotionally vampirized in exchange for the possibility of being close to or being able to learn from a narcissist. Actually, believing that one is worth little and that another has the keys to what is true empathy is something that allows a social magnet to exist in some contexts and with certain people. In fact, there are some studies that even show that narcissistic people are more attractive.
Creating a world tailored to one's own ego
We have seen that narcissistic people actively construct versions of reality that allow them to continue believing that everything revolves around their ego. The collateral damage of this strategy of self-esteem conservation will not be assessed , because this would require a capacity for empathy that narcissists simply do not have.
However, we must bear in mind that, sometimes, narcissists make others feel bad not to feel better themselves, but because from their point of view is kind of forms of expression are not ways of judging, but descriptions neutral of reality.
After all, spending the day constructing fanciful explanations about the apparent success of others in certain areas of their lives would be exhausting, and narcissistic personality would not exist if at least part of this process was not automatic, unconscious and most simple possible.