It’s Narcissist Friday!
One of the more confusing things about narcissists is that they actually do seem to be better than others. They do get a lot done. In fact, they are often great leaders—movers and shakers, so to speak. Their churches are large and growing. Their businesses are progressive and influential. Those who are politicians have their names on many significant bills. Narcissists seem to deserve credit for many good things.
Yet, those who are closest to the narcissist often notice that he or she really isn’t that good. Instead, narcissists are particularly good at getting others to do their work—and then unashamedly taking all the credit for themselves. Those who have worked with narcissists have probably experienced this. They have no qualms about taking credit for work you did together or even work you did on your own.
Years ago we had a man come to our church who thought of himself as a leader. I remember that we had some landscaping work to do. He went to one of the elders and said, “If you get me a tractor and a group of men, I’ll get that job done.” In other words, he would drive the tractor, the men would do the work, and he would take the credit. The same man complained to me about a church he had left. He said, “I had all kinds of good ideas for those people to do, but they wouldn’t do them.”
Now, this man wasn’t a particularly effective narcissist, but he certainly thought like one. The wife of a narcissist often wonders how he can be so loved and appreciated at work, when he doesn’t seem to be able to do much anywhere else. The boss of a narcissist wonders how someone so incompetent can continue to gather more responsibility and respect. The co-worker of a narcissist is amazed at how he is able to turn his lack of ability into apparent superior skill. What narcissists are good at is manipulating and using others.
When a narcissist uses the word “we,” and he often will, he means it in different ways. If there is work to be done, he means “you.” If there is credit to be received, he means, “I.”
Comments? Questions? (I’d love to read your stories!)