Does a Narcissist Have a Conscience?

It’s Narcissist Friday!

Well, that depends on what you mean.  If you mean a little voice telling him that he is doing the wrong thing, probably not.  If you mean knowing the difference between good and evil, then I would say that he does.  But he may define the concepts different from you.

The narcissist is the ultimate pragmatist.  He wants to do what works.  If it works, it is good.  If it doesn’t work, it’s bad.  So you have to consider the narcissistic goal.  The only real goal is for the narcissist to support the image of himself that he wants to project.  Anything that gets in the way of that is bad.  That could be a person, a situation, or a way of thinking.  Removing the obstacle would be a good thing, according to the narcissist.

For example: Let’s say that the narcissist wants to look good for the boss.  The only “little voice” in his head is showing him all the reasons his boss might think less of him.  If a co-worker has been making progress on something that will impress the boss, the narcissist will have no qualms about taking it and presenting it to the boss as his own.

Now, does the narcissist have any guilt about this?  Probably not.  Was there anything telling him he shouldn’t do it?  Probably not.  Does he know it is wrong?  Yes, but that sense of wrong is outside him, a societal pressure that can be pushed aside in favor of the goal.  The narcissist is culpable for his actions.  He can and should be held responsible.  But the thought of right and wrong never entered his mind except in service to the goal.

I think I have shared this before, but it certainly fits here.

Half the harm that is done in this world

Is due to people who want to feel important

They don’t mean to do harm ­

But the harm does not interest them.

Or they do not see it, or they justify it

Because they are absorbed in the endless struggle

To think well of themselves.

T. S. Eliot

3 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

3 responses to “Does a Narcissist Have a Conscience?

  1. But …but… but… Oh, I just don’t get these people. If they are believers, what about the Holy Spirit in them? How can one just push aside the voice of God?! Do they realize the consequences long term?

  2. Good question! First, I am talking about narcissists in general here, so many of them would not be believers. They have developed a sense of conscience that best serves their goals. Second, it is unfortunately quite possible for believers to nearly silence the voice of the Spirit in their lives. So, if the narcissist is believer, he may still be led by his flesh.

    Watch for a post on the difference between the conscience and the Holy Spirit.

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