Lies to cover Lies

It’s Narcissist Friday!

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!”

Although Shakespeare often gets credit for those words, they were actually written by Sir Walter Scott.  Whoever wrote them, they are certainly right on the money.  Lies to cover lies that cover other lies create a mess that takes a great deal of energy to maintain.  Someone else said, (Quintillian), “A liar should have a good memory.”

When we encounter the lie about ourselves, that we are unlovable or inferior, we have a variety of ways to deal with the feelings that come into our hearts.  Some people bow in acceptance of the judgment.  Others become angry and deny the judgment.  Still others begin a lifetime of hard work to overcome the judgment.  And some accept the judgment but do everything they can to cover it up so others don’t see it.

I believe that the narcissist tries to cover the lie with other lies.  When he was very young, just like the rest of us, he heard the lie about himself and believed it.  Then, in order to survive, began to create an image of himself that he lifted up for others to see.  Everything in his life pointed to the image, rather than to the lie about himself.  If he felt weak, he created an image of himself that was stronger than others.  If he felt inferior in any way, his image was greater.

The image, of course, was a lie.  But it was a lie to cover the other lie.  And the problem with lies is that they do not maintain themselves.  They take work.  In fact, they often take more lies.  The little boy who felt weak created an image of himself as stronger than others and now, as an adult, tells stories of his great strength.  Of course, the stories are lies.  And when he is challenged on his strength, he stretches his arm and says that he could still be that strong if he hadn’t had that accident.  Another lie.

Those who live with narcissists hear lies all the time.  But the narcissist is not just a liar.  He is self-deceived.  Like many of us, he believed the lie.  He saw himself as unacceptable and desperately wanted the love and attention of others.  But unlike most of us, he thought another lie would help.  Now he is so invested in his lies that he moves from relationship to relationship in fear of exposure.  I know of narcissists who got their job on the basis of their lies and their ability to manipulate what others think of them.  Now they go to work afraid every day that someone will find out that they really don’t know what they are doing.  To cover that, they steal the work of others, create dissension in teams, and undercut the ones above him.

But just when you start to feel sorry for the narcissist, remind yourself that one of his primary investments has been to keep you under the bondage of the lie about you.  When you become free from the lie, you become a threat to the narcissist.  You will never be good enough for the narcissist, simply because to acknowledge that you are acceptable and lovable is to point out what he has believed about himself.

Jesus said that the truth would set you free.  But there are people who don’t want us to be free.  The narcissists in our lives are certainly among those people.  Our freedom just makes them feel their bondage even more acutely.



Filed under Freedom, Narcissism

5 responses to “Lies to cover Lies

  1. Kelly

    This is good. The lies..oh how they create such smoke and mirrors. My new husband and I watched an older movie last night. Unfortunately it has profanity but here is what astonished me…I’d see this movie when it came out in 1997. At that time I didn’t know a thing of this NPD, though I was married to one(7 years at that point). Anyway, I really believe this movie is about a malignant narcissist and it was eye opening to watch from that perspective. The movie: Good Will Hunting. Caution: Rated R for profanity


    In the case of my narcissist dad, it was never a lie you could pin down or find out. He actually worked hard to be able to have those bragging rights, and the bragging was under the guise of false humility as well. Some narcissists are sneakier than others. His lies are more about his motivation for doing certain things. I know this mostly because of my own narcissism that came as a result of living under it. I remember doing a lot of things to manipulate situations so that I would look better, but lying even to myself about the reason for doing it. I’m so thankful that therapy has opened my eyes to why I did what I did, and that Jesus is within to guide me and remind me that I’m loved and free and don’t need a perfect image to maintain either of those things. My new favorite verse is ” It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Another version: ” Christ has freed us into freedom. “.
    Galations 5:1. Your narcissist can say “I love you and always have” until he’s blue in the face, but if there is no freedom behind it, it sure doesn’t feel like love, does it? Another lie. I pray for healing and freedom for you all!

  3. Tammy C

    Oh the words of wisdom you speak! This is very much true as I experienced it first hand. If you suspect the lie and show anger & frustration, you are simply fueling their Narcissistic supply. They derive some sick and twisted pleasure in knowing that they made you angry.

    Somehow they figure out a way to scheme, lie and manipulate you back into compliance to the degree that the relationship demands. A need for compliance from you in a work relationship will greatly depend upon your ability to jepardize their image. The stakes become a bit higher and the web of lies thicker in a marriage.

    In either case though, when you become aware that you are deserving of respect and take actions to to free yourself from the lie, be prepared for more lies and venom to be about YOU.

    A threat to their self-created image will not be tolerated and you will go down in flames if you aren’t wearing a flame retardant suit. Oh I should tell you where to get one of those! Ephesians 6:10-18. Put on the Armor of God. I did and my life is not the same.

  4. Denise

    I’m really glad I found this website. My ex , I suspect, is a narcissist and a few months after the break up I’ve read a lot of literature and I have begun to realize how there is a web of lies and self deceit on the part of the N and for me I have lost my sense of self.
    God has begun to show me more and more – in particular I realized that even I myself have adopted some of my exNs attitude towards others.
    I think that being an N is quite unfortunate because it is a condition which causes the vicious cycle to never end and I think Jesus is the person who can save my exN or any other N really. I just don’t really know why I still care..

  5. Cyndee

    Pastor Dave, this is one of your very best descriptions of Narcissism yet. My 90 year old mother is my N and I have had 60 years to watch her create her lies. I am so often amazed at her ability to keep track of all of them so that the general public believes in her practiced image. She has dropped the mask for me thousands of times and I’ve been able to glimpse the small scared child under the grand image. I am so sad for her, I’d love for her to know the truth, strength & pure love of Jesus AND I’d love to be able to hug, hold and give my love to her true self. But her wall of lies is so thick, her true self is locked in a dark dungeon deep inside and all I can do is pray for her asking God for a miracle…..

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