It’s Narcissist Friday!
You should be. The narcissist has worked hard to impress you. And, let’s face it, narcissists can be quite impressive.
Oh, I know, by now you aren’t impressed anymore. Now you are starting to see the truth and you don’t like what you see. The narcissist is barely competent. If it were not for the people he uses, and the lies, and something else that’s hard to put a finger on, you would have seen the truth earlier. Right?
Almost every day we hear about someone in the news whose reality isn’t nearly as impressive as what we thought. The politician, the general, the movie star, the preacher, the musician, the CEO—these people fall hard in public opinion. We all thought he was something special but it turns out he is just another creep. The great and godly and impressive man is revealed to be something even less than most of his admirers. He cheats on his wife with gay lovers. He abuses children. He stole the money people entrusted to him. Happens all the time.
Every superhero has a weakness. The narcissist’s super-power is to manipulate what others think of him. By what magicians call “misdirection” the narcissist is able to hold your focus on one characteristic while keeping your attention off something else. His great listening skills may cause you to ignore his tendency to lie. His memory for the details of your life distracts you from the fact that he is disrespecting your family. His open friendliness diverts your attention from the cruel things he says about others.
But there is a weakness. No one can control every aspect of his or her life. Eventually, the truth seems to slip out. Eventually the emails are found, the books are balanced, or the lie is revealed. The narcissist’s weakness is the truth. All his talk and superiority has been hard work to keep the rest of us from finding out the truth.
And the truth is that the narcissist is weak and small. The Wizard of Oz was neither as great nor as wonderful as everyone thought. He was just a little man with a machine that could manipulate and a microphone that amplified his voice.
Here’s an idea for all of us: the next time we meet someone who seems to be impressive, whose faults we cannot find, who meets our needs perfectly, let’s be a little suspicious. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but let’s be honest: everyone has faults. Most of us accept our faults. Those who are mature move confidently through life in spite of their weaknesses. Narcissists must hide their faults and that gives them away. When they get angry because you are less than impressed, when they work so much harder to be impressive, it’s because they are hiding the truth.
Being imperfect is just part of living this life. That’s why we need a Savior.