It’s Narcissist Friday!     


Narcissists are cheaters. They cheat at big things and little things. Any advantage that will make them look smarter or superior in any way, they will take.

Actually, I am surprised this is not one of the nine clinical characteristics of the narcissist. Maybe it’s because others cheat as well, but I suspect all narcissists cheat. It may also be that cheating is not longer seen as a negative in an increasingly narcissistic culture.

You see, the narcissist is superior in his/her own mind. The rules don’t apply to them. They can choose what rules to follow and what rules to ignore. Things like speed limits, truth in advertising, accurate tax returns, and fair play are for other people. People who are not superior.

Almost everyone who has ever played a game with a narcissist has seen this. Unless the narcissist is actually superior in something, he will cheat. Your ball was out, he says. She will peek at your cards. The piece was to be moved seven places, but somehow the narcissist moved eight. He did “one more” push-up than you. Little dumb things. Some have said their narcissist even cheated while playing games with the kids.

So cheating in marriage, cheating on a resume, cheating a customer or client, or cheating in politics—all are just fun for the narcissist. Breaking the rules brings a rush to the narcissist. The fear of getting caught is nothing compared to the feeling of being superior.

You were taught that cheating proves nothing. The narcissist learned that cheating proves he is better. You were taught that cheaters always lose in the long run. The narcissist learned that tomorrow’s potential loss pales in the light of today’s win. You were taught that cheating was bad. The narcissist learned that silly moral standards keep you from being a winner.

The old word for someone who sees themselves as above the rules was “scofflaw.” A scofflaw laughed at the limits people placed on themselves. Arguments of fairness and safety meant nothing to the scofflaw. The word came out of Prohibition times. It actually came from a contest to pick a name for people who continued to drink when alcohol was illegal.

What happens when the narcissist is told not to do something? He almost has to find a way to do it. It might be drinking or stealing or parking in a certain place. The narcissist will stretch the rule to its absolute limit, and then just a little more. Just because the authorities don’t realize that the rules are for others, doesn’t mean the narcissist has to keep them. He will find a way.

Now, you might know a narcissist who knows every rule and insists that everyone must keep them all. He will make a big show of keeping them, but he will cheat. In some place, some hidden area, he will break the rules—just to prove to himself that he is superior. If we have learned anything over the past few years, we have learned that the strongest Bible-thumping preacher has secret sins. He cheats.

And everyone in the narcissist’s life knows this to be true. “Grandpa cheats!” the kids say. You stopped playing games with that friend a long time ago. The other workers hide their lunches or their client lists because they know what happens. The people at the gym don’t argue anymore when the narcissist claims more chin-ups or says the ball was out. People only play with the narcissist because they have to, or because they don’t know any better.

And if the narcissist is caught? “It was just a joke!” “I was just seeing if you could catch me.” “I would have won anyway.” “No, that’s not true!” “You are just whining because you lost.” “You were the one cheating.” You have probably heard all of those.

You see, even in little things, the narcissist must make himself feel superior.


Filed under Narcissism

15 responses to “Cheaters

  1. Good article, Your right , they find a way to cheat even if they don’t have to. I used to catch my ex-nh cheating even when he didn’t have to. I think he did do it for the rush. He would even cheat when he was the one making the rules. We managed horse farms, I say we because I could never work anyplace he did not eventhough I was the life long horseman, and one of the big rules of any farm is NEVER smoke in the Barn. He had me post “No Smoking” signs everywhere…but he never had an issue with walking through the barns with a lit cigar or smoking in the office inside the barn. I could never talk to a law enforcement officer unless I was in physical contact with him and then if they tried to talk to me separately I was not supposed to say anything… but he would constantly call them to make false reports about me, to punish me for some infraction by attempting to have me baker acted. I stopped complying for a while until I was tired of getting the hell beat out of be with a belt(and that was allowed by our church). all this to say. Yes they cheat in every way they can get away with even to having affairs …which of course is our fault to…I drove him to it…NOT

  2. Sunflower

    So right. My first h, couldn’t keep a promise. This was many years ago, and the only way I could make sense of it was to call it simple rebellion. “Nobody tells me what to do.” Not even himself, that is why he couldn’t keep a promise. And that is why they cheat. It is as the sin of witchcraft, and guess who’s the authour of confusion?

  3. Melody

    “That makes me smart.” In reference to cheating the system, while poorer but honest people struggle to pay their bills and taxes. That is serious sinful entitlement. The saddest part for me this year is watching Christians enable and excuse blatant narcissism. Systemic narcissism leaves us with nowhere to go (humanly speaking) that is safe.

  4. Sunflower

    Example: Listing all his children as ‘disabled’ on his tax forms. His son saw it……..yet, they stick by him because he ‘talks the talk’ SO well. Ans somehow, his excuses sound so good. How do they do that? I used to fall for them too, so I can relate, and then when I saw it, I was so disgusted with myself.

  5. Celeste

    Oh, the deceit. When we were young, I considered him an extremely honest man; one of his finer qualities. Slowly, I realized that I was confusing boldness in speaking with expressing truth. He was bold, feeling free to ask another person most anything he was curious about. He would express an opinion to just start dialogue. Being a minister by trade (not by calling, he caught one’s attention by beginning with the words, “I believe”. A preacher stating those words draws a crowd. Ten minutes later, if questioned about that statement and following sentences, he’ll deny he said anything. He will state that he wasn’t even in that room.

    On, the mind games. Oh, such a liar, oh, such a chameleon. Oh, so not a child of God Almighty.

  6. UnForsaken

    He claims to be extremely honest. He usually is. Then he makes a lot of unspoken rules/expectations for Us to live up to and starts to manipulate. He gets other people to repeat things not-quite-right. He gaslights and apologizes and secretly betrays by slander. Pretty soon…say thirty years realize that it was Almost true. Or, it was possibly a total fabrication based on someone else’s imagination. ( Not his – he never tries anything new without borrowing it from someone else first. There are fewer risks and instant blame shifting if something goes wrong. ) The expert game player gets inside our heads and emotions, hardly making a move himself.

    This lack of fairness is something “no one should miss”, but for some reason it seemed normal to you. How did that happen? How did I not get the inconsistency and condemnation? I believe we are often too quick to make excuses for people we love/like. We need people to do this towards us, but since they don’t, we make up for their lack of goodwill by overflowing with it ourselves. We go into denial before we even know what we are denying! There comes a time we have to scour up all our scraps of courage to look life in the face. Things get really dark.

    The darkness went on a lot longer than I thought possible. Then, and only then, I began to see that his perspective is making mountains out of mole hills and I can be free from his worldview to make my own much brighter one. It’s tough work, maybe the hardest thing I’ve ever had to accept, to take at a slipping pace, to create from scratch, but So, so worth it! This is a journey we are all taking, each in our own way. Stay the course and Persist. Recovery is possible! ❤


      He shows up at church for his image. Two days ago he greeted me with a kiss and a hug in front of a church leader. This act was just to mock me. He has never in twelve years offered any type of affection that is not an invitation for sex. At home, he mocks Christianity in almost everything he does. He has had a constant stream of infidelity, and I somehow push this out of my mind like somehow I deserve it.
      I can’t get through one day without breaking down in tears. I feel so hated. And exhausted. My body hurts from the constant internal pain that manifests as physical. How do I leave? How do I get over the debilitating anxiety and constant panic? I know two things for sure. 1)My husband is unable to love me. 2)My husband will not let me leave him without waging war on me. I’m scared of how much my two boys will be hurt if I leave their dad. I’m paralyzed by the threat of the slander that will most likely end all of my existing relationships. He’s made me believe that I am worthless and could never support myself and my kids. I don’t know where to get the energy to even start making my way out of this. I’ve prayed for 15 years. I’m even tired of praying.

      • Savedbygrace

        Dear Seekpeace,I am so sorry you are suffering- the exhaustion and physical, emotional and mental stress you are experiencing sounds like it is escalating and you are going under.

        I hear your natural concern as a mum for your boys. What will they do if you have a complete breakdown? Who will look after them? It was only after I left my h that my daughter started reveling bit by bit how harmed she was by living in such a toxic environment ( that I was trying to ‘hold together’ partly for her sake) You are not the only victim here. The boys are too.

        It is great you have posted here to reach out for help, there is support and a place to read, explore your thoughts and feelings.

        It is no wonder that you are so so tired and overwhelmed with exhaustion. You are too exhausted to make big decisions at the moment. So don’t try to. Take a few deep breaths and think what you can do to look after you. Can you get some more sleep? have some time out? have coffee with a friend? I’m sorry if even these suggestions are beyond you, which they may be. If so, please pick up the phone and talk to someone at a Womens Refuge. They will know how to help. Many people here, myself included, have had to ‘borrow from the strength of others’ especially at the beginning stages of acknowledging we need help.

        One of my favourite songs when I feel worn out by life and can’t go on is by Steven Curtis Chapman “Glorious unfolding” maybe you can google it- it begins with:
        ‘Lay your head down tonight, take a rest from the fight,don’t try to figure it out..’
        You are not worthless. God sees your pain and grieves. Know you are loved and deserve better.
        Praying for you and sending (((hugs))) xx

      • Lea

        I too am so sorry that you are having to endure such a horrible marriage. If he is being unfaithful to you, I would take my 2 boys and leave. If you have parents or a relative that you could stay with until you get a place of your own, I would advise that. You do not deserve to be treated like that at all. God never intended for marriage to be that way. It should be a happy life. You must teach your boys that Daddy is being unfaithful to the family and that it is sin. Surely you have family that will believe you and support you, I hope. Don’t worry about everyone else right now. You can make it .
        4 steps to get through a storm in life:
        1) Surrender yourself and everything to God and repent of your sins. Give it all to God to follow Him.
        2) Be patient.
        3) Don’t push through the roadblocks that God has set up.
        4) Praise God for all he is doing in your life.


      • Diane

        It will be difficult if you leave, and difficult if you do not. I just want to share what the Lord showed me this morning:

        Narcissists in some way, feel abandoned by God. Life experiences proved to them that he abandoned them at a time of great need. So they become their own god, filling their needs as they see fit. And we who love them also are trying to have our own needs met by them or by other people. The relationships we have with narcissists didn’t appear suddenly when we met them. It is generational, but it can be stopped and changed.

        I Peter 2:23 says that Jesus entrusted himself to God.

        And then he was brutally crushed, beaten, and crucified. Even after he had entrusted himself to God.

        No wonder he cried out, My God, My God! Why have you forsaken me?!!!??? (Emphasis mine)

        Narcissists and those of us who fell in love with them, all feel this way. We all believe that in some arena of our lives, or many arenas, that God forsakes us still.

        Jesus entrusted himself to God and he still suffered. But God raised him from the dead. God did not abandon him. He has not abandoned us or our husbands, but if we believe he has, we will look for a person to take care of us, or we will seek to fill our abandoned self with love of some kind, of power of some kind.

        If Jesus experienced this a abandonment, then he has fulfilled its longing. He conquered it and asks us to entrust our financial crisis, our loneliness, our anger at God, our abandonment by whomever to the Father, who WAS faithful to Jesus by raising him and IS faithful to us. He is trustworthy and Jesus invites us to entrust ourselves to the Father.

        I know the exhaustion of waiting and praying for change. God will deliver you, and it may be excruciatingly painful. But I challenge you to begin today to start thanking God for every memory, every harsh comment or brutality that you are now and have experienced. In that thanks, you are inviting the very presence of God, because the LORD enhabits the praises of his people.

        God is still bigger than the narcissist. Really.

  7. Savedbygrace

    Unforsaken, your first paragraph- my story too!! in fact coming to the acceptance that my nh lies and is not “extremely honest” as he projected was one of the first steps to me facing his abuse and coming out of the fog.

    When i asked myself How did it happen? at first I berated myself for being so naive and trusting and then I thought… wait a minute it is OK/should have been OK for a young bride to trust her new husband and to believe he is truthful.. the problem is I was taken advantage of. and yes, as Dave has said before, Ns target people who are generous in spirit and see the best in others and are empathic and willing to ‘make it work’. sigh. We should be able to have these good qualities and they be a blessing in a marriage.

    My nh told me recently that he, from a young age, would say things (to boost his importance) that were deliberately ambiguous so that if anyone called him out on it he would have an instant defence “It’s not what I said/meant”
    On the one hand i feel sorry for the little boy who chose to live like that, but on the other hand even now I am likely being manipulated, told this to elicit sympathy so that I will reconcile with him. sigh.

    On a more ‘humourous’ note, regarding “cheating”.. I was with nh at a recent family function and when we returned to the car he had a parking ticket. He protested that he ‘had bought a parking voucher!’ – turns out he paid for an hour, knowing full well we would be there a few hours.. it was very funny- of course i kept my smile on the inside!!

    • UnForsaken

      Yes, I would also say having my eyes opened to his “spin” was one of the first steps I made on the N discovery journey, Savedbygrace. These manipulations really are cheating. They are even cheating themselves.

      Your are so right. Sometimes they manipulate and lie their way into a corner – and without any malice – it IS amusing! What did they expect? To get away with it, of course! But they are only mortals such as we…. ;

  8. karen

    For Seekpeace,
    “Friends, how have you detached in a healthy way from an unhealthy relationship? My counsel to you is that you must put your marriage in its proper place. Many people have very unhealthy attachments to people because they expect this person – or require this person, or desire that this person fill them up and make them feel loved, secure, and happy. But that is putting a human being in the god position and he or she will always fail, even if they are not abusive or unhealthy. So part of a healthy detachment is centering yoruself in God’s love and his words about who you are and not your spouses’s. It’s building healthy friendships outside of marriage that can also nourish you so that you are not overly dependent on one person for your sense of value or worth. It’s letting go of unrealistic expectations (which may be reasonable, but still not realistic) of your spouse so that you don’t keep hoping for something that will not happen. It’s finding a life apart from your role as a wife, husband, mother or father. You are more than that.

    I said to someone once, in the context of my own abusive marriage, “But God hates divorce!”

    And she replied, “God hates the things that lead to divorce.”

    How wise and true! Sometimes in our churches we act like the main virtue is in just avoiding divorce, when really God wants us to be building loving, nurturing, God-honoring marriages. When one partner is preventing that through their destructive behavior, it needs to be addressed. Sadly, this is not understood in our churches and many are suffering in silence.

    ). Also, we too often elevate the “married” title simply because we can all too easily quote God in saying, “I hate divorce.” Of course He does. We all should. But He also hates lies, hypocrisy, selfishness (continue on with your own list)!!! God created marriage to be such a beautiful union between man and wife. I finally realized that it does NOT honor God to keep a relationship going that is nothing like what God had planned it to be. Plus, it does nothing to help my children see the beauty in marriage that God designed. ”

    Found this awhile back, it’s a gooder😊

  9. “You’re just not doing it for me anymore.” “I’m just waiting to see what happens.” “You had a love affair with Jesus,so I’m justified in having affairs with other women.” “I’m more reliable than God.” “If I go to hell for this affair, it’s worth it.” I know that he’d strenuously deny saying any of these things at his new church and in front of his new woman, and especially deny saying these things to the Tribunal of theDiocese where he’s on try#2 to “annul” our 38-year marriage. I’m told they see through him, but that doesn’t stop him pushing and pushing or them letting him.My prayer is that God will finally confront him with an authority higher than himself and, in what would be a miracle, break him enough that the Truth and the Light and the Life could finally penetrate his stubborn heart, mind, spirit and will. It’s hard stilt to imagine the man I thought I knew and saw wasn’t the man who was really there. He’s sure pulled one over on the new woman in his life, who knows he was adulterous and abusive to me.What’s in it for her? His money?She certainly is syrupy sweet when she talks to- er, drips all over – him. All I can see is Jezebel and Ahab.

  10. Very insightful. Thanks for the article.

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