It’s Narcissist Friday!
One thing almost all narcissists share is a loose relationship with the truth. That’s a nice way of saying that they lie. Narcissists may be defined by their self-focus and willingness to depersonalize others, but their behavior almost always involves lying. In fact, many narcissists seem to prefer the lie over the truth. Even when the truth wouldn’t hurt them, they still choose to lie.
As I have studied this and watched it in action, I have come to the conclusion that this is not because the narcissist devalues the truth. It’s because he/she devalues the rest of us. You and I are not worth the truth. They don’t care if we know they are lying. They don’t care if they are caught in a lie. Especially by you or me. The fact that they lower themselves to speak with us at all should thrill us. Sharing the truth simply is not necessary.
You see, telling the truth values the other person. It means that you care enough to speak thoughtfully. The truth might be uncomfortable to speak, for you or for your listener, but you care enough to speak it anyway.
The narcissist simply does not care. You are nothing to him/her. Jesus makes this connection as He speaks plainly to the Jewish leaders.
“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44, NKJV)
The connection between lying and murder is not something common to our thinking, but Jesus understood that depersonalizing the other person is the cause of both. The devil hates us and thinks of us as nothing, so he seeks to deceive and hurt us. Narcissists may not be the devil, as some victims feel, but they work for him. When they lie, they reveal their perspective on others.
It is no coincidence that the people who seek the limelight, the affirmation and attention of others, are also known for their lies. Politicians, actors, managers, and, yes, even preachers and teachers—all are known for their self-interest and willingness to pervert the truth.
If you want to differentiate yourself from the narcissists and abusers, you will want to speak the truth. If you value your family and neighbors and others, you will want to speak the truth. With love as your primary motive (something the narcissist cannot understand) you know that the truth is important.
Paul told the Ephesians to “speak the truth in love.” That combination is sometimes challenging, but always powerful and always right. The truth may cause some pain, but not as much as a lie. The lie adds insult to injury, as they say. Not only does the person not have the benefit of the truth, but they have also lost your trust.
So, speak the truth. Gently. Kindly. With prayer and wisdom. But don’t lie.