There is no such thing as a non-hypocritical narcissist. You are more likely to cross paths with a Chupacabra, or Big Foot than you are to find a narcissist who isn’t a hypocrite. Narcissists are hypocrisy personified. It’s their Modus Operandi.
EMPTY CANS MAKE THE MOST NOISE
There is an old idiom that states, “Empty cans make the most noise.” Have you noticed that narcissists are the biggest empty cans of all? They make a whole lot of commotion and noise, in the form of persistently shifting the blame and focus on others, while they live their lives donning their phony halos and angel wings, all the while betraying, lying, deceiving, using, and abusing people.
It’s just another one of their manipulation tactics, to steer you off the scent, of their trail of falsehood and deceit. You frantically become so preoccupied with defending your own morals and conduct (over the most minor transgressions), while the narcissist sits back, and disguises his/her dishonesty, and utter lack of morality under a lot of meaningless noise.
Hypocrisy is the exact opposite of integrity. Yet, narcissists will be the first to declare they are the most virtuous, and principled people on the planet, by regularly highlighting other people’s real, or alleged faults, and minor wrong-doings. The more they shine the spotlight on the faults in others, the more moral they appear by comparison.
HYPOCRISY: THE FOUR COMMON WARNING SIGNS
TWO SETS OF RULES
Narcissists set a lot of rules for others to live by. They have very high standards and expectations of others, but they never hold themselves to the same high standards and expectations. There are always two sets of rules. Rules for them to live by, and rules everyone else should follow.
For example: If you forget to buy dog food on your way home from work, you’ll be subjected to the utmost cruelty, and character assignation, and essentially accused of homicidal desires toward the beloved family pets. However, if they forget to pick up dog food (true story by the way, who could make this stuff up!) on their way home, and you dare confront them, they will tell you something like, “It’s healthy for dogs to fast once in a while.”
Their hypocrisy is remarkably shameless, and they will deny that the blatant double standards that they created in their relationships even exist.
They will conveniently discount the fact that last month when you forgot to buy dog food they practically accused you of animal abuse. But when they commit the same crime, they are a canine health guru.
COMMON RED FLAGS:
Relationships with narcissists are riddled with two sets of rules. They’re allowed to talk to their exes, but you are forbidden to speak to yours. They’re allowed to speak negatively about your family, but they will scold you for saying anything negative about theirs. They’re allowed to use your belongings, but you have to ask to borrow theirs. They’re allowed to spend money, as they wish, but your purchases are frivolous and unnecessary, and the list goes on and on.
WORDS OVER ACTIONS
Narcissists will tell you who they are, but you will rarely if ever, see them back up their words with actions after the idealization stage. You will hear a lot of statements like I’m a nice guy/gal, I have never cheated on any of my exes, I wear my heart on my sleeve, I’m so romantic, I never lie, or I would do anything for you. It’s just more insincere, meaningless noise. They will claim desirable qualities, beliefs, or values that they don’t possess a single ounce of, to further their self-serving agendas –mainly manipulating YOU!
In their minds, if they say something and can get you to believe it, it’s true. It’s their way of spending the least amount of effort, gaining your trust, without their ever having to do anything to earn it.
COMMON RED FLAG:
Sirens and warning bells should be going off in your mind when you hear someone always say or claim something about themselves. It’s a big red flag that what they’re saying, most likely isn’t true. Honest people never feel compelled to convince you of who they are, or how they feel because they’re confident that their actions will do a better job of showing you.
POOR ME! IT’S NOT MY FAULT
Narcissists love to play the victim card and illicit sympathy, especially when caught doing something wrong. Nothing is ever their fault, and if it is their fault, then it’s because they have had a hard life, or they don’t have it as easy as you do. They shift the blame by appealing to your compassion and empathy, by portraying themselves as the poor innocent victim. Their wrong-doings are always caused by someone or something else.
For example, They will often instigate arguments, then claim that they hate drama. They will openly criticize people who post their dirty laundry on social media, but will guilelessly post vague, victimish, sympathy soliciting posts when they are upset with someone. Of course, when they do it, they always have a good reason or an excuse that justifies their behavior.
They, even, will avoid taking blame for the most minor of human errors. If a glass of water is left on the table, and the narcissist accidentally knocks it over, rather than blaming themselves for spilling the water, they will place the blame on the person who shouldn’t have left the glass of water on the table.
COMMON RED FLAG:
Conversations with narcissists will reveal a consistent pattern of never accepting responsibility or blame for ANYTHING. They will always have very moving stories about why their current negative circumstances are not their fault. It’s always a sob story about their miserable childhood, their horrible family, their inept boss, or their malicious, crazy ex.
Narcissists will never accept accountability for a mishap, mistake, or human error. They lie, so convincingly, always incorporating a grain of truth; so that their stories often sound believable. Even if their stories don’t add up, they tell them with such confidence, that you end up filling the holes in their stories, with the benefit of the doubt.
LIE, DENY, & RAGE
When narcissists are caught doing something wrong, or something that they regularly nail others to the wall for, they will lie, deny, and then rage. You’ll be schooled to never again expose their hypocrisy, and punished for any attempts to do so.
They may criticize and accuse you of being selfish, and uncaring for eating the last bit of something, and will expect a perfectly delivered apology, and prompt replacement of the consumed food item, but when they finish off the last of the something, don’t dare point it out, unless you are willing to spend hours going to war over a banana, or a can of Red Bull or ________(insert blank).
COMMON RED FLAG:
Narcissists’ reactions will be completely disproportionate to the situation. This tactic is intended to wear the target down and cause them to doubt themselves. Where normal people would just apologize, admit fault, and move on, narcissists would rather ruin an entire weekend in Tahiti, defending their make-believe morality. They only want to be perceived in the best possible light and will brow-beat you with their toolbox of manipulation tactics, until you wearily wave your white flag and concede.
If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, expect hypocrisy. Expect double standards. Expect lies. Expect that they will never be at fault. Expect to be punished for pointing out their hypocrisy.
Copyright © 2015 Bree Bonchay. All Rights Reserved.
Bree Bonchay, LCSW, is a psychotherapist with over 18 years of experience working in the field of mental health and trauma recovery. She specializes in helping people recover from toxic relationships and shares her insights about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and psychopathy in her blog FreeFromToxic. Her articles have been featured in major online magazines and she has appeared on radio as a guest expert. She is also a dedicated advocate, educator, and facilitates survivor support groups and workshops.
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