The false self-image a narcissist is constantly projecting means they’re never fully in touch with reality. They’re deluded. One of the things they’re most deluded about is the belief that their games and manipulations will work into perpetuity. As paranoid as they are, somehow, they’re always caught off guard when they realize someone is on to their scam. They grossly underestimate the intelligence of their targets. That’s why when hard facts of their deceit and unethical behavior are presented to them, so many of them lie the way children with chocolate icing smeared across their faces do about not knowing who ate the cake. They really think the rest of us are that stupid. If they’re more experienced, they know how to deflect, counter accuse, gaslight and make false concessions. The ones who have this down pat really think their targets are idiots. Narcissists never genuinely engage with or challenge their targets’ intelligence, because they have to neuter it. Incisive, mature thinking is a narcissist’s enemy. That’s why they sow so much chaos and confusion — so no one around them can think straight. Another way of putting this is to say that narcissists’ delusions of grandeur cause them to overestimate their own intelligence. Deep down, they know it’s a lie and are terrified of being found out. The turmoil prevents anyone from looking past the surface.
Emotional intelligence is particularly dangerous to narcissists, because they don’t have any framework of understanding for it. Narcissistic abuse is premised on the notion that targets can’t self-validate and need the narcissist to fill that role. Narcissists want everyone to be as depleted and dependent as they are. When they realize you aren’t, they engineer emotional upheaval to create those conditions. They genuinely don’t see anything wrong with their harmful behavior, and the forgiveness targets extend out of compassion and empathy makes them rubes to narcissists. It’s a sign of weakness that makes the target worthy of punishment. You ignored the red flags and blaring sirens, so you deserve what you get. That’s why any grace you extend a narcissist is always abused and met with betrayal.
Originally shared on my Instagram microblog.