Most pathological narcissism is born of serious deficits in a person’s self-image. If left unfixed, this pervasive sense of internal deficiency can easily lead to chronic depression. Yet if such a psychologically damaged individual develops an over-compensating, and all-encompassing, “better-than-thou” defense system, any emerging mood disorder can be successfully thwarted. Instead, it will be replaced—or blanketed over—by a personality disorder that’s experienced as much less distressing. But sadly, such a disturbance tends to be extremely toxic to those unfortunate enough to have to cope with such an over-the-top, self-obsessed individual.
The whole thing could hardly be more ironic. In instances of a person’s, however unconsciously, “accomplishing” this narcissistic take-over, or better, make-over—all their most negative self-beliefs are miraculously transformed:
- Gnawing self-doubts are replaced by illusions of grandiosity;
- Feelings of non-deservingness are ousted by a powerful sense of entitlement;
- Qualities and behaviors identified as unattractive or unacceptable are fervently projected onto others (“I’m not controlling; you’re the one who’s controlling!);
- Fears of failure and rejection are supplanted by fantasies of boundless success, whether that relates to personal riches, controlling or dominating others, or (with glorious status and renown) being the object of others’ envy, even worship;
- Feelings of inadequacy, shame, and humiliation are usurped by a prevailing attitude and demeanor of arrogance, haughtiness, self-righteousness, and boastful superiority;
- And so on…