Narcissists can be astoundingly hypocritical. Narcissists I have dealt with in my life just blow me away with how they can say one thing, and then do another with absolutely no regret or embarrassment. That’s why I’ve written this article to help clients overcome narcissistic hypocrisy.
Why Are Narcissists Such Hypocrites?
In the narcissistic world view, everything they do is the greatest. They can do no wrong. And, they refuse to see facts or evidence that suggests otherwise.
Fundamentally, this disconnect between facts and reality comes about because narcissists live in a fantasy world they construct for themselves. Their aim is to control their life by manipulating everyone else around them to see them they way they want to be seen.
When confronted with contrary facts to this reality, a narcissist will —
- Ignore the facts
- Blame other people for those faults
- Lie to make them OK
- Use triangulation and gaslighting to make other people believe their lies
- Go on the offensive to distract people from their mistake
On the other hand, narcissists are overly judgmental. This too stems from the desire to be better than other people. By holding other people to high standards, they are able to easily criticize people who they fear might be competition and bring them down a notch.
A narcissist doesn’t have to be good, they just have to be better than you.
For more details on how narcissist behave, see this article —
When a narcissist’s judgmental mentality combines with their warped perception of reality, the become a hypocrite. A narcissist will blame you and call you out for doing exactly the same things that they do.
A narcissist will pay heavy lip service to themselves: how good they are at …, the high standards they hold for themselves, how they are perfect in every way. Yet, will feel no obligation to actually perform.
Yet, when you fail to hold to their unrealistic standards, they will call you out for being a failure.
Are All Narcissists Hypocrites?
All narcissists are hypocrites by their very nature. The symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder are thought to stem partially from upbringing, and invariably cause them to act hypocritical.
As a child, most narcissists experienced either overly strict parenting or lived in a family with little parental guidance. As a consequence they failed to develop self-esteem, and a healthy separation between their own thoughts and emotions and the thoughts and emotions of others.
Because of this, they need to need other people to feel good about them in order for them to feel good about themselves. And, they have a severely underdeveloped instinct for empathy.
Why does this make them hypocritical?
A narcissist will do anything to make themselves look good in the eyes of other people, and don’t feel the need to be fair or reciprocate. They don’t seem them self as an equal to everyone else. Instead, they are special in their own mind, and follow their own set of rules that don’t apply to everyone else.
By definition, they are hypocrites because they don’t apply their own rules for other people to themselves.
For more details on the origin of narcissism —
Do Narcissists Realize They are being Hypocritical?
While narcissists know they are being hypocritical on a intellectual level, they do not feel like they are being unfair or hypocritical.
This is very much linked to their difficulty separating their needs and wants from the needs and wants of others. To a narcissist, what is good for them is good forever everyone else. How could someone want something other than what they want?
So when a narcissist passes judgment on you, so that they feel good, there is no contradiction in their mind when they act the same way that you did, again so they feel good. If it feels good to them, then it aligns with their conception of good and bad.
If a narcissist could be objective about the facts of the situation, then they would agree that they are being hypocritical. For instance, if you described what they are doing back to them, but say that you are talking about a friend, then they would be able to recognize how they are being hypocritical.
However, if you confront a narcissist directly with their hypocrisy, then they will never be able to recognize or accept that that they are the ones at fault.
How Do You Deal With Narcissist Hypocrites
The most important thing when dealing with a narcissist is to not try and confront them, or try to make them change. I recommend that you —
- Learn about how narcissists work, and observe how your hypocrite follows those patterns
- Set up appropriate boundaries
- Minimize the impact a narcissistic can have on your life
For more help on dealing with a narcissistic hypocrite, see this article —
Need Help with a Narcissist Hypocrite?
I offer additional resources and one on one coaching to help victims of narcissists overcome the abuse. See links below for details on what is currently available.