The Lesser Narcissist



I have come across these five questions on a number of occasions. They are often regarded as the five fundamental queries which are raised about our behaviour. They are usually answered in a forthright manner by certain commentators in order to drive the message home. However, these observations and answers are provided by people who are not of our kind. They are naturally entitled to comment but the true value arises from someone who is on the other side of the fence, the perpetrator of the actions, the doer. Furthermore, the usual observations are provided without regard to the fact that narcissists are both similar yet different because we operate in certain schools which are linked to our degree of functioning and malign outlook. Accordingly, the traditional answer provided to one of these questions may be correct for the greater of our kind, but not for the mid-range or for the lesser narcissist. Here are the five answers to the five central questions, beginning with those of our kind who are from the lesser school.

  1. Do we know what we are doing?

The lesser does not know. He or she is a creature of knee-jerk reactions, impulse responses and almost machine like programming. The lesser narcissist behaves in his or her manner as a matter of routine response. Push button A and you will get response A. Push button B and you will get response B. It is an unsophisticated system for an unsophisticated person. The lesser narcissist is something of a blunt instrument and has no understanding as to why he or she acts in this way. Out of all of our kind if you try to get a lesser to understand what they are doing, that they must realise what is happening and they are aware of their behaviour, you really may as well go and find a brick wall and slam your head against it as it will be more productive. The lesser does not know and your questions will only serve to enrage him for yes, again reasons he does not know, only that he knows he does not like your questions and he wants you stop asking them so you had better do so or else.

  1. Do you know that you are hurting people?

The lesser may be low-functioning but he or she will know that he or she is hurting people some of the time, but not always. They are not so stupid as not to not recognise that whatever he or she is doing is causing pain, distress and upset to somebody else but there will be occasions where that recognition is totally absent and the Lesser is not pretending that he does not see that you are hurt and that it is his action which has caused this, he really does not realise that you can be hurt by what he has done.

They recognise some of these emotions even though they do not feel those emotions themselves. They see the product of their behaviours and like all of our kind extract fuel from this although they will not understand that this is what they are doing. They will not recognise the concept of fuel. Instead the lesser narcissist will just regard the reaction of the victim as their own fault and they deserved it because they did something the narcissist did not like. The lesser often cannot even point to what it is that the victim has done that has provoked the annoyance, the irritation and the ignition of fury and being invited to do so just increases the hostile reaction. There are occasions when the lesser will respond sometimes with something specific but more often with a general expression along the lines of:

“You just wind me up.”

“You know how to push my buttons.”

“You get on my nerves.”

“You really bug me sometimes.”

The lesser experiences the irritation, the annoyance and the ignition of fury but does not know why and therefore he is not in a position to tell you what it is that has caused him to hurt you, but he just has to, because once he has, the irritation and so forth recedes. He has gathered fuel and addresses the restlessness that comes with the low provision. He has gathered fuel and repaired the wound caused by your criticism (real or more likely perceived) but he doesn’t not know that this is the process. He sees the hurt he causes but has no idea why he is doing it. There are also many occasions where the Lesser will not even realise that the hurt is being caused. Lacking any empathy whatsoever (not possessing the cognitive empathy which Mid Range and Greater Narcissists use to fake empathy) the Lesser will see you crying and just give you a blank look as he has no idea at all why you should be upset. It just does not compute.

  1. Is the behaviour deliberate?

With the lesser it is not deliberate. He or she does not plan to respond in the way that he or she does, it just happens. There is no scheming or plotting with the lesser narcissist, they are not of sufficient function to achieve this. In the same way that if you are hit on the knee with a small hammer there will (usually) be a reflexive action, it is the same for the lesser. He needs fuel, although he does not realise this. He needs to provoke you but again does not realise this. He just reacts and responds. He is a victim of some unseen and unknown higher force that causes him to react. He is already programmed this way but has not been granted any insight or understanding into why he acts as he does. This is why the lesser narcissist will never accept there is anything wrong with him, why he will never admit that he is defective in some way and why he will never concede that he is a narcissist. This is how he is. Isn’t everyone else this way as well? He has no ability to recognise what he is doing. I appreciate that this is often one of the hardest things for a victim to understand. Surely the narcissist knows what he or she is doing? How can they not see it? If you can, why can’t they? This is because they have been wired in a different way to you and with a lesser narcissist this means that their world view is so different that they consider it the only way that people behave and that there is nothing wrong with it.

  1. Can you control it?

In the same way that you might think that the lesser narcissist must surely understand what they are doing, you would expect that they can control it. The answer is that they cannot. As I have explained, their responses are programmed and they do not act in the same way as you. It is knee-jerk, immediate and automatic. For instance, let us say that you are walking along the street when you see a large man running towards you. You will do the following:

  1. Regard the behaviour that you can see;
  2. Evaluate what that behaviour means;
  3. Consider the range of responses available to you;
  4. Consider the most appropriate to the situation;
  5. Consider the consequence of such action;
  6. Execute your response.

Thus you realise the man is just out jogging because as he nears you he is wearing sports kit and headphones, so you keep on walking and smile at him, he returns the smile and all is well.

The lesser narcissist sees the behaviour and then responded. Parts b through to e are omitted. This is why the response, viewed through your world lens, may seem disproportionate, outrageous and wrong. To the lesser narcissist, it just is and why are you complaining about it?

The lesser narcissist has an extremely low ability to control his behaviours because of this programming. Whereas the mid-range and greater (as I shall explain separately) can exert control, evaluate and form decisions before responding, the lesser cannot. This is why lesser narcissists have a greater propensity to more extreme responses, including physical violence, because they cannot control their actions and do not evaluate the repercussions of that action. They just react.

  1. Can they stop it?

It is often thought that our kind can stop our behaviours and therefore if we do not we must be enjoying what we are doing. With the lesser of our kind they can no more stop what they are doing than you can halt a runaway train with your bare hands. The lesser is a creature of response and reaction. It happens and if you are in the way when it happens, that is your fault. He does not know why he behaves this way so has no basis for stopping it. He is programmed to respond in a knee-jerk manner and therefore is unable to stop the behaviour. If you tell him to stop, you are tapping in to this inability to control his behaviour and this amounts to fuel or a criticism (if delivered emotion free) but in either instance all it will do is cause the behaviour to continue, although the lesser will not know this. In some respects, this lack of understanding, insight and control makes the lesser of our kind a pitiful creature but in other respects it makes him especially volatile and dangerous.

46 thoughts on “The Lesser Narcissist

  1. Kensey says:

    My lesser went to his first shrink visit ever …
    because he was a serial cheater, liar,punisher &
    I was threatening to leave him.
    I will never forget. He came home and proudly declared it was his EGO to blame for it all.
    Not his fault . Lolol.


  2. Lisa Cameron says:

    I started to write a reply and went to another tab and now it’s gone. So if I repeat myself, oops! Anyways, the one I know would blame his behavior on his high blood pressure. He really thinks that his pressure goes up ( beyond his control) and THEN it causes him to act like a bastardly bastard. Geez if high blood pressure caused this behavior what a mess of a world we would live in. A prime example of their delusional minds. SMH.. The lesser is like a box of chocolates, however, you get the whole damn box. The mix of superiority, stupidity, anger, two faced, liar, meanness, dumb assholes makes for one hell of a person. How can anyone get mixed up with someone like this? I thought I was passed the crazy high school shit. And I was. Til him. Recently, I saw this quote that I think many of us empaths can relate to, I hope you can find some sort of closure in these words.

    “We all eat lies when our hearts are hungry” ~ Unknown

    1. Caroline says:

      Hi Lisa,
      That’s a good quote.
      I think that when we’ve grown up with Ns, we come away like members of a cult who’ve escaped, and are only just starting to realise the years of brainwashing (gaslighting) we’ve experienced and now need to be ‘deprogrammed’ from.
      We can so easily find ourselves in another cult, either in friendship or romance with a N, until we realise our love-starved hearts are leading us down the path of repetition compulsion.
      It’s a familiar dynamic. We subconsciously know what to do within it, and how to predict the moods and soothe the anger of the cult leader.

      I see Lessers all the time on the train. I recognise them now so quickly: they’re the ones yelling and swearing at the girl who looks like she was kicked out of, or needs to go to, rehab. Last Friday there was just such a specimen on my train. He was bullying her to “get off the f***ing train now!”, right in her face just in case she couldn’t hear. Everyone on the carriage could hear. Just the way he liked it. Easy fuel that way.
      Lessers love to describe things, but don’t have a great number of adjectives in their repertoire, do they? Everything is described as “f***ing”.

      1. Lisa Cameron says:

        Hey Caroline, Cult! That’s a new way to look at it. I’ve never been in a cult, however, I think you’re on to something. I still can’t believe that we live among these people. And even though we may be physically away from them, your mind remains in a prison. I’m 18 years in. Almost 2 decades. It is just the past 2 or 3 weeks that the shell is starting to crack. I know it took me a long time to get here, (my scars are deep) but what an amazing place to be! Once we have freedom of the mind we have it all sista.:)

      2. Caroline says:

        Thanks for your reply Lisa,
        my victim-N sister is constantly trying to get me to worship her and join her cult. I see this is how it’s been all our lives.
        Not while I have breath left in my body.

  3. Leslie says:

    So what is your real investment in maintaining narcissism? Surely with all your great intelligence you can choose a more productive use of your talents other than soul destruction. There are so many other ways to achieve the goal of attention.

    What makes narcissistic abuse your preferred method for getting attention, recognition, and approval?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It works very effectively for me and my lack of conscience and guilt means the destruction does not concern me.

      1. Lisa Cameron says:

        Scenario: Kid (11yrs) wants to go home 15 mins early from a visit with father. This triggered father for some reason. The father looses it on the kid on way home. Screams in his face that he’s a loser and has no friends and the ones he does have don’t like him. That his house smells like shit and so does he. Oh but he’s not done yet, he saved the best for last. He then yells like the monster he is, spit coming out of his mouth, veins popping from the sides of his temples and tells him that his mother is adopted and that his grandparents aren’t his real grandparents.and his “real” grandfather is some guy walking the streets of the next town. Kid comes in, he’s silent, then a tear falls as father pulls away. Kid can’t even find the words to explain what has just happened. Kid can’t absorb it all. Kid is fucking crushed. Kid gets words out and mother calls CAS. This is verbal abuse and it will be the last time he abuses kid. Mother is crushed and has to sit kid down and tell him her life story. Now CAS is involved. At that point mother had been no contact for well over a year so his outburst really blindsided her.Does taking it to the point the law is involved give him “extra” fuel? Would you personally ever take things to that level of “meanness in a scenario like this? I look forward to your thoughts on this because mother and grandparents will never get over it, and the little innocent kid is forever changed. Like WHY???

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Involving the law per se does not provide fuel, but the reactions of those involved in the process are likely to provide fuel when engaging with the narcissist.
          I don’t involve myself with children in that way, I am far more sophisticated.

  4. Sam Koski says:

    I believe my X is a lesser Narcissist. She believes the lies she lives. I don’t beleive she plots any of the hurt. She does it out of necessity. How sad is that.

  5. W says:

    Is the mistake in No 4.
    1) Deliberate,
    b) On purpose?

    1. Lisa Cameron says:

      Love it!

  6. Lori says:


    You say the lessser is not deliberate. I was entangled with what I am fairly certain was middle lesser and I know he deliberately did some things most recent being setting up fake profiles and friending me. I know he has done that deliberately. Does that mean he’s not a lesser?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You should organise a Narc Detector consultation.

      1. Lori says:

        You are right I should. Even though I’m done with a hole it’s nice to know exactly what I was dealing with. I’m over 1 month no contact. Just taking one day at a time.

        I need to email you because I have some privacy concerns on how the charges show.

        You have been most helpful to me and I thank you so much for that

        1. MB says:

          I can tell you Lori, it says: PayPal *H G Tudor. The merchant description is “book stores” the phone number that appears is a generic pay pal phone number. Hope this helps.

      2. Lori says:

        Thanks MB that is helpful to know because I’m concerned about that showing on my bank account

        1. MB says:

          Lori, I understand your concern. You could always get a trusted friend to put it on their pay pal. Either way, I hope you’ll do it. It’s quite validating.

      3. Lori says:


        The weird thing is this guy has to be a lesser. He’s explosive very rough around the edges. No real formal education quit school before graduating but eventually ended up getting a 2 year college degree. In any case he is completely aware that something is off with his emotions. He even told me he doesn’t know how to respond when he sees someone crying. Said he can get over someone in a matter of days and never look back. He’s said he’s has no idea how to express himself but had no problem expressing anger.

        Doesn’t this not sound like someone who is self aware ? Yet he definitely has the explosive blunt force characteristics of a lesser

        1. HG Tudor says:

          I would need more information to make an accurate determination and the Narc Detector consultation is the appropriate venue. His comments show an awareness of something being ‘off’ but it is actually blame-shifting. He doesn’t truly recognise he has a problem, these explanations are used as excuses.

      4. HG Tudors #1 fan says:

        I need another ‘Narc Detector’ consultation.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Then press that button and my services are yours!

          1. MB says:

            HG you make that button so easy to push.

  7. nunya says:

    It’s like I have a homing mechanism for assholes.

    1. WiserNow says:


      Your comment made me chuckle 😂

      It does feel like that sometimes – like being a walking magnet for self-interested, inconsiderate and manipulative idiots. I’ve noticed that even strangers who I’ve never met seem to hone in on me at times and I get a weird overly friendly smile. I know what they probably are now and my narc-radar gets activated. I generally don’t smile back and ignore them or “gray rock” them instead.

      I’ve also noticed that some people will discreetly “test” you in small and subtle ways. It pays to be aware of this to be able to better recognise the type of person you’re dealing with. If you fall for their manipulative small and subtle tests, they will then try bigger tests to see how much you’re willing to put up with. An unaware empathic person will not see these things as “tests” and will fall for them. Before you know it, you’ll have an “asshole” thinking that you are fair game and he/she will feel they are “entitled” to treat you badly.

      1. nunya biz says:

        it helps me a lot to know what I am looking at better. I have a feeling I will still get involved sometimes. I have soft spots for particular combinations of characteristics in people. One of things I hope is that being less reactive to the “tests” you are talking about (yes, I know exactly what you are talking about) reduces the energy drain on me. One of my first comments on the blog was about a guy who would look at me completely blankly like described in this post and I did feel some extra patience than I would have for terrible behavior because I could easily sense he just had no idea.
        I recently met someone I am very interested in, had already fascinated me and I already see some behavior pattern I suspect. May talk with HG if it evolves into anything.

        1. WiserNow says:

          Nunya biz,
          It really does help to have more knowledge and to try and think logically at all times. It also helps to really listen to your gut instincts and to take your time in getting to know someone before you become too involved.

          When you meet someone you are interested in, try to ask them general questions in small talk that will give you an indication of their empathy levels and listen carefully to their answers and the way they respond. Ask them simple questions about their family or about what they enjoy doing or about their pets etc. Usually you’ll be able to tell in small subtle ways whether they really have empathy or are just faking it. Also, if it all sounds too good to be true, be wary. Just be careful.

      2. nunya biz says:

        Thank you Wiser, great tips and I am definitely working on it. I have developed a decent handle on the word “no” in recent years, but I find some situations a bit more gray. The main way this is all helpful is that I have a better understanding the limitations of where I can’t change anything, so walk away.
        I tend to enjoy some well thought bossiness in men though, so if he is a combination of bossy and affectionate it’s a little beyond my comprehension. I’m curious about when someone just has N traits strongly but still has a bit of E traits. Sometimes things are really obvious.

  8. Elizabeth Laberis says:

    This is really sad. Why can’t cognitive distortions be treated with counseling or meds? Who does some of their relationships work?
    There are heartfelt, thoughtful moments, how come thee moments can happen, there has to be some awareness that this is ego driven/self centeredness in play, right??

    1. Tammy says:

      Elizabeth, there are therapies out there. EMDR to help ease the feelings of trauma, and they even have ways in which to stimulate the frontal lobes, because narcissists don’t use that part of the brain, as I understand. I’m sure there’s other things. The only thing is a narcissist sees nothing wrong with their behavior. Sometimes also it would take a lot of patients for a narcissist to heal. It would bring up terrifying shame and guilt for having done the things they’ve done. Healing for narcissists and victims/ survivor’s takes time and loving care. I know because I’m what as known as a dirty empath, meaning I have both traits but I’m more empathetic and for me there is no balance of behaviors most of the time. So I take meds, go to two types of therapist, do EMDR , and it’s really hard and scary. I do these things because I’m tired of life as it is and has been.

      1. nunya biz says:

        I was considering EMDR also, I mentioned previously and have seen it mentioned on here by others. Do you or anyone have advice on how to tell if a therapist for it is good? Actually I was considering finding one who also does CBT etc…

        1. Tammy says:

          Nunya biz, the thing with therapy is don’t settle for less than what you want.
          I found mine on Google for EMDR therapists in my area. It’s not easy work. Like the old cliche, I am tired of being sick and tired of how unmanageable my like is. Codependents anonymous is also a huge help, builds a good support system. I’ve seen people who have worked their program and have better lives for it. For us it just takes time. Please be patient with yourself.

      2. nunya biz says:

        I’ll google it soon, I would like to explore that. Hopefully get someone on insurance. Thanks for the heads-up on the difficulty. I really have some things I’d like to tackle.

    2. /iroll says:

      Narcy is exactly like this, there is some awareness but it’s ego-syntonic, recognised as a natural part of the self – doing what comes naturally in the world. It’s a worldview and self-image they can’t see beyond and any conversation is really futile, any flexiblity is temporary and minor.

      I discovered more background info on Narcy—his father rejected him and he was overly supported by a good-hearted, simple, caring mother, who he is still attached to for all his emotional needs. He was rasied in a boring, stifling environment. He said that as a child he cried for his mother’s attention all the time and bullied his younger brother. His other half-brothers are drug addicts and low-time crooks.

      Narcy tries to make his own business but he lives through magical-thinking, receives financial support and functions in a very minimal, non-emotional, empty and mechanical way, every step, from diet and excercise to transactions with others – is control control control – but without substance, battled depressions and low energy. Not quite who he imagines himself to be. He gets supply from imagining he is building an empire and hunting for women – sex supply. He has an anon facebook alias he uses for this and he travels for sexual conquest as well, preferably hot countries where women are poor and easy to get. He gets excited about new supply but has internally low self-esteem that he compensates for with grandiosity and some paranoid hostility.

      I saw him again and he was just lost, there was nothing there, he wanted intimacy but didn’t know how to maintain and grow it, without the automatic process of erosion that’s going on within him. He wanted me to love him above anyone else and tried to grab/check my phone and held onto me. I wanted to get out of there asap, because i felt pity for him and was uncomfortable and bored. He only had one real girlfriend when he was 17 and he said he got too jealous, (felt disempowered) and since then is obsessed with being the one to reject women, because “women make men weak”.

      It’s a horrible condition, i don’t see anything romantic about it anymore. Everything HG says is right, we are projecting our own compassion and desires onto them, which doesn’t give us a realistic image of who they are. The only thing that HG misrepresents, because he’s a narc, is how little power they really do have —victims have all the power. Narcs are powerless people who crave power.

      They are to be pitied, from a distance.

      1. nunya biz says:

        Amazing and well put, iroll, thank you for sharing. All of it and I totally agree with the power part, which I have tried to communicate in the past with and he just took it as more evidence of his own power not understanding that certain misconceptions were a part of what kept me involved to begin with. “Projecting our own compassion and desires onto them” is very true and made me think about the mutual projection dynamic.

  9. Eliz says:

    This is really sad. Why can’t cognitive distortions be treated with counseling or meds? Who does some of their relationships work?
    There are heartfelt, thoughtful moments, how come thee moments can happen, there has to be some awareness that this is ego driven/self centeredness in play, right??

    1. HG Tudor says:

      1. Meds do not work.
      2. Narcissism is a self-contained and total defence mechanism which counselling cannot affect because the narcissism will not allow it to.
      3. When you ask why do some of the relationships work, this is a very expansive question – which relationships, what is the victim’s position in the fuel matrix? There are a multitude of variables.
      4. It is the appearance of a heart felt moment – it is not genuine.
      5. The majority of narcissists have no such awareness – if they did, it would risk derailing the defence mechanism.

      1. MB says:

        HG, since you have awareness, does that mean that your defense mechanism gets derailed at times?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          No because I have the higher cognitive function to maintain it.

          1. MB says:

            Your cognitive awareness allows you to see trouble coming and change manipulations to keep from being wounded?

          2. HG Tudor says:

            In part.

          3. MB says:

            Thank you HG

          4. WhoCares says:

            Great question MB!

  10. Kristine says:

    Does the lesser ever develop into a midrange level? Is there growth in the spectrum of types or downgrades in the classes?

    1. HG Tudor says:


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