Cheers! The Narcissist and Alcohol

CHEERS! THE NARCISSIST AND ALCOHOL

Alcohol is a pervasive drug. A Bloody Mary prior to lunch, a liquid lunch to conduct business, afternoon drinks because it feels like skipping school, drinks straight from work which turn into a session, celebratory drinks for a birthday, a deal done well, an anniversary or just because it is Friday. Drinks at the golf club, prior to the big game, at the BBQ, at the funeral wake, a night cap, a toast, a cheeky snifter before heading home, one for the road, a hair of the dog to shift the hangover. Drink is everywhere and is deemed socially acceptable despite the misery that its excessive consumption causes.

What part does alcohol play in the narcissist dynamic? I do not mean the occasional drink with an excellent meal or the social beers in a bar with friends, the regulated and moderate drinking which does not bring with it problems. I am referring to alcoholism, where there is a reliance and a dependence on alcohol. How does that factor into the narcissistic dynamic?

At the outset it is necessary to distinguish between the alcoholic who is a not a narcissist and the narcissist who is an alcoholic. This is important because narcissism and alcoholism actually share similar traits.

–         There is the deceit that is involved in engaging in excessive drinking and engaging in narcissistic behaviour;

–         Both have sufferers who lack any insight that they have a problem;

–         Both require the manipulation of other people to achieve their aim. The narcissist manipulates to gain fuel, the alcoholic manipulates to drink.

–         Both engage in telling lies on a repeated basis about what they have been doing, where they have been, how much they have had to drink, whether they have had a drink;

–         Both result in selfish behaviour;

–         Other people find themselves being put second on a repeated basis to the needs of either the narcissist or the alcoholic;

–         Both engage in switching behaviour, being pleasant and likeable one moment and then suddenly abusive; and

–         The pursuit of the end game (fuel/drink) becomes the sole concern of the relevant individual

Accordingly, the behaviours of the narcissist and the alcoholic appear most similar. The alcoholic may present with narcissistic traits (as described above) but a sober alcoholic will see those narcissistic traits fall away to reveal that he or she is an alcoholic but not a narcissist. The addition of alcohol to this individual causes them to become narcissistic but they are not a narcissist.

The narcissist however who is also an alcoholic may stop drinking but the narcissism will remain. Indeed, there are many occasions where a victim will realise that they are involved with an alcoholic but they will not realise that this person is actually a narcissist who is also an alcoholic since alcoholism is far more readily identifiable than narcissism.

Narcissism leads to alcoholism. Not in every instance. I am not an alcoholic. I like to drink, in fact I enjoy it very much and I can consume significant amounts but I do not become blind drunk because I do not want to lose control. I have seen the narcissist who is an alcoholic and that is my Uncle Robert. His aged frame and bitterness are a clear testament to the aging that comes with a lifetime of downing his first gin and tonic at 11am and not stopping until the stupor arrives sometime after 9pm. Watching him as I was younger, observing his behaviours arising from his drinking (and later understanding that this was a layer upon his rampant narcissism) this served as a useful warning to me to ensure that I used drink for my purposes and did not allow it to consume me. I am fortunate I have that self-control and discipline, since many of our kind do not.

Alcoholism is a symptom of a certain mind set and narcissism is a mindset which lends itself to alcoholism occurring. Narcissists are creatures of addiction. We are addicted primarily to fuel. This is our drug, but being this way also means that we have a susceptibility to other addictive behaviours. This is why we engage in taking recreational drugs, shop with complete disregard for the financial repercussions, engage in workaholism, gamble and drive like maniacs. Not all will be present but there is a propensity for our kind to engage in these kind of behaviour because of our vulnerability to addiction.

The traits of our narcissism lend themselves to fostering alcoholism. Not only are we prone to addictive behaviour per se, the existence of these traits means that we become even more vulnerable to alcoholism occurring.

  1. Our magical thinking, our sense of superiority and omnipotence means that we believe that we can deal with alcohol better than the “little people”. We can drink more, we can handle that drink better and we can drink all manner of different types.
  2. The broad range of types of alcohol, the rich and varied culture that accompanies appeals to us as we show off our knowledge about it. The Cerebral Narcissist can boast about his extensive knowledge about particular wines or whiskies. The Somatic can brag about how much he has spent on a magnum of champagne and the Elite will do both.
  3. Our hunting grounds for our victims invariably involve the consumption of alcohol. The Somatic Narcissist who find his prey in the night club and amidst the chrome and neon lights of upmarket bars is going to be exposed to alcohol repeatedly.
  4. Our lack of accountability means that we can drink when we want, with who we want, where we want and we do not suffer the consequences. We can drink at lunchtime before making a presentation and believe we are immune to any such repercussion. We will take the wheel of a car having consumed alcohol because the laws are not applicable to us. We will not suffer any downside from drinking, we are a super man and able to cope with the toxins we are pouring into our throats.
  5. The desire to be centre stage. The provision of alcohol acts (at first) as an accelerant to our grandiose behaviour, our sense of showing off and performance and therefore slugging it down as we hold court in a bar, show off with our dancing and engage in our flirtations all assist ensuring that we are at centre stage and remain there.
  6. Blame-Shifting One. You make us drink. If you did as we wanted you to, then we would not be forced to have to drink to numb ourselves from the tedium that you cause. If you loved us properly we would not embrace the bottle. It is your fault that we drink so much.
  7. Blame-Shifting Two. The repercussions and consequences of drinking are your fault as well. If you had not made me leave the car after I had been drinking, it would not have a got a ticket. The final warning, I received because I was drunk on the job was down to you making me go into work because we need the money (even though you begged me to stay at home). Our abusive behaviour to people when drunk is down to you making us that way. You should have stopped us.
  8. Refuge. The consumption of alcohol by our kind allows us to take refuge. The Mid-Ranger who is innocuous turns into a raging Elvis impersonator as his grandiosity soars through the repeated application of drink. Drinking allows our kind to become ebullient, impressive and charismatic as it bridges the gap between what we really are and what we want the world to see. Alcohol removes the shackles which this cruel world seeks to impose on us and allows us to be who we want to be and who we want the world to see. We are freed of the terror of rejection since nobody can resist us when we are buoyed by this alcoholic uplift. The whisperings of the Creature are silenced by the pouring of another glass. How marvellous alcohol is to allow us to be what we want to be and to take away all the other concerns, limitations and problems that plague us.
  9. Removal of the mask. The lower functioning of our kind find a sense of relief in no longing needing to adopt a mask but rather allow the mask of alcohol and drunkenness to enable them to show what they are really like without fearing for the repercussions of rejection and criticism.
  10. Alcohol is a fuel enabler. It allows our kind to become better and more brilliant and in turn gather the fuel with greater ease, whether this is through impressing someone with confident conversation, sparkling wit and repartee orthe descent into abusive behaviour as time wears on and the drink mounts up.

The fact that so many traits of ours are geared towards the consumption of alcohol and the fact that this consumption enables us to achieve our goals with greater apparent ease added to the fact that we have an inherent susceptibility towards addiction for the reason explained above, means that this cocktail increases considerably the risk that a narcissist will be an alcoholic.

33 thoughts on “Cheers! The Narcissist and Alcohol

  1. alexissmith2016 says:

    HG, if an N who is in a very high powered position got pretty drunk then sexted a female colleague who is in a less powerful position (pretty full on sexting too). The two of them were previously ‘friends’ but never intimate. She maintains her friendliness during the text exchange but does not sext in return, what would the N think/ feel in the morning?

    1. Alexissmith2016 says:

      Ugh! Well I do always love your seal of approval. But I’ll answer the question myself!

      I’m guessing it’s all about control in the moment? And feeling super fuelled on alcohol because it happened again. Then he tries to blame me for his behaviour hahaha

      1. alexissmith2016 says:

        I know you only did that because you want me to tell you how much I hate you HG

        You’re the only N who I give that special treatment to x

      2. Alexissmith2016 says:

        Hate you

        1. Alexissmith2016 says:

          Hate you!

      3. alexissmith2016 says:

        Hate you!

        1. Alexissmith2016 says:

          Love you xxxx

  2. foolme1time says:

    Me a narc! Lmao 🤣 I think I can actually hear Mr. Tudor himself laughing at that one! 😂

  3. princesssuperempath says:

    Dearest HG: I have sent a few soggy messages to the mid ranger after going out with girlfriends and talking to stupid guys all night. But, not in the past year. I told him things like how great he was to us all and that I loved his career and that I was there if he ever needed help, and …..wait for it…………………….that every thing I have is his (I have no idea how I thought of that one)! I was just now looking at the shameful messages. Because of this post. Should I tell him one day that I had been drinking???

    1. HG Tudor says:

      No.

  4. flutterbymorpho says:

    Yes. For so many years I thought it was the drinking. He even said he was entitled to drink because he worked all week. He drank every evening and in the daytime at weekends, sneaky and lying about it too. Would hide cans, put brandy in cups of tea, sneak them in when I wasn’t looking. Blatantly lie about how much he’d drank despite evidence of cans in the bin! Also would never drive because he had to drink, so everyone else had to taxi him about as if it was his right to be chauffeured around. Used to open a can in certain way, with a certain posture and noise to it, told me several times how his ex wife used to hate that noise too.. well it took me a while to hate it, I kid you not I could hear a can opening from anywhere in the house and garden. He would start to get balshy and argumentative on can no 3.. Then he just stopped! He got worse!!! He started again but even though he could never really handle the drink he got ‘drunk ‘ very quickly on very little (less than before) .. he’s stopped again now (to lose lots of weight quickly I reckon, because that happened last time and he got lots of attention from that, lots of people asking and lots of tests at the doctors) it was nothing to do with alcohol , his behaviours are there without it.

  5. Supernova DE says:

    HG,
    My MMRN often love bombed like crazy when he was drinking. He would compliment, tell me how much he wanted me, express a desire to emotionally attach to me, etc. During entanglement I thought it meant that those sexy and cozy sentiments were how he really felt, and also led me to believe he was conflicted about the amount of attachment to me he really wanted (ie. in vino veritas).
    Is my interpretation correct, or is that just grandiosity from the alcohol?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      The effect of the alcohol is akin to fuel and would bolster his grandiosity and drive the love bombing.

      1. W says:

        Defin. I got slammed with a couple doozies recently while mine was (unusually) drunk.
        “You fulfill all my needs”
        LMAO!! You mean all your FUEL needs. And even that’s ridiculous.
        (We wouldn’t work bc you’re)”…too strong & smart for me”
        Yeah, I’d figure you out too quick. Already have , you just don’t know it, Bud.Also-what a load of flattering bs.
        “I love you. You know, I really mean it when I say these things to you.”
        You love my fuel. You really mean it alright.

        Thanks HG
        Without you, I’d have been beside myself with hope.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Pleasure.

  6. wounded says:

    HG your timing on posting this is perfect.

    My two step sons are both drug addicts. The older one just completed his rehab program (he gets a special shot to curb drug cravings) and has already started back to his old ways. While both of them have proven to be manipulative (driven by drugs) the older one is the cause for concern. Prior to getting into the program his girlfriend had gone all out to get his son back for him. He blew it by shooting up heroin and almost overdosed at his grandparents house He had an opportunity to get his son back again by doing drug tests to prove he was clean but never showed up and lied about when he was called in for the test. His girlfriend broke up with him, and opted to date another guy. My stepson blew up, openly calling her a whore on FB, calling her constantly and leaving vitriolic voicemails which caused her to block him on every front.

    Now he’s out, and apparently they are either friendly or back together judging by a Facebook post from a few days ago.

    Yesterday he blew up my husband’s phone with text messages and phone calls trying to get money – originally he said for deodorant cigarettes then he changed his story saying there was an A.A. convention and the cost to get in was 25. I looked up the convention and it ended on Feb 10th.

    The younger son is far calmer and less prone to the scathing manipulative behaviors of his older brother.

    I’m trying to figure out if the narcissism is driven by his addiction or if it’s the other way around.

  7. lisa says:

    However I just want to add to my comment that he does have full awareness of his behaviour when he’s been drinking because if he’s in a situation socially where it is important that certain individuals that are of benefit to him do not witness the monster , he will moderate his drinking slightly , as it is not beneficial to him that certain individuals witness this, partly because they would not invite him to things again and partly because it would shatter their illusion of
    he’s a nice guy he’s harmless, and may also show to them that there might be a bit more to the stories of him being a victim of this and that over the years, if they saw the true monster .
    The fact that he is shrewd enough to know this just shows the level of manipulation that he engages in, even with male friends, to suit his own benefits.
    He showed the monster once during a social event to a male friend and was cut off from invites completely to these sporting events that he was getting freebies for and this guy just shunned him. After 2 years he wormed his way back in and now at these events drinks just a couple of beers.
    They may not accept they are narcissists but they know they are different and they know something is off with them and that their lives are different to other people.
    My ex knew he was not normal as such because the list of issues he had were endless and he’s read up on this stuff, by the time he reached mid 40’s in his life he knew there was something different about him. I’m sure drinking to oblivion every weekend is a release of some sort from his crazy reality he lives with every day .

  8. lisa says:

    Yes my ex narcissist had a drink problem, just another thing to add to his list of issues that he had 🙄
    As he does not drink during the week as he has to get up early for work every day and the ridiculous OCD rigid behaviour mid week can’t be altered, he only drinks at weekends. This to him equals that he does not have a problem because as he continuously protested “I don’t drink during the week, but I like a drink on a Saturday”
    The actual reality is he’s a binge drinker that drinks from Saturday lunchtime right through to early hours of the morning , then starts again Sunday lunchtime through to early Sunday evening , week in and week out. He is in my opinion and alcoholic and I have told him this many times , he will never ever tackle this problem because he doesn’t think he has one, doesn’t care and couldn’t function without those weekend binges. When he’s had a drink you see the narcissist very clearly , it’s like a monster, it would be easy to confuse this with someone that is a nasty drunk but not actually a narcissist.
    HG’s post it so accurate and the description falls somewhere between a lesser and mid range which is the over all with most things with my ex. He drinks to be more socialable things he’s great company , is physically addicted and no doubt it gives him some sort of release as the mask is well and truly dropped.
    When you mention HG , The whisperings of the creature are silenced ? What exactly does that mean ? thanks

  9. lisk says:

    “I am not an alcoholic. I like to drink, in fact I enjoy it very much and I can consume significant amounts but I do not become blind drunk because I do not want to lose control.’

    You may wish (or not) to rethink this, HG, and anyone who buys it.

    Alcoholism doesn’t necessarily mean one drinks until they’re drunk

    You, and many greater narcs and upper mid-rangers, are most likely what’s considered a High-Functioning Alcoholic: people who are alcoholics but no one would never know it because they are totally in control.

    I know my ex-narc is an HFA (actually, I believe he knows it, too), and I don’t think I ever saw him falling-down drunk.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      No, I am not a HFA – far from it.

  10. W says:

    LMR somatic narcoholic was addicted by age 15. I’d suggest alcoholism also stunts the emotional maturation also leading to narcissistic behaviours…but narcoholic was defin a narc.
    I believe as he is so low functioning -so much so that he cannot secure a IPPS for the greater part of his life —that he has uses alcohol to drown out the Creature just so he can be at home alone with himself.

  11. Clare says:

    Recovery from alcoholism is of course possible using the 12 step programme of AA. This depends upon the alcoholic being rigorously honest – as narcissists are generally incapable of honesty it is unlikely they will recover from alcoholism. No one can work a 12 step programme honestly and persist in narcissistic behaviours in my experience

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Entirely valid observation, Clare.

      1. foolme1time says:

        Mine did not use the 12 step process. He did it on his own. I guess perhaps he wasn’t a narc then, just mean, controlling, abusive, and manipulating! Well there’s one I can scratch from the list of a lifetime!

    2. nunya biz says:

      Wholeheartedly agree.

    3. nunya biz says:

      Fm1t, you can quit and be a narc!

      1. nunya biz says:

        I just want to clarify…
        Alcoholism is narcissistic.
        Narcissists may or may not be alcoholics and alcoholics may or may not be narcissists.
        : )

    4. windstorm says:

      Clare
      I personally know quite a few narcs who are recovering alcoholics. Many have not had a drink in decades. They are still narcissists.

      Yes they must learn to be rigorously honest, but that will not give them natural empathy. It will increase their cognitive empathy and self-awareness and make them more aware of abuse they cause. But it will not rid them of narcissism. Nothing can do that. But this does not prevent them from sobering up.

  12. foolme1time says:

    I’ve lived this. I thought he was just an alcoholic! A mean Drunk! Controlling, manipulative, abusive. Until the day he quit drinking and was still controlling, manipulative, and abusive. I thought it was from the alcohol until I found HG and his work.

  13. MB says:

    I’m digging the pic for this article, HG!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you.

      1. wildviolet22 says:

        There’s a term in 12 Step / recovery circles called “terminal uniqueness” (*my* situation is so special, unique and unsolvable). This to me sounds like it would be stemming at the core from narcissism. Does that sound right?

        Also the lone wolf, refusing to get help, “victim” substance abuser (while tearing through relationships and resources like the Tasmanian Devil, ending up living in poverty), perhaps with an “artsy” bad boy (or bad girl) persona, sounds to me like a Lesser N. Would you agree, HG Tudor?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          The Terminal Uniqueness is a useful point to raise WV22 and could either be

          1. Where issued by a narcissist, the use of Blame-Shifting ,
          2. Where issued by a non-narcissist, evidence of emotional thinking.

          Making such a comment is not determinative of whether that maker of the comment is a narcissist or not, but rather it must be judged through the prism of what the person is, either narcissist or non-narcissist and that assessment is done through an aggregate of behaviours over time.

          Thanks for pointing it out.

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