Do Narcissists Know What They Are Doing ? The Lesser Narcissist


Do narcissists know what they are doing? Most victims would answer a resounding ‘yes’ to this question. Comments such as these are common :-

“He is so calculating in the way he manipulates me, he knows what he is doing alright.”

“Oh she knows just how to wind me up, she knows she does because she always smirks when she is doing it.”

“He is an intelligent man, how can he not know what he is doing?”

“She must know how hurtful she is being when she starts slapping me.”

However, it is nowhere near as clear cut as that. There are two factors which govern the awareness of the narcissist. Firstly, the school of narcissist that you are involved with (Lesser, Mid-Range or Greater) and secondly the issue of control.

The Lesser School

The Lesser Narcissist (Lower Lesser, Middle Lesser or Upper Lesser) goes through life like a wrecking ball. It is his way, or the high way. Do not like what he is doing? Tough – deal with it – you are the problem. Stopping him doing what he wants? Expect a fist in your face. Trying to make him account for his actions? Good luck with that, you can expect a violent outburst and utter dismissal.

Does the Lesser know that he has punched you in the head? Of course he does. Does he know that he did that that as a consequence of the fact that you wounded him and his physical violence is a manifestation of his ignited fury? No, he does not.

Does the Lesser know that he is cheating on you with your sister? Of course he does. Does he regard it as wrong? No. Is he consumed by guilt at what he has done? No, he does not even know what guilt is.

Does the Lesser who verbally denigrates one of his workers know he is bullying that person? No. From his perspective, that worker is out of line, is too slow, has turned up late again, said the wrong thing, does not work hard enough and therefore his response is entirely justified. Don’t do what he wants, expect to be dealt with. It is not bullying, it is getting the problem sorted.

Does the Lesser know that his provocative comments about your appearance are hurtful and are being said to gain fuel? No. He has no empathy whatsoever, not even the cognitive (fake) empathy and therefore does not recognise that what he says is hurtful or could even be construed as hurtful. He does not understand why you are crying after he told you that you look like the Pilsbury Doughboy in that new purple dress. In his mind the comment was justified. If you push him to explain why he made the comment, expect the helpful reply of “Because I say so” or “It just is, right?”

The Lesser acts through instinct and instinct alone. Yes, if you have escaped him he may put together a plan to drive around to where you are now staying and kick in the door and drag you out by the hair back to where you supposedly belong – but that ‘plan’ remains an instinctive response. He knows what he is doing, but because of the need for control, he does not see his behaviour as wrong, inappropriate or hurtful. It is what needs to be done.

This overriding and ever present need for control means that the Lesser will respond with an instinctive act – whether it is physical violence, sexual violence, smashing up property, shouting in your face – but he sees nothing wrong with this. It is being done to gain fuel, it is being done to keep you in his fuel matrix, it is being done to assert his need for superiority over you, it is being done to quell any rebellion on your part and it is being done to reject any notion of accountability for his actions BUT he does not know this. He does not think, “I will shove her down the stairs because she is rejecting my control over her and needs to be punished.” He just commits the act. He does not think about why he is doing it, he does it and if asked why then you may not even get answer, possibly a shrug or just a growled “She deserved it.” If pressed as to why she deserved it, it is back to “Because she did.”

This behaviour is viewed through the different narcissistic perspective. You, as a victim, do not have that perspective. Your perspective invariably causes you to think that the narcissist does know what he is doing. This perspective of yours arises for two reasons

  1. You know why you do things, you know the rationale behind most of them (if not all) and the consequences and therefore you expect everyone else to behave in a similar way and thus have the similar level of awareness ; and
  2. Your emotional thinking drives you to believe that the narcissist knows what he is doing and why because this then causes you try to get the narcissist to address this behaviour. If he or she knows what they are doing, then surely they can listen to reason, reflect and recognise and take an alternative course of action? In short – they can change. As you know, this desire for change, to heal and to fix is at the core of the empathic victim. Your emotional thinking knows this and therefore, in order to keep you engaging with the narcissist (which is all your emotional thinking ever wants you to do) it cons you into thinking that the narcissist knows what he is doing because this then raises the hope (there’s that terrible word again) you can do something about it. Thus, rather than get out and stay out, you remain, trying to reason with the narcissist, trying to get him to understand how his actions impact on you, that they are wrong and how if only he would change then everything would be good.

Accordingly, your empathic perspective causes you to think that the narcissist is calculated in his behaviour (hence why so many people are honestly mistaken when they think they have been ensnared by the rare Greater Narcissist when they have not) when actually the behaviour of the Lesser Narcissist is only ever instinct.

The Lesser has no concept of guilt, no concept of remorse, no conscience. He cannot have because this would render the defence mechanism that is his narcissism, ineffective and that cannot ever happen. The Lesser is unburdened from knowledge of why he acts as he does, he lacks the cognitive function to even articulate it in some way (which would of course would  be a lie if he could, again the narcissism protecting him) and thus this is why you get no explanations about his behaviour or if you do, they are rudimentary in nature and of the dismissive, curt type explained above.

The Lesser is aware of the actions he performs – he knows he has punched you, he knows he is smashing the windows on your car, he knows he is sleep raping you – but he does not plan, he sees nothing wrong with what he is doing (owing to the need for control through his sense of entitlement, the rejection of accountability, his lack of conscience) and does not see it as manipulative or reprehensible. It is purely what must be done, well, because it is, isn’t it? Now, stop questioning him and do as you are told. Or else.

23 thoughts on “Do Narcissists Know What They Are Doing ? The Lesser Narcissist

  1. S says:

    Hi, do narsistic psycopaths have dificulties sleeping?
    He was so impressed always about me be able to sleep like that, even being upset and sad…
    He in many ocasions talked about his dificulties about not be able to sleep. I told him that it could be because of not having a peacefull inconsious. Many things on his mind

    Now knowing that they don t care, could that be posible. That the way they behave leave them with a not at peace subconscious?

    Thanks Greetings Susanne

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I do not. I sleep like the dead.

  2. kaydiva3 says:

    HG, are male and female Lessers both physically violent?

    1. HG Tudor says:


      1. EmP says:

        I can confirm this. Both my father and my sister are Lessers. My sister broke two doors after arguing with her then-boss.
        You don’t want to be anywhere near Lessers when they ‘lose their temper’. Not only are they toxic, they are dangerous and extremely volatile (female Lessers included).

      2. WokeAF says:

        Even victim lessers?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Yes, they are likely to use physical violence, not guaranteed but likely.

  3. Topsy says:

    HG Tudor – I have purchased all your books – I haven’t got round to reading them all – can you please tell me which books detail the nuances between the Lesser – lower lesser, mid-range lesser, greater lesser. Thanks.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you for doing so. None of them do so in detail as that is something I have yet to complete writing about. If you require assistance with the differences in the meantime, organise a narc detector and an audio consultation and I will readily help you.

  4. ThePolicyOfTruth says:

    Out of interest HG do you ever actually sleep? You seem to post articles and answer comments 24/7!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Yes, I sleep. I do not need a lot of sleep which is rather useful as there is os much to do.

      1. Anm says:

        I have found that every single narcissist I have ever met has an issue with sleep in some way or another.
        *Some drink themselves to sleep every night
        *Some Midrangers I know take pride in their sleep schedules. “I wake up everyday at 5am” (who cares)

        A lot of the sadistic ones engage in sleep deprivation of their victims.

        I was with a high energy narcissist for a while, and we lived together. I remember fighting in front of our maid because he came home and caught me sleeping while she was cleaning the house. I couldn’t keep up with him.

        1. WokeAF says:

          The CONTEMPT I got for sleeping in. My GOD. Both narcs.
          One sleeps normally. ( alcohol helps) One sleeps for a couple hours at a time, maybe 6 hours a night in total . Snores outrageously when he does.

  5. mollyb5 says:

    HG ..that pic is a good one ! Exactly! You need to show some younger lesser narcs…ones that would be in the dating scene today 😉

  6. ThePolicyOfTruth says:

    Can narcissists change levels? Can someone who was once a Lesser progress to becoming a Mid-Range, or even a Greater?

    1. HG Tudor says:


      1. WokeAF says:

        BUT a greater can become more self aware, yes? As you began to do in college

        and as mz Taylor Swift seems to have come into her own as she turns 30, seems to have become self aware

        Are all greaters self aware?

        By the way, check out the lyrics to Look What You Made Me Do (and really any song on the Reputation album )

        1. HG Tudor says:

          A Greater can learn more, yes.

      2. ThePolicyOfTruth says:


        If I’m right in my understanding, all narcissists started out normally, but due to them being predisposed to having the right “soil” and experiencing the right “seed” trigger, thus the narcissist is born.

        So you’d think that as a narcissist is created, it could be self-molded into a different type after time. He could reach “enlightenment” about himself, as it were. Move up the ranks. (From a narc perspective at least.)

        It’s peculiar that you say this isn’t possible.
        It is possible for a beggar to become a millionaire after all, or for a high school drop out to become a successful entrepreneur.

        But it isn’t so with narcs you say.

        I get the impression then that the Greater looks down on Mid Rangers and Lessers as being inferior to themselves, in much the same way someone of old money looks down on the nouveau riche. Despite their similarities, the differences will always be present. Am I on the right track?

        I’m fascinated by this stuff. Horrified by the narcs’ actions, but fascinated all the same.

        1. liza says:


          if i’m not wrong, it is not a matter of working on it, but rather a matter of congnitive level.
          a lesser could never be something else due to his limited inteligence. for him to have more insight is like for you to try and percieve a 5th dimention, it is totally beyond anything you could imagine.

      3. Lorelei says:

        More than 6 hours of sleep is absolutely a waste of time!

        1. ThePolicyOfTruth says:

          Look at HG’s posts. 3.17am, then 7.41am… like a vampire in the night!

          I only get about 5 hours a night on average (I’d like more! It’s circumstantial!) but HG seems to be the king of very little sleep!

          1. Lorelei says:

            Maybe but I assume he can set when blog entries appear through WordPress—not pushing responses through but the written pieces. 5 hours is my preference and probably what I got. I’m actually on here now being lazy and avoiding going to the gym even though I can do whatever I want on the elliptical anyway. I need to get off of my rear end and make this day happen.

Vent Your Spleen! (Please see the Rules in Formal Info)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.