The Narcissist´s Reality Gap


The Lesser Narcissist. Whether it is the out and out loser that is the Lower Lesser, the usually useless Middle Lesser or the successful but overbearing bully that is the Upper Lesser, the three have certain common traits. One of these traits is their delusional state. The Lesser exists in a bubble convinced of his or her good looks or innate strength or irresistible sexiness. They think everybody likes them, they think if you don’t then you must be an idiot and you are not worth bothering with. They believe themselves to be great at sport, or writing, or whatever hobby and if they do not win or receive an accolade well the game was fixed, the paint was the wrong sort or the judges are retarded. After all, anybody who cannot see that the Lesser is a swaggering champion, well, they must need their head seeing to, right?

The Lesser cruises through life doing what he or she wants, taking whatever they want, behaving as they please and nobody is allowed to stop or interfere with this god-given right. They are completely oblivious to their shortcomings – that bloated beer belly just shows a certain joie de vivre, going bald is a sign of virility, wearing that same jacket is a mark of classic attire. Their narcissism enables them to maintain their perceived superiority (where often none exists) through the application of this delusion. They just do not see their failings, their inadequacies and failures. The self-defence mechanism of the Twin Lines of Defence will either deny any such failing or deflect it away by ascribing it to being the fault of someone or something else. Thus, the Lesser escapes culpability, maintains superiority, gathers fuel and barrels through his or her life wreaking havoc all around and never suffering consequences.

Now, the fuel crisis will cause the bubble to burst, but this article is not about the effect of the fuel crisis but rather the reality gap. When fuelled, the Lesser suffers no reality gap whatsoever. He or she is oblivious and served totally by the delusions of their narcissistic perspective because that is what enables them to exist and function.

What then of the Greater? There is no doubting that the Greater can point to substance to support those bold pronouncements. Look at the money, the high status career, the successful public life, the adoring crowds, the power that is wielded, the records made, the books sold, the art created, the countries invaded, the factories opened, the gadgets invented and the elections won. From captain of industry, Olympic champion, pop star, politician, royal, leader, spin doctor, fixer, striving executive, acclaimed actor, feted artists through to hundreds of other positions and roles, the Greater populates the higher echelons of achievement. His or her narcissism has enabled such an ascent. With no sense of remorse, no conscience, the desire to be the best, a total belief in one’s ability, a sense of entitlement and operating with absolute expediency it is little wonder that the Greater narcissists clamber into these positions.

Is there delusion with the Greater? Indeed and it manifests in the form of embellishment and exaggeration because the innate paranoia of the narcissist means that it is never enough. He may be popular but he sees that he is immensely popular because the narcissism demands it. The narcissism enabled him to scale the heights of political power to begin with and then feeds the need to stay there and want more and more and more because non sufficit orbit terrarum.

Thus the Greater will have considerable power but sees its reach as being even further. He has wealth but embellishes its degree. The narcissistic perspective insists on there being a reality greater than there is. It is even better than the real thing. The combination of that which has been achieved and the belief in added achievement results in the application of power on a tremendous scale, which in turns feeds the narcissism. Round and round it goes. There may be a reality gap, but similar to the Lesser, it is not apparent to the Greater save when the effects of a fuel crisis manifest.

What of the Mid-Range Narcissist? He or she can also achieve. Not on the scale of the Greater but beyond the Lesser. The Mid Range Narcissist, particular Middle Mid Range and Upper Mid Range will secure success, good jobs, excellent incomes, academic achievements, sporting achievements and so forth. Many friends, well-liked by family and the community (that good old facade at work there) and convinced of their own innate goodness.

However one of the fundamental differences between the Lesser and Greater Narcissists compared to the Mid Ranger is the basis on which the application the reality gap operates. The Lesser’s superiority is based on aggressive provocation, albeit in a rudimentary and base manner. The Greater’s superiority is also based on aggressive provocation but in a far more streamlined, refined and magnificent manner. The Mid-Ranger’s perceived superiority has its foundation placed on passive provocation – the silent treatments, the jealous smearing, the office politicking, the pity plays and so forth.

The consequence of this is that this passive, defensive superiority, as opposed to the driving, thrusting aggressive superiority of the other two schools, results in the Mid Range Narcissist suffering periodic reality gaps. He of course will have them and in a massive way as a consequence of a fuel crisis but as stated above, that is not the subject of this article.

The Mid Range Narcissist is afflicted by episodic instances of a detachment between his narcissistic perspective and reality. This is part of his narcissism because this is what enables him or her to operate in a passive aggressive manner through seeking sympathy, exhibiting jealousy, inviting pity and demanding help and support. The Mid Range Narcissists will occasionally get a glimpse of what he is as opposed to what he wants to be. He suddenly sees he is the middle manager salary man and not on the fast track to the board. Whereas the Lesser sees he is holding a semi-skilled position on the factory floor he either sees that as what is best for him and he wouldn’t want to be a “white collar wanker” or he believes he has never made it to management because the existing managers are cocksuckers who are clueless and have no idea how to run a company. The Greater is either at the board already or on his way. The Mid Range Narcissist once believing he was destined for that executive position suddenly realises he is not. He once believed he brought influence to bear beyond his current status because he was talented and just ripe for promotion, he is suddenly aware that this is not the case. The football career was not as glittering as he wanted it to be. She is not as popular as she wants to be. She isn’t able to win the races as she desires to.

The shortfall between what the Mid Range wants to be and believes him or herself to be and what they actually are manifests and delivers a crushing blow to the Mid Range. It is caused by wounding, but to the Mid Range Narcissist it appears to come out of nowhere, a sudden fountain of mediocrity which surges up unexpected and unwelcome. This awful reminder acts as a threat to the narcissist´s control. The Mid Range Narcissist immediately seeks to escape this reality gap by complaining, raging, sulking or smearing, thus asserting control over others, to draw fuel and banish this sudden reminder that they are nowhere near as special as what they believe themselves to be. Their envy of those who are what the Mid Range wants to be is unfettered. Their dejection at their position requires immediate succour from those around them, to flow with pity and sympathy until the moment has passed and with it the danger to their existence. What it does not do however, is enable the Mid Range Narcissist to see that they are a narcissist, that can never happen.

Accordingly, should you ever witness a Mid Range Narcissist exhibiting some kind of panic attack, a wailing and bemoaning of his or her lot in life even though there is no fuel crisis evident, then you have witnessed the appearance of the Mid Range narcissist’s reality gap.

5 thoughts on “The Narcissist´s Reality Gap

  1. Lynn says:

    In my family one parent is the narcissist, the other parent is the enabler, and my sibling is the narcissist’s mini-me golden child covert narcissist. When I was gone for two years my covert narcissist sibling told me immediately upon return “we couldn’t speak your name, we weren’t allowed to, we couldn’t bring you up or mention you at all” with a big smile big smile on their face as if they were telling me good news. My enabling parent said “thank God you’re back, you don’t know how hard it was for me while you were gone, I was treated horribly as if all the anger was transferred to me.” They didn’t say thank God you’re back because I missed you…no they basically said while I was gone they were attacked instead of me and thank goodness they are out of that role again. Later when my sibling was jealous of me they said their life was so much better when I was out of the picture. We weren’t fighting, they just thought I got more recognition for one tiny little thing I did for someone else. Huh? Because I helped another person and was complimented it’s better for you that I’m “out of the picture?” None of them, including the enabler, had any grounding in reality that allowed them to see the other for what they are. The weirdest thing they would do is make secret phone calls to me (the enabler and covert narcissist sibling together) to tell me the N was especially mean today – “N is inside the store right now, and OMG they are terrible. When you’re not around they are so mean.” BTW the N was never mean to the covert narcissist golden child they were only mean to the enabler. My enabling parent didn’t even have a cell phone and I wondered why my sibling made these calls. I think it was to do the N’s bidding and get me back into the family again. One day when they called I asked my sibling in front of my enabling parent “why don’t you say something, why don’t you stand up for (the enabler)? My sibling had no answer and my enabling parent refused to see it was within my sibling’s ability to say something. There was a pecking order created by the Greater N-parent with the Lesser covert-N sibling one level below and somehow the enabler still thought they were part of the in-crowd! Also the enabler thought the N-parent had a legitimate right to release anger, rage, and insults at me. Their motto was “better you than me.” The one time I stood up for myself AND the enabler, they announced “hang up on her, you don’t have to listen to that.” I was shocked the enabler wouldn’t take my help at all and condemned me during our chance to confront the N together. Since that time I haven’t heard a word from my ‘loving’ enabling parent other than annual birthday cards saying ‘I think of you often’ – that’s it…not my heart is broken, or I want to see you, or I’m so sorry, just that they think of me. Sickness in the highest degree!

  2. Mmg says:

    This is a great article. Totally explains what I have been seeing. It’s a reality crisis of my mid ranger. He is driven to work long hours(his OCPD), and thinks he should be a lot more successful at this point. He will crash into pity, despair, anger. He is very successful at his job, but never feels that way. Now he is getting a masters in his profession at a top school because he thinks he gets passed over because no good pedigree. Unfortunately, it won’t help because the real problem is that he is a white middle aged male, no one wants that anymore.

  3. BC30 says:

    This article brings me such joy. 😃

  4. heloiseandabelarde says:

    Yes I am seeing this as we speak…wish i’d known about this sooner though.He quit his hated job believing he would get unemployment (despite my warning that he wouldn’t) and as he fought for it and it didn’t emerge, I saw his main hobby, semi-pro tennis, start to totally tank too. This had to be a wounding of major proportions and whereas I was pretty good at soothing him for the occasional loss, this complete cave-in was something i was afraid to talk about with a ten-foot pole. Anyway, after 2 years living rent-free at my place he left town. I as an empath knew it was permanent but every time I challenged him he said it was temporary. Found out through his sister that, indeed, it was permanent. That’s the same way he quit his job–just stopped showing up. Well, I guess we empaths only see what we want to see? Is that it? Anyway: guess the level and cadre!

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