I've only ever known one person who was diagnosed narcissistic. In my experience most of their lies were not direct. It took me a very long time to figure out that what was happening was actually lying.I know that sounds odd, but hear me out.I think of lying as saying something that didn't happen or denying something that did happen. Sure narcissists do this if they finally get caught and cornered, but this is a physically dangerous situation to be in. However, skilled narcissists know that a direct lie is going to be hard to maintain and a direct denial is likely to get them caught.
Accusation by a husband: “You say you were at your friend’s house helping her pack, but then you come home smelling like a man.”
Denial by Narcissistic wife: “I wasn't with a man. I was at Julie's house. Stop making accusations.”
(If this isn't delivered with perfect body language, facial gestures and voice inflection the husband will know. Also, he might actually attempt to verify it.)
Here is the more likely way a narcissist might deny and lie right after the accusation:
Lie by Narcissistic Wife: “Good morning baby (peck on the lips). Have you had breakfast yet? I was thinking I might make those waffles with pecans you like so much. I love that you still get jealous sometimes. It's so cute! You are the only one for me baby.”
IT'S BRILLIANT! Who would argue with that? Most people would quit here and take the waffles. Let's say that the husband doesn't quit making the accusations:
Husband's Reply: “I am serious and want you to tell me where you really were!!”
Narcissist: (Contrived anger) “THAT’S IT! REMEMBER WHEN MY COUSIN SUSAN HAD A HUSBAND THAT DIDN’T TRUST HER?? LOOK HOW ALL THAT TURNED OUT! THEY ARE DIVORCED NOW AND SHE TOOK EVERYTHING!” (indirect threat to attack his finances and assests). “WHEN EVERYONE FOUND OUT HOW WEAK AND INSECURE HE WAS HE LOST ALL HIS FRIENDS AND HIS FAMILY LOST ALL RESPECT FOR HIM!” (indirect threat that she will try to destroy his relationships if he doesn't stop confronting her or if he leaves). “SHE EVENTUALLY WENT OUT AND GOT A RICH LOVER HALF HIS AGE AND DEVASTATED HIM! MAYBE THAT’S WHAT I SHOULD DO!” (she devalued him in two crucial ways and threatened to cheat on him. Ironically, this is also a partial confession. It sets her up for later when she gets caught red handed. She will twist the argument to make him feel it was his fault.)
The husband is now confused and is feeling bad about himself. He is confounded but realizes he better make nice or his entire world will fall apart. “I'm sorry baby, I guess I overreacted. Let's just not fight anymore.”
- She never denied anything
- She never actually directly lied
- She made him second guess everything about his accusations and stability in his life.
- She implanted consequences in his head that seem inevitable. The only apparent way to avoid them is to capitulate.
- She redirected the argument to third person which helped her distance herself from her own lie. She will be able honestly say she didn't lie in the future.
- She buttered him up with the waffle suggesting to disarm him and buy herself time to respond
- She used outrage as a form of denial because people think this means a person is innocent.
- She made him imagine her having sex with someone better looking, more successful and better in bed than him creating emotions he would rather avoid.
- She made it clear that if he continued to question he would be punished by her accelerating reaction. She could have a history of tantrums, throwing things or violence.
- She gave herself an out. When she eventually does get caught, she has set it up so she can blame all her actions on him for not being enough of a man.
All if this is very efficient. The goal is not just to avoid getting caught. There is subsequent goal of making sure the person providing supply is much less likely to ever confront them again. It puts the supplier in a fog that the narcissist hopes they won't find their way out of.
This is why narcissists are SOOO toxic. This is why the trauma runs deep and takes years to recover from. The terrible thing is she WILL follow through with all these consequences and destroy his life because he won't realize she has no functional empathy until he takes away her supply.
Narcissists DO have a type of empathy that is very strong. They can read others well and know exactly what makes them tick, what they are afraid of and how certain situations would affect them emotionally. The difference is that non-narcissists use this to comfort others. True narcissts use this to control and destroy.
Unlike a psychopath who technically can't experience empathy, narcissts use it as a sharped tool and weild it until they become masters. Spouses will say, “But my loved one does have empathy.” You will never see it coming unless you have been through it, or learn from seasoned empaths.
I really hope this helps. I am sending love to all who read this. (Even the narcissists because you need compassion more than everyone else. -from a distance.)