Anyone who has been around pathological narcissists for even a short amount of time will attest to the fact that they believe they deserve whatever they want. It's really not even a question. They don't believe they have to earn anything or qualify somehow. They believe they simply deserve it because they want it. This is the result of very convoluted and immature thinking that happens on a few different levels.
On one level - a superficial one - the narcissist believes they deserve things because they are special. Narcissists, who are the epitome of duality, are possessed of a huge, poisonous ego, and everything they see has their name on it. On this superficial level, they believe they are the most amazing person to have ever lived. The idea that they should not have what they want, or that they should have to -- more horrible than horrible -- actually ask for something is simply unbelievable.
You will often hear narcissists say things that prove they do not understand what consideration or decency or respect for other people are. They may say things that imply respect is sucking up to someone, or that asking for something equals begging. It's as if the very idea that they should consider other human beings is beneath them. They are just too special for other people to cross their minds. Smarter, better, faster, prettier, better in bed... whatever thing or things they claim sets them above others. (The word 'claim' is used here because though they behave this way, on a deeper level they don't actually believe it at all. The illusion is paper-thin, an over-inflated defense mechanism against their non-existent self esteem.)
The idea that that they are not special enough to deserve anything they want is extremely threatening to the narcissist's ego. The ego is what is projecting this false special self for everyone to see and admire. Disagreeing with that "specialness" is disagreeing with the narcissist's narrative of reality. That means you are coming much too close to who and what they really are, which they believe is flawed, broken and weak, and which they desperately want to hide from the world. Refusal of special treatment means people must be able to see who they really are. This is basically catastrophic for the narcissist. It's seen as a literal matter of life and death. Without that false self, they are exposed for the ugly, broken, monstrous things they believe they are, and they will go to ridiculous lengths to protect that secret.
On another, more primitive level, narcissists have a lot of trouble distinguishing between want and need. It's the same as a very small child. A toddler does not understand that they do not actually need a cookie. They just know they want one and it's very distressing not to get it. They're unable to control or regulate their emotions because they've not yet reached the level of emotional maturity required to do so. It's the same with narcissists. Want feels like need to them and it is very distressing for them when they cannot have something they want. Everything they want, they want very badly, too, also just like a small child. If they cannot have it, they are likely to become extremely upset.
Trying to make the narcissist understand that this thing they want is not important enough to become so upset over is probably going to be interpreted as you not caring about their needs. They don't understand the difference between want and need. They also have very poor impulse control and are unable to wait for things or delay gratification. The idea that they should wait for something or go without it is absolutely inconceivable to them. To the narcissist, even more than bruising the ego, these things all feel like rejections and as we have discussed many times, rejection is intolerable for the narcissist. It pushes a button directly into that hidden secret self, therefore it literally cannot be tolerated. They will do whatever they have to do to make that feeling go away. Prisons are full of narcissists who have killed those that rejected them. That is how distressing feelings of rejection are for narcissists.
Deep Defense Mechanism
On a third, deeper level, narcissists believe they deserve whatever they want because they believe they've suffered enough. In further evidence of that duality we spoke of earlier, they are miserable because they believe they are disgusting, unlovable, broken pieces of garbage. The world owes them for what they've been through. They deserve something that will make them feel better, and they cannot understand why other people don't see that. As we've discussed, they will do anything to feel better, even if it's only for a little while.
If you say, "You can't have that" the narcissist hears, "I want you to suffer." You are denying them the one thing - the only thing - that could ever make them feel better. The problem is that nothing makes them feel better. They are like those trick pitchers that magicians use. No matter how much you pour into the pitcher, the pitcher never gets full. It's never enough. The narcissist is a perpetual victim doling out excuse after excuse and justification after justification. It doesn't matter that now the family has no money for groceries. The narcissist felt bad and buying all these things made them feel better. How dare you say it's wrong to try to feel better?! Are you sick?? Are you evil??? It doesn't matter than this thing they took doesn't actually belong to them. They needed it! Are you saying they should go without? What kind of evil, hateful monster are you?? They needed it and in the narcissist's mind, that is all the justification that will ever be required: "I needed it."
With all of this entrenched and maladaptive thinking going on on so many different levels, coupled with the fact that it's all protected by an iron bar of denial, we can see that getting through to the narcissist is next to impossible. You cannot penetrate that kind of denial and even if you could, you will be met with excuses, justifications, anger, hysteria and much worse. We can understand why narcissists feel the way they do, but unfortunately, there is nothing anyone but the narcissist can do about it, and they have a vested interest in keeping things exactly the way they are.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
annette on June 25, 2018:
My Narc ex of two years would have his platonic "friend" (ex girlfriend. platonic when they went out for a year) over for dinner by themselves. Then spend the night! "He felt sorry for her". I started doing the same with my male friends. I told him when asked why we weren't sleeping together, that I don't do that when dating.He stopped. Then she started cleaning his house, albeit a bad job. I didn't ask him to stop. I just left the triangulated relationship. I wasn't about to take his candy away.
deetz on January 20, 2018:
explains so much !!