What Drives Narcissistic Devaluation & Dismissal?
Narcissists use psychological compensatory mechanisms to protect their fragile sense of self. They use these stances to compensate for something that is missing, namely, a core sense of self. Let’s unpack what drives narcissistic devaluation.
Narcissists lack a core sense of self. Instead, they have an inherent sense of emptiness. Behind all the grandiosity and arrogance, that is meant to make it look like they have it altogether, is in reality a black hole of emptiness and nothingness.
People with narcissistic tendencies are masters of illusion. They portray their self-aggrandizement brilliantly. What you see is not what they feel. To escape the horror of their internal void of emptiness, they construct a grandiose self that is pathological.
While this pathological narrative of the self may look impressive on the outside, the pervasive sense of emptiness that it’s covering up, is anything but impressive. It’s illusory.
Narcissists are infamous for dismissing, invalidating and devaluing people. This erasal of a significant other is so common because narcissists’ particular defense style is one of dismissal/devaluing.
This is why there are countless stories of husbands or wives being “dismissed” so callously and without explanation. It’s one of the most confusing and painful aspects of being involved with a narcissist.
The dismissal and devaluing of someone, who a disordered person professes to love, is a defense against the narcissist’s own sense of worthlessness and insignificance. While understanding this phenomenon, or style of defense, won’t make being devalued any easier, it does shed light on the reasons behind why the majority of toxic people resort to this tactic. Grandiosity is a cover for the false self.
Now to the important question? Why do narcissists lack a core sense of self? At some juncture in their development, their sense of self became fragmented or distorted. As a child, they internalized the notion that being themselves was not acceptable. Because of this belief, they were forced to become someone they were not.
Narcissistic behavior and thinking patterns, along with how the narcissist conceptualizes him or herself, all centers around validating and stabilizing their shaky self-esteem, at the same time compensating for their inner self-loathing.
Rather than accept the love and validation from others they so desperately crave, narcissists instead alienate the very people that could validate their self-worth. This leads to the conundrum of not being able to regulate their own self-esteem, while devaluing the people who could help to calm their inner critic. Self-deception is, therefore, a form of self-sabotage.
The black and white thinking of narcissism doesn’t help matters. If a narcissist doesn’t feel amazing about themselves, they feel like they are nothing. This is why grandiosity is so inherent in narcissism. It’s an all or nothing sort of thing.
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