Red flag of a Narcissist #20 has to do with the “story telling” that Narcissists do to impress others. They may claim to have been in élite Military units, or hold a special place with volunteering or in their church, or they may claim to have previously (or currently) have a lot of money.
Sometimes these stories might even be true–especially the stories that are “easy” for them to live out, such as volunteering or holding a special position in their church.
Highly manipulative people really don’t have morals and values–if anything they “value” a good story over the truth any day of the week–especially if it will help them get what they want, which is usually some form of Narcissistic Supply (food, clothing, sex, shelter, status, increased public image).
The first step in avoiding manipulative people is to realize that there are LOTS of people like this in the world, and that it’s crucial that we can identify problematic behavior for what it is ASAP. Then the next step is to make sure that we have high enough standards and boundaries so that we don’t tolerate squirrely behavior, and limit or cut contact with these people sooner than later.
So why do they make up such elaborate stories?
Because these types of stories work.
See, manipulative people tend to have one main over-riding goal, and that is to manipulate people.
The best way to manipulate a person is to pretend to be a non-manipulative person. Makes sense right? After all, most of us tend to lower our guard around people that we view as heroic or an otherwise “do-gooder” , or even wealthy person. (Most manipulative people that are pretending to have wealth are doing this so they can talk you out of yours. To the average, unassuming person it makes no sense that a person who is wealthy would take the risk of stealing from others–but it happens everyday, in large part because no one ever suspects them!)
And as far as pretending to be a hero or a do-gooder, these stories work wonders at getting people to let down their guard (and their common sense).
Think about it.
What do we tell children to do if they are lost? We tell them to find a police man or a fireman because we have this (false) idea that people in certain professions are heroic and therefore trustworthy. We let (even encourage) children to go to church, or boy/girl scout camp and to spend a week with adults that we don’t often know.
This makes zero sense when you really stop to think about it.
Under no other context would we do this. We only suspend our judgment and common sense and lower our guard because we are making the assumption that these other adults have the same moral, values, and ethics that we do. This is a HUGE mistake.
Now I’m sure there are those out there who are thinking that we can’t walk around paranoid of others–and I totally agree. It’s not healthy to walk around being paranoid of other people–but this doesn’t mean that we should make the leap to the opposite end of the spectrum, and throw common sense out the window because a person is in the military, or has the same religion or beliefs as us, or claims to have money (so we should therefore trust them with ours).
We need to always have a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to other people and new situations.
This means that it’s a great idea to at least meet the adults that are going to be around your children for a week. Or to not make the assumption that just because a person is in a professional that is deemed “heroic” that they are a decent human being.
If a person is trying to get you to turn over your money to them, find out more about their track record and investigate their claims and see if they are on the level–and don’t just listen to them–ask other people who have had experience with them.
Doing your homework on a person who has access to something you value (your children, yourself, your money, etc.) won’t guarantee that you won’t get burned, but doing your homework, plus using your gut instinct and common sense will steer you clear of the vast majority of potential disasters.
One last thing…
This “Red Flag of a Narcissist” series is not designed to diagnose anyone with a personality disorder. It is designed to present a broad brush look at behaviors that most (if not all) manipulative people tend to have (not just Narcissists). Not all of these red flags are a signal to run for the hills, and a person doesn’t need to have ALL of these flags present to be dangerous or destructive.
These red flags also occur on a spectrum, meaning that they will be more obvious and troublesome in some people, and not so much in others.
At the same time, keep in mind that EVERYONE has some of these red flags—however, manipulative people tend to have them to a more troubling degree than normal, non-manipulative people. Keep in mind that Narcissists and Antisocial Personality Disordered people’s red flag behavior is more driven by their lack empathy and remorse, desire to manipulate and exploit other people for their personal gain, which is often not the case with those without these disorders. So don’t panic if you see some of your behavior in these red flags, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a Narcissist, or have a personality disorder.
My goal is to educate, empower, and inspire other abuse victims in understanding more about what happened to them (and how to prevent it from happening again), as well as how to go on and rebuild an amazing life.
Even though I have had a lot of "in the trenches" experience with highly manipulative people of all kinds, I consider myself to be a student of Narcissism, mindset, motivation, healing, and life in general, and am by no means an expert on any of these topics.
It's for these reasons, that when you are reading my information that I encourage you to hold to what helps, and let the rest go.