Why Do Narcissists Lie?

Written by Lise Colucci

Most any survivor of narcissistic abuse knows the frustration, hurt and anger of catching the narcissist in a lie. We also know the feelings that arise when we see the truth that it is not just one lie but a series and pattern of lies. And eventually, we usually come to the realization that life with the narcissist was entirely made up of lies and that the nature of the relationship itself is one giant lie.

Did this happen to you? Did you begin to question everything after that?  Why is it that a narcissist lies?

Delusion/avoiding accountability

Narcissists will lie for a variety of reasons. Honestly, their whole life’s a lie due to the delusional world they have created. They fabricate a personality they want you to believe is who they really are and will defend that false personality by perpetuating lies about who they are.

The narcissist is coming from a place of defensiveness and it takes lies to maintain the delusions. They are in constant need of defending the image they want others to see them as and lies are the “house of cards” foundation that is built upon.

Basically, they are creating the “self” they want you to believe is true and the self they want others to view them as. Because this is created, not an authentic self, it requires lies and deceit in order for it to be maintained.

The sense of self of a personality disordered person is delusional, the avoidance of accountability does not allow the narcissist to truly know themselves and instead, they spend their lives hiding from all accountability which requires a multitude of layered lies.

A narcissist might present themselves as a charming person that does “the right thing’ in life when in fact they are sneaking, being devaluing, so on then they will lie about those behaviors to hide the truth so the delusion stays in place.


The lies are about control. The narcissist needs to control the actions of other people as well as the way others view them. By withholding a truth or even a blatant lie the narcissist manipulates others around them.

The entire relationship with a narcissistic person can be seen through this need for them to have control. Lies are just one way they assert the control and manipulate you.

Narcissistic Supply

When a narcissist lies it creates a need for them to hide, defend and protect that lie. This in itself is a form of negative narcissistic supply. Keeping secrets from you, telling you outright lies, gaslighting, all of these create tension, drama, and supply.

Remember, the narcissist needs the negative supply as much as they do the praise and worship they seek in the form of positive supply.

Supply is the driving force behind every relationship a narcissist has. They gain from your pain. Even the use of lies as a pity ploy, to make you feel sorry for them, is a form of supply. If they lie to gain your sympathy it activates your empathy and what better way to gain a lot of supply fast.

By using lies to pity ploy they also get away with a lot of things they are hiding, it’s a diversion tactic.

How to Find Out the Truth from a Narcissist

There is no way to get the narcissist to reveal the truth, lies are woven into the disordered personality and the way that disorder causes them to function. You may have a truth revealed now and then but the nature of the way a narcissist relates to all others is based on lies – so one truth revealed is likely either meant to lull you into thinking they see the hurt they caused and get you to forgive them or it was a slip up on their part.

Often lies revealed and admitted to later become ways they will gaslight you by denying it ever happened or saying things like “you forgave me why are you dwelling on the past” all to once again deny any accountability and maintain the delusion of who they want you to think they are.

If you begin to see the lies, see them for what they are, a revealing truth. The narcissist is a person that can not be trusted and will not be honest or trustworthy to do anything but continue to lie.

Get personal support in your narcissistic abuse recovery.


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This video playlist offers additional insight on narcissists and their pathological lying behaviors.

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