Narcissists can’t afford to be vulnerable at all—especially not to themselves. Remember, they need to believe the lie. So they make up a fictitious false self who is everything the narcissist is not: the entitled, superior, inflated, and grandiose self fed by the narcissist’s fantasies and what they can squeeze out of sources of narcissistic supply.
This mask, which the narcissist thinks is real, hides the insecure and damaged part of the NP and chases way feelings of depression, abandonment, and shame. It protects her from painful feelings. Affirmations of the false self keep the mask in good repair. If they’re not forthcoming, she demands them in one way or another in the ways that make the relationship a wild ride on a rollercoaster (which no one understands besides other people who have a loved one with NPD). The NP’s success in maintaining this illusion makes you continually doubt yourself since you rarely receive validation of what you are going through.