We all need to know how to deal with a Narcissist, be it in a relationship with a man, woman, or mother. They can be vindictive, covert, malignant or you are one yourself. Who can be a Narcissist? Your boyfriend or girlfriend, your parents, your father in-law or mother in-law, your brother or sister, your boss or supervisor at work, your community leader, group leader, your friend, or you.
Narcissism is a dangerous trait, it brings more harm than good to those with this disorder and people they relate with. It is one disorder that makes the Narcissist a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, from afar a nice and good person, close enough you see someone with nasty habits and behavior.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) always almost start has a result of an incidence, insecurity and emotional disappointment. They have the most manipulative tendencies and care mostly about their own interest. The interest may be connected to them directly or indirectly. In today’s world the rate of narcissim is on the increase, due to craving for wealth, recognition, and publicity.
There are quite a number of books that have extensively researched Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). The summary of most of these books is that, you need to be very careful around a narcissist, we all have narcissist tendencies, it is best to stay clear of narcissist or better play their game with them, if you can deal with a narcissist. Some recommended books can be found below.
Changing a Narcissist can be a Lifelong Project
You are better off avoiding a narcissist if the person is not your boss, spouse or family. Attempting to change a Narcissist will involve identifying the level of the individuals Narcissism, then you can now proceed to understand how deep the person is into this behavior. Next plan a clear strategy to tackle this habit over a period of time. And most importantly do not fall into their trap, they are very manipulative, and also subtly or aggressively make people dance to their wish.
The Narcissist around us, mostly move around undetected if we have a short term relationship with them. They longer you stay with them or relate with them the more you unmask their true identity. That is if you have not been manipulated to the extent that you feel incompetent or inadequate around them.
Who is a Narcissist
There are several definitions to that, however I will use that of Mayo Clinic. A Narcissist suffer from a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.
The concept of unconditional love for others is far from a Narcissist, they love their self first and above every other thing. It is almost like protecting a very weak shell or self esteem against any intruder, who threatens it in any form. A critical look at how they behave will make anyone conclude that they are temporarily insane. Especially that they are unreasonable, they do not see other peoples point, they are rigid in their ways, they manipulate others and sometimes lie.
How do you recognize a Narcissist
You cannot deal with or handle a Narcissist if you cannot properly identify who has that tendency or disorder. To deal with a Narcissist you should be able to say yes to most of the traits identified below.
Red flags to watch for in relationships with narcissists include a lack of emotional intimacy, constant criticism and belittling, and a sense of walking on eggshells around the narcissist. It is important to differentiate between healthy confidence and narcissism. Healthy confidence is characterized by a sense of self-assurance and self-esteem, while narcissism is characterized by an excessive need for attention and validation.
- A Narcissist will mess you up, and still turn around to pamper you because they still need you. This will continue in a loop until they do not need you for their own gains anymore.
- Will flare up when your correct or point out an embarrassing error. They tend to stay and remain blameless. They cannot handle constructive feedback or criticism.
- Requires constant praise and compliment to get their attention or approval.
- Blames you or someone else for all errors, mistakes, and for not taking initiatives to prevent a negative occurrence.
- Does not appreciate other peoples effort not matter the impact it has, often like to take credit for others work.
- Self centered, self absorbing and self righteous.
A diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder can only be made by a suitably qualified mental health or medical professional.
How to Deal with a Narcissist
First you need to know the type of Narcissist you are dealing with; the vulnerable and grandios narcissist types stands out has the two major types.
- A vulnerable narcissist’s outward shell of self-centeredness and self-absorption masks a weak inner core.
- The grandiose narcissists truly believe in their own greatness—and they may even be almost as good as they think they are.
Also depending on the type of relationship you have with them, there are ways of handling and dealing with a narcissist in our lives. Setting boundaries with a narcissist can be difficult, but it is essential for protecting oneself from emotional and psychological abuse. It is important to establish and communicate boundaries clearly and assertively, while also being prepared for pushback from the narcissist. Strategies for enforcing boundaries may include disengaging from the narcissist, seeking legal support, and prioritizing one’s own well-being
How to deal with a Narcissist Spouse, and Family Member
A narcissist spouse or family member may fall into any of this class; husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, mother, father, uncle, aunt, father in-law, mother in-law, and cousin.
They often exert control through aggression, power and manipulation. How do you feel around them? Are you dare to the individual? Does the individual reciprocate the love you extend to them or you feel it is one sided?
Be smart – Wake up. A Narcissist is a natural manipulator, you will lose on all sides, if you use conventional methods to address them or confront them. That says you need to have a plan and response to their antics. Narcissist are one way traffic, predictable and goal oriented. They have one major goal be praised and validated, while they make every other person invalid or useless.
One antidote to this antics is to shower the narcissist with praise, positive validation, massage their ego. You must not overdo it otherwise it will back fire and they will see it as a sign of weakness on your own part. Also know them for who they are, and do not act beaten, keep a positive look outwardly, though you may be boiling inside. That brings us to the next point.
Be unruffled. If you look angry, defeated, pained, scorned or any way feeling of disappointment. A narcissist feels accomplished, inflicting pain on others to look good or above them is their second nature. This may be hard for some people, you can try to keep your emotions in check. Act emotionless in the face of provocation, though you may be angry within, tune-off and focus on something refreshing or hilarious within you. This is not allowing the narcissist to win you over, though some argue against this method, it works always.
Sell your ideas to them and make them feel like it is theirs. Most Narcissist do not like to be told what to do or directed, they crave for the “I am in charge feeling”. You can subtly sell you ideas to them and make them feel like it is theirs. This way seems manipulative, however it is probably the only way to get their attention to your own needs. Whatever the idea is, let them see how it will benefit them greatly, otherwise they will not be interested.
A narcissist does not really care about your needs, if they promise you something for helping them with what they need. It is advised you get the promise beforehand, chances of getting it after is slim.
Narcissist do not feel guilt but react to shaming and disgrace. Thick skinned narcissist are not remorseful of their ways or act, what takes them aback is shame, they avoid it at all cost. They would blame everyone for a fail, to avoid been shamed or looked at as been incompetent. It you make a bold move to shame them openly with clear facts and evidence among friends, peers or people with authority. They may never forgive you, or worse may happen. Dealing with them alone may not work also.
Show them the potential shame and disgrace they will get for not doing something or consequence of an action, and you will get them to act. The fear of been seen has incompetent, or with fault shakes them to their foundation. Keeping a narcissist dirty laundry from public glare is a priority to them. Once they know you have something shaming of them, they tend this increase their manipulative tendencies towards you for fear of been exposed.
The charming nature of a narcissist can draw you closer to them, in the long run it will turn to you been the inadequate one that needs support. You feel you are the problem, dropping your self worth and esteem.
Note: It is relatively hard to change people, they must resolve to change by themselves or with help from a professional.
If you are dating and not married to a narcissist, it is advised you move on. Dealing with them may take a toll on you, it is tough getting out of such relationship.
How to deal with a Narcissist – Things to remember
- Never point an accusing finger to a Narcissist.
- Attention is what a narcissist breath – Be available, praise and do a lot of ego massage.
- Not all narcissist are friendly and charming some are egotists. Take time to identify the type.
- They downplay other peoples feeling and opinions, do not be fazed by their action.
- They are not the judge of your true worth, they are often worse than they appear to look.
- Learn to re-frame words in a way it is agreeable to a narcissist. Often ways that makes them see the benefits to them.
- Change is almost impossible to a narcissist – Seek help if you feel drowned by them.
- Be calm and do not engage in an argument with a narcissist.
- Recommend healthy books that can help them deal with their behaviour
- Seek a professional help.
The above tips on how to deal with a narcissist is not tailored to meet every situation, some of the methods described might not be suitable in certain circumstances. A professional help can be sought privately on how to deal with the issue or read books with good and insightful reviews on how to deal with narcissism.
NB: One way to really help a narcissist is divine help, if you can intercede on behalf of a narcissist through prayer. A divine intervention can lead to a behavioral change and healing. And also a healthy relationship and life for you, I believe this is the best way to deal with a narcissist situation.