Tips for Dealing with Narcissists

There may be times when you question whether or not the person you're closest to is a narcissist. Narcissistic traits, such as a high sense of self-importance and entitlement (the belief that one is entitled to something), are common; however, dealing with someone who has been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder can be much more difficult.

Kimberly Perlin, a licensed clinical social worker in Towson, Maryland, says, "Living with a narcissist requires a different or more advanced emotional skill set." Both narcissists and the women who are in relationships with them benefit from her expertise.

Having to deal with a narcissist can be stressful and taxing on your emotions. They may be the center of your relationship. Their expectations may cause you to feel scrutinized and overworked.

Clinical psychologist in Santa Rosa, California, Carla Marie Manly, PhD, had no idea her older sibling was a narcissist when she was a child. She says, "It was very difficult to grow up with this highly controlling person." "I didn't realize this sibling was a troubled narcissist until I was an adult. ”

Narcissists often believe they are the center of the universe. This person has an inflated sense of self-importance and craves attention.

A prime illustration of this is one of Perlin's customers. She says, "A long-term client of mine abruptly stopped coming to therapy with me after he saw my new website and was insulted that the website didn't talk about him."

Many times, narcissists:

  • Possess an inflated sense of self-importance (they think highly of themselves and often consider themselves to be above average)
  • Are conceited
  • Utilize other people to achieve your own ends.
  • Consider themselves to be exceptional
  • Maximize your successes and abilities
  • Require unending adulation
  • Feel envy toward others
  • Think people are jealous of them
  • Lack compassion
  • Fantasize about being brilliant, powerful, or successful to an unhealthy degree
  • Think you're entitled to everything

From her older sister and her experiences working with narcissists, Manly gained valuable insight into this personality type. Narcissists, I've realized, are the center of their own universe. They have an inflated sense of their own perfection and are quick to place the blame for any problems they encounter on anyone else. " she explains

Narcissists will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. In general, they lack empathy and find it difficult to form close relationships with anyone, not even those closest to them.

A narcissist at work may do anything for attention, no matter the cost to others. To gain favor with management, they may try to pass off others' work as their own, undermine their colleagues, or alter their demeanor. They may appear helpful and diligent, but there is usually more going on behind the scenes.

The effects of a narcissist at home can be felt by everyone. Narcissists in close relationships can be extremely critical, emotionally distant, and dismissive. One possible outcome is feeling alone, unappreciated, and unnoticed. If your parent is a narcissist, you might have experienced neglect and abuse as a child.

Breaking up with a narcissist may be necessary if they're being toxic in some way.

As Manly puts it, "I've chosen to step back from investing in a personal relationship with my sibling for the sake of my own mental health." She realizes that her sibling doesn't consider their actions problematic, and that continuing their relationship won't help them improve themselves, so she cuts ties with them.

In a relationship with a narcissist, you can anticipate conflict. Clinical psychologist Forrest Talley, PhD of Folsom, California warns, "Buckle up, it will be a very bumpy ride." This relationship will be incredibly difficult. ”

To deal with a narcissist, try these strategies:

Educateyourself Learn more about this illness. Knowing the narcissist's strengths and weaknesses can help you deal with them more effectively. If you know who they are, you may be better able to accept the situation for what it is and set reasonable goals for yourself.

Establish limits Establish your limits. The narcissist may be hurt or disappointed, but that's fine. It's not your responsibility to make them feel a certain way, Perlin reminds us.

Take a stand for who you are. Communicate your needs in a direct and precise manner. Make sure they get what you're asking for, as Perlin advises.

Mind your language Manly claims that narcissists have a difficult time accepting criticism. Use caution and a constructive tone when commenting.

Stay calm Avoid giving in to their attempts to provoke you or gaslight you (cause you to question your own perceptions of reality). Think of them as a three-year-old who is angry at their parent for setting a bedtime and acting out if you do that, Talley advises.

Make a network of helpers Feelings of insecurity, confusion, and self-doubt are common among those who live with narcissists. Make sure you have a solid group of people who can back you up, as advised by Talley.

Get a therapist involved. Your partner's narcissism is not something that can be "cured" in therapy, but it could help you resolve some issues. A therapist can help you figure out how to approach the narcissist and work through your issues.

It's best to avoid situations that could escalate tensions with a narcissist.

Never argue or confront someone When dealing with a narcissist, a manly man learns it's best to avoid eye contact. It may be best to manage their need to feel in charge rather than constantly avoiding them.

Avoid giving them orders. Narcissists are control freaks who thrive when everything is under their thumb. It's difficult to lead or instruct a narcissist, as Manly puts it.

Don’t expect them to see your point of view Narcissists are resistant to change and may reject your efforts to persuade them that they are wrong or unlovable.

Don't count on any sort of profound interaction When communicating with a narcissist, it's best not to be open and honest because "narcissists have very little empathy," as Manly puts it.

Avoid rehashing old arguments. Perlin advises against trying to show the person how their actions have been building up over the years, or how they are just like their father. Keep your requests and expressions of hurt feelings in the here and now.

Keep in mind that people with narcissistic personality disorder rarely evolve. Your relationship probably won't be healthy no matter how well you learn to manage it.

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