What is a Narcissist and how to deal with them

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Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Let’s begin with a simple question. Do you know someone around your family, friends or someone at work who thinks they are better and superior to everyone else around them but loses it at the slightest criticism? let us help you spot narcissism traits and help you deal with one. While reading this article, you will start to get the idea of who all this is about as in today’s time, many people around us suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. Please keep an open mind. You may be a victim of this disease too.

What is Narcissism

Narcissism is a real personality disorder among many other personality disorders that makes a person so self-involved to the degree that it makes them completely ignore the needs and feelings of their loved ones or the people around them and they are completely unaware of the impact of their behavior on the people around them. It is a state where a person is inflated with sense of their own importance which of course causes troubled relationships and a complete lack of empathy for others. It inflates a deep need for excessive attention and admiration.

Symptoms of Narcissism

It is human nature to be self-centered a bit but narcissists blow the roof off with self-centeredness to abnormal levels. These levels of narcissistic behavior can be damaging and self-defeating.

Signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and the severity of symptoms vary. People with the disorder can:

  • Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
  • Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerate achievements and talents
  • Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
  • Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
  • Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
  • Take advantage of others to get what they want
  • Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Be envious of others and believe others envy them
  • Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious
  • Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office

At the same time, people with narcissistic personality disorder have trouble handling anything they perceive as criticism, and they can:

  • Become impatient or angry when they don’t receive special treatment
  • Have significant interpersonal problems and easily feel slighted
  • React with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior
  • Have difficulty regulating emotions and behavior
  • Experience major problems dealing with stress and adapting to change
  • Feel depressed and moody because they fall short of perfection
  • Have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation

How to deal with a Narcissist

1. Avoid Direct Confrontation

If you call a narcissist a narcissist, it always backfires and worsens the situation because they are extremely sensitive to criticism. Regardless of the conversation being for the greater good or a healthy lifestyle, they cannot reflect on their own behavior enough to see any truth behind the accusation. Instead, they turn on you and dedicate themselves to prove that you are the one with issues and demand a serious apology for the accusation.

The smart way of dealing with them is to go around and start with compliments mixed with small doses of the criticism instead of launching right into the discussion with your grievances against them.

Specifically, try using the compliment sandwich approach, which involves both opening and closing the conversation with positive remarks about the person you’re talking with. For instance, begin by sharing what you love about them, then mention how they could change their behavior to improve your relationship. End with how confident you are they will be successful in making these changes.

2. Don’t Accept Harmful Behaviors

For the same specific reasons, it is not just pointless to argue with a narcissist but even harmful. Arguments with a narcissist can also quickly turn to verbal abuse due to interpersonal skills and their lack of empathy. A narcissist may even be able to manipulate you into believing that you are the one with issues by gaslighting you. This is a typical type of manipulation that makes someone normal question their own reality.

All narcissists believe that they are the heroes and may tend to blame you for their own behaviors. They refuse to recognize that they may play a part in a problem because they view themselves as a victim. If you continue to argue with them, it will only reaffirm their preconception that you are the one attacking them. If this happens, remove yourself from the conversation by any means necessary. If a narcissist from your family becomes aggressive or abusive or tries to manipulate you emotionally, you must make it clear to them that you will not accept that kind of behavior.

3. Break the spell and stop focusing on them

Narcissistic personalities tend to work hard to keep themselves in the spotlight. When there is someone with narcissistic personality disorder, they shine with attention either with positive or negative attention. If you start waiting around for a time when their attention-seeking behavior comes to a break, it may never come. No matter what you do to adjust your life to suit their needs. For them, it would never be enough. Don’t let a narcissist define your world or infiltrate your sense of self. You do matter. Get some “me time” for yourself. You come first so take care of yourself first. It is not your job to fix them.

4. Remember that you’re not at fault

A narcissist may never admit to a mistake or take responsibility for anything bad. Instead they would most likely project their own negative behaviors on you. It would really seem tempting for you to just accept the mistake and blame and end the conflict to salvage their ego. You know the truth. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.

5. Get Support and Professional Counseling

People with narcissistic personality disorder may not want to think that anything could be wrong, so they may be unlikely to seek treatment. If they do seek treatment, it’s more likely to be for symptoms of depression, drug or alcohol use, or another mental health problem. But perceived insults to self-esteem may make it difficult to accept and follow through with treatment.

With the support of friends and professional counselors, you can gain perspective and learn you don’t need to be ashamed or embarrassed about your situation. Discussing what you’re going through with a counselor can help boost your confidence and help you decide on the best approach to interacting with your narcissistic family member.

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