A few weeks ago, we invited guest expert, Dr. Fred DiBlasio, to discuss dealing with a narcissist. This weekend, we air Part 2 of our conversation to help us all better understand a narcissist, develop empathy and work towards healing and help.
In my work as a therapist, so many people know someone who has these traits or diagnosis. And when you are in a relationship with this type of person, it is difficult and exhausting for a number of reasons. Here are few reasons why:
- Narcissists seem to only care about themselves. And this self-centeredness doesn’t bode well in most relationships. If the focus is always on them, the give and take of healthy relationships is missing. So, unless the difficult person sees the need to get help, the self-centeredness continues.
- Narcissists have to look perfect to others. Now, this doesn’t mean they have to be perfect, rather they have to look perfect. It’s all about appearances. This means they cannot admit to flaws, weaknesses or mistakes. Because of this, other people are always to blame. And imperfections are not tolerated because it could make them look bad. Thus, you are constantly playing defense.
- Even the smallest things cause conflict. Leaving the house, going to the store, making plans, ordering at a restaurant, etc., it’s all grounds for conflict. When there isn’t agreement, arguments begin. The narcissist loves to play the Devil’s Advocate.
- Normal reactions lead to drama. In dealing with a narcissist, make sure you respond and do not just react if you want to lessen the drama. This means you have to carefully think of how you will handle each situation. Reacting usually ends in an increase in conflict which you can’t win.
- When possible, don’t engage. Certainly, don’t go into business with this type of person.
- Don’t share your opinions. Your opinions really don’t matter because the narcissist is always right.
- Stop waiting for the narcissist to be empathic. Yes, empathy can be learned but the narcissistic person has to see the need for it first. Dr. DiBlasio talked about how certain brain structures differ and impact empathy.
- Don’t be intimidated. Yes, you will feel like the narcissist has the upper hand but remember, his or her intimidation is based on underlying feelings of inferiority. Because of this, have a strong sense of self to avoid constant self-doubt. Don’t allow the person to gaslight or manipulate you.
- Give admiration when and where you can. I know, this sounds counter-intuitive, but this helps fill the empty void of needing validation. Narcissists crave love, yet the way they go about getting it pushes love away.
- Don’t be confused. They can be charming with others and not so charming with you. Most narcissists have an uncanny ability to shift their behavior in different settings.
For more on how to deal with a narcissist, listen to the podcast audio below.Dealing with a narcissist - Part 2