People are quick to throw the word “narcissist” around, it’s pertinent to remember that there is a big distinction between someone being self-centered & unsympathetic, and someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)
Many people may have what doctors call narcissistic characteristics, such as feeling entitled or having a strong sense of self-importance. People who have narcissistic personality disorder can be challenging to handle.
The first step to determine your dynamic with someone who you think is a narcissist is to know the difference between someone with narcissistic tendencies and someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
PEOPLE WHO DO NOT HAVE NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER, BUT HAVE NARCISSISTIC CHARACTERISTICS MIGHT:
- Need continual approval and/or admiration
- Take advantage of other people
- Fail to acknowledge or be concerned about the needs of other
- Have an escalated sense of self
Generally, narcissists can be pretentious. They think that they are better than others, and continuously seek out praise.
Having a narcissist in your life may be absolutely frustrating and challenge emotions. You may feel like your whole relationship with this person revolves around them, leaving no room for yourself or your emotions. It can be easy to feel judged by this person. You may even feel exhausted by this individual’s demands. In many ways it may feel that nothing is good enough, like you’re always trying to appease them without success.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. Despite the inflated confidence that narcissists portray, they often have extremely fragile self-esteem. In that some of the slightest criticism can harm their self-esteem.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. Despite the inflated confidence that narcissists portray, they often have extremely fragile self-esteem. Even the slightest criticism can harm their self-esteem.
People who suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder may be overall unhappy and dispirited when they are not given special treatment or treated the way that they expect. Many relationships may feel unfulfilling to them, and others may not enjoy their company.
THE SIGNS, SYMPTOMS, AND SEVERITY OF NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER CAN ALTER PERSON-TO-PERSON. SOME SYMPTOMS MAY INCLUDE:
- Having an inflated sense of self-importance
- Demand having the best of everything (e.g., best house, best car, best clothes)
- Holding a sense of entitlement
- Mandating continual, immoderate appreciation
- Behaving in an arrogant manner that comes across as conceited and/or pretentious
- Always expecting to be acknowledged as superior
- Being jealous of others
- Believing that others are jealous of them
- Overvalue their achievements and skills
- Having the inability to acknowledge other’s needs and emotions
- Being distracted by dreams of authority, triumph, perfection, the perfect partner, or excellence
- Taking advantage of others to benefit them
- Expecting special favors to align with their expectations
- Believing that they are superior
- Only speaking to people who they believe are on their level
- Dominating conversations
- Looking down on people they view as inferior
IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP, THE NARCISSIST MAY:
- Try to isolate you from your friends and family
- Instruct you on how to act and feel
- Question your reality or try to gaslight you
- Blame you for things outside of your control
- Supervise your whereabouts
- Project their flaws onto you
- Fail to take your opinions and needs into account
IF YOU ARE DEALING WITH A NARCISSIST, TRY THE FOLLOWING TIPS:
DO NOT REACT
Narcissists depend on your emotional reactions. It can be easy to react in a way that showcases your shock, anger, or hurt, but this will only energize the narcissist. Instead, try to focus on the situation at hand, and try not to leave space for projection. By continuously steering the conversation back to the issue at hand, you take away the opportunity from the narcissist to dominate the conversation.
TRY TO AVOID DIRECT CONFRONTATION
As stated previously, narcissists are sensitive to any kind of criticism. Calling out the narcissist is hardly ever helpful. This can even be a trigger for their anger. In the case that you do need to give negative feedback, try to frame it, in the same way, you would a compliment.
REITERATE YOUR NEED FOR ACTION OVER PROMISES
Narcissists can be great at making fictional plans for the future, and never following through on their promises. If you want to hold a narcissist accountable, you need to challenge the deception. It is important to not fulfill any of their requests unless they reciprocate the energy.
Narcissists may easily cross boundaries. While they can break others’ boundaries, they prioritize their own. It is important to set and strongly maintain your boundary with this individual. You may want to easily outline what you will and will not accept in your relationship with this individual. While it may be difficult at times, you should always stand up for yourself.
REMIND YOURSELF THAT YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME
If anything does not go their way, a narcissist may point the finger at you. In addition to your boundaries, you may want to limit the responsibility that you hold in their life. When the blame is put on you, do not accept it.
DON’T ACCEPT THEIR BEHAVIOR
Narcissists are typically aware when they hurt others’ feelings. Their behavior is normal to them, but that is not the same case for other people. You may feel the need to gently point out their undesired behaviors. Narcissists do not like to be viewed in a negative light, so this allows them to adjust their behavior.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHEN YOU NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP
Narcissistic abuse may not be overt, therefore it can be difficult to know whether or not you are a victim. You may easily fall into a cycle of narcissistic abuse. This can lead to feeling trapped. Symptoms of narcissistic abuse vary; however, if you are questioning your self-worth, it may be helpful to seek counseling from a licensed professional who specializes in identifying and assisting people who endure narcissistic abuse.
KNOW WHEN YOU NEED TO LEAVE A RELATIONSHIP
Narcissists know how to manipulate situations and deceive people. They may use methods like gaslighting and projection to try to alter your reality and gain control. If you are beginning to feel confused or lost, it may be time to exit the relationship. It is important to never lose sight of yourself. Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome is real. If you think that you are experiencing it, you may benefit from talking to a licensed mental health professional.
Author: Victoria Scala