Narcissism is defined as an exaggerated self-involvement to the extent that it makes a person disregard the needs of those surrounding them. True narcissists frequently ignore others and their feelings. They also don’t understand the impact their behavior has on other people.
Narcissism is a trait, but broadly it can be a part of a personality disorder. As narcissism is a spectrum, not every narcissist suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). People lying at the highest end of the spectrum are classified as NPD, yet others, who only carry narcissistic traits, fall on the lower end of the narcissistic spectrum.
People diagnosed with NPD can be a big challenge for everyone. Living with a narcissist requires different and advanced emotional skills. Dealing with a narcissist can be annoying and emotionally challenging. The relationship may revolve around them, and you may feel exhausted by their demands.
People showing signs of narcissism can often be captivating and charismatic. In relationships, narcissists often don’t show negative behavior straight away. Narcissists often like to be surrounded by people who feed their egos. They build superficial relationships just to support and strengthen their ideas about themselves. Narcissists have a strong feeling of grandiosity which means that they are more important than others and need constant praise and admiration.
Narcissists often have the following characteristics:
- Exaggerated sense of grandiosity
- High levels of self-esteem, self-importance, and self-confidence
- Feelings like they are superior to others
- Arrogant behavior
- Manipulate others
- Believe that they are unique and special
- Exaggerate their achievements and abilities
- Need constant praise and admiration
- Feel envious towards others and believe others envy them
- Lack empathy
- Obsession with fantasies of brilliance, power, or success
- Have a profound sense of entitlement
Narcissists may do everything to achieve whatever they want. They do not feel compassion and intimacy with others, even with the people who are very close to them.
At work, narcissists may seek admiration, even at the cost of hurting others. They always take credit for other people’s work and undermine their co-workers.
At home, a narcissist can impact the whole family. In a relationship with a narcissist, they can be highly critical, distant, and arrogant with their partners. You feel invisible, disrespected, lonely, and ignored being with them. As a child of a narcissist, you may have been neglected or abused.
Take these steps to handle a narcissist:
- Educate yourself
Study more about NPD, to help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of narcissists and learn ways of handling them. Knowing who they are, allows you to accept them and have realistic expectations.
- Create clear boundaries
Set clear boundaries. It may be disappointing for the narcissist, but it is necessary to control their emotions.
- Create a strong support system
Feelings of insecurity, confusion, and self-doubt may arise while living with a narcissist so make sure that the core group of people in your life are supportive.
- Consult a counselor
If you are not able to cure your partner’s narcissism, it may be helpful for you to consult a counselor. He can show you different ways to solve problems with the narcissist.
Certain things may trigger a narcissist, so it’s best to avoid them.
- Avoid argument or confrontation
To avoid problems, it’s best not to argue or confront a narcissist directly.
- Avoid directing them
Narcissists like to control things as they fear losing them, so efforts to instruct them often fail.
- Avoid expecting them to consider your point of view
Narcissists don’t like to admit their mistakes even when they are wrong, so trying to make them see things your way may backfire.
- Avoid expecting meaningful communication
Narcissists possess very little empathy, so honest and meaningful communication does not seem to get through or create an angry outburst or shutdown response.
- Avoid past
Try to stay in the present and avoid mentioning the painful past.
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Written by: Tahira Rubab Hafeez