Sonya Thomas lcsw

Narcissism – Part 3 of 3

For those who have a narcissist in their lives, knowing how to deal with that person is paramount.  The degree of exposure varies along a continuum, depending on the role the narcissist plays in one’s life.  If one’s boss or neighbour is a narcissist, developing ways to minimize interactions becomes important.  If one is married to a narcissist, the same tactic won’t necessarily be feasible in the same way.  Here are some things to consider if you have a narcissist in your life:

  • First, not all narcissists are overtly physically volatile, though some are.
  • Assessing safety is crucial.  If you are physically in danger by remaining in close proximity to a narcissist, then work with an appropriate resource to develop a safety plan.
  • For those who have a narcissist in their lives and there is no threat of physical harm, work to minimize encounters, manage expectations, set limits, and avoid power struggles.  Again, the more distant emotionally you are from a narcissist, the easier this is to accomplish.
  • If you are in close emotional proximity to a narcissist, and you want to remain in the relationship, working in therapy to develop a strong and sturdy posture while remaining calm during message delivery is important.
  • Developing ways to carefully craft language to address your concerns is necessary. Getting into power struggles, shouting matches, one-upping or blaming is futile.  Remember, the narcissist is skilled at this battle.  You will not beat them at this game.
  • On the above, remove “you are a narcissist”, or any iteration of, from your arsenal.  It is an ineffective weapon.
  • Understanding the psychological complexity of the narcissist is helpful.  Their personalities developed in this way for a reason.  Knowing a person’s story can help with de-personalizing their behaviours.
  • This may be the most important stance you can take ~ be prepared to lose the person.  If you are sturdy enough psychologically to be unafraid of setting the firmest of boundaries, which may involve leaving or cutting off communication with the narcissist, then you are left with the freedom to choose to stay if that is what you wish.  Sorting this out often means working with a therapist, and should not be confused with issuing shallow or meaningless ultimatums.

If you want to know more about narcissism, consider checking out the below books.   Until next time, peace.

Disarming the Narcissist

Trapped in the Mirror