Letting go of the past is not always easy. Two women with different stories sit in my therapy office. They represent many who struggle with shame. One describes how premarital sexual memories haunt her in the bedroom with her husband. She has tried to put those images out of her head, but they become intrusive […]
Recently, on my weekend radio show (podcasts are available anytime), we did two shows on dealing with a narcissist with an expert therapist. Why? Because so many people struggle with someone they know who has these traits or diagnosis. And when you are in a relationship with this type of person, it is exhausting for a number of reasons. Here are 10 reasons why:
- Narcissists seem to only care about themselves. This self-centeredness doesn’t bode well in most relationships. If the focus is always on them, how do you work the give and take needed for healthy relationships? The truth is you don’t, unless they see the need to get help. Therefore, you have to keep addressing this issue to make the relationship work.
- Narcissists have to look perfect to others. Now, this doesn’t mean they have to be perfect, rather only look perfect. It’s all about appearances. This means they 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. When there isn’t agreement, the arguments begin. The narcissist loves to play the Devil’s Advocate, to incite conflict and cause drama.
- Make sure to respond and not react. Reactions lead to more drama. Instead of reacting, 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. Respond only after you have emotional control and have thought through your answers.
- When possible, don’t engage. Certainly, don’t go into business with this type of person. When you can avoid someone with these traits, avoid them. If you can’t, pay attention to the other points in this blog.
- 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.
- Don’t be intimidated. 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, you have to have a strong sense of self so as to avoid constant self-doubt. Don’t not allow the person to gaslight or manipulate you.
- Give admiration when and where you can. This may sound counterintuitive but it fills the empty void of the person needing validation. They crave love, yet the way they go about getting it pushes love away. So when you feel it is legitimate, given praise or admiration.
- Don’t be confused as to why they are charming with others and not so charming with you. Most narcissists have an uncanny ability to shift their behavior in different settings.