Narcissists are extremely frustrating to be around. Their use of gaslighting and deception makes it very difficult to interact with them. There are, however, some smart ways to diffuse their toxic behavior.
Narcissists exhibit very complicated behavior. They seem arrogant and overconfident, but that facade is really hiding a very fragile self-esteem. Because they are externally validated, they engage in manipulative techniques to exert control over the people and circumstances in their lives.
They live in almost constant fear of being exposed as the frightened, damaged children they really are. To avoid that, they will go to almost any means to make people see them as superior. In order to deal with someone like that, you have to be smart in the way you approach the situation.
Smart Ways to Interact with Narcissists
To effectively handle a narcissist, you have to act in very calculated ways so that you can maintain your own healthy boundaries and pursue your happiness. Here are seven intelligent ways to deal with the narcissist in your life so that you can keep your sanity and enjoy your own life.
1. Pay Attention
Perhaps the most intelligent thing you can do when engaging with a narcissist is to pay attention. It’s easy to get drawn in by their charm and they are great at dishing it out to get what they want.
Once they have what they want, they can instantly become very distant and cold. They’re done with you and on to the next victim. So, pay attention and look for those people who try to make themselves appear important.
Notice how they act once they get what they want and how they respond when they don’t get it. It’s also a good idea to notice how they act when they are challenged. These clues will tell you what kind of narcissist you’re dealing with, and that will help you to formulate an appropriate response.
2. Don’t Give Them Attention
While you should pay attention to their behaviors, you want to avoid giving the narcissist your attention. That’s exactly what they want from everyone around them. It doesn’t matter if the attention is positive or negative, any attention will do.
One of the most intelligent ways to deal with a narcissist is to not give them the attention they crave. You’ll never be able to give them enough attention, so giving a little will get you stuck in a vicious cycle. That’s why it’s best to just turn your attention elsewhere.
3. Make It a Team Effort
It’s harder for a narcissist to act out in negative ways when they’re confronted with a team of people. They specialize in triangulation where they can control the communication from one person to another. When they are confronted with both people at the same time, they can’t do that.
Peer pressure can be a very effective, smart tool for pushing the narcissist to adopt the group’s norms. It’s also a great way to provide the narcissist with feedback about their behavior. It is through the dynamics of the group that challenge and reveal the problems with their behavior.
Getting a team of people to confront a narcissist is a great way to deal with them if you can’t avoid them altogether. It doesn’t mean that their behavior will change for good, but it makes it harder for them to use the manipulation techniques they love so much.
4. Use Your Adult Voice
Narcissists love to get a reaction out of people, and so, if you can use your adult voice to calmly challenge them or express your feelings, it will give them little satisfaction. If you do that frequently enough, they may even leave you alone of their own accord.
When you confront the narcissist, be sure to stay calm and don’t express any obvious annoyance. Be rational and direct. State how their actions are affecting you and set a boundary with them. Your boundary should have specific consequences and you should implement those consequences immediately if the boundary is violated.
5. Remain Positive but Indifferent
Narcissists are trying to get a negative reaction from you. If you remain positive, therefore, you deny them that satisfaction. They aren’t getting the rise out of you they had hoped to get.
By staying positive, you display your own self-confidence, something the narcissist lacks. They’ll see that their attempts to drag you down aren’t working and move on to another victim.
While you remain positive, you also want to stay or unattached to a specific outcome. You don’t want to react to anything the narcissist says that’s negative about you or that represents an obvious attempt to push your buttons. Just keep that smile on your face and let anything they say roll off your back.
6. Recognize Their Perspective
Once you truly understand where the narcissist is coming from, it will make it easier to understand why they are behaving the way they are. You’ll see that underneath their inflated ego is a fragile self-esteem that they are safeguarding.
This can allow you to have compassion for them instead of responding out of your own anger or pain. They are not attacking you personally, the attack is just meant to get them the attention and adoration they crave so much.
Once you understand that, you can respond in a way that is healthy rather than by reacting out of anger.
7. Seek Support
If you have to deal with a narcissist on an ongoing basis, one of the most intelligent things you can do for yourself is to get support from other people who have had to deal with what you’re going through. This means both people who know your narcissist and others who have no link to him or her at all, but who have a narcissist of their own.
A support network can be a great place for you to vent your frustration in a healthy way so that you can respond more appropriately when dealing with the narcissist. This is also a great way to help nourish your own self-esteem as you deal with the constant negative input from the narcissist in your life.
If you’ve got a narcissist in your life, you know the many ways they emotionally abuse you and other people who are close to them. That’s why you’ve got to develop an intelligent strategy for dealing with their behavior.
When you are able to identify the many ways they seek to manipulate and control you, you can better avoid the traps they set for you. You can formulate healthy ways to respond to their narcissistic abuse. This will help you to nourish your own sense of self and create your own happy life.
When you have to deal with a narcissist, it means confronting them. You’ll want to know what might happen when you do. To learn more, check out the blog post, “What Happens When Confronting A Narcissist With The Truth?”
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