Are Narcissists Ever Willing to Compromise?
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If you’re involved with a narcissist in any kind of relationship, you have probably tried on many occasions to get them to compromise with you on something. When you’ve tried to form a compromise, you likely met with resistance in the form of verbal abuse and other unacceptable behavior, including emotional and even physical abuse. Why is this so, and do narcissists ever compromise?
Narcissists are difficult to compromise with because of their sense of entitlement and an inflated sense of self, but compromise is possible. Though they believe themselves to be superior, you can use certain strategies to get a compromise. It’s challenging, but it’s possible with a good plan.
I remember many times I tried to get my narcissistic mother to compromise with me in my childhood. I often failed because of our abusive relationship. As an adult, I have learned much more about narcissistic personality disorder. Now I know how to get her to make those compromises and reduce my mother’s toxic behavior in our interactions. Here’s what you need to know.
What are the Narcissistic Traits that Make Compromise Difficult?
There are several characteristics of narcissism that make compromise a challenge. In healthy relationships, both parties want to help each other feel satisfied following an interaction. But people with mental disorders like narcissism have difficulty focusing on anyone else’s needs.
The following hallmark characteristics, in combination with that fact, make it very difficult to deal with narcissistic behavior in a productive way.
- Lack of empathy is a hallmark of narcissism, and it makes them unable to understand or care about what another person needs or wants.
- They need to be the center of attention, so they don’t ever think about focusing on someone other than themselves.
- One of the most common traits of narcissism is binary thinking, which means that if you don’t agree with them 100%, they exhibit aggressive behavior instead of compromising.
- The narcissist’s sense of entitlement makes them feel like you should do it their way.
- The narcissist’s go-to in relationships is always manipulation, never compromising.
When you’re dealing with the narcissistic abuse a narcissist throws at you, it’s very difficult to determine what to do to get something done. It’s extremely hard to deal with narcissism effectively when the abusive behavior just keeps coming.
It is possible to initiate a negotiation process that will result in a compromise, but you have to be prepared to deal with the control tactics narcissists will use to avoid that outcome. They are very adept at emotional abuse, and they won’t hesitate to use any trick in the book to get their way.
How Can You Achieve a Compromise with an Abusive Person?
To say that negotiating with a narcissist is a confusing process is the understatement of the year. The approach you should take is also complicated by the fact that there are different types of narcissists, and how you approach each type depends, in part, on the nature of your relationship with them.
Still, there are some tactics you should use in any attempt to compromise with a conversation partner of any kind. These can also help lessen the agonizing process of negotiating with someone who has narcissistic personality traits.
Prepare What You Want to Say
The key to dragging a compromise out of a narcissist is to prepare by knowing exactly what you want and what you will say to get it. You might even want to write it down so you won’t forget it.
Among the many bad traits narcissists are notorious for is trying to distract you from a conversation until you forget about what you were going to say and the point you were trying to make. They will use a variety of manipulations to get you off-topic.
If you prepare, it will be more difficult for them to distract you from the point you want to make. When you notice that they are trying to misdirect you, simply say something like, “That is not what we are talking about right now. I’m happy to talk about that after we solve this problem.”
Confident People Make Competent Arguments
Exhibit confidence in what you are saying to a narcissist. If you show anything other than complete confidence in what you’re saying, a narcissist will perceive that as a weakness in your argument.
“You cannot negotiate with the narcissist through your emotions.”
– B. Robert Farzad, Managing partner of Farzad & Ochoa Family Law Attorneys, LLP.
Remain confident and calm, and you’re much more likely to get some kind of compromise out of the narcissist. If they believe you believe what you’re saying, they will back down to prevent a narcissistic injury.
Do a Cost-Benefit Analysis
Before you even start talking, you want to know that what you hope to achieve is worth what it will cost you. This is known as a cost versus benefit analysis, and while it’s commonly done in the business world, it’s helpful here as well.
The cost doesn’t necessarily mean what it will cost you financially. It may mean that, but it might also be the cost of your peace of mind. Romantic relationships with a narcissistic partner may involve different kinds of costs than a friendship or professional relationship.
Make sure that what beginning the negotiating process with a narcissist will cost you is well worth the benefit you will receive. Otherwise, it might not be worth your peace of mind to bring the topic up.
Set a Time Limit on the Conversation
Another helpful tactic is to set a time limit for the interaction. Check out the following video to learn more about how. If you don’t do this, another form of abuse a narcissist will use is to wear you down by going on and on about their side of the discussion.
At some point, you’ll be so weary that you’ll be more likely to agree to anything. By setting a time limit, you can speak your mind, make your point, and then end the conversation so that you can process the interaction and get the toxicity out of your system.
It’s important for both your mental and physical health that you stop the emotional abuse before it starts to take a heavy toll. By taking control of the interactions and setting a time limit, you can gain more control over your own exposure to this kind of bad behavior.
Narcissists will fight compromise every chance they get. Their lack of empathy and exclusive focus on their own needs – which are defining features of narcissistic personality disorder – make compromise nearly impossible. Healthy relationships are based on compromise, but this is not a healthy relationship. Still, compromise is possible.
To negotiate with a narcissist, it’s important to make sure the benefit is something that is worth the cost. Additionally, preparation is vital. In any other relationship, you probably wouldn’t think about writing out a list of demands or desires, but it’s a critical tool for getting a compromise out of a narcissist.
Once you’re prepared, approach them with confidence after setting a limit on the length of the conversation. State your needs and expectations, and then end the conversation. You won’t be successful every time, but you will win every now and again. When you are successful, stick to your guns about what you expect from the narcissist, or they might try to back out.
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