Dealing with Difficult People: the Narcissist

How do you know if someone is narcissistic? Often narcissistic people are highly intuitive and will use that intuition for self-interest and manipulation. They lack empathy and dealing with them can be extremely difficult. Narcissism is a psychological disorder associated with grandiosity, a need for admiration and a lack of empathy.

How do spot a narcissist? Look for these traits within their character:

  • Does the person act as if life revolves around him?
  • Do you have to compliment him/her to get their attention or approval?
  • Does he constantly steer the conversation back to himself?
  • Does he downplay your feelings or interests?
  • If you disagree with them, do they become cold or withholding?

Know that not everyone who exhibits these traits are generally narcissistic. bad behaviorThere are times in someone’s life when they’re character is flawed due to some kind of internal conflict.

They may be in a season of extreme difficulty; dealing with a loss in their life or some other type of extreme hardship.

If they are in a difficult period they may appear to be lack empathy and be self focused. In their attempt to deal with their personal hardship they may appear to lack any interest outside of their own.

Psych Central states, “At the core of extreme narcissism is egotistical preoccupation with self, personal preferences, aspirations, needs, success, and how he/she is perceived by others. We all have elements of these traits. Some amount of basic narcissism is healthy, of course, but this type of narcissism is better termed as responsibly taking care of oneself. It is what one would call “normal” or “healthy” narcissism.”

While some self-preservation is healthy when it comes at the expense of others it’s all about maintaining self-gratification. The narcissist may exaggerate achievements and talents or be preoccupied with fantasies involving infinite success, power, brilliance, beauty and ideal love. A narcissist also often requires much admiration and struggles with envy. They may appear charming and likable but they lack the ability to maintain healthy relationships.

The true nature of a narcissist may feel so entitled that he doesn’t even see himself as hurting others. While boundaries in relationships are healthy, they easily hurt and easily injure others. Their tendency is to use people as objects. The narcissist typically has a history of relationships that ended badly. He finds a partner who leaves him to be worthless and will share that feeling with anyone who asks. He may have poor relationships with his parents, siblings and co-workers. He may have worked at many jobs, each for a few months before getting bored, angry or fired.

To spot a narcissist one must look beyond the typical traits of perception. Someone who is charming and brilliant may aim to please, but they may not exhibit true narcissist behavior. The extreme narcissist shows little regard for others while thinking everything revolves around him. Their dominating personality demands attention while they exhibit an excessive need for admiration and attention.

Think about a difficult, self-centered and self promoting person, who claims to think about others but almost always does what’s good for him. Narcissists paradoxically manifest both an inflated idea of their own importance and quickness to feel deflated by negative feedback.

How to deal with a narcissist?

  • Don’t let your self-worth depend on them.
  • Keep your expectations realistic.
  • Show how something will benefit them.
  • Refrain from confiding in your deepest feelings with someone who won’t cherish them.
  • Lastly don’t let them destroy your joy by their manipulative behavior.

As it depends on you, be at peace with the narcissist but keep a safe distance.

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