Dealing with the narcissist

By Kayla Paradiso

Knowing and understanding the narcissistic personality is essential for dealing with those coworkers, friends, or family members who always put themselves first and lack empathy for those around them. 

When you think of a narcissist, it’s more than likely that negative thoughts spring to mind. Thoughts of rudeness and those who are self-centred cling to the word ‘narcissism’ like a bad odour. But much to the surprise of these people who are associated with such negativity, there are actually two types of narcissists.

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with one of your friends and noticed how the topic somehow changes to them? Well this is the first type of narcissist and believe it or not, it’s actually somewhat healthy to sustain a relationship with them. You may have recently bought a new car or booked a trip to Las Vegas, yet your friend will find a way to talk about the new foundation they bought the other day that makes their skin look flawless. Although this may be a subtle transition from the topic (unlike the example I just gave), don’t let me confuse you – this may be more than likely the first sign of a serious narcissist on the brink of exposure.

Unfortunately, I have an acquaintance who has become a perpetrator of this arguably more-serious, insensitive ‘illness’, and let me tell you, it’s far from a walk in the park. In fact, I would go as far to say that it has destroyed close bonds I have with this person, and has quite possibly changed the way in which I view the relationship we once had. This is the second type of narcissist.

This is the person who has no sympathy or care for anyone they encounter. Their emotional apparatus is dependent on the way in which you conduct yourself around them. Dr. Lynne Namka suggests this type of narcissist believes they have the right to do whatever it takes to get short-term gratification without suffering any consequences. However, the long-term result of this behaviour can be heartbreaking for those on the receiving end.

But the question that remains with victims that have found themselves on the receiving end of narcissism is the possibility of a cure. Even if that is too much of a request, how does one control narcissism and cease to allow the behaviour that causes such grief?

Let me tell you, narcissism is far from a quick fix. It takes time, and a lot of it, to mend the broken relationships it has taken down in its path and this time must be spent wisely.

Sure, you can continue on the never-ending road of gratification to the narcissist, or you can stab it in the head before it blows up in your face. Here are ways to take control of the negativity and turn it into a positive encounter:

  • Avoid the narcissist at all costs. You need to realise your needs are just as valid as those of the perpetrator. If this means you lose contact with this person for a while, then so be it. Hey, the truth hurts.
  • Don’t pour your problems onto the narcissist. If you find yourself in contact with this person, realise what you are dealing with and avoid revealing too much of yourself to them. Narcissists hardly empathise unless it’s about them. So if you’re looking for empathy, you’ve gone to the wrong person.
  • Be careful what you share with a narcissist. Their motto is ‘Me First’, so be aware that they may use any shared information as a means to manipulate you.
  • Although it may be difficult, show compassion for the narcissist. Remember they have been deprived from their emotions and have low self-esteem, which can henceforth be used to bring other people down. Showing compassion does not mean you may let the narcissist walk over you; this simply means you acknowledge their lack of understanding and try to empathise with them.

It’s inevitable we will all find ourselves in the acquaintance of a narcissist throughout our journey of life. With social media, it’s possible we know more than one already, so for this reason it is important we acknowledge their ‘illness’ and avoid it from jumping into our bloodstream and annoying the hell out of us.

If you find none of the above tips work when you encounter a narcissist, turn to the wise words of the penguins from Madagascar, simply ‘smile and wave boys, smile and wave,’ and don’t let the narcissist know they are annoying the hell out of you.

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