They seem charming. They seem too good to be true. They are complimentary and loving, and they will do anything for you.
That doesn’t sound like a description of a narcissist, does it? But it can be. Well, at least at the beginning when you first meet them, and that’s the problem. Many times, a narcissist will fool other people into thinking they are a great person when in reality, it is all just an act.
But they can’t hide their true selves forever. Eventually, their nasty side will come out, and it usually leaves other people confused.
What happened to that charming person you met? Why did they change?
They didn’t change. They were just suppressing who they really are.
What do you do if you find yourself in a relationship with a narcissist? How do you even deal with a narcissist? Or should you even bother at all? Should you just cut them out of your life and move on?
These are all important questions to consider. But first, let’s talk about some communication strategies you can use when you are talking to a narcissist.
Table of Contents
How Do You Communicate With a Narcissist?
So, you think you are involved in a narcissist. They are not easy to deal with, so how exactly do you deal with a narcissist in terms of communication? There’s not an exact science to it, but here are some tips.
1. Don’t Expect Much From Them
Narcissists never give you much. They are too concerned with what they are “getting” from other people to be thinking about what they can do for you. The world revolves around them—not anyone else. So, you can’t expect them to do much for you. I mean, you can, but you will be highly disappointed.
2. Don’t Engage in the Negativity
Negativity is a primary tool that is used by a narcissist. After the “honeymoon” phase I described in the opening of this article, there is not much warm-and-fuzzy talk or action. There is very little positivity that happens with them. But don’t give in to it. Refuse to play that game with them. Avoiding negativity is the first step to learning how to deal with a narcissist.
3. Use Simple Replies Like “Yes” or “No”
You can never really win an argument with a narcissist. Even if you are obviously right and they are obviously wrong, they will never let you “win.” They can never admit when they are wrong. So, don’t try to convince them. Instead, just use simple answers, such as “yes” or “no.” That way, they cannot escalate the conversation to their favor.
4. Ask Clarifying Questions
If you find a situation where you cannot avoid a conversation with the narcissist, if they continually force you to engage with them, just ask a lot of questions. Ask them why they think the way they do. Ask them what they are feeling at any given moment. Most likely, they will not be able to answer you because they do not do any self-examination at all. But at least you can try to point out the flaws in their arguments.
5. Use Humor
Humor is a good way to diffuse almost any situation. When people are angry or are arguing, they are just exuding negativity. When this happens, it becomes like a downward spiral that is difficult to recover from. So instead, try to inject some humor in there to try to diffuse the negativity in your conversations. If you don’t know how to deal with a narcissist, you can always make use of humor.
6. Separate Their Behavior From Their Character
Many times, narcissists will engage in name-calling and character attacks against you. Instead of firing back insults to the narcissist, you should separate their behavior (what they are doing or saying) from their character (who they are as a person). This strategy works well because it makes them less defensive. When you call them a horrible person (character), they will fire right back at you. But commenting on their words and actions will help them see how what they are doing is wrong.
What Does a Narcissist Want in a Relationship?
Why would a narcissist even want to be in a relationship? Relationships are about compromise and give-and-take, right? So, how could they possibly want to do that?
Well, here are some things that a narcissist might want out of being in a relationship.
1. A Sense of Entitlement
Because they think they are the center of the universe (or at least want to be), they think they deserve to have everything they want. But life doesn’t work that way. So, narcissists are looking for someone who will give them their way all the time. Their sense of entitlement is a way of life for them, and so they look for someone who will overlook this character flaw.
Narcissists also have big egos, even though this ego is false. In other words, they try to make other people think that they think they are better than them. However, many times the opposite is true. They don’t really think they are better than other people, so they need flattery to make themselves feel better. They need others to tell them how good they are.
Going hand in hand with flattery, narcissists also crave admiration. They want people to love them because they don’t love themselves. Sure, it sounds like they love themselves, but they don’t. Therefore, they need to surround themselves with people who will “look up to them” because they don’t even look up to themselves.
4. Power and Control
Narcissists love to have power and control. They like to think they are superior to other people and therefore, they need to have power over them. They need to control as much of their world as they possibly can—and that includes controlling other people. That’s why they prefer to be around the kind of people who can be easily controlled.
How Do You Stop a Narcissist From Hurting You?
Being in any kind of relationship with a narcissist isn’t easy, and they will inevitably try to hurt you by getting the upper hand. They don’t care about your feelings. They only care about themselves.
So, how do you deal with a narcissist? How can you possibly stop a narcissist from hurting you? Believe it or not, there are some ways.
1. Set Boundaries
Narcissists will take advantage of you and walk all over you—but only if you let them. Remember, they want an easy prey—someone who acts like a victim. So, don’t do that! Set firm boundaries and let them know when their behavior is unacceptable. Be consistent and stick to your guns.
Everything in life is about mindset and attitude. These are important if you want to learn how to deal with a narcissist. I love the saying, “It’s only a problem if you think it’s a problem.” That’s not to say that being in a relationship with a narcissist isn’t a problem—because it is. But keep your mind in a positive place. Don’t give them the power to bring you down.
3. Don’t Take It Personally
If you remember nothing else, remember this—their selfish behavior is all about THEM, not YOU. It has nothing to do with you. They would act the same way with absolutely anyone who allows them to. So, don’t take it personally and think there is something wrong with you because there is not.
4. Don’t Let Them See You Hurt
Okay, so maybe they did hurt you. Don’t let them see you cry! They love weakness in other people—they thrive on it. When they see weakness in you, it will just encourage them to keep doing what they’re doing to you. So, don’t show them your feelings. Act courageously even if you have to fake it because it will disarm them. They want to break you down, so when you act strong, it takes the “fun” out of it for them.
5. Leave/Stop Spending Time With Them
You don’t always have the option to cut ties with a narcissist, but many times, you do. If you’ve tried all you can to get along with them and you are still miserable, then get away from them. There is no reason you have to allow them to suck the life out of you. Love yourself enough to walk away.
Even though narcissists can make your life difficult, you should actually feel sorry for them. Why? Because “hurt people hurt people.” They wouldn’t be a narcissist if something unloving hadn’t happened to them at some point in their lives.
They probably just became narcissists to survive. But while it’s okay to feel sorry for them, that doesn’t mean you should put their needs above your own. Love yourself first. Keep in mind these tips on how to deal with a narcissist. Don’t take any abuse. Stand up for yourself—because you deserve it!
More Tips on How to Deal With a Narcissist
Highly confident people believe in their ability to achieve. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else put their faith in you? To walk with swagger and improve your self-confidence, watch out for these fifteen things highly confident people don’t do.
And if you want to know the difference between an arrogant person and a confident person, watch this video first:
1. They don’t make excuses.
Highly confident people take ownership of their thoughts and actions. They don’t blame the traffic for being tardy at work; they were late. They don’t excuse their short-comings with excuses like “I don’t have the time” or “I’m just not good enough”; they make the time and they keep on improving until they are good enough.
2. They don’t avoid doing the scary thing.
Highly confident people don’t let fear dominate their lives. They know that the things they are afraid of doing are often the very same things that they need to do in order to evolve into the person they are meant to be.
3. They don’t live in a bubble of comfort.
Highly confident people avoid the comfort zone, because they know this is a place where dreams die. They actively pursue a feeling of discomfort, because they know stretching themselves is mandatory for their success.
4. They don’t put things off until next week.
Highly confident people know that a good plan executed today is better than a great plan executed someday. They don’t wait for the “right time” or the “right circumstances”, because they know these reactions are based on a fear of change. They take action here, now, today – because that’s where progress happens.
5. They don’t obsess over the opinions of others.
Highly confident people don’t get caught up in negative feedback. While they do care about the well-being of others and aim to make a positive impact in the world, they don’t get caught up in negative opinions that they can’t do anything about. They know that their true friends will accept them as they are, and they don’t concern themselves with the rest.
6. They don’t judge people.
Highly confident people have no tolerance for unnecessary, self-inflicted drama. They don’t feel the need to insult friends behind their backs, participate in gossip about fellow co-workers or lash out at folks with different opinions. They are so comfortable in who they are that they feel no need to look down on other people.
7. They don’t let lack of resources stop them.
Highly confident people can make use of whatever resources they have, no matter how big or small. They know that all things are possible with creativity and a refusal to quit. They don’t agonize over setbacks, but rather focus on finding a solution.
8. They don’t make comparisons.
Highly confident people know that they are not competing with any other person. They compete with no other individual except the person they were yesterday. They know that every person is living a story so unique that drawing comparisons would be an absurd and simplistic exercise in futility.
9. They don’t find joy in people-pleasing.
Highly confident people have no interest in pleasing every person they meet. They are aware that not all people get along, and that’s just how life works. They focus on the quality of their relationships, instead of the quantity of them.
10. They don’t need constant reassurance.
Highly confident people aren’t in need of hand-holding. They know that life isn’t fair and things won’t always go their way. While they can’t control every event in their life, they focus on their power to react in a positive way that moves them forward.
11. They don’t avoid life’s inconvenient truths.
Highly confident people confront life’s issues at the root before the disease can spread any farther. They know that problems left unaddressed have a way of multiplying as the days, weeks and months go by. They would rather have an uncomfortable conversation with their partner today than sweep an inconvenient truth under the rug, putting trust at risk.
12. They don’t quit because of minor set-backs.
Highly confident people get back up every time they fall down. They know that failure is an unavoidable part of the growth process. They are like a detective, searching for clues that reveal why this approach didn’t work. After modifying their plan, they try again (but better this time).
13. They don’t require anyone’s permission to act.
Highly confident people take action without hesitation. Every day, they remind themselves, “If not me, who?”
14. They don’t limit themselves to a small toolbox.
Highly confident people don’t limit themselves to Plan A. They make use of any and all weapons that are at their disposal, relentlessly testing the effectiveness of every approach, until they identify the strategies that offer the most results for the least cost in time and effort.
15. They don’t blindly accept what they read on the Internet as “truth” without thinking about it.
Highly confident people don’t accept articles on the Internet as truth just because some author “said so”. They look at every how-to article from the lens of their unique perspective. They maintain a healthy skepticism, making use of any material that is relevant to their lives, and forgetting about the rest. While articles like this are a fun and interesting thought-exercise, highly confident people know that they are the only person with the power to decide what “confidence” means.