There is a good chance that you have met a narcissist. Perhaps you are one, or a parent, brother, sister, or boss/manager. This article is all about narcissists, including tips and techniques for dealing with one.
Probably most of us will embody some of the traits of a narcissist, at least at some level. However, a small minority will be full-blown narcissists, who not just make lives difficult for others, but also for themselves. Narcissism is one of the dark triad traits.
Signs of a Narcissist
They have an exaggerated sense of importance.
They will often criticise others.
They will often try to dominate and take over conversations.
They often wish to have control and authority over others.
They often see themselves as superior in some sense.
They are often very arrogant. They love to voice their ignorant and arrogant opinions.
Their social status is very important to them, which can show itself with them seeking popularity, and/or material goods. Some will want expensive items; a nice car and a big house. All motivated by the desire to looking good to others.
They easily get jealous of others. This often stems from their over importance on shallow and superficial desires. Plus, their self value is based on how they compare to others. They don’t have a personal value system, it’s all outward focused. This is connected to an internal or external locus of control.
They may take advantage of others to get what they want. It’s almost all motivated by self-interest.
They are sensitive to criticism. They have a fragile and delusional self-image that cracks easily when challenged.
They are likely to support causes and views that, on the surface, seem morally and intellectually good. For example, politically correct views.
A Narcissists Life Philosophy
Narcissists have a very shallow, superficial and often cynical view of the world, all motivated by self-interest. The only ways they know how to feel good about themselves is to put others down, beat others in some way, and impulsive pleasure seeking (instant gratification).
They will probably be completely oblivious to other ways of feeling good, such as the feeling of pride that comes from being productive, working hard and accomplishing something. Or the feelings that come from being trusted and being moral. Many people claim that helping others is one of the best feelings ever. A shallow narcissist is unlikely to consider any of these.
Narcissists can get themselves into a downward spiral. Because they often use negative tactics in order to feel good about themselves, they may find that their own conscience causes them problems. This may cause them to seek distractions from themselves with impulsive pleasure-seeking, perhaps with drugs and alcohol. Or engage in more typical narcissist behaviours to feel good about themselves. This is my own theory and thoughts about what could happen and trigger a downward spiral.
Narcissist Friends & Relationships
People are very important to them and they are likely to have friends. However, because they are often critical, insulting, and arrogant, they won’t be as popular or as well liked as they perhaps believe. Not surprisingly, people don’t like being insulted.
Their relationships are likely to suffer for the same reasons. However, some of the manipulative tactics will be more apparent. Tactics like gas lighting, and being very controlling, including controlling who you socialize and interact with.
Due to their strong self-interest, they will often neglect the needs of their friends and partners.
Generally, they have unhealthy relationships, often creating a toxic situation.
Dealing with a Narcissist?
One way of dealing with a narcissist is to completely avoid them, problem solved!
Avoid retaliating with insults
Despite them being critical of others, narcissists are very sensitive to criticism themselves. So, insulting them would risk escalating the problem. Even if they started it.
Not reacting to either their comments or attempts at manipulation takes away their power. They will be less likely to try to attempt it again in the future.
Point out immoral behaviour
Their appearance and public image are very important to them. If you have a strong argument that criticises their behaviour, it may be enough to shut them down. After all, their image is the most important thing to them.