NDP Co-existence - Always Difficult
Saturday, July 13, 2019
Have you ever crossed paths with a narcissistic? You can't miss them. They tend to leave a lasting impression, as well as many pieces to pick up but almost always with an extreme depletion of energy. Once you recognize that you have invited a narcissist into your experience, life will never be the same.
They initially come across as charming, outgoing, and oozing self-confidence only to be cast aside and replaced by a self-absorbed individual, one who is extremely difficult to deal with. You might prefer to explore ways to survive. You can choose to make adjustments that will help make it possible to co-existence with a narcissistic personality, trust me, it will be a difficult road.
Working for a narcissistic boss with a definite abnormal behaviour is no picnic. She doesn't quite fit the typical characterization of exaggerated feelings of self-importance, excessive need for admiration, and a lack of empathy, but there is definitely a pattern present. She has very little interest in listening and thinks she knows more than the rest of us. Her decisions are the only logical answers to problems both work-related and personal and she totally expects that we will defer to her advice and decisions and becomes angry if there is a perceived difference of opinion of any kind. You won’t convince her that she is mistaken and that there may be another solution. So we pick our battles and don’t waste the time or effort in tackling an issue because she isn't going to change.
Because a narcissist feels that the world revolves around them they will do what it takes to keep it that way. This includes monopolizing conversations. Oh yeah, trying to get a word in edgewise...?
The only way to get through to her is to be straight forward, no beating around the bush or tiptoeing. It's being direct; cut and dried. It's voicing it and then walking away without trying to justify your decision or actions. That is the only behaviour they will understand—and possibly accept —better than an emotional response.
And you know, it works. many times I've had to be blunt, even next to brazen with her and it makes it sound like I'm telling her off or setting her in her place, I'm not. I've just had to call it as I see it. It shuts her down and she doesn't question my actions or decision and I go forward doing what is necessary to get it done.
I've come to the conclusion that she has no real idea that she is narcissistic.
It's a matter of educating oneself in how to deal with them; doing your best to learn how your specific person with NPD processes his world. The better you understand that lens, the more you can adapt your approach so that you get the results you seek more often than otherwise.
- Learn to anticipate how they will react given particular circumstances, then set up the scenario to obtain the results you want. Examine how they see you in their world, then try to fit that mould as comfortably as you can.
- Don’t bend so much that you break, but manipulate the setting so there’s a happy medium. Remember to employ the grandmotherly maxim given to brides: He’ll do anything you want if you make him think it was his own idea.
The better you know and understand your person with NPD, the more likely you can reach beyond the wall separating you to show that you truly care, which will benefit you both.
Be direct, blunt, and to-the-point. Record and/or document every interaction to avoid gaslighting. Put every request in writing. Communicate through emails and save each conversation.
Don’t take things personally
To protect themselves from feelings of inferiority, embarrassment and shame, narcissists must always deny their shortcomings, cruelties, and mistakes. Often, they will do so by projecting their own faults on to others. It’s very upsetting to get blamed for something that’s not your fault or be characterized with negative traits you don’t possess. But as difficult as it may be, try not to take it personally. It really isn’t about you.
Don’t buy into the narcissist’s version of who you are. Narcissists don’t live in reality, and that includes their views of other people. Don’t let their shame and blame game undermine your self-esteem. Refuse to accept undeserved responsibility, blame, or criticism. That negativity is the narcissist’s to keep.
Don’t argue with a narcissist. When attacked, the natural instinct is to defend yourself and prove the narcissist wrong. But no matter how rational you are or how to sound your argument, he or she is unlikely to even hear you. And arguing the point most times escalates the situation in a very unpleasant way. Don’t waste your breath. Simply tell the narcissist you disagree with their assessment, then move on. (I'm afraid we're going to have to agree to disagree.)
Know yourself. The best defence against the insults and projections of the narcissist is a strong sense of self. When you know your own strengths and weaknesses, it’s easier to reject any unfair criticisms levelled against you.
Let go of the need for approval. It’s important to detach from the narcissist’s opinion and any desire to please or appease them at the expense of yourself. You need to be okay with knowing the truth about yourself, even if the narcissist sees the situation differently.t the same time making sure you take care of yourself.
Don’t forget that you aren’t the only person impacted by the narcissistic personality in your life. Share ideas with this person’s friends and co-workers who are trying to maintain a relationship with them.
Above all else take care of yourself. It's a mental game they play, depleting energies leaving you drained emotionally and mentally.
Learn what healthy relationships look and feel like. If you come from a narcissistic family, you may not have a very good sense of what a healthy give-and-take relationship is. The narcissistic pattern of dysfunction may feel comfortable for you. Just remind yourself that as familiar as it feels, it also makes you feel bad. In a reciprocal relationship, you will feel respected, listened to, and free to be yourself.
Spend time with people who give you an honest reflection of who you are. In order to maintain perspective and avoid buying into the narcissist’s distortions, it’s important to spend time with people who know you as you really are and validate your thoughts and feelings.
Make new friendships, if necessary, outside the narcissist’s orbit. Some narcissists isolate the people in their lives in order to better control them. If this is your situation, you’ll need to invest time into rebuilding lapsed friendships or cultivating new relationships.
Look for meaning and purpose in work, volunteering, and hobbies. Instead of looking to the narcissist to make you feel good about yourself, pursue meaningful activities that make use of your talents and allow you to contribute.