The moment you hear narcissist, you think of the typical characteristic elements – entitlement, cockiness, and arrogance. However, narcissism is beyond having an exaggerated, superficial opinion about oneself. This post on Mind Body Green from a professional psychologist brilliantly explains what narcissistic really means.
Here are all the traits summarized:
Narcissists are people who are in constant search for validation.
A simple compliment will not do for them. They need more than that for every victory.
A narcissist person is a confident individual, but also in possession of solid self-worth.
External experiences drive them to feel superior about themselves. However, it is a universal truth that human beings always yearn to feel good about themselves. But in the case of narcissists, they are constantly comparing themselves to others. This behavioral pattern goes to such an extent that these people end up becoming big bullies.
The motivational factor that drives narcissists is intense fear.
These people are rooted in deep fear – which causes them to overreact internally, as well as externally. They fear not being worthy, lovable or good enough for others.
The behavior of a narcissist has nothing to do with the people in his/her life.
They display different levels of emotions because of their fragile ego. The ego is further affected by stress, manifestations, and obligations in the society.
Narcissists cover up their intense emotions with the shields of anger.
These types of individuals use anger as a source of coping mechanisms. They protect their emotions and vulnerability with deliberate fits of rage.
Narcissists follow their own rules.
Narcissists are defined by their own set of rules and if people in their lives do not abide by them, they are bound to get mad or upset. It’s because these people feel low self-worth if their rules are not followed by others.
Narcissists are truly about “All-or-Nothing”.
For them, it is either the right thing or wrong. For a narcissist, a person is either good or bad.
“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”
The Best Way to Deal With a Narcissist
So now you know how to identify a narcissist, what’s the best way to deal with them?
According to the Observer, the best strategy is to avoid them. Some people say that they can change a narcissist to be a better person, but this is not easy to do. They say that the only way to win is not to play.
But if you can’t avoid a narcissist, here is a simple way to deal with them: Make sure you look after yourself. AL Bernstein explains:
Never extend credit to, or accept promises from, a narcissist. As soon as they get what they want, they will be on to the next thing, forgetting whatever they said they would do for you. Sometimes they make promises they don’t intend to keep, but just as often, they merely forget. Either way, you should keep a ledger in your mind and make sure you get what they dangle in front of you before you give them what they want. With other people, this mercenary approach might seem insulting. Narcissists will respect you for it. Everything in their world is quid pro quo. They will rarely be offended by people looking out for themselves.
Another way, according to The Narcasissm Epidemic, is to change what personal success means (because they are always looking out for themselves:
“One possibility is to set up a situation where acts of caring and kindness are aligned with admiration and success. In other words, show narcissists that they can get their narcissistic needs met by acting like decent, caring people.”