Greek mythology tells of Narcissus who let go of their lives beside a pool of water because he had fallen so in love with his own reflection that he let himself waste away rather than destroy his image to take drink. Everyone displays some narcissistic behavior, but according to experts best estimates somewhere between 1 and 4 percent of today’s society suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. These people project a falsely grandiose, act superior to all those around them, and need to be in the center of attention and praise. Dealing with a narcissist often causes severe emotional and physical stress if you try to deal with them as you would everyone else.
Tips for Dealing with a Narcissistic Person
Below are some tips on how to deal with a narcissistic person.
1.) Understand What Causes Narcissism
Narcissism is most often caused by trauma as a young child. The person was most likely neglected and/or abused to such a degree that they had to create a mask of aloof protection to make them feel worthwhile. This coping method helped them survive their childhood, but causes difficulty for those around them as an adult. Beyond understanding narcissist personality disorder you also need to understand that no matter what you do, a narcissist won’t change.
2.) Don’t React to Their Comments
A narcissistic person thrives on people fawning over them and proving themselves better than other people. This means that those around them will find themselves at the receiving end of many rude, discouraging and cutting remarks. As difficult as it is to disregard these hurtful comments, you must remember that the comments represent how the narcissist actually views themselves. While they may not ever admit it to anyone, including themselves, the narcissist relies on the reactions of others to feel good, so don’t react.
3.) Accept a Shallow Relationship
You can give as much as you want, but a narcissistic person will take it all and give nothing in return. Accept that a shallow relationship is all that will ever come from this person. If you cannot completely accept this, it would be best to move on. If you have to work with a narcissist, only maintain a very basic working relationship with them and invest the majority of your attention and efforts into other coworkers.
4.) Compliment the Things You Genuinely Like
Narcissists thrive on attention and compliments. If you must deal with one for any length of time, one way to keep things somewhat amicable is to compliment them. It can feel dirty to pass out false compliments that feed their ego, so try and find a few truly amicable traits and compliment them on those. You can always hope that by focusing on actual positive traits that they might begin to focus more on those and less on imagined skills. It probably won’t happen, but one can always try.
5.) Market Your Skills
To a narcissist you are not worth their attention, unless you can convince them that you have some skills that you can do better than them and are therefore an asset to them. This technique only works so long as they believe your skills are beneficial to them, so practice your marketing techniques. This method can be exhausting to continually maintain, but will create an easier working environment.
Dealing with a narcissistic person is emotionally and physically draining. One little thing can change them from a self proclaimed renaissance man into a spoiled, spiteful child. No matter what happens remember that their comments have nothing to do with you and should not be taken to heart.