Being around a narcissist is a real challenge. They do not think like a neurotypical individual and their mental ‘filter’ is definitely dysfunctional. Many clients ask me what is the best way to deal with a narcissist. I decided to write a blog explaining the best ways to cope with and manage a narcissist in your life.
Avoid direct confrontation
Direct confrontation is not a good idea. They cannot cope with defiance on any level and will just ‘up their game’ They are incredibly insecure underneath their charming confident facade. The narcissist will take it as a personal affront if you dare to challenge their superiority. They will not listen to what you have to say. Instead, their barriers will go up and they will see you as a combative enemy.
Any direct confrontation will lead to conflict. It is far more advisable to approach a narcissist in a more strategic manner.
Subtle communication works best
When you deal with a narcissist, it is important to appease them on many levels. Unfortunately, you have to play the game their way if you wish to gain favour or receive what you need from them. Even then, there are no guarantees.
A narcissist is far more likely to engage with you when you are an obedient admirer. When you let them know how helpful and wonderful they are towards you. and feed them messages of how wonderful they are, they will come back for more.
Compliment the narcissist in your life
Narcissists crave admiration. This is because, underneath their bravado and fake confidence, they secretly fear that they will be found out for the vulnerable people they really are. When you feed the ego, it is like music to the ears. You are in effect, manipulating a narcissist but it is a good way to deal with a narcissist if you need them to pay more attention or spend more time with you.
The problems arise inevitably because narcissists are very self-serving. No doubt appointed time will come when you feel resentful towards the narcissist in your life. Resentment follows from regularly feeling unimportant and undervalued. Your needs will always come second as the narcissist will always put their needs ahead of yours.
Give them space to act naturally
Often, the best way to deal with a narcissist is to let them self-sabotage (which they do in the end). They are dishonest and their lies catch up with them. Ultimately, contradictory statements and behaviours catch them out. Narcissists believe that they are clever and superior to others. This error in their thinking ultimately leads to their downfall. They overestimate their abilities and underestimate people around them. Their errors in judgement will always come back to bite them in the end.
When you give a narcissist enough space to act naturally, and you observe patiently, you will see their true colours. I would predict that a narcissist will show their true colours within three months of you knowing them. You may choose to ignore these negative self-serving behaviours, but do so at your peril. A narcissist never changes, if anything their behaviour gets worse.
As they age, their looks deteriorate, and younger, more able people start to replace them and this is incredibly unsettling for a narcissist. For someone who likes to be the centre of attention, this in voluntary demotion is highly unwelcome.
Neutral repetitive responses work well – “grey rock”
Don’t engage with a narcissist- that’s what they want – to trap you in their web and it infuriates them when you won’t play the game the way they want you to.
They LOVE feeling in control and if you don’t engage they feel powerless and this speeds up their propensity to make mistakes and sink their own ship, so to speak.
Narcissists will manipulate you and twist the truth to suit their narrative. The best way to respond to their requests is to go ‘Grey Rock’. The conversation boring and mundane, and offer them nothing in return.
Narcissist feel in control when they are able to provoke your emotions. When you seemed unfazed and unemotional, this response confuses them.
Avoid eye contact and act disinterested and disconnected, as if you are indifferent to the conversation or their demands. If necessary repeat the same response. When they come at you from a different angle repeat what you said before, “Like I said earlier, I am not bothered”.
Most importantly, when you deal with a narcissist, do not tell them that you are in grey rock mode. Just continue to act indifferent and unperturbed.
You will not be giving them the highs and the lowest they crave and they will get bored and leave you alone. This is one way to diminish manipulative behaviour from a narcissist.
It can be extremely tough to be on the receiving end though of a toxic or emotionally abusive individual. They might create drama, play mind games and manipulate you frequently. Manipulation Tactics such as gaslighting or twisting the truth can wear you down and affect your confidence. Self-doubt may creep in.
The above ideas are great ways to deal with a narcissist but the ultimate solution is to cut off contact with people who manipulate you and cause you emotional harm.
Toxic or emotionally abusive people can be pretty difficult to interact with, to put it mildly. They might lie, create drama, or pick arguments frequently. Over time, manipulation tactics, such as gaslighting and fact twisting. can wear you down, affect your self-esteem, and make you question yourself.
Cutting off contact with toxic people is often the only way to keep them from continuing to cause emotional harm. But when this isn’t possible, grey rocking may work as a technique to get the manipulator to lose interest. If they can’t get anything beyond bland, emotionless answers from you, they may give up.