How to Deal with a Narcissist

Readers, I’d like you to meet Sally. Sally is a healthy young woman with a stable job and a close family. She has been blessed with a life that allowed her to attend the best private schools, before travelling significantly and then finding a well-paying, steady job.  Sally has a close, stable family who love her and a circle of friends who want the best for her. However, Sally’s life is filled with drama. Sally hurts people she loves, and blames everyone but herself when they react. Sally fails to see the recurring pattern in her life, and easily plays the victim card when confronted. Sally turns every conversation around to herself, she name drops , is obsessed with her appearance and has a trail of destruction behind her. Sally is unreasonable, illogical and unnecessarily cruel. Sally believes that the world revolves around her – and does not accept not being the centre of attention.


Sally is everywhere, and Sally is a narcissist.


Chances are, you have met Sally a few times in your life. Sally is the girl at work who undermines you in front of your colleagues. Sally is the person you meet at a party who starts talking over you when you are telling a story. Sally is your friend or partner who sometimes is so awful and selfish that you swear you will never see them again, but then manages to turn on the charm and you forget why you were ever so upset.


The typical narcissist has a sense of entitlement, and a ‘one-up’ nature. For the narcissist, there is no room for two people on the top of their pedestal. She is the king of the castle, the rest of us are dirty rascals. The narcissist attaches great value to possessions, especially those with brand names or perceived higher value. This is how they measure success. Their superior nature lets them believe that boundaries do not apply to them  – many narcissists cheat on partners, lie to friends and family and act inappropriately in the work place.


The thing to remember when dealing with a narcissist is that it usually stems from a place of deep insecurity. They also have no idea that their actions are harmful or hurtful in any way – because they do not think about how anybody is feeling other than themselves. Narcissist have an ingrained sense of superiority – this is not a choice they have made, but rather something hardwired into their nature. Having said that, this persons problems are their own. As  much as they may try to deflect them on to you – you are not the cause of their unhappiness, and it is not your responsibility to fix them.


If you do decide to cut a narcissist out of your life, the awful truth is that they will try to make you feel like the bad guy. They will go out swinging.  In this great article, Kira Peikoff writes : Narcissists have zero tolerance for shame. They’re so sensitive to issues of feeling inadequate, insecure, and shameful that they don’t typically allow themselves to experience shame. If someone criticizes them, shows disappointment, or even asks for something they don’t feel equipped to offer, they will either shut down completely and get distant, avoidant, and pouty, or they will overcompensate and become critical or hostile.


When dealing with a narcissist, Dr Hotchkiss (author of Why Is It Always About You: The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism) says ‘”It helps to think of a narcissist as being emotionally 2 or 3 years old, like a tantrumming child,”  This can be incredibly frustrating, especially when trying to reason with a narcissist. Your reasoning and well thought-out concerns will be counteracted with childish insults and barbs designed to hurt. The one beauty of this though, is that it will serve to remind you exactly why you are removing this person from your life to start with.


Narcissists are, unfortunately, unavoidable. If you are reading this article, and someone close to you fits this brief all too well  – here are some articles you might find useful. Good luck removing this toxic person from your life – as hard as they will make the process, it IS worth it!


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