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How to Deal with a Narcissist: Understanding and Managing Narcissistic Behavior

Although not all characteristics of a narcissist have to be negative by definition, it is often difficult to deal with a narcissist in the long run. In a relationship, narcissists often engage in mental manipulation, which can be damaging if you are not mentally strong. Their behavior can lead to significant harm, making you feel insecure and questioning your self-worth. However, it can be challenging to determine whether someone is a narcissist. There are several online tests available that can give you an idea if someone could be a narcissist, but only specialized therapists can make a definitive diagnosis.

What are the symptoms of a narcissist?

  1. Megalomania The most characteristic feature of a narcissist is 'megalomania'. Narcissists believe they are better, smarter, or more attractive than others. They boast about their greatness and have an enormous need for admiration. They feel superior to their surroundings and often display an inflated sense of self-importance.

  2. Exaggerating Narcissists are experts at exaggerating. Their achievements are always portrayed as extraordinary, even if they are common. For instance, if they achieve something that others have also done, their performance is always slightly more special. They believe they are highly talented and often exaggerate their abilities, creating a false sense of superiority.

  3. Addicted to Attention and Prestige Narcissists do not consider ordinary people special and prefer to be surrounded by those with status or prestige. They seek attention and recognition from these individuals and boast about their influential friends. The narcissist demands admiration and praise from everyone around them, constantly needing validation of their perceived superiority.

  4. Hunger for Power and Success The life of a narcissist is dominated by a desire for power and success. This hunger is insatiable, and they constantly seek ways to achieve ultimate success and power. Their goals and ambitions take precedence over everything else, often leading to unethical behavior to get what they want.

  5. Striving for the Ideal Image Narcissists believe they have the perfect life, relationship, and appearance. They strive for an ideal image, where everything must be perfect in their eyes. This includes having the ultimate relationship, the best sex life, and the most beautiful partner. Perfection is their goal, and they will do anything to maintain this illusion.

  6. Unrealistic Expectations Narcissists often have unrealistic expectations. They believe others should follow their will without question, as they think they always know best. There is no room for compromise, and they expect everyone to agree with them. This can lead to disappointment and frustration when reality does not meet their expectations.

  7. Insensitivity Despite their initial charm, narcissists lack empathy. They cannot understand or relate to the feelings of others unless it benefits them. What others think or feel is irrelevant if it does not serve the narcissist's interests. This insensitivity makes it difficult for them to feel remorse, as they do not believe they make mistakes.

  8. Abuse of Others Narcissists will not hesitate to use others to achieve their goals. Their objectives are always paramount, and they are willing to abuse others, both mentally and sometimes even physically, to get what they want. This abusive behavior is a means to an end, with little regard for the well-being of their victims.

  9. Pressure Narcissists exert pressure on their surroundings to conform to their wishes and ambitions. This can range from dictating how a partner should dress to what kind of work they should do. Everything must go the way the narcissist wants, and they will use any means necessary to ensure this happens, creating a high-pressure environment.

  10. Jealousy Narcissists believe everyone is jealous of them, and they are extremely jealous themselves. They cannot tolerate others being better off than they are and often feel threatened by others' success or happiness. This jealousy can lead to vindictive behavior, where they actively seek to undermine those they perceive as rivals.

  11. Aggressive Behavior Narcissists feel justified in using physical violence if it serves their goals. Their language can also be aggressive and confrontational when they do not get what they want. This aggression is a way to assert dominance and control over others, reinforcing their sense of superiority.

  12. Distorted Perception of Truth Narcissists are skilled at manipulating the truth. They present their version of events and will lie and twist facts until others see things their way. The truth, as understood by a narcissist, is flexible and often distorted to fit their narrative. This manipulation makes it challenging to have an honest relationship with them.

  13. Lack of Intimacy Narcissists may seem charming and engaging initially, but they cannot form deep, intimate connections. True intimacy is a sign of weakness to them, and they avoid it to maintain their image of invulnerability. Their relationships often lack depth, as they are unable to fully commit or surrender to anyone emotionally.

  14. Denigrating Others To feel superior, narcissists often use denigrating language about others. Belittling others is second nature to them, as it reinforces their sense of superiority. They frequently make derogatory comments about others, diminishing their achievements and qualities to elevate themselves.

  15. Blaming Others When things go wrong, a narcissist will blame others. They never take responsibility and will twist situations to ensure they are not at fault. If something fails, they will do everything in their power to shift the blame onto someone else, even if it means lying or distorting the truth.

  16. No Self-Reflection Narcissists cannot engage in self-reflection. They are very insecure and avoid acknowledging their weaknesses, hindering personal growth. Any form of self-reflection is foreign to them, as it threatens their carefully constructed self-image. This lack of introspection prevents them from growing and improving.

When is someone a narcissist?

The diagnosis of narcissism can only be made by a professional therapist after a thorough assessment. Sometimes a person may display narcissistic traits without being a true narcissist. Self-centered behavior or depression can mimic many symptoms of narcissism. Additionally, there are many degrees of narcissism. Having one or two narcissistic traits does not necessarily mean a person is a narcissist. A comprehensive evaluation by a specialist is required to determine if someone has narcissistic personality disorder.

Is narcissism treatable?

There are various therapies to treat narcissism, and they can be effective. However, due to their insecurity and lack of self-reflection, narcissists are unlikely to seek treatment voluntarily. Even if professionals confirm the diagnosis, narcissists often deny it and may believe in a conspiracy against them. Their sense of superiority makes them resistant to admitting they have a problem, which complicates the treatment process. Nevertheless, with the right approach and a willingness to change, progress can be made.

Can you live with a narcissist?

Living with a narcissist can be challenging, and the question is whether you should want to. You must be strong and accept many things, such as always saying, thinking, and doing what the narcissist wants. You should never contradict them and must always confirm what they say. Be prepared to take the blame and receive constant criticism. Accept twisted truths, lies, and boasts. You will rarely feel truly loved or appreciated and will often be used for the narcissist's purposes.

Can you work with a narcissist?

While narcissists behave dominantly, it is possible to work with them using certain strategies. Here are some tips:

  1. Complimenting Compliment their performance and subtly introduce your ideas as inspired by them. This may lead them to idealize you, making it easier to get things done. A narcissist thrives on praise and admiration, so leveraging this can help in managing their behavior.

  2. Avoid Criticism Avoid any form of criticism, as a narcissist will never forgive it. Instead, take the blame yourself and highlight the narcissist's achievements. Criticism can provoke a strong negative reaction, making it difficult to work with them effectively.

  3. Make the Narcissist Great Always affirm the narcissist's self-image. Make your contributions seem minor in comparison to theirs. This will help maintain a positive working relationship and keep the narcissist cooperative.

  4. Stay Silent About Nonsense Do not argue with the narcissist's lies or exaggerations. Agree or stay silent to avoid confrontation. Engaging in disputes over their distortions of reality is futile and can escalate conflicts.

  5. Maintain Your Value Ensure you remain valuable to the narcissist. If they no longer see value in you, they will quickly discard you. Remember that a narcissist only wants to associate with you if they benefit from it.


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