By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Some narcissists you just cope with.
It may be hard, but there are plenty of times in life when you are going to have to get along with difficult people. Narcissists turn up everywhere you go. Some occupations, business management, politics, and other high-pressure jobs attract people who are high in narcissistic traits. I’m beginning to believe that some jobs turn vulnerable people into pathological narcissists. Sometimes, for your own peace of mind, you must find ways to work with them.
If you are in a close, romantic relationship with the narcissist, or if they are a relative you may decide that you just have to accept them the way they are. Sometimes it’s not worth the conflict to upset your narcissist.
Here are some suggestions for surviving that narcissistic encounter.
Give that narcissist lots of praise.
Narcissists expect, need, frequent praise and complements. The best way to get along with a narcissist is to give them lots of approval. Some narcissists are insecure, and they crave praise. If you don’t give it to them, they are offended. Other narcissists believe they deserve your appreciation and will feel cheated if you don’t express your admiration. Hand out that verbal recognition in front of others to maximize its effects.
If you must criticize a narcissist, do it in private.
Narcissists expect to be praised and admired. Saying anything negative or disagreeing with them in public is likely to be taken as a personal attack. If you are forced to disagree with a narcissist or give them bad news, do it privately so that their public persona remains undamaged.
Make the narcissist the center of attention.
The higher that someone in your life is in narcissism the more they believe they should be the center of attention. If you take the spotlight off the narcissist, expect an all-out war. When they are in the room, let them shine. Your time comes with a narcissist is off stage. If you want to earn extra points, make sure you mentioned their contribution favorably whenever you get recognized.
Get clear on the narcissist’s rules.
Narcissists believe they are superior to others. If you want cooperation, make sure you know what their rules are and follow them. They may have a distorted understanding of truth, lies, and loyalty. You need to develop an understanding of when leaving negative things out will be considered lying and when not telling them your criticism will be considered loyal.
Do not cross a narcissist.
Because of the narcissist’s sense of entitlement, they are very likely to take everything personally. Before you take action, consider carefully whether the narcissist will agree with what you said and did. In making choices, your primary consideration will be making the narcissist happy. Make sure what you do will make them look good.
Keep your narcissist laughing, use humor.
Don’t get heavy or serious with the narcissist. They expect to be the source of all important ideas. Keep it light. Look for ways to keep them laughing. When you make the narcissist happy, they like you. Avoid being the one to bring them bad news. Narcissists are likely to blame the messenger. They tend to reward people who tell them what they want to hear even when it’s untrue. Narcissists are equally likely to punish people who bring them bad news even when it is a necessary truth.
More about Narcissists.
As we move through our series of Narcissism posts, feel free to ask questions and leave comments. To help you find these posts, below are some links to point you in the right direction. Keep in mind that all the posts about narcissists appeared in the narcissism category but links to future posts will not be live until future posts appear.
Narcissistic traits. Psychology. (coming soon)
Narcissistic relationship partner. Relationships.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.