This guest article from Pysch Central was written by Linda Sapadin, Ph.D.
Narcissists can be horribly frustrating. Everyone probably knows one — people who are so wrapped up in themselves, so demanding and demeaning, that they leave no room for anyone else. Sounds like a horrible person.
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Yet, there’s something enticing about narcissists that pulls you in. Perhaps it’s his or her self-entitlement or know-it-all, does-no-wrong outlook. You’ve always been one to subjugate your desires, anyway. So, though you hate to admit it, your narcissist’s confidence and cockiness may be (or used to be) a turn-on for you. It’s amazing that your favorite narcissist can be both appealing and appalling.
If you’re not ready to toss your narcissist out of your life, you’d better learn how to deal with such a personality.
Putting into practice the following skills will both strengthen your ego and preserve your sanity.
1. Learn what is and isn’t negotiable.
Some behavior you may not like but it’s no big deal if you let it slide. Let everything slide, however, and you’ll find yourself in an intolerable situation. She spends recklessly. Why? Because she wants what she wants when she wants it. She doesn’t want to be confined by your “stupid” rules. After all, “you only live once. Why restrict yourself?” In these types of scenarios, you need to know what you’ll tolerate and what you won’t. This doesn’t mean that her spending habits must align with yours. But it does mean that you speak up and use your leverage to prevent patterns from getting out of hand.
2. Know when you’re being gaslighted.
When your narcissist says something, then later denies saying it or claims to have said something different, you can find yourself doubting your own sanity. Were you listening? Were you dreaming? Is he nuts? Am I nuts? What’s going on here? Your narcissist may be doing this maliciously to throw you off balance. Or, more likely, he’s simply responding to his need of the moment, forgetting what he previously said.
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3. Don’t tolerate denigrating emotional outbursts.
At times you’ll be upset with each other and need to let off steam. But how one lets off steam is vital. If you’re being spoken to with disdain and disrespect, stop the action. Make how you are being treated the issue. Express your disappointment. Ask for an apology. If necessary, walk away, letting it be known that you’ll gladly pick up where you left off when you’re treated with respect.
4. Learn negotiating skills.