Many people don’t recognize narcissism at first until they are deeply into a relationship or friendship. While narcissism can often be difficult to deal with, learning about this type of personality can make you relationships better.
Handling a Narcissist
In order to properly understand how to work with a narcissist, it helps to figure out the type of narcissism that an individual suffers with. According to various studies, there are generally two types of narcissists in the world– vulnerable and grandiose narcissists. Individuals that are more on the vulnerable side are actually using their narcissism to mask a deep insecurity. This type of narcissism typically presents itself through an over-the-top display of self confidence. This display of confidence is typically an overcompensation for the insecurity that the individual actually feels.
The grandiose narcissist is thoroughly over confident and will generally have a superiority complex. This type of narcissist will generally go out of their way to assert their superiority and will try to exact revenge against those that treat them less than what they think they deserve.
How to Help
While it may sometimes be better to let people be who they are, sometimes we can change people for the better. If you are interested in trying to change the narcissist in your life, keep reading for the best ways to help.
1. Try to appreciate the person.
Understanding the origin of a narcissist’s characteristics will help you deal with their personality and behavior. In the case of a vulnerable narcissist, providing reassurance for a person’s behavior, personality, or accomplishments is generally the best way to get along with them. Oftentimes, vulnerable narcissists need a hand in taking care of their insecurity, so it sometimes helps to give a few compliments and praise; just don’t go overboard.
Additionally, when one chooses to see the best in someone rather than point out all the flaws, it humanizes that person. While narcissists may seem unlovable and aggravating at first, underneath their facade they’re just the same as anyone else. Being able to see this in the narcissist in your life will change how you view them and how you interact with them.
2. Stay positive and calm
Once you understand that a narcissist operates from a different mindset, it will be easier to get a handle on your feelings when dealing with them. For example, if a person has put you down in their own attempt to feel superior, this has more to do with them than it does with you. Being able to see the positive aspect in situations like this will help you handle the situation as well as get through to the person in a way others might not be able to.
Never let narcissism rattle you to the point where you doubt yourself. Once you realize that someone’s words, thoughts and opinions are really just reflections of their own personal beliefs about themselves, it will become easier for you to let things go. This is especially important in the workplace as things like grudges and petty drama can do serious damage someone’s career.
Make it a point to see things in a positive light each time you engage with the narcissists in your life. This will hopefully open the door for conversation and be a way to connect with the individual.
3. Keep it funny
With narcissists that are more grandiose, it’s easy to use humor to relate to them. Oftentimes, one might be able to point out the narcissism in a person’s behavior by making a joke or pointing out the flaws in the person’s logic. As many narcissists see themselves as larger than life, humor is sometimes an effective way to bring them back to earth. In the best version of this situation, the narcissist will see how inappropriate their behavior is.
However, be careful when using humor. Do not intentionally be rude or inappropriate as this may backfire and cause more harm than good. In the case of a vulnerable narcissist, a simple joke can be misconstrued into an attack on that person. To someone that struggles with insecurity, a ill-made joke can be emotionally devastating.
4. Know when it’s not enough
While you may be able to offer comfort, friendship, and a listening ear, oftentimes people struggling with narcissism need to seek professional help. Particularly in the case of a vulnerable narcissist, talking with you may not be enough. While a friend is always good to have, people with deep seeded feelings of inadequacy should seek the professional help of a therapist.
Whether you know a narcissist or you yourself may happen to be one, it helps to understand how better to relate to people. Whether you are in the workplace or you are engaging with friends and family, understanding an individual for their faults and their strengths can go a long way.