Living with a narcissist could be the toughest situation to be in. The pain of living with a narcissist when leaving is not an option, the emotional wounds of living with a narcissist husband, and, even the distress of living with a narcissistic alcoholic, just as in the case of partners of sex addicts: It is pure hell.
This piece intends to shed more light on what each partner of a narcissist passes through, and most importantly, some of the best ways to beat a narcissist.
A narcissist is one who suffers from excessive self-love (self-centerdness) – a condition psychiatry classifies as personality disorder. If you are smart and secure enough, you will definitely understand all ‘traits and tactics‘ a narcissist may explore in getting you hooked up.
In a research headed by University of Illinois psychologist Brent Roberts: findings shows that narcissism peaks during the years of young adulthood i.e. self-centeredness seems to be very common among people of that particular age period.
From her excellent article on narcissism: (A Day in the Life of a Narcissist), Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., a Professor Emerita of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who is also the author of ‘The Search for Fulfillment;’ writes on how the new diagnostic method will only involve rating people along narcissistic characteristics / traits and not just scoring them on a checklist.
Some of the narcissistic traits include:
- Being unable to empathize with others.
- Seeking attention.
- Needing others to confirm their identities.
- Having little interest in close relationships.
- Engaging in disagreeable behavior: such as being always ready for arguments.
- Narcissists are also more likely to use sexual language.
Related: How to spot Emotional Manipulator.
Living with a narcissist isn’t easy, just as earlier stated – especially, in a relationship, narcissists would drain off your strength as you give all you have, while they give you nothing in return. As a manipulator, narcissists with their effective punishments, will manipulate you to feel sorry for everything and thankful for nothing. And as the partner of a narcissist, you will constantly be trying to make sense of things that don’t make sense.
Related: 3 Tactics Emotional Abusers Use.
Narcissists thrive better on people who won’t stop playing their game. Victims play narcissists’ game and agree to their rules – hence, it’s impossible to beat a narcissist.
In relationship, you don’t necessarily need to seek to defeat your narcissist partner; but to master yourself.
Narcissists have already defeated themselves. Because they take on narcissism in order to compensate for their complete lack of a healthy sense of self.
Don’t tell a narcissist what people would think. Just Ask!
Narcissists are much more likely to act on ideas they created – they want to look good, but only according to their thoughts. So, if you could guide them to think for themselves what would hurt their reputation, they will act on their self-conceived ideas, and change.
Clinical psychologist, Albert J. Bernstein, author of ‘Am I The Only Sane One Working Here?: 101 Solutions for Surviving Office Insanity’ explains:
If you are in a position to advise, ask what people would think. Narcissists are not stupid; there are just things, like other people’s feelings, that they rarely consider.
If you have their ear, don’t tell them how people might react; instead, ask probing questions,” Bernstein added.
Never reveal what makes you feel vulnerable to a narcissist.
Dr. Athena Staik Ph.D., Marriage & Family Therapist, writes:
Expressing vulnerable emotions is vital to life balance and peace of mind, but do so only with safe others — never a narcissist. A narcissist literally uses this information to get into your mind, instilling fear to steal your sense of self, by crippling your brain’s capacity to clearly think.”
Read also: 12 Traits of A Female Narcissist.
The relationship consultant explains, while you’re pouring your heart, the narcissist only listens to gather data, in order to execute strategies to exploit and take possession of your mind.
Reward Good Behavior.
Compliment narcissist only when they behave more communally – not for achievement or performance.
According to Dr. Craig Malkin, Harvard Medical School psychologist and Huffington Post blogger, who is also the author of ‘Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad-and Surprising Good-About Feeling Special’:
Look for moments when the person demonstrates better behavior and underscore them. Nudging narcissists to center means focusing on moments when they show some capacity for collaboration, interest in other people, or concern for the happiness of those around them”
In conclusion, the easiest way to escape or beat a narcissist is to cut off contact. However, this solution won’t work for everyone. Especially, those in relationship, marriage, employment settings and for those who are dependent on a narcissist.
In this case, all you need to do to beat a narcissist is to know narcissism as much as you can i.e. to learn what the traits are, don’t let passion blind you to reason. And, to know yourself i.e. to understand what symptoms of narcissistic abuse are, – identify with people who are also suffering from narcissistic abuse; and, find support from therapist.
References / Further Readings: Raskin, R., & Terry, H. (1988). A principal-components analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory and further evidence of its construct validity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(5), 890-902.doi:10.1037/0022-35126.96.36.1990 Eric Barker. How to Deal With a Narcissist: 5 Secrets Backed by Research. http://observer.com/2016/01/how-to-deal-with-a-narcissist-5-secrets-backed-by-research/ Dr. Craig Malkin. Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad-and Surprising Good-About Feeling Special. Miriam Micheals. The Art Of Beating A Narcissist At Their Own Game. https://hubpages.com/health/The-Art-Of-Beating-A-Narcissist-At-Their-Own-Game Pies R. What should count as a mental disorder in DSM-V? Psychiatr Times. 2009 Apr 14; Ronald Pies, MD. How To Eliminate Narcissism Overnight - DSM-V and the Death of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Published online 2011 Feb.