6 Strategies for Confronting a Narcissistic Person
Narcissism is a mental illness associated with excessive interest in one’s self. The disorder gets its name from the story of Narcissus, a Greek hunter cursed by Aphrodite to fall in love with his reflection. He stared at his image until he died.
We’ve all encountered at least one of these people throughout our lives — someone who thinks the world revolves around them. They are often fixated on themselves, their public perception or their physical appearance, to the detriment of others.
If you’ve got a narcissistic person in your life, here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you confront them.
Do — Identify the Narcissist
Your first step is to identify the narcissist who is negatively impacting your life. However, this isn’t always easy. While some behavior associated with narcissism might be apparent, much of it is subtle and manipulative. Look for individuals who refuse to accept blame or take responsibility for their actions.
If something doesn’t go their way or someone angers them, they’ll resort to passive-aggressive actions or even using the silent treatment to try to get their way.
Their impact on you also might not be as visible as you believe. You may start feeling anxious or afraid in a narcissist’s presence without any triggers you can determine.
Once you’ve figured out who the narcissist is, the next step is to confront them.
Do — Be Assertive
When confronting a narcissistic person, the key is to avoid being either passive or aggressive. These individuals refuse to take responsibility for their actions, so they will try to turn anything you say or do against you and shift the blame from their shoulders to yours.
The trick is to be assertive without being aggressive. Confronting someone angrily or aggressively will only make the situation worse. The narcissist will retreat, giving you the silent treatment or attacking you verbally or physically.
You don’t want to be passive, either. Allowing them to walk all over you won’t change the situation and will cause them to become more aggressive.
Don’t — Blame Yourself
Narcissists will try to shift the blame for any given situation away from themselves and onto the nearest available target. It’s essential to remember this is not your fault. Don’t let them pressure you into blaming yourself for things that should be their responsibility or things that are not yours to take the blame for.
Others’ behavior is not your responsibility, and taking the blame for it will not help you if you are confronting a narcissistic person in your life. If anything, it will enable their behaviors.
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Do — Make a Plan
Whenever you’re dealing with a manipulative or narcissistic individual, it is vital to have a plan of attack. Step one is realizing there is a problem and making the conscious decision to end the relationship with this toxic person.
This step is often the hardest, especially if the person in question is someone you care about. Once you’ve decided, you can plan what you will say to them and how you will end the relationship.
When you cut ties with a narcissist, it’s essential not to allow them to worm their way back into your life. They will try, but if you let them back into your life, they will continue their self-centered, abusive and manipulative behaviors.
Don’t — Fight With Them
Someone with a narcissistic personality will often respond to your attempts to end the relationship with aggression and personal attacks. Don’t feed into this aggression. They will only respond in kind, and you won’t get anything accomplished.
Instead, if they start to get aggressive, say what you have to say and remove yourself from the situation.
Do — Surround Yourself With Positive People
Just because you’re removing a narcissist from your life doesn’t mean you’re destined to be alone. Surround yourself with positive people that add to your life instead of detracting from it.
You don’t have to go hunting for them — be yourself, and they will often find you. Being happier and more positive will also serve to draw more positive people to you.
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Also published on Medium.