Following on from the post ‘Why People With Narcissistic Traits Are So Distressing’, this post looks at methods to help us cope.
1/ Compassion. Narcissistic traits or Narcissistic Personality Disorder develops from a place of great insecurity or upsets in a person’s life often in childhood which inhibits their ability to psychologically develop fully as an adult. They repeat self-centred patterns that may mirror how a child seeks attention from a care-giver when they’re in distress from severe upset to tantrums and anger. Having compassion and understanding can help to soothe situations and difficult times as this meets their needs. Overtime, this can encourage a strong and trusting relationship provided they are willing to take responsibility for their emotions and behaviours.
The other 4 strategies revolve around Self-protection. We cannot alter others and the only elements we can control are our thoughts and behaviours. When we’ve been compassionate and maybe had our kindness thrown back at us, we have little choice but to protect ourselves.
2/ Boundaries are your greatest protection. ‘Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits’ (Psychology Today). In practise, this is where we inform the other of what we will and won’t accept and if they cross those lines we keep our distance from them. Sometimes, the boundary we put in place is to have to be having no contact at all and to not respond to them. This can be so hard to uphold and maintain as we’re often manipulated or pulled in by the person who is causing us problems. As human’s we care for others and narcissists are very good at manipulating people to look after them.
3/ Try not to get drawn in. Narcissists will often throw bait at us so that we react to them. Try to recognise this so that you’re not drawn into the games. As soon as you respond, you’re feeding the process which gives them what they want to keep you involved. They may come at you from many different angles and will stoop to low levels in attempts to gain a response from you. This is likely to create emotional responses from you where you may feel compelled to respond. Once you do, you’re likely to be fuelling the process and giving the other what they need to continue their damaging behaviours. Not responding can be so very difficult as it’s hard not to care or be emotionally moved.
4/ Self-belief – Believing our own intuition and thoughts can help protect us as well as standing up for our rights to be treated with respect and compassion
5/ Self-support – Having a good support structure can allow us to check things out and process what’s happening and how we’re feeling.
A good way to gain greater awareness is to do our own research. Simple Google and YouTube searches for ‘Narcissism’ or ‘narcissistic’ will bring a great deal of useful information.
As always, please feel free to comment or ask any questions you may have about this post.
Bressert, S. (2019). Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Symptoms & Treatments. [online] Psych Central. Available at: https://psychcentral.com/disorders/narcissistic-personality-disorder/ [Accessed 8 Mar. 2019].
McBride, K. (2016). 8 Tips to Protect Yourself from a Narcissist. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201610/8-tips-protect-yourself-narcissist [Accessed 8 Mar. 2019].
PsyCom.net – Mental Health Treatment Resource Since 1986. (2019). What to Do About Narcissistic Personality Disorder?. [online] Available at: https://www.psycom.net/personality-disorders/narcissistic/ [Accessed 8 Mar. 2019].
The 9 Characteristics of NPD. [online] Available at: https://howcanweknowus.weebly.com/the-9-characteristics-of-npd.html [Accessed 8 Mar. 2019].