Advertising
Advertising

Published on October 7, 2020

How to Deal With a Narcissist (And When You Should Move On)

How to Deal With a Narcissist (And When You Should Move On)

They seem charming. They seem too good to be true. They are complimentary and loving, and they will do anything for you.

That doesn’t sound like a description of a narcissist, does it? But it can be. Well, at least at the beginning when you first meet them, and that’s the problem. Many times, a narcissist will fool other people into thinking they are a great person when in reality, it is all just an act.

But they can’t hide their true selves forever. Eventually, their nasty side will come out, and it usually leaves other people confused.

What happened to that charming person you met? Why did they change?

They didn’t change. They were just suppressing who they really are.

What do you do if you find yourself in a relationship with a narcissist? How do you even deal with a narcissist? Or should you even bother at all? Should you just cut them out of your life and move on?

Advertising

These are all important questions to consider. But first, let’s talk about some communication strategies you can use when you are talking to a narcissist.

How Do You Communicate With a Narcissist?

So, you think you are involved in a narcissist. They are not easy to deal with, so how exactly do you deal with a narcissist in terms of communication? There’s not an exact science to it, but here are some tips.

1. Don’t Expect Much From Them

Narcissists never give you much. They are too concerned with what they are “getting” from other people to be thinking about what they can do for you. The world revolves around them—not anyone else. So, you can’t expect them to do much for you. I mean, you can, but you will be highly disappointed.

2. Don’t Engage in the Negativity

Negativity is a primary tool that is used by a narcissist. After the “honeymoon” phase I described in the opening of this article, there is not much warm-and-fuzzy talk or action. There is very little positivity that happens with them. But don’t give in to it. Refuse to play that game with them. Avoiding negativity is the first step to learning how to deal with a narcissist.

3. Use Simple Replies Like “Yes” or “No”

You can never really win an argument with a narcissist. Even if you are obviously right and they are obviously wrong, they will never let you “win.” They can never admit when they are wrong. So, don’t try to convince them. Instead, just use simple answers, such as “yes” or “no.” That way, they cannot escalate the conversation to their favor.

4. Ask Clarifying Questions

If you find a situation where you cannot avoid a conversation with the narcissist, if they continually force you to engage with them, just ask a lot of questions. Ask them why they think the way they do. Ask them what they are feeling at any given moment. Most likely, they will not be able to answer you because they do not do any self-examination at all. But at least you can try to point out the flaws in their arguments.

Advertising

5. Use Humor

Humor is a good way to diffuse almost any situation. When people are angry or are arguing, they are just exuding negativity. When this happens, it becomes like a downward spiral that is difficult to recover from. So instead, try to inject some humor in there to try to diffuse the negativity in your conversations. If you don’t know how to deal with a narcissist, you can always make use of humor.

6. Separate Their Behavior From Their Character

Many times, narcissists will engage in name-calling and character attacks against you. Instead of firing back insults to the narcissist, you should separate their behavior (what they are doing or saying) from their character (who they are as a person). This strategy works well because it makes them less defensive. When you call them a horrible person (character), they will fire right back at you. But commenting on their words and actions will help them see how what they are doing is wrong.

What Does a Narcissist Want in a Relationship?

Why would a narcissist even want to be in a relationship? Relationships are about compromise and give-and-take, right? So, how could they possibly want to do that?

Well, here are some things that a narcissist might want out of being in a relationship.

1. A Sense of Entitlement

Because they think they are the center of the universe (or at least want to be), they think they deserve to have everything they want. But life doesn’t work that way. So, narcissists are looking for someone who will give them their way all the time. Their sense of entitlement is a way of life for them, and so they look for someone who will overlook this character flaw.

2. Flattery

Narcissists also have big egos, even though this ego is false. In other words, they try to make other people think that they think they are better than them. However, many times the opposite is true. They don’t really think they are better than other people, so they need flattery to make themselves feel better. They need others to tell them how good they are.

Advertising

3. Admiration

Going hand in hand with flattery, narcissists also crave admiration. They want people to love them because they don’t love themselves. Sure, it sounds like they love themselves, but they don’t. Therefore, they need to surround themselves with people who will “look up to them” because they don’t even look up to themselves.

4. Power and Control

Narcissists love to have power and control. They like to think they are superior to other people and therefore, they need to have power over them. They need to control as much of their world as they possibly can—and that includes controlling other people. That’s why they prefer to be around the kind of people who can be easily controlled.

How Do You Stop a Narcissist From Hurting You?

Being in any kind of relationship with a narcissist isn’t easy, and they will inevitably try to hurt you by getting the upper hand. They don’t care about your feelings. They only care about themselves.

So, how do you deal with a narcissist? How can you possibly stop a narcissist from hurting you? Believe it or not, there are some ways.

1. Set Boundaries

Narcissists will take advantage of you and walk all over you—but only if you let them. Remember, they want an easy prey—someone who acts like a victim. So, don’t do that! Set firm boundaries and let them know when their behavior is unacceptable. Be consistent and stick to your guns.

2. Mindset/Attitude

Everything in life is about mindset and attitude. These are important if you want to learn how to deal with a narcissist. I love the saying, “It’s only a problem if you think it’s a problem.” That’s not to say that being in a relationship with a narcissist isn’t a problem—because it is. But keep your mind in a positive place. Don’t give them the power to bring you down.

Advertising

3. Don’t Take It Personally

If you remember nothing else, remember this—their selfish behavior is all about THEM, not YOU. It has nothing to do with you. They would act the same way with absolutely anyone who allows them to. So, don’t take it personally and think there is something wrong with you because there is not.

4. Don’t Let Them See You Hurt

Okay, so maybe they did hurt you. Don’t let them see you cry! They love weakness in other people—they thrive on it. When they see weakness in you, it will just encourage them to keep doing what they’re doing to you. So, don’t show them your feelings. Act courageously even if you have to fake it because it will disarm them. They want to break you down, so when you act strong, it takes the “fun” out of it for them.

5. Leave/Stop Spending Time With Them

You don’t always have the option to cut ties with a narcissist, but many times, you do. If you’ve tried all you can to get along with them and you are still miserable, then get away from them. There is no reason you have to allow them to suck the life out of you. Love yourself enough to walk away.

Final Thoughts

Even though narcissists can make your life difficult, you should actually feel sorry for them. Why? Because “hurt people hurt people.” They wouldn’t be a narcissist if something unloving hadn’t happened to them at some point in their lives.

They probably just became narcissists to survive. But while it’s okay to feel sorry for them, that doesn’t mean you should put their needs above your own. Love yourself first. Keep in mind these tips on how to deal with a narcissist. Don’t take any abuse. Stand up for yourself—because you deserve it!

More Tips on How to Deal With a Narcissist

Featured photo credit: DANNY G via unsplash.com

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

How to Improve Intimacy in Your Marriage and Rekindle the Passion 10 Tips on How to Do Something You Don’t Want to Do How to Stop Being Absent Minded and Start to Be More Attentive How to Beat Your Fear of Rejection and Embrace Failures 7 Hidden Causes of Fatigue And Steps to Prevent Serious Health Damage 13 Things to Remember When Life Gets Rough

Trending in Communication

1 How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide) 2 The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You 3 The Purpose Of Friendship: The Only 4 Types Of Friends You Need In Life 4 14 Things That Make You Happy and Enjoy Life More 5 Focus On Yourself, Because Most Of The Time No One Really Cares

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on April 19, 2021

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

We all lose our temper from time to time, and expressing anger is actually a healthy thing to do in our relationships with others. Expressing our differences in opinion allows us to have healthy conflict and many times come to an agreement or understanding that works for everyone. However, there are times when anger can become overwhelming or damaging, and during these times, it’s important to learn how to deal with anger.

Expressing anger inappropriately can be harmful to relationships, both personal and professional. You may express too much anger, too often, or at times that are only going to make things worse, not better. In this article we will look at anger management techniques that will help you better control your emotions.

Let’s take a deeper look at how to deal with anger.

Expressing Anger

Anger is a natural and normal part of almost any relationship. This includes relationships with your significant other, kids, boss, friends, family, etc. Anger provides us with valuable information if we are willing to listen to it. It clues us in to areas where we disagree with others and things that need to be changed or altered.

Unhealthy Ways to Express Anger

Here are some common yet unhealthy ways to express anger that you should avoid:

Being Passive-Aggressive

This is a term many of us are familiar with. Passive-aggressive behavior happens when someone is angry but uses indirect communication to express their anger.

Some of the more common passive-aggressive behaviors include the silent treatment, making comments about someone behind their back, being grumpy, moody, or pouting, or simply not doing tasks or assignments that they should.

This is a passive-aggressive person’s way of showing their anger. It’s not very productive but extremely common.

Advertising

Poorly-Timed

Some people get overwhelmed and express anger in a situation where it can’t really do any good.

An example would be getting angry at one person in front of a crowd of people. All that does is make people uncomfortable and shuts them down. It’s not a healthy way to express anger or disagreement with someone.

Ongoing Anger

Being angry all the time is most often a symptom of something else. It’s healthy and normal to express anger when you disagree with someone. However, if someone is angry most of the time and always seems to be expressing their anger to everyone around them, this won’t serve them well.

Over time, people will start to avoid this person and have as little contact as possible. The reason being is no one likes being around someone who is angry all the time; it’s a no-win situation.

Healthy Ways to Express Anger

What about the healthy ways[1] to adapt? When learning how to deal with anger, here are some healthy ways to get you started.

Being Honest

Express your anger or disagreement honestly. Be truthful about what it is that is making you angry. Sometimes this will entail walking away and thinking about it for a bit before you respond.

Don’t say you’re mad at something someone did or said when it’s really something else that upset you.

Being Direct

Similar to being honest, being direct is a healthy way to express anger.

Advertising

Don’t talk around something that is making you angry. Don’t say that one thing is making you angry when it’s really something else, and don’t stack items on top of each other so you can unload on someone about 10 different things 6 months from now.

Be direct and upfront about what is making you angry. Ensure you are expressing your anger to the person who upset you or you are angry at, not to someone else. This is very counterproductive.

Being Timely

When something makes you angry, it’s much better to express it in a timely manner. Don’t keep it bottled up inside of you, as that’s only going to do more harm than good.

Think of the marriages that seem to go up in flames out of nowhere when the reality is someone kept quiet for years until they hit their breaking point.

Expressing anger as it occurs is a much healthier way of using anger to help us guide our relationships in the moment.

How to Deal With Anger

If you feel angry, how should you deal with it right at that moment?

1. Slow Down

From time to time, I receive an email at work that makes me so angry that steam is probably pouring out of my ears.

In my less restrained moments, I have been known to fire off a quick response, and that typically has ended about as well as you might imagine.

Advertising

When I actually walk away from my computer and go do something else for a while, I am able to calm down and think more rationally. After that happens, I am able to respond in a more appropriate and productive manner. Doing things that helps you learn how to release anger can make an uncomfortable situation more manageable before it gets out of hand.

2. Focus on the “I”

Remember that you are the one that’s upset. Don’t accuse people of making you upset because, in the end, it’s your response to what someone did that really triggered your anger. You don’t want to place blame by saying something like “Why don’t you ever put away your dishes?” Say something more like “Having dirty dishes laying on the counter upsets me—can you work with me to come to a solution?”

When you are accusatory towards someone, all that does is increase the tension. This doesn’t usually do anything except make your anger rise higher.

3. Work out

When learning how to deal with anger, exercise is a great outlet. If something happens that angers you, see if you have the opportunity to burn off some of the anger.

Being able to hit the gym to get a hard workout in is great. If this isn’t an option, see if you can go for a run or a bike ride. If you are at work when you become angry and the weather permits, at least go outside for a brisk walk.

Besides working some of your anger out through exercise, this also helps to give your mind a chance to work through some ways to address what it is that upset you.

If you’re not sure where to start with an exercise routine, check out Lifehack’s free Simple Cardio Home Workout Plan.

4. Seek Help When Needed

There are times when we could all use some help. Life can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s perfectly fine to seek some help from a mental health professional if it will help you get back to a healthy balance.If you find that you are angry all the time, it might be a good idea to go talk to an expert about learning to control intense emotions. They can give you some sound advice and ideas on how to get your anger to a more manageable and healthy level.

Advertising

5. Practice Relaxation

We all seem to lead incredibly busy lives, and that’s a good thing if we are loving the life we are living. That being said, it is very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being to take time out for relaxation.

That can mean spending time doing things that help us calm down and relax, like being around people we enjoy, practicing deep breathing or listening to music. It could be making time for things that help bring us balance like a healthy diet and physical activity.

Many people incorporate techniques such as yoga and meditation to calm their minds and release tension when learning how to deal with anger. Whatever your choice is, ensure you take time out to relax when warning signs of anger start to bubble up.

6. Laugh

Incorporating humor and laughter on a regular basis will help keep anger in check and help you get over a bad mood and feelings of anger more quickly. This isn’t part of formal anger management techniques, but you’ll be surprised by how well it works. Remember, life is a journey that’s meant to be enjoyed fully along the way through healthy emotion. Make sure you take time to laugh and have fun.Surround yourself with people that like to laugh and enjoy life. Don’t work at a job that just causes you stress, which can lead to anger. Work at something you enjoy doing.

7. Be Grateful

It’s easy to focus on the bad in life and the things that cause us negative emotions. It’s vitally important to remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in life that bring us positive emotions, things that we easily forget because we get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life.

Take time out each day to remind yourself of a few things you are grateful for in order to help you learn how to release anger and invite in more positive feelings.

Final Thoughts

Life can be overwhelming at times. We seem to have constant pressure to achieve more and to always be on the go or motivated. People we are around and situations we are in can cause stress, anger, and negative emotions. At times, it can seem to be too much, and we get angry and our emotions start to get out of control.

During these times, keep in mind that life is an incredible journey, full of wonder and things that bring you joy. When you find yourself angry more often than is healthy, take time out to remember the good things in life—the things that we seem to forget yet bring us so much positive energy and emotions.

Use some of the tips included here to help with how to deal with anger and better control your emotions.

More Resources on Anger Management

Featured photo credit: Andre Hunter via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next