Dealing with a Narcissists
Stop fighting or arguing with a narcissist.
A narcissist doesn’t have the same sense of empathy, self-awareness, or community that you deem normal, so they won’t provide you the emotional response you feel is justified. Wise up and stop expecting it. Your emotional spiral comes from you. You can’t stop them from doing or saying things, but you can manage your response and interaction level. Your empathy level will not let you push as far as a true narcissist is willing to push. So don’t push. Determine what the narcissist wants the most.
Narcissists are attracted to power and status. They are experts at projecting confidence, exploiting opportunities, and moving up the professional ladder, so avoiding them in corporate America is impossible. If any book, video, or post tells you to get far from narcissists, immediately stop reading if your goal is to scale the corporate leader.
Focus your attention on educating yourself on the narcissist in your life. The more you know about patterns, preferences, and idiosyncrasies, the more you can predict and strategies how to deal with them.
Here are the top three questions to answer:
1. Ultimate Goal as a Narcissist
What is it that they believe as true and feel they are more deserving of? What do they want the most, their end in mind or ultimate goal?
2. Level of Narcissim?
What level of narcissism do they display?
- Domineering – demands attention and control.
- Passive – conceals their selfishness as a do-gooder.
- Bully – overvalue themselves by devaluing others.
- Malignant – prone to rage, sabotage, blame shift, and revenge.
Let me know if I missed any. It is hard for them to project more than one or all of these levels. Usually, they fit tightly into one.
3. Self-Awareness and Self-Management
What do you need to heal in your upbringing or background (narcissistic parents or traumatic circumstances) that causes you to be overly sensitive to narcissistic tendencies?
Your worth as a professional should not be tied to what someone else says or does. Understand your own values, ethics, and professional standards and be consistent. Everyone is watching to see if you are reliable, professional, and self-assured in the face of adversity. Can you minimize conflict, get the best out of everyone, and get others to invest in your doing well.
4. Boundaries and Exit Phrases?
What are your boundaries and exit phrases?
Come up with phrases and statements that you have practiced with other professionals to say as you remove yourself from abusive, illegal, or disrespectful situations. Don’t see HR or reporting them as an option. It has the potential to ruin your career, not theirs.
Once You Know The Answers
Once you know the answers to these four questions, you can position your response or reaction to avoid problems, get what you need by satisfying their end goal, and take accountability for self-management.
Ultimately you want to validate a narcissist. Find ways to point out strengths and successes and offer praise and positive feedback. Yet, here is where you trap them into supporting you. Link your success to their success. Calm down, don’t give up yet because you don’t like the suggestion. Try it first.
The next time you interact with this person, I want you to start by saying, “Thank you. I appreciate _______ (your advice, your comments, etc.), it _______( supported, assisted, positioned, etc.) in the team coming up with ______.
If you link your success or the direction you want to take to them, they are more apt to support, praise, and provide their support because you have helped them achieve their end goal. Even if their ultimate end goal doesn’t align with your goal, but you praise them for helping you get the best result, they will align with you.
Narcissist Won’t Stop Being Narcissistic
The narcissist won’t stop being narcissistic, but you can point their energy in the direction that supports you, as well. When you understand their objectives, you can ensure that you create avenues where they are actually advocating for your success because it is tied to their success.
Don’t criticize them; strategize with them. Yet, understand that they are willing to violate ethics, steal ideas, disavow responsibility, and deny their own thoughts and behaviors. They will not have your back, but they will support you supporting them.
Like you know, they are narcissistic. Others do too. Another leader or narcissistic leader may see how you can support them with getting to their ultimate goal and promote you. A good leader won’t show vulnerability and learns how to work with all types of people, including narcissist. A great leader learns how to leverage the attributes of others for the good of themselves and everyone. Are you a GREAT leader who deals well with all types of professionals?
- Don’t criticize or argue.
- Don’t expect or seek loyalty.
- Don’t expect reciprocity or credit.
- Don’t show vulnerability or take things personally.