Dealing with a person suffering from narcissistic personality disorder is not easy. It is estimated that between 1% and 15% of the population suffers from it. Neutralizing a narcissist requires a lot of boldness, intelligence and to some extent a sense of otherness.
It should not be forgotten that, contrary to popular belief, narcissism is not a simple mask. It is a mental disorder in which the person has an inordinate opinion of him/herself, lacks empathy and demands attention. It is not an invented construct, but rather those affected truly believe they are superior.
It is often thought that behind a narcissistic person is someone who is fragile or manipulable. Nothing could be further from the truth. Although there are narcissists who fit the profile, there are also others whose ego and idolization of themselves is genuine. The popular profile of the disorder is disputed by researchers.
This is why you should be very careful when dealing with these people. Since in many occasions this personality generates conflicts and problems, you will surely want to stay away. We propose 7 ideas to control a narcissist.
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Learn to say no
To neutralize a narcissist you have to know how to say “no”.
When arguing with a narcissist, it pays more to know how to stop with a resounding “no” when the situation gets out of control.
It is not the magic word you must learn to neutralize a narcissist. It is the pillar that supports the other tips, one that you must assimilate sooner rather than later. Think that all of them want those around them to approve of their behaviors, their opinions and their actions.
They use different techniques to do so, from manipulation to communication. If you learn to say no to his behaviors, opinions and actions, then you will be building a solid barrier that will separate you from him. You will prevent him from controlling or manipulating you, not to mention you will not encourage the feeding of his ego.
A narcissist is hungry for approval. Even if he doesn’t need it to prolong his personality, he is always looking for it. Stopping their approval is like cutting off the head of the snake, since you attack the problem at its root. Start by telling yourself that you do not deserve certain treatment and that you are not willing to tolerate it.
Don’t focus on it
A person with this disorder always demands attention. We are not talking about that which translates into applause, because no matter how small it may be, any attention is welcome. If you do not pay attention to what he says or what he does, you will be doing the opposite of what he expects you to do.
This is much easier written than done, as a narcissist is an expert at getting your attention. Sometimes you have to learn to deal with his presence, which means you can’t ignore him completely. What you can do, however, is to reduce interaction to a minimum, as well as the interest you show in what they do.
Don’t get nervous in their presence
Someone with this disorder has high self-esteem, a powerful ego and unmatched confidence. They function very well in society, have enviable communication skills, and are adept at standing out in front of others. It’s natural to feel a little nervous when you’re in front of him or her.
Eliminating nervousness, anxiety or feelings of inferiority is another thing you must do to neutralize a narcissist. If you demonstrate all this, his or her personality will be strengthened, and he or she will not be afraid to crush you with it. The few times you have to deal with him be firm, keep a calm attitude and at no time underestimate yourself.
Set boundaries from the very beginning
One of the techniques to protect yourself from a narcissist is to set limits from minute one. If you detect with the first encounter that a person suffers from this disorder, there is nothing like reducing it immediately. To do so, you can take the following into account:
- Don’t let his priorities be above yours.
- Don’t let them overvalue their opinions or actions and do the opposite with yours.
- Communicate explicitly how far he can go (what he can say in front of you or what he can do).
- Identify the signs that he is trying to manipulate you.
- Let him know that he is no more or less than anyone else.
- Walk away if you feel that his personality is absorbing you or draining you in any way.
These are some ideas you can apply to counteract a narcissistic person. If you couldn’t do it from the first meeting, you still have time to do it. You just need to be confident and determined in case you think their attitude is taking your life away from you.
Don’t let yourself be manipulated or change your mind
To neutralize a narcissist you must identify the manipulations.
Many narcissists are experts at manipulating to achieve their own success to the detriment of others. Knowing how to identify these situations is fundamental.
Manipulation is one of the many facets of narcissistic personality disorder. Among many other things, people do it to demonstrate their power or influence over others. They do not do this in an imposing or abrupt manner at the outset, but rather it is something they work at gradually.
In any case, a narcissist will always seek to control you. He will try to modify your habits, your opinions, ideas and actions. For example, he may influence you to replace your style of dress with one he considers better. So, what you should do is not to change your mind, especially when it comes to things that go against your principles or ideals.
Downplay his accomplishments and skills
Another trick to deal with a narcissist is to downplay his achievements or skills. We suggest above to ignore him, except in those occasions that are strictly necessary. If they show the most extraordinary side of their personality, you can compensate by reducing their achievements.
For example, someone with this disorder will make you believe that he is more attractive, more intelligent or more capable of performing a task. You can let him know that his opinions are overrated, which does not mean denying them. Telling them that they are not as attractive, that you know smarter people, or that you are more qualified for an activity will eat them up inside.
Show your skills as well
Connecting with the above, we suggest another tip to neutralize a narcissist: demonstrate your skills as well. We point out that nervousness should never invade you in their presence, which does not indicate practicing false modesty or hiding your skills.
Do it in those things in which you are superior to him, this way you provide him with a dose of reality. If he boasts of certain academic performance, life accomplishments or qualities, then do the same. The sum of this and the other recommendations will allow you to neutralize a narcissist.
As we stated at the beginning, narcissism is a mental disorder. One that can be controlled with the help of a professional. If you nevertheless appreciate this person, do not hesitate to try to convince him to seek specialized assistance. After all, deep down, a narcissist will never be happy with that attitude.