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Communication with a Narcissist can be very difficult and confusing. Facial expressions do not always match the situation, and even what is communicated through words can be frustrating and irrelevant. You might experience a mixture of emotions that you are fond of. Knowing how to make effective communication with a narcissist is important to keep your sanity.
Traits of a Narcissist
It is very important to understand the traits of a narcissist in order to communicate with them. A narcissist may:
- Show arrogance
- Be envious
- Be interpersonally exploitative
- Have a sense of entitlement
- Believe they are unique and special
- Preoccupied with fantasies of brilliance, power, unlimited success, ideal love or beauty
- Have a magnificent sense of self-importance
- Needs excessive admiration
- Exploits others without shame or guilt
- Demeans, intimidates, bullies, or belittles others frequently
Like other personality disorders, narcissism is ego-syntonic. It means people with high narcissism degrees neither feel that they have a problem nor need to change them.
Furthermore, narcissists suffer from a never-ending need to feel completely fulfilled, feeling distressed to find the people who will admire them and validate their ego of feeling specialness. And when they cannot find anyone, they feel high-level self-promotion and misdirected rage.
Language that Narcissists Speak
People suffering from NPD or Narcissistic Personality Disorder are masters of their language as they use words to coerce, deceive, manipulate, mislead, and seduce. They have no misgivings when it comes to spouting vitriolic and rancorous abuse at their victims.
Their preferred method of manipulation is verbal trickery. Besides, they have the tendency to say the right thing at the right time to belittle, degrade, and confuse the other person. They devalue others or their victims intentionally to make them feel worthless so that they may dominate and control them to their will.
Empaths are often left traumatized with emotional pain by the bombardment that seems to be endless. Those at the receiving end become mentally crippled, not knowing how to escape or even understand what is happening.
Therefore, it is important to get aware and educate yourself regarding the callous and sadistic language of narcissists. Whether you have come across a narcissist before or have been fortunate enough to never deal with the one, you still want to know about their behavior because only then can you identify one. Knowing their ways helps you create a protective shield against their attacks and prepare yourself to communicate with a narcissist effectively.
Make an Attentive Listener Out of a Narcissist
While talking to someone with characteristics of an NPD, it is appreciated by that person if you carefully listen to them and admire all that is being said with the focus on their ideas and accomplishments. Narcissists look for recognition while finding it hard to empathize with your ideas and thoughts at the same time.
Moreover, you may find them to go on unstoppably as they are with you, listening mindfully to all they have to say. There is a sense of self-importance in narcissists that needs affirmation. Behind the overestimation of their abilities may lay an intense inferiority feeling which is quite surprising given what is spoken of. Indeed, there are many narcissists who are pretty accomplished and successful, which is important to them. So, talking about their endeavors is quite valuable to their self-esteem.
However, if you feel that your responses are not being reacted to too kindly, you may be talking more about yourself than they are interested in. It could also be because the narcissist feels envious of your achievements and does not want to elaborate on them with you.
It would help if you did not take it personally as it indicates more of what the narcissist needs for them than you. Instead, give the narcissist a sense that you find them special, and they will become an attentive listener.
Narcissists Want To Be Center Of Attention
If you want to be in their favor, you may choose to go along and focus on them principally. Above all, some special events for the narcissist, like their birthday, make a concerted effort to keep them in the limelight. There is no doubt that the narcissist can be quite charming and light the room by getting the much-needed attention they have been seeking.
How to Talk to Narcissists?
Being a human, you are in a constant state of communication with yourself and others. The most significant factor for effective communication is empathy. But, what do you expect when you attempt to communicate with a person who can’t be empathetic?
Communicating with someone narcissistic can be extremely overwhelming. It leads to one-sided communication dominated by them. You can feel it impossible to get your emotions, logic, and thoughts across to a narcissist.
If you feel that you are failing at communicating effectively with a narcissist, here are some ways or techniques that are specially customized to narcissistic tendencies.
Don’t Take It Personal.
Narcissists have the tendency to have behaved in a harmful manner, and you may feel like you are being attacked personally. But, keep in mind that they show their arrogant attitude and behavior toward everyone they have interpersonal relationships. They don’t discriminate. Knowing that their insecurities are the reasons behind the negative behavior will help manage your response to them. It will help you become less reactive and prevent you from escalating the conversation.
Besides, take time to respond as it will help to lessen the probability of becoming the conversation more negative. Time is of the essence while negotiating with issues loaded with emotions. Try not to let your emotions take over to communicate with a narcissist. Do not respond out of emotion and quickly. If you act out of emotions, it may frustrate both parties and lead to coming out of things that none of you intends to say.
The blame game makes you reach nowhere. Most importantly, narcissists will never admit their fault, so there is no point in arguing who is to blame. Narcissists rely utterly on their image that reflects them as being faultless. They will blame you for any negative emotions that they are feeling. Thus, an argument about even the smallest or irrelevant issue can escalate fiercely and quickly. You won’t even know when an important petty argument would become the reason behind ending the relationship. Narcissists spend their entire relationship knowing how to push your buttons, and they will do all they can in their power to make you feel small and insignificant.
Paraphrase What They Express
A person with NPD has a need for constant admiration at its core. So, it is important to be attentive and show them that you are engaged utterly. These paraphrasing techniques are a useful way to get the message apart from allowing the narcissist to hear them.
Praise, Confront, Compliment and Repeat
Narcissists have a bad image due to their negative interpersonal behaviors. Ridiculing and shaming are not going to get you anywhere with them. Instead, try the method of praising and complimenting them.
Narcissists need admiration like water and air. Using positive statements about them while talking to them, such as complimenting their personality or how grateful you are in your life, soothes their lack of self-esteem temporarily. Their insecurities make narcissists sensitive to criticism, making communication with them really hard. It feels like walking on eggshells. Keeping in mind that their insecurity and fear drive them to do and say inconsiderate things will help you to avoid letting your emotions take over. Complimenting them fulfils the need of narcissists to be admired and allows you to express yourself freely.
Talk Less (Communication with a Narcissist)
While communicating with someone narcissistic, keep your conversations and interactions as short as possible. It is next to impossible for narcissists to feel empathy and show intimacy as they have an impairment in interpersonal function. When you expand the communication, it opens the door for such impairment.
Do less talking and more listening. Avoid revealing anything about yourself. Regardless of how nice they may see, narcissists do not change. If you want to spend time with them, watch a movie or web series. Besides, if the conversation seems to get out of your hands, get up to use the bathroom or drink water. Keeping your distance and giving yourself space may help you.
Do Not Take the Bait
No matter whether you have the blame or not, narcissists are revengeful. They will waste no time throwing your past flaws at you, from the one a year ago to how you are behaving now. They want to get the maximum response they can get out of you. By ignoring the insult, you can avoid an irrelevant fight. If you reach the bait, it is likely to escalate things, and you will give the narcissist exactly what they need on a silver platter- your pain.
So, don’t let them get under your skin. Don’t feel the need to explain or defend yourself constantly. As you know, a narcissist rarely listens, so it will be exhausting trying to make your point.
The Bottom Line
By now, you must have known that communicating with a person with NPD is quite tricky to navigate. Preparation and clear boundaries can help you avoid feeling ridiculed, rude, guilty or worse. So, follow the tips mentioned above to communicate with a narcissist and keep your sanity.