Narcissism and Caregiver Survival – 6 Top Strategies to Use When Communicating With a Narcissist
Are you caring for someone with narcissism? A conversation with a narcissist is always about their needs, wants and thoughts. Even though a normal conversation and relationship requires give and take between two people, caregivers will find out that with a narcissist, there is only one person that matters in their world. The ego of the individual is so self inflated and full of grandiosity. It is not above the narcissist to lie to further inflate their ego. They crave any attention, positive or negative. Any behavior or wild story that will draw attention to them can explain many of the irrational interactions you will observe when communicating with them.
The most important tip that I can give you when communicating with a narcissist is to avoid any contact at all with one. Some do not have the luxury of avoiding any contact. Some caregivers need to have contact to get a paycheck, some family members need a place to live, and others are the adult children that have been emotionally entwined in a very dysfunctional relationship. I will share with you the top 6 of the 20 strategies I have discovered to survive communicating with this self absorbed ego maniac. It takes an incredible amount of energy to have a conversation with a narcissist. They speak only about them and use you as a listening post.
Your first strategy is to decide how much time and energy you want to expend on this person at any one time. A conversation with them is basically one sided. You will not be able to get a word in. Should you be so lucky as to sneak in a word or two, it will not be heard, as they are already planning or saying their next thought.
Your second strategy, when expecting an encounter, is to plan an exit strategy before you begin your conversation. A narcissist has a very short attention span, so plan your words thoughtfully. Phrase your words so that it makes it sound as if the person will benefit from your remark. It will catch them off guard and you may get their attention for a very brief moment.
The third strategy is very important. Avoid being confrontational. There will be inconsistencies to their stories, even blatant lies. Ignore the lies and tall tales. These are individuals that think that they are always right. They do not care about your opinion. A confrontation with them will mean alienation from them. For some caregivers alienation is not an option. Many feel trapped in their situation.
Strategy number four is to never allow yourself to get to close or emotionally intimate with them. Maintain emotional distance from them. They do not respond as a normal person would, so do not expect them to have a caring or concerned response to you. You must learn to protect your heart and feelings when dealing with a narcissist. They are masters of manipulation. They will use your emotional intimacy against you and either push you away, make you a target of any of their anger or just avoid you entirely. They enjoy the attention of making you chase them to get back in their good graces. Some will just completely end any relationship with you if they feel that you have made them angry.
Research studies have done testing on individuals with narcissist personality disorder. They have shown that they have the ability to become violent and are capable of inflicting pain on any individual that they believe has not shown them the proper respect they believe they are entitled to be shown. It is very clear that an individual with this personality disorder can be very dangerous in any given situation. It is known as malignant narcissism for a reason.
The fifth strategy, a narcissistic individual has a short attention span. If you want to keep their attention the fifth strategy is important. You must complement them, and do it often. These are high maintenance individuals the need their ego stroked. The attention is so important to them that would not even notice an insincere compliment.
Survival of the caregiver when communicating or having any interaction with an aging narcissist is to learn to just listen. Narcissism is a personality disorder. An individual with this disorder is mentally, emotionally and at time physically draining. The sixth strategy is to listen and discover what they are trying to communicate. Ask pointed questions and appear interested in the conversation. When you find out what it is they want or need, make a fast exit.
Your time is valuable and the narcissist can be a master of stealing your valuable time. Set a limit of how much time and energy you have to give to them. When your time is up, quickly excuse yourself and run out of the room. Your mental and emotional survival is at stake.
Diane Carbo Registered Nurse has more than thirty five years in the nursing field. Her experience as a geriatric care manager, makes her uniquely qualified to help those caregivers and family members today who must deal with the narcissist. Diane has developed a web site to make people aware of issues and options.
You will find a mountain of helpful information that will be continually updated. Please visit learn narcissism communication. While visiting sign up for Aging Home Health Care Ezine her free newsletter and receive a take advantage of of her “Advocating For Yourself and Others E-course”.
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