Bring it to Barb


Dear Barb,

Is narcissism on the rise? Are we broadening the definition so much that everyone could be considered a little narcissistic? What is the best way to deal with a narcissist?

Saddened by the Trend


Dear Saddened,

Narcissists are only concerned with themselves and how something affects them. They want automatic compliance because they are that important. Whether conscious of it or not, they live life with a sense of entitlement and, for better or worse, expect the world to revolve around them. They detest waiting in lines, and need to win in virtually every domain – on the tennis court, at the office, heck, even in the community garden. They have to make themselves out to be superior to somebody else.

There is a very common thread underlying narcissistic patterns. It is the ability to manipulate your time and effort. The most frustrating thing about narcissistic personality disorder is that it is difficult to treat with therapy. As clients, they are unwilling to see that they have an issue. In relationships of any kind, it’s even more difficult to acknowledge since narcissists don’t see a problem with themselves.

The best way to deal with a narcissist is to have no expectations. Here are five things to never expect.

  1. NEVER expect compassion unless you are going to be giving them something in return. If your mother were in the hospital and you needed them to help, they would avoid you unless they were getting something for helping.
  2. NEVER expect them to listen. They will hear you, but never really pay attention unless of course the conversation pertains to them. Not someone you would choose to vent, they’re not even listening.
  3. NEVER expect anything for free. They keep tally on all that they do for others. Any favor will be kept silent track of, and an expectation of something out of you in return now or in the future. If it doesn’t benefit them, there is no point in doing anything for you.
  4. NEVER expect an apology. If something goes wrong it wasn’t their fault. As self-righteous bullies, they have no problem turning things around to hurt others rather than take responsibility for their actions or words.
  5. NEVER expect gratitude…ever. They notice what you haven’t done from them, never acknowledging what you have done for them. They will claim and gladly retell all that they have done for you however.

Narcissists truly cannot give of themselves for the sake of giving without expecting recognition, admiration and appreciation.

We all want recognition, and we all want to be admired and genuinely appreciated. Most balanced individuals understand that you earn these attributes by years of practicing the life motto: “doing unto others as you would want done to you.”

But narcissists must resort to demanding, manipulating or subliminally obligating others in order to achieve recognition at any cost. Narcissists live by the motto: “I’ll get them before they get me.” They deal with their hurt feelings and others’ disapproval by getting angry and seeking revenge, in one form or another.

My best advice is to run away quickly from those suspicious of absorbing all your time or energy in exchange for offering their friendship on their terms. It will never be enough and there will always be strings attached.

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