Handling narcissistic behaviour
Many of my clients come for help in dealing with a difficult person in their lives.
It may be a partner, a mother, father, son or daughter. Sometimes it can be a relief to know that you are dealing with someone with narcissistic traits.
A person with narcissistic traits will have high opinions of themselves and be publicly kind and compassionate but at home & privately may be emotionally abusive and/or neglectful. They are rarely wrong and have great difficulty apologising for their behaviour. When challenged about their behaviour, they may become outraged and punish you in some way for challenging them. Narcissists have difficulty feeling empathy for others and therefore are regularly abusive in their relationships with others and ambivalent about the impact they have on those around them. Whenever I write an article regarding narcissistic behaviour, I am reminded of the question most clients ask me in my practice- but how do I deal with narcissistic behaviour? How do I manage my contact with this difficult person in my life? If you regularly feel put down, criticised, manipulated or humiliated by the person in question, it may be wise to not see this person on your own. Narcissists have a very different private face to their public face and generally will not show their narcissistic behaviour in front of those outside their immediate family.
Bring a friend or understanding family member with you when you have contact with someone displaying narcissistic traits. Be clear about your boundaries- you may have to become a broken record in terms of telling the person in question when you are or are not available to them. Try not to get absorbed into the feeling that you are not good enough which a narcissist tries to impose on those around them. Remember that keeping your own energy and mental health positive is what is most important. Ask yourself if contact with the person in question boosts your energy or drains it. How often would you like to see this person if you could make that choice yourself without any guilt or fear? If you find it difficult to create and maintain healthy boundaries with this person, speaking to a close friend , counsellor or understanding family member may help you to be clearer on the kind of relationship you want to have with the person in question. Remember that the only person who has difficulty accepting your boundaries will be a person who has been overstepping them.