How to talk to a narcissist? (How to guide)

How to talk to a narcissist?
JuanitaHFNE

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behaviour, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.

In this guide, we will discuss how to talk to a narcissist, some tips and tricks.

How to talk to a narcissist?… and not lose your mind in the process

Dealing with a narcissist is not an easy task, they can even make you feel as if you are going insane and they actually enjoy it. However, the easiest thing to do would be not talking to them, but what if you actually have to because you live with one or work with one?

True narcissists don’t care how you feel. Although you can talk to them and try and explain yourself and come to an agreement on the situation at hand, they frankly might not care at all. Therefore, talking as though whatever they say won’t have an effect on you is a great way to deal with a narcissist. Therefore focusing on the bigger picture, which is, you want to explain and state your opinion, as long as they are voiced the rest does not matter.

Remember the strength of perspective means seeing the bigger picture. You cannot control or change the other person, but you can take control over the impact they can have on you as well as how you feel in the end. Ask yourself what matters most in the situation. Do not give the narcissist power over your thoughts and feelings. You are completely entitled, it is important to remember this when talking to a narcissist.

How to talk to a narcissist? (How to guide)

Identify your strengths and use them to your advantage. Whether he/she appears as charming, direct or a good communicator, remember just because you are not a narcissist doesn’t mean a narcissist should have power over you, even if they are deemed to have stronger personality traits than you do. 

It is important to understand that being narcissistic or having some of the traits won’t automatically make someone diagnosable with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. If you do have to interact with someone with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder the best thing to do is disassociate yourself from the situation so it won’t let it affect you.

Characteristics of a Narcissist

Either if you are dealing with someone with just a few narcissistic personality traits or someone with a diagnosis of a narcissistic personality disorder, you can find certain commonalities as follows:

  • Narcissists exhibit a pervasive sense of grandiosity: they need to be admired by others and will show no empathy towards your feelings, problems or difficulties others are having. They will even attempt to shift the conversation back to them as soon as you start expressing your thoughts or feelings. 

They have an exaggerated sense of self-importance and will let you know whenever they have the chance how great and magnificent that they are at pretty much everything. 

  • Sense of entitlement: they feel they are entitled to special treatment and won’t let anyone question them, because, after all, they are special and better than everyone else. They are always expecting people to fulfill their expectations and meet their demands. 
  • Manipulating for their personal gain: they will manipulate, use and exploit anyone if they need something no matter if they hurt them in the process. 

Why do narcissists have the ability to get under your skin?

You may have noticed so far that having interactions or a relationship with a narcissist can become stressful, frustrating and exhausting. Additionally, relationships with narcissistic are characterized for being toxic and abusive because they have the ability to make you feel vulnerable and won’t let you forget it. 

When talking to a narcissist, there are a few things you need yo consider or things you should avoid. If you don’t learn how to talk to a narcissist it can compromise your mental health and your self-esteem. 

One of the main key aspects is not letting a narcissist’s speech define who you are since they are prone to lying and manipulating. 

How to talk to a narcissist? (How to guide)

Tip 1: Call them out, let them know you know they are lying

Before you do this, remember that they will probably get angry, act confused or quickly try to deny the facts. So it depends on the type of relationship you have with them that determines if this is actually a good idea. 

When a narcissist lies, they won’t admit they are lying or they won’t accept they have done something wrong. Just keep a calm and peaceful mood but make sure you let them know that they are lying and avoid engaging in an endless argument, state your point and that’s it.

Tip 2: Get to know the actual truth 

Never believe what a narcissist says, always contrast with facts and try to find the truth because they will try to give you “their truth” or a biased version of it. A narcissist thinks they are perfect and better than anyone else but the truth is that deep down they lack self-confidence and need to “feed” of compliments and attention to feel better about themselves. 

Understanding them and their nature can help you learn how to talk to them but you should never accept being abused just because they have a problem. 

Tip 3: Set boundaries

 Always set boundaries with them and stay put. This will help you engage with them but always having in mind what you are willing to do and what you are not willing to endure when having a relationship with a narcissist. 

When you are clear about those boundaries then under no circumstance you should let them cross them. This will remind them they can’t control or manipulate you. 

How to talk to a narcissist? (How to guide)

Tip 4: Be extra careful

When you are having a conversation with a narcissist remember to think twice what you are going to say next because they can and will use anything you say against you. If you have set the boundaries then don’t let them breach them, otherwise, they will keep doing it over and over again. 

As we mention, they can use anything you say against you to discredit you and make you feel diminished and vulnerable. They will attempt to make you lose your temper so they know they have won, so try not to fall into the trap. 

Tip 5: Stop sharing too much about your personal life

Avoid sharing with them your deepest secrets and fears no matter how charming and sweet they are, this is just their strategy to gain information and remember, knowledge is power. As soon as you stop sharing everything in your life you will leave them powerless. 

How to talk to a narcissist? (How to guide)

 Tip 6: decide whether you stay or go

This is probably the most difficult part since sometimes you may feel you can’t leave that easy because it is your spouse and you have kids with him/her or it is your mother or a sibling but drawing the line in the sand and keep some distance can help you decide if you would like to keep them in your life but with little to regular contact or just remove them entirely. 

How to build a shield to protect myself from getting hurt?

When you deal with a narcissist and engage into an argument there is only one of two outcomes, wither they get what they want, that is, hurt your feelings or you totally arm yourself with the “I don’t care what he/she is saying, I am not that person”. 

The best thing to do when talking to a narcissist is not letting them detect your emotional state. If they do then they will use it to get inside your head and control you, basically, they live under the principle that controlling someone’s emotional state means controlling the person. 

Also, try using humor and with to distract them from the behavior they are engaging in. Mostly, narcissists are known for their sense of humor and wit so if you can appeal to that side of them you can distract them from their current behavior. 

Another good idea is to separate your feelings from theirs. They may feel angry at first because you are not empathetic enough or don’t share their emotions, but they need to understand that their feelings are not necessarily yours. 

Lastly, when we are in a narcissistic relationship is because we are naive enough to believe everything they say to be true. Don’t hesitate if that gut feeling is telling you there is something not right or that they are actually telling you just part of the truth, their own version. 

Why is this blog about how to talk to a narcissist, important?

You may be tired, frustrated and about to give up on someone in your life that displays narcissistic traits or has a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Having a relationship with someone narcissistic can become very difficult, toxic and even abusive in some cases. 

If you decide to keep them in your life because “you must” or you feel like you can’t leave them alone then try to learn how to talk to them to avoid getting hurt as much as possible. There is no exact formula or recipe, every relationship with a narcissist can be very different but getting to know how they think might save you from problems. 

Feel free to comment in the comments section below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about how to talk to a narcissist

How do you talk to a narcissist?

There are a few tips you can use to talk to a narcissist about their narcissistic behavior according to Psychology Today:

Ask clarifying questions
Use humor and wit
Separate the behavior from the person
Ask directly whether they are narcissists or not

Do narcissists play the victim?

Narcissists do not tend to play the victim because they think so highly about themselves, they consider this behavior as degrading. 

Do narcissists give gifts?

Narcissists will give gifts but rest assured there is a reason behind it. They won’t proactively do it, their main goal is to maintain the relationship with you and keep the control. They will probably buy you expensive gifts so they can be appraised and acknowledge how “awesome” they are. 

What are the 9 traits of a narcissist?

According to the Mayo Clinic, here are some of the traits of a narcissist:

Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance.
Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration.
Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it.
Exaggerate achievements and talents.
Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate.

Are Narcissists mean?

Narcissists pride themselves in being mean and hurting other people because of they lack empathy, they do not acknowledge or care about other people’s feelings. The worst thing is that they won’t accept they have done something wrong or that they have hurt other people with their behavior. 


Recommended reading

References 

Learning-mind.com/how-to-talk-to-a-narcissist/

Medium.com: How to Talk to Someone with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder)

Psytalk.info/articles/narcissist.html

Blog.melanietoniaevans.com

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