Since my last article was posted on my page, I have been speaking about this topic with several friends of mine. It helped many of them to understand their own selves, the people around them, maybe even their partner.
However, they also asked that in case they are facing an Extreme Narcissistic person, how can they be managed. In other words, how can they be moved downwards on the narcissism scale, towards the Healthy Narcissism?
So, I have brought you some hints and tips for that.
If you have the Extreme Narcissistic person in your private life, it can be a good method to use the so-called empathy encouragement. It means that you emphasise the importance of your relationship with the person and after that you definitely need to articulate your feelings you have inside.
For example: “Darling, you know that you are the most important to me in the world. When I talk about a big pain of mine and there is no reaction from your end to it, I feel deeply humiliated, disregarded and sad.”
With this technique you can let them know that what they do impacts us negatively. It is important to note here, that everyone can only work on their own issues, if they realise that it is an issue and they admit it. Therefore, if this Extreme Narcissistic person still doe not want to admit that he made a mistake and he/she does not show their willingness to change, it is worth thinking about us cutting this relationship or friendship short for our own good.
The Extreme Narcissistic, who is not willing to change, after a sentence similar to the above can do the followings: he/she makes us feel that we are criticising, attacking them; can start to defend themselves (“I had no time to deal with this”); can avoid answering or can divert the topic; can blame us (“Come on, you are not right feeling this, it is not the case”).
In case you encounter with an Extreme Narcissistic person in your workplace that can also have a huge impact on your everyday life. In this case it is not advisable to criticise their behaviour or point out their mistakes. This is just fuel to the fire, as they will become angry and start to deny everything, to defend themselves, maybe they even start to attack us.
A good solution can be however, if we emphasise the importance of the connection of you two. You can show them how beneficial it can be if they become more cooperative, understanding, and caring.
During this technique one of the most important things is to defend ourselves. Documenting all the evidences, such as e-mails, which can support our side – we can never know when we will be in the need of a concrete example. Furthermore, it is also worth pointing out how successfully you can both reach the work goal if the behaviour is changed. With this you can connect the Extreme Narcissistic person to a vision, because of which they might be willing to change their behaviour. An effective format of this can be the question-request duo.
For Example: “Could you please help me understand how does this help us in reaching the goal? What would you exactly like me to do? What are your concrete suggestions?”
Another technique is the assertive reflection on the other person’s supressed emotions. In this case basically you “say back” the emotions that you think they are having behind their non-appropriate behaviour. For example, if they would like to pass over their inner tension about work, you can react the flowing way:
“I understand that this task is very important to be done perfectly and you feel the personal responsibility for that. What are your biggest doubts? If we talk this through, maybe we can get closer to the solution.”
It is important that in case of an Extreme Narcissistic you shouldn’t only want to change the bad behaviour. It is also very advantageous to give a positive feedback about their good behaviour. If you highlight that in a certain case how well they reacted, how empathetic they were, it can be very convincing and motivating for them. Afterwards, when we feel again, that something has gone wrong, we can oppose this new incident with the past good example. It is also important to use “we” all the time, with this also changing their “I” focus to the “us” focus.
For example: “It was great when last week on the meeting you could react positively to the disagreeing opinions. I felt that it created for us the team-level trust and openness. I noticed that today it was not the case, and it decreased my enthusiasm. I like it a lot more when you behave like you did last week.”
And last but not least, another technique which can be used perfectly either in personal or work life.
This is the Non-Violent or Assertive Communication.
The main point here is to tell in a straightforward way what the problem is and how it should be changed.
The 3-step version of it is the following:
- what we feel
- what the fact, the situation is that induced it
- what the desired change is that we ask for
For example: “I felt really frustrated and humiliated, when you said yesterday that I do not work well, and you left me alone. Next time, could you please not judge me but help me understand in exactly which areas I would need improvement?”
All the above hints and tips are functional in case of an Extreme Narcissistic who I willing to change. If we see that no matter how much we try, but we cannot find a common ground, we need to think about quitting this toxic connection. ¤
Source: Dr. Craig Malkin – Rethinking Narcissism