Is There a Narcissist, Bully or Guilt-Tripper in Your Life?
Beautiful Ladies – Do you have a Narcissist in your life? Narcissists have NO empathy, compassion or feelings for anyone but themselves. Have you ever had someone say something so upsetting to you that you found yourself ticking off a list of counterarguments to dispute their assertions? You obsess on what you should have said. You get sucked into rehashing the conversation, ruminating about similar, past incidents, and chatting up a storm about it with your BFF.
This person pushes your buttons and you must figure out just the right thing to say or do to deal with them? the problem is when dealing with narcissists, bullies, guilt-trippers, and manipulators, your “counterarguments” and explanations do nothing but feed their thirst for strife and turmoil. What they really want is control, and you give them control when you react heatedly when they push your buttons.
Stop letting that difficult person get a rise out of you whenever they want simply by spewing negativity and nonsense your way. Take a breath. Walk away. Don’t engage them in more conversation. They’ve lost the privilege to communicate with you. Set boundaries. Focus on what you need to do to move forward and do it. Actions speak louder than words. Emotionally unhealthy people will attempt to pull you into arguments by saying things they know will make you want to defend yourself. Don’t bother. Some criticisms don’t deserve a response. Save your energy, keep your peace and let them argue by themselves.
Here are some tips to deactivate the buttons others like to push.
- Don’t say, “It’s not about you.”
Oh, but it is to a narcissist everything is all about them. They have tunnel vision, they are not nurturers, they could care less about you. It’s their world and you’re just living in it.
2. Don’t say, “You’re not listening.”
It’s not that a narcissist won’t listen to the woeful tale of how you injured your knee while jogging—it’s that they can’t they simply don’t care. Stopping to listen would mean acknowledging the deep-seated insecurity at the root of all their problems. Instead of explaining, take a different tack. “Can I tell you how my surgery went?” goes over far better than “I cannot believe you haven’t even asked about my surgery!” Chances are you won’t get more than a few words in.
3. Don’t say, “You didn’t come up with that”
A narcissist sustains themselves with boastful, outsized claims that make them feel important—friendships with celebrities! awards!—even when those claims are some version of a lie. Correcting them only reinforces her low self-esteem and her fear that everyone will find out what they already believe: that they’re not good enough. Simply stating hmm ok wow that’s amazing and leaving it at that will avoid confrontation and fights.
- 4. Don’t say, “Do you think it might be your fault?”
Nothing is ever their fault. Lost job, broken relationship, financial ruin—whatever befalls them in life can be blamed on something or someone else, bad parenting, bad luck, anything but their own flawed decision-making. Narcissists do not take responsibility for their actions. Because a narcissist’s fragile sense of self-depends on a carefully constructed, idealized version of herself, any criticism of her actions feels like an attack—to which she responds in kind. Ouch.
- 5. Don’t say, “You’re being a bully.”
There’s a predictable script when you’re talking to a narcissist. They want/need/expect something from you. The tone becomes adversarial and then heated. they insist you’re selfish and threaten to withhold something from you: love, support, control, power. The fact that it’s hurtful to you is irrelevant; they don’t care how you feel because they don’t understand how you feel. Explaining your feelings—if you can get them to even listen—is better than calling them a bully, which is likely to make them double down on their outrageous position.
- 6. Don’t say, “You’re acting like a victim.”
Here’s the thing: There is no playing. they really do view themselves as a victim. Narcissistic behavior is often a way to protect oneself and mask vulnerability.
7. Don’t say, “It’s not a competition.”
For narcissists, everything is a contest—who makes more money, who grills a better burger, who the red lipstick looks better on. Shine up your halo because, in this case, the best thing to do is see the narcissist’s need to win as a function of their self-worth, and let them have it. The less you care about the score, the less they will feel the need to compete.
8. Don’t say, “Let it go.”
A narcissist is, after all, so much better (stronger, smarter, richer) than whoever hurt or challenged them. Either way, the one to let it go needs to be you. Listen until you’re all out of ears, and then proceed to the nearest restorative yoga class and call it a day.