Recently Dr. Hawkins talked about why narcissists are so easily offended when you come to them with a concern about your relationship. Your natural reaction might be to tip-toe around the issue, leaving you feeling as if you are walking on eggshells all the time.
Alternatively, you might try to reason with them only to find yourself quickly sinking into emotional quicksand with no help in sight. Dr. Hawkins reveals 3 things not to do with narcissists and simple rules to remember when you find yourself the target of an easily offended narcissist.
3 Things Not to Do With Narcissists
Dealing with a narcissist can be an incredibly challenging and draining experience. If you find yourself in a relationship with a narcissistic individual, it’s essential to tread carefully and avoid falling into common traps that can exacerbate the situation. In this article, we will explore three critical things not to do when dealing with narcissists.
1. Don’t Tiptoe Around Them
One common mistake people make when dealing with narcissists is tiptoeing around them. Walking on eggshells, so to speak, may seem like a way to keep the peace and prevent conflicts, but it can ultimately enable the narcissist’s power and control over the relationship.
Dr. David Hawkins, the director of the Marriage Recovery Center, emphasizes the importance of not tiptoeing around narcissists. Doing so not only fails to help the narcissist grow but also sacrifices your own well-being and self-expression. It’s crucial to remember that narcissistic behavior is rooted in deep-seated issues within the narcissist themselves.
When you tiptoe around a narcissist, you are essentially allowing them to maintain their facade of superiority and invulnerability. This enables their unhealthy patterns of behavior to continue unchecked. It’s essential to stand up for your own needs and boundaries in the relationship.
2. Don’t Engage and Wrangle
On the other end of the spectrum, another mistake to avoid when dealing with a narcissist is engaging in constant arguments or attempting to talk them into seeing or feeling something differently. Narcissists can be remarkably resistant to self-reflection and change, and trying to force them into self-awareness often backfires.
Dr. Hawkins advises against engaging and wrangling with narcissists because it can lead to exhausting power struggles and emotional drain. It’s unlikely that you will be able to convince a narcissist to change their ways through argumentation or confrontation.
3. Find the Middle Ground
So, what’s the alternative to tiptoeing around or engaging in futile arguments with a narcissist? The key is to find the middle ground. This middle ground involves clear and assertive communication while maintaining your own emotional boundaries.
Instead of walking on eggshells or trying to change the narcissist, you can say something like, “I want to talk to you about [specific behavior].” When you bring up your concerns, it’s crucial to focus on the behavior itself rather than making personal attacks or assumptions about the narcissist’s character.
It’s important to understand that the narcissist may become offended or defensive when you bring up their behavior. This reaction is a result of their fragile ego and deep-seated insecurities. However, these reactions are their issues to deal with, not yours.
Stay on your side of the street by expressing your concerns calmly and assertively. Let the narcissist know that you expect them to listen and hear you. While it may be challenging for them to do so at first, practicing this communication style consistently can lead to positive changes over time.
Dr. Hawkins suggests saying something like, “I expect you to be able to hear me, listen to my feelings, and respond to my concerns.” While the narcissist may not meet these expectations immediately, holding them accountable for their behavior and communicating your needs assertively is an essential step toward maintaining a healthier relationship.
In conclusion, dealing with a narcissist requires a balanced approach. Tiptoeing around them and engaging in constant arguments are both counterproductive strategies. Instead, find the middle ground by assertively expressing your concerns about specific behaviors while maintaining your emotional boundaries.
Remember that the narcissist’s reactions are their issues to address, and as you practice this approach, you may see positive changes in the dynamics of your relationship. While it may not be easy, it’s essential to prioritize your well-being and self-expression when dealing with a narcissist.
Also read: Roadblocks to Change in a Relationship
About Dr. Hawkins:
The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.
Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.
He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.
In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.