Have you been called a narcissist? It’s a label that is being thrown around a lot these days and before you react, defend or attack, take a minute to hear what Dr. Hawkins has to say on how to respond to a narcissist label.
Unfortunately labels can be used as a weapon, and this can cause great harm, but they can also provide insight into the underlying cause of the issues or symptoms you are experiencing whether it’s with your physical or mental health or your relationship.
If you’ve been labeled a narcissist, ask a couple of people in your life who can provide an objective perspective, to take this assessment we created called the Narcissism and Emotional Abuse Inventory. It is a tool we created to provide insight into whether you have narcissistic tendencies and highlights the specific behaviors in question.
How to Respond to a Narcissist Label
Hello, I’m Dr. David Hawkins, director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute. It’s no fun to be labeled anything, unless of course, we’re labeled loving, kind, and generous. But what if the label is something like being labeled a narcissist? I have four points that I want you to consider.
Choose Your Response
The first step in dealing with being labeled a narcissist is to choose how you want to respond. Do you want to react aggressively, or do you want to respond thoughtfully? It’s crucial to recognize that there’s a difference between reacting and responding. A reaction is often impulsive and emotional, while a response is more considered and rational.
Understand the Label
Narcissism is a label that represents a spectrum of behaviors. At the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute, we don’t throw labels around lightly. Instead, we use labels as a way to represent broader patterns of thinking and behavior that need attention. Take some time to think through what the label means in your context. It’s essential to understand that this label does not define you entirely; it’s just a representation of certain behaviors or tendencies.
Embrace the Criticism
Rather than reacting defensively to the label, embrace the criticism. Understand that your partner may be using this label as a way to express concerns about your behavior. Instead of pushing back, invite her to share more about why she’s using this label. View her pointed finger not as a condemning gesture but as a plea for help. At the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute, we’re here to help you explore the meaning behind the label and work towards positive change.
Do the Work
The only way to truly address the issue is by doing the work. Defensive reactions might temporarily silence the criticism, but they won’t solve the problem. To make the criticism go away, you must be willing to sit with your partner’s pain, explore her concerns, and make the necessary changes. Doing the work involves being open to self-examination and taking responsibility for your behavior.
In summary, being labeled a narcissist is not the end of the world. It’s essential to choose your response carefully, understanding that the label represents a range of behaviors. Embrace the criticism as an opportunity for growth and do the necessary work to address your partner’s concerns. By approaching the situation with compassion and a willingness to change, you can work together to build a healthier and more fulfilling relationship.
Also read: How to Confront Narcissism With Intervention
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.