Talking to a narcissist can be a challenging and draining experience. Dr. David Hawkins, the director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute, has been shedding light on the traits of highly narcissistic individuals. In this article, we will explore the tendency of narcissists to act as if they don’t need to hear what they don’t want to hear. Understanding this behavior is crucial for empowerment and making informed choices in our interactions with narcissistic individuals.
The Unyielding Need to Be Right
At the core of narcissistic behavior is an unyielding need to always be right. This rigid belief system forms the foundation for subsequent traits, creating an environment where any form of dissent is met with resistance. Narcissists, in their quest for supremacy, establish a psychological fortress that shields them from any opposing views.
The Attitude of Superiority
A pervasive attitude of superiority permeates the behavior of highly narcissistic individuals. Dr. Hawkins highlights this trait as a fundamental element, as narcissists view themselves as a cut above everyone else. This elevated sense of self-worth leads to an inherent disregard for the opinions and perspectives of others.
Resistance to Challenge: A Shield Against Vulnerability
Narcissists actively resist being challenged, projecting an image of invulnerability. In their minds, challenging their views is an affront to their perceived superiority. This resistance becomes a psychological defense mechanism, shielding them from the discomfort of self-reflection or acknowledgment of faults.
Permission to Be Hurtful: A Disturbing Entitlement
A disturbing entitlement accompanies narcissistic behavior – the permission to be hurtful. Narcissists grant themselves the license to inflict emotional harm on others without remorse. This entitlement further fortifies their belief in their inherent right to act in ways that may be harmful or destructive.
Acting Dismissive: Your Opinions Don’t Matter
Adding to the complex tapestry of narcissistic traits is the tendency to act dismissive. Highly narcissistic individuals dismiss the opinions of others, creating an environment where only their thoughts and feelings hold significance. This dismissiveness reinforces their sense of superiority and further isolates those attempting to communicate with them.
Acting Like They Don’t Need to Hear What They Don’t Want to Hear
This trait of highly narcissistic individuals revolves around their apparent refusal to hear anything contrary to their own beliefs or desires. Dr. Hawkins describes it as though they have a layer of Teflon, making it challenging to penetrate their self-constructed barriers. This trait, while distinct, is intricately interwoven with the preceding traits, creating a formidable challenge for effective communication.
The Impact on Communication: Feeling Silenced and Invalidated
Talking to a narcissist reveals their reluctance to listen. Whether overtly expressing disinterest or employing defensive tactics such as justification or minimization, narcissists create an environment where opposing viewpoints are disregarded. The impact on the other party is profound – a sense of being silenced, pushed away, and invalidated.
Empowerment in Communication: Strategies for Interaction
Dealing with a highly narcissistic individual requires strategic communication. Dr. Hawkins proposes three main strategies:
- Hold to Your Truths: Despite the dismissive behavior, it is crucial to hold onto your beliefs, thoughts, and feelings. This self-validation is essential for maintaining a sense of self in the face of narcissistic resistance.
- Make Your Truths Clear: Clearly communicate your perspectives and opinions. Making your truths explicit helps establish boundaries and reinforces your right to your own thoughts and feelings.
- Express the Consequences: Let the narcissist know that they can disregard your truths, but there will be consequences. This is not a threat but a clear statement of the potential impact on the relationship. It’s about setting boundaries and asserting your needs.
Communication Across Relationships: Tailoring Strategies
While the outlined strategies are universally applicable, the approach may need customization based on the nature of the relationship. Whether it’s a coworker, friend, boss, or spouse, the dynamics of each relationship will influence the implementation of these communication strategies.
The Art of Assertion: A Balancing Act
Effectively asserting oneself in a relationship with a narcissist requires a delicate balance. Dr. Hawkins emphasizes the importance of holding one’s ground while being mindful of the nature of the relationship. Whether it’s a workplace interaction or an intimate partnership, the art of assertion becomes a crucial skill in navigating the intricate dynamics.
Conclusion: Understanding for Informed Choices
In comprehending the traits of highly narcissistic individuals, particularly their inclination to avoid hearing what they don’t want to hear, we empower ourselves to navigate these challenging interactions. It’s about holding onto our truths, making them clear, and expressing the consequences of dismissing our perspectives. While discomfort may accompany such assertiveness, it is a necessary step toward fostering healthier relationships and safeguarding our emotional well-being. Understanding narcissistic behavior is not about changing them but about making informed choices in our interactions, promoting personal growth, and maintaining boundaries that protect our mental and emotional health.
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Also read: Why Narcissists Always Put You Down?
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.