Have you ever had to deal with an individual who possesses a self-inflated ego? Or maybe a person with an ego that is full of grandiosity? Or who has been diagnosed with a personality disorder?

It could be a family member, a close friend or a lover, etc., and he or she is being referred to as a narcissist.

Have you noticed him or her has no problem telling a lie to further inflate their ego?

That's because a narcissist is a lover of any type of attention, whether positive or negative attention.

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But, who exactly is a narcissist?

Be careful, you should not try to diagnose someone on your own. An expert such as a counselor, psychologist or a psychiatrist can only determine if an individual meets the criteria of any of the personality disorders.  In short, a person with narcissist personality is someone who possesses an extreme selfish or “attention seeking” personality trait that it interferes with their relationships at home, work and in social settings.

But do you know that narcissism is not an all bad behavior? In fact, a healthy degree of the personality trait makes a well-balanced and strong character.

It is, however, a negative trait when it is described as a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). At this point, a diagnosis will require that specific criterion is met.

Having to deal with a narcissist can be quite an ordeal, right?

Well, here are 8 things you must avoid with a narcissist to evade or reduce being hurt.

1. Set clear boundaries with a narcissists

The first you should do to keep yourself at arm's length from getting hurt is to getting too involved with a narcissist. But it is, however, difficult to do so if the person is a family member.

Also, it is hard to tell if a person is a narcissist or not because they are very good at disguising during the early stages of their relationship with others.

Here are a few tips to help you identify narcissists

  • You may notice signs of anger in the body language of a narcissist who is prevented from dominating a group conversation. That's because more often than not, narcissists love dominating a conversation.
  • Do you know what you should do when entering into any form of relationship with someone you barely know? Cultivate the habit of complimenting people who are deserving of compliment in the presence of that person.

Now, do you know what will happen if that new friend of yours is a narcissist?  He or she is most likely going to object to your habit of praising people in his/her presence.

2. Avoid paying attention to everything a narcissist does or says

Narcissists can easily get you distracted from your goals with their attempt to get your attention.

Refrain yourself from being unsettled by the “attention seeking” attempts of a narcissist. Do not respond to everything he or she does.

Do all you can to create a balance between focusing on your own sense of purpose and acknowledging his or her feelings.

3. Be in control of your feelings

Be aware of your own emotional reactions and take a break if you feel you’re going to lose your temper or control of a situation. Sometimes, you don’t want a narcissist to notice you are being emotionally ruffled by his or her attitude. Causing others pain is something narcissists, in general, derive pleasure in doing.

The narcissist is most likely going to get tired of trying to hurt you if you can consistently show control over your own feeling.

4. Avoid losing your self-esteem   

You haven't lost your self-esteem as a result of having a narcissist in your family, have you? For no reason must you be bullied into losing your self-esteem by the narcissist family member.

Know this, he or she will always want to be the one to decide what is and isn't reasonable in the family. And trust me; the narcissist will always be confident in his or her judgments.

But you can build or maintain your self-esteem and that of other members of the family, by questioning the judgments of the narcissist when necessary.

5. Avoid being confrontational

I have already stated above that narcissists have no problem fabricating stories to enhance their egos. And it is a well-known fact that false stories often contain inconsistencies.

Naturally, you will feel the urge to confront the narcissist about his or her lies. But that isn't advisable if you are the caregiver to the person.

The result of you confronting the narcissist could mean alienation from him or her. As a caregiver, alienation isn't always a good option.

6. Avoid being overly dependent on a narcissist

A narcissist will try to create dependency on him or her, but you must do your utmost best to avoid that. You will be able to command the respect of the narcissist if you can be self-dependent to a reasonable extent.

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You can even go a step further by making him or her have a degree of dependence on you. One way you could do so is by taking some procurement responsibilities.

7. Do not accept a narcissist false accusation of you

Narcissists are often fond of accusing another of the very things or attitudes they are culpable of.

While such false accusations are often done in your absence (e.g. to your boss at your place of work, or with friends). Narcissists are also bold enough to accuse you of a trait they know they are culpable of.

They do this in order to make you feel you are wrong and they are blind. But no matter how convincing or confident they may sound, never accept their false accusations.

Of course, there is every tendency you will fall and accept their accusations. But you can refrain yourself from doing so by understanding that they are masters when it comes to convincing or confusing people.

8. Avoid falling for the ploy of a narcissist the second time

At the initial stage of your relationship with a narcissist, he or she is going to “love bomb” you. But as the relationship grows older, his or her real personality is going to manifest (i.e. the Narcissistic personality disorder).

Once you realize who he or she really is, do yourself a world of good and seek professional help. But that is going to hurt his or her inflated ego, and the narcissist is going to make a move to prevent that from happening.

He or she will revert to the charming ploy employed at the beginning of the relationship but don't be fooled. That doesn't mean the narcissist is sober or willing to “turn a new leaf”, the narcissist only wants to keep you until he or she is ready to dump you.

Understanding this ploy and avoiding falling for it, is going to help keep you from emotional harm's way.

Keeping in mind the above things when dealing with a narcissist will go a long way in helping you avoid any form of emotional ruffling.

For more information or to schedule appointment online, visit our couples counseling page or call 919-647-4600.

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