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  • Reverend James Squire

How to Care for the Narcissist in Your Life

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

We have heard the term narcissistic personality frequently in the course of conversations about Donald Trump. I have had a good number of narcissists in counseling. They are very difficult to assist to get to a better place for themselves and those who are in their social orbit.

One of the experts on narcissistic personalities is a lawyer, Rebecca Zung, who has had to deal with them a great deal in her legal practice as they are often involved in divorce proceedings.

Zung states on her website what creates a narcissistic personality, their traits that make them difficult to deal with, and what you need to know to survive a relationship with them. She is regarded by some as “The Best Lawyer in America”.

To paraphrase Ms. Zung, Esq: “narcissists deny, deflect, devalue, dismiss, and gas light others making you feel crazy. They lie, manipulate others about everything, intimidate and triangulate shifting any blame to someone or something else. They can’t apologize for anything.” Bullies are narcissists.

How can you possibly feel any degree of empathy for them as they often engender anger, frustration, and strong dislike from others. But empathy is needed for any change to occur.

Narcissistic personalities have very little sense of self or values. This means that they cannot sense affirmation from within themselves. They crave external affirmation from others. If you can see them as people with a hollow core where they do anything to get that sense of self that is within “normal” people, this will be helpful to you. If you see them as fighting for their very psychological survival that is what it is like to be them. Their external manifestation of self is so off putting that most people will reject them. External affirmation is the very air that keeps them psychologically alive. They can’t get enough of it.

Narcissists respond to honest feedback to them. They have a powerful need to control for they need to control responses to them because their internal affirming voice is not loud enough to not be threatened.

If you want to see how feedback can happen in a real exchange go to an online interview that Barbara Walters had with Donald Trump on August 17, 1990. There is a paradox that they act so callous, cool, even cruel because they are so afraid.

I have also learned that if you stay with a person long enough then you will be able to see the good in them. It can feel like an eternity when you can finally see the good that is in a narcissist. What will also help is to be aware that we all possess narcissistic personality traits within us. Fortunately, we can keep them in check. Our posture should be humility in trying to help them realizing “there but for the grace of God go I”.

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