7 keys to neutralizing a narcissist

Dealing with a narcissist is not easy, especially when it comes to someone close to you. We propose 7 tricks that you can use to neutralize some attitudes.

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Elena Sanz on October 28, 2021.

Last update: October 28, 2021

Dealing with a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not easy. It is estimated that between 1% and 15% of the population suffers from it. Neutralizing a narcissist requires a lot of boldness, intelligence, and to some extent a sense of otherness.

It should not be forgotten that, contrary to what is believed, narcissism is not a simple mask. It is a mental disorder in which the person has an excessive opinion about himself, lacks empathy and demands attention. It is not an invented construct, but rather that those affected truly believe that they are superior.

How can you neutralize a narcissist?

It is often thought that behind a narcissistic person is someone fragile or manipulable. Nothing is further from reality. Although there are narcissists who fit the profile, there are also others in which their ego and idolatry towards themselves is authentic. The popular profile of the disorder is disputed by researchers.

It is for all this that you must be very careful when dealing with these people. Since on many occasions this personality generates conflicts and problems, you will surely want to stay out of it. We propose 7 tricks to control a narcissist.

1. Learn to say no

When arguing with a narcissist, it is best to know how to stop with a resounding “no” when the situation gets out of control.

No is the magic word you must learn to neutralize a narcissist. It is the pillar that supports the other councils, one that you must assimilate sooner rather than later. He thinks that all of them want those around them to approve of their behaviors, their opinions and their actions.

They use different techniques for this, from manipulation to communication. If you learn to say no to his behaviors, his opinions, and his actions, then you will be building a solid barrier that will separate you from him. You will prevent him from controlling or manipulating you, not to mention that you will not encourage feeding on his ego.

A narcissist is hungry for approval. Even if he does not require it to prolong his personality, he is always looking for it. Stopping their approval is like cutting off the head of the snake, as you attack the problem at its root. Start by telling yourself that you do not deserve certain treatment and that you are not willing to tolerate it.

2. Don’t focus on him

A person with this disorder always demands attention. We are not talking about the one that translates into applause, since no matter how small any attention is welcome. If you don’t pay attention to what he says or what he does, you are doing the opposite of what he expects you to do.

This is much easier to type than to do, since a narcissist is an expert at getting your attention. Sometimes you have to learn to deal with their presence, which means you can’t completely ignore them. What you can do, despite this, is to reduce the interaction to a minimum, as well as the interest you show in what he does.

3. Do not be nervous in their presence

Someone with this disorder has high self-esteem, a powerful ego, and unmatched confidence. They function very well in society, have enviable communication skills, and are adept at standing out from others. It is natural for you to feel a little nervous when you are in front of him or her.

Eliminating nerves, anxiety, or feelings of inferiority is another thing you must do to neutralize a narcissist. If you demonstrate all this, his personality will be strengthened, and he will not be afraid to crush you with it. The few times you have to deal with him be firm, keep a calm attitude and at no time underestimate yourself.

4. Set limits from the get-go

One of the techniques to protect yourself from a narcissist is to set limits from minute one. If you detect with the first encounter that a person suffers from this disorder, there is nothing like reducing it immediately. For this you can take into account the following:

  • Don’t let their priorities get above yours.
  • Do not allow him to overvalue his opinions or actions and to do the opposite with yours.
  • Communicate explicitly how far he can go (what he can say in front of you or what he can do).
  • Identify the signs that they are trying to manipulate you.
  • Let him know that he is neither more nor less than others.
  • Walk away if you feel like her personality is absorbing you or draining you in any way.

These are some ideas that you can apply to counteract a narcissistic person. If you couldn’t do it from the first meeting, you still have time to do it. You just have to be confident and determined in case you think his attitude is taking your life away.

5. Don’t let yourself be manipulated or change your mind

Many narcissists are adept at manipulating to achieve their own success to the detriment of others. Knowing how to identify these situations is essential.

Manipulation is one of the many facets of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Among many other things, people do it to demonstrate their power or influence over others. They do not do it in an imposing or abrupt way at the beginning, but it is something they work on gradually.

In any case, a narcissist will always seek to control you. It will try to modify your habits, your opinions, ideas and actions. For example, he can influence you to substitute your style of dress for one that he considers better. So what you have to do is not change your mind; especially before those things that go against your principles or ideals.

6. Downplay your accomplishments and skills

Other tricks to dealing with a narcissist is to downplay their achievements or abilities. We suggest you ignore it above, except on those occasions that are strictly necessary. If in these he manifests the most extraordinary side of his personality, you can compensate for it by reducing his achievements.

For example, someone with this disorder will make you believe that they are more attractive, smarter, or better able to perform a task. You can let them know that their opinions are overrated, which does not mean denying them. Telling him that he is not so attractive, that you know smarter people, or that you are better suited for an activity will eat him up inside.

7. Show your skills too

Connecting with the above, we suggest another tip to neutralize a narcissist: demonstrate your skills as well. We indicate that nervousness should never invade you in front of their presence, which does not indicate practicing false modesty or hiding your skills.

Do it in those things in which you are superior to him, thus giving him a dose of reality. If you boast of certain academic performance, life achievements, or qualities, then do the same as well. Adding this up with the other recommendations will allow you to neutralize a narcissist.

As we discussed at the beginning, narcissism is a mental disorder. One that can be controlled with the help of a professional. If you still appreciate that person, do not hesitate to try to convince him to seek specialized assistance. After all, and deep down, a narcissist will never be happy with that attitude.

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