5 Tips on How to Help a Narcissistic Loved One
We all have moments where we are stubborn, want to feel special from others, or feel like we might be superior at a given task vs. somebody else. However, when does this normal behavior cross the line to narcissistic behavior? Moreover, how can we help the ones we love who don’t feel like anything is wrong with them? Keep reading to learn more about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and how to help a narcissistic loved one.
Tip 1 on How to Help a Narcissistic Loved One: Understand Narcissism
The first tip to helping a narcissistic loved one is by understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The more you know about the condition, the more you will understand their behaviors, patterns, and how to anticipate situations.
Narcissistic personality disorder involves a pattern of self-centered, arrogant thinking and behavior, a lack of empathy and consideration for other people, and an excessive need for admiration. Others often describe people with NPD as cocky, manipulative, selfish, patronizing, and demanding. This way of thinking and behaving surfaces in every area of the narcissist’s life: from work and friendships to family and love relationships.
Narcissists act in the following ways:
- Are extremely resistant to changing their behavior, even when it’s causing them problems
- Turn the blame on to others
- Are extremely emotionally sensitive
- React badly to even the slightest criticisms, disagreements, or perceived slights
- View criticisms, disagreements, or slights as personal attacks
- Cause others to bend to their demands to avoid arguments
- Unable to respect others’ boundaries
Tip 2 on How to Help a Narcissistic Loved One: Don’t Argue or Call Them a Narcissist
Narcissists do not do well when someone approaches them with criticism or a disagreement. As such, do not lead the conversation by calling them a narcissist or by arguing. Leading by empathy is the best way to make the narcissist feel special and like you truly care about them.
Tip 3 on How to Help a Narcissistic Loved One: Use The Word “We”
By making the conversation inclusive of everyone else in the family, you are taking the spotlight off of their particular problems and they are more willing to be helpful. Phrases like “So we should start doing this,” or “I think this would be great for us” are great examples.
Tip 4 on How to Help a Narcissistic Loved One: Underscore Good Behavior
“Nudging narcissists to center means focusing on moments when they show some capacity for collaboration, interest in other people, or concern for the happiness of those around them— in short, whenever they behave more communally,” according to Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad — and Surprising Good — About Feeling Special will help them be more open and able to listen.
It is also important to underscore good behavior in contrast with bad behavior. This means choosing phrases like, “I loved going on jogs with you before your drinking problem worsened. Do you think if you got help for alcohol, we could go back to doing that?”
Tip 5 on How to Help a Narcissistic Loved One: Be Clear on What You Want To See
Take the focus off of your narcissistic loved one, and talk about what you want to see. Rather than saying, “You have a really bad drinking problem,” say phrases such as, “I am worried about your drinking because it is starting to affect your life in negative ways, and I want to see you get better.” Being as clear as possible takes the guesswork out, or room for the narcissist to misconstrue what you are saying.
About Seasons in Malibu
Dealing with someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder and finding them help is a difficult journey. They are very resistant to change or admit that anything is wrong with them. Treating mental health disorders such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder alongside other co-occurring disorders, such as alcoholism or drug abuse, is very important. This way, the narcissist will learn their behavior patterns as well as their triggers and how to live a more healthy life with healthy relationships.
The impacts of an individual’s mental health symptoms, such as narcissism, can reach loved ones, co-workers, and friends. Dealing with a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression can leave you feeling confused, hopeless, exhausted, and desperate to do anything to make the negative impacts of mental illness go away. We can help you. Seasons in Malibu Mental Health offers a CARF-accredited, licensed, stand-alone facility, strictly dedicated to mental health treatment, overlooking a private beach, in beautiful Malibu, California.
Seasons in Malibu is in the business of saving lives; whether you are a student, a CEO, a parent, or a celebrity, you are welcome at our California treatment center and your healing will be cared for with the utmost discretion. A masters-level Case Manager is personally assigned to each client and individually manages the client’s treatment program. They are also responsible for the execution of each of the components of the treatment plan.
Types of Mental Disorders and Psychiatric Conditions we treat include:
- Anxiety Disorders (OCD, PTSD, GAD)
- Complex Trauma
- Bipolar Disorders
- Grief and Loss
- Career and Family Stressors
- ADD & ADHD
- Substance Abuse
- Sex Addiction
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- And More…
For more information, visit seasonsmalibu.com