Want to Prove You’re Not a Narcissist?
Searching for photos with the tag “narcissist,” Unsplash came up with multiple photos of daffodils, Narcissus, along with this photo, which captures perfectly my sentiments about my thirty-year-long marriage to a man with strong narcissistic tendencies. But that man is not all bad, and I believe, with the right help, he could change. And I’d love it if he did. I believe that anyone can change, and that, in real life, remarkable transformation shouldn’t require an exorcism. I’ve come up with some concrete suggestions for all the budding narcissists out there to consider, in case you’re interested in changing your narcissistic ways — one small step at a time …
Try to have an honest discussion.
With your partner, or co-worker, or child. This means expressing your opinion without trying to manipulate the other person. I know it’s tough for you. But believe me, it’s a lot harder for us.
Listen to the feedback you receive and try to hear it.
Take in and really absorb what the other person is telling you. Listen to the actual words they are saying. And don’t put other words in their place. If you don’t understand, it’s okay to ask for clarification. You can even ask them to write it down. Feedback is everything when you need to change your behavior. Don’t be afraid. You won’t break — you’re stronger than you think. And some of us believe in you.
Don’t fall into the narrow trap of black-and-white thinking.
They used to love/support/believe in me, and now, they don’t. Conflict is healthy — ignoring conflict is not healthy. Assuming that any conflict means that it’s time for you to move on to your next victim is really unhealthy.
If you feel uncomfortable, say it.
Say the words: “I don’t like hearing that about myself. I feel uncomfortable. This is a lot to take in.” Pick any of the above — but don’t do the one thing that so many narcissists do, and that the people around them hate the most.