3 Primary Characteristic Traits of a Narcissist
1. Lack of empathy
2. Seeking admiration persistently
3. An underground unconscious side of the self that is avoided desperately by seeking external validation.
Can Narcissists be Self-Aware?
1.If someone who truly cares about the narcissist brings to their awareness with great insightful repetition that they have human failings they avoid, it’s possible in a weak or tender moment, this will be heard even if it’s not understood.
2. Building just on the willingness to listen is what the caring person shoots for. Now and again, not in anger, but with empathy, re-address the foible setting the narcissist back.
3. If there is self-awareness it might come from severe humiliation and defeat that pushes hard on the narcissist to ask what’s happening. They will avoid, side step, blame others long before they look to themselves. If they are lucky enough to be loved, they may turn their suffering into some level of self-awareness.
Do They See the “Issue” within Themselves?
1. This depends on how much pain they feel that prompts them to even believe there is an issue “within.”
2. If self-awareness is on the verge of occuring, perhaps, and only perhaps will they look within and say to themselves they need to question. This is rare.
3. The best way to approach a narcissist is actually with kindness, not a brutal confrontation that only furthers rage. I question calling it a tactic which sounds manipulative. If is manipulative the narcissist is much more of an expert on strategies to persuade others than you will be. Instead, do it from the heart: an often underrated approach to reaching a narcissist which takes me to the next point.
4. Consider that the narcissist doesn’t understand the word relationship which includes reciprocity of care or “relating” as it were.
To converse and move toward a relationship it its helpful to give the empathy and validation the narcissist years for constantly to gain his attention and perhaps sense something more than “strategic conversation.”
Don’t exploit an exploiter. He’ll recognize this false charm and manipulation because that’s how he thinks. Instead move from his interests and probably extensive knowledge that may eventually dominate and bore you toward simple phrases like, “I have something different to add. Can you take a second for my idea?”
This is testing the waters, an invitation to “see” another person is in the room. Expect to feel slighted but don’t blame yourself. That is a definite notion: don’t blame yourself.
Recognize and accept the narcissist’s severe limitations if over time he or she cannot respond to your opinion and ideas with some real equanimity. If this is impossible, move on to others who can secure a belief in the fact that you have a mind worth listening to.
Maybe you don’t want to give up on your narcissist. This may be the mother or father of your children. But definitely expand your personal circle to include people who do hear you, want to know what YOU think, and put in perspective your vital interests and feelings.
Laurie Hollman, PhD is a psychoanalyst and author of “Are You Living with a Narcissist?”
The Narcissist May Not be Apparent at First Glance.