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Outsmart Series: Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The first thing to remember when you're thinking about confronting a narcissist is that they aren't who you want them to be, and you aren't who they think you are.

What do I mean by that? What I mean is that you probably have an idea of who this person is to you: a funny, loving partner; a best friend; a decent parent; or even a pretty good boss. Sure, they have their downsides (otherwise, why would you be researching narcissism right about now?), but they and the relationship mean something to you.

But, if they have narcissistic personality disorder traits that cause problems in your relationship with them, they aren't exactly who you want them to be. Unless you want them to be narcissistic...and then we'll have a different conversation!

The other thing, though, is that you aren't who they think you are. You aren't just a person who feeds their entitlement, gives them attention, and lets them use you to meet their needs. You're someone who wants something to be different.

So, here are a couple of things to start you on that path.

1. Don't call them a narcissist. Or tell them they're narcissistic. Or casually leave a tab open on your laptop called "How to tell someone they're a narcissist". Here's why. They won't believe you. They certainly won't both believe you AND change back into the person you want them to be. Not for long, anyway. Instead, they'll get offended and become even more troublesome.

2. Do use "I" statements as needed to curb hurtful behavior. There's a vast difference between saying, "You're always so mean and treat me like crap!" and "I would like you to stop yelling at me over little things." One of those will trigger a person with narcissistic traits to get defensive and potentially even worse. (Hint: it's the first one.) The second option, the "I" statement, conveys the same message about what they're doing without also making it about what kind of person they are.

For more tips and tricks, check out:

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