It’s tough being around a narcissist, especially one that is a close friend or family member. Their self-absorption can test even the strongest relationships because it makes those relationships one sided. You might struggle with knowing how to handle a narcissist. Doing nothing will only allow the problem to continue. Doing the wrong thing might end the relationship altogether.
The good news is that treating narcissism is possible. Quite often, it’s necessary considering 1% of the population suffers from the disorder. If you know narcissist, you can help them help themselves.
Read on to discover some simple steps for treating narcissism.
Make sure they know treatment for narcissism exists
Nothing will kill a Saturday night out with friends and family more than trying to actively change them in some way. Confronting someone with something you don’t like about them is difficult. It helps to be confident about whether they really are a narcissist or not.
The best way determine if your friend is a narcissist is to ask them directly. It may seem too confrontational, but a direct question is most likely to get people to answer honestly about how they see themselves.
The trick is in how you ask the question. Don’t be confrontational or accusing with your friend. If you label them a narcissist, they will likely get defensive. No one likes being called a narcissist.
Instead, ask them to rate themselves on the “narcissism scale” between 1 to 7: how much do they identify with the label “narcissist?” 1 is “not all,” while 7 is “completely.” You can make the conversation equal by discussing how you rate yourself.
This will encourage them to think about themselves in a new way without you having to be confrontational. It will start a discussion about the topic. If they rate themselves with a high mark, you will know the discussion is worth continuing.
Many people have the wrong idea about the term “narcissism.” We tend to use this word as a way to describe others without thinking about what it actually means. This complicates the process of treating narcissism.
The truth is, narcissism is an actual psychological disorder. It’s a way some brains works; it’s how they are hard wired. Helping a narcissist requires a bit of education. They need to begin to accurately see themselves and how their brain actually works.
Share the facts about narcissism with your friend. Let them know how psychologists see this order and what the typical effects are. Educate them about how people around them may feel. Most importantly, tell them that narcissism is manageable. If they seek to better themselves, others are likely to notice.
Emphasize how the community feels
An important trait of narcissism is self-evaluation. Narcissists will assess how they compare to others. As a result, they often use others to boost themselves up.
Narcissists are more likely to react to something they believe has strong group support. If they believe surrounding friends and family also see them as a narcissist, they’ll be more likely to acknowledge this common view.
Share how others feel, but keep it truthful. Nothing can more damaging than making up false views, especially if those lies are discovered. Lies will likely make your friend more resistant to your attempts to help.
Instead, share and emphasize how your friend’s actions affect others. Look for the common traits. Do others have the same issues with your friend as you do?
If so, share that. There is strength in numbers, and your friend will likely be more receptive when confronted with the fact that you aren’t alone in your feelings.
Challenge their reputation
A narcissist’s reputation is their validation. Narcissists support their self-esteem by assuming that others share their self-assessments. Usually, this assumption is wrong.
When discussing how others are affected by your friend’s narcissism, don’t forget to share other views as well. Since narcissists rely on their perceived reputation, sharing other people’s views will begin to challenge this perception. You will begin to shine some truth on how others actually see your friend as a narcissist.
Your friend will also begin to receive new information that may change their perceived reputation. The more they understand that their validation is just in their head, the more they can begin to manage and challenge this nonexistent validation.
You can also use their perceived reputation to your advantage by pointing out things that may threaten this reputation. Narcissists are protective of this reputation, meaning they are less likely to do something that may damage it.
Encourage them to improve themselves
Awareness is crucial to managing narcissism, but it’s only the first step. Just like with any other disorder, narcissists need the motivation to manage it.
Emphasize the importance of managing this disorder to your friend. Let them know that any negative feelings or experiences you and others have had with them are reversible. Remind them that treating narcissism may be difficult, but is worthwhile.
Most importantly, encourage them to talk about their narcissism. They can help themselves by talking about the specifics of their disorder and how they are managing it. This is known as talk therapy.
The beneficial effect of talk therapy is that it provides an emotional outlet for participants. Managing narcissism can be an emotional roller coaster ride, especially since it requires identifying negative traits about oneself. This will challenge anyone emotionally.
Having an outlet to share and discuss these challenges is important. Be sure to emphasize this fact since narcissists may see this kind of sharing as just another display of their disorder.
Tell them that this kind of sharing is healthy and normal.
Closing words on treating narcissism
Treating narcissism is a difficult, life long process, especially when you are helping someone else. With active management of their disorder, narcissists can actually change.
Narcissists need to monitor and control their behavior on a daily basis. Sometimes, they need a helping hand. If you know someone who struggles with this disorder, don’t hesitate to help, because a little help goes a long way.