Monday, September 9, 2013

Narcissism, Part Four

When confronted by a person exhibiting narcissistic behaviors, it is helpful for me to recognize and remember that it’s all about their self-absorption, inability to manage anger, lack of emotional intelligence, low level of self-esteem, failure to be empathetic, tendency to blame others, learned styles of coping (or not coping) with the ups and downs of life, low motivation for improvement, and so on. When I observe a pattern of narcissistic behaviors, I avoid contact with that individual or limit my exposure in order to minimize negative consequences to my brain and body. If the narcissistic behaviors are an unexpected surprise, I ask myself: will this matter in 12 months? If the answer is no, I simply get through that encounter and find something for which to be grateful. If the answer is yes, I address the issue functionally. Meaning, I set and implement appropriate boundaries to protect myself. When the narcissist is an adult family member, you can still choose to limit your exposure, set and implement appropriate protective boundaries, and avoid taking their narcissistic behaviors personally.

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