Different rules apply when coping with people who have unhealthy narcissism. Here are 11 “Don’ts” in dealing with narcissists:
Don’t take them at face value. Image is everything to narcissists. They work hard to present a facade of superiority and certainty. They like to keep others guessing and operate less than transparently. But it is important to remember that people with narcissism are deeply insecure. Their flashy facade is designed to hide an emptiness within. We can have compassion for narcissists’ pain yet not be taken in by their pretenses. All that glitters is not gold.
Don’t over-share personal information. The more personal information you give a narcissist, the more ammunition they have to use against you. Narcissists need to feel one up. They may use anything you share to humiliate or manipulate you, particularly when you are most vulnerable or in need. Be judicious about what you tell them.
Don’t feel a need to justify your thoughts, feelings or actions. Many narcissists try to make others second-guess themselves. They may do this by asking pointed or leading questions, acting as though you need to explain yourself to them. Recognize this for what it is: an attempt to undermine you. One helpful self-help mantra is “No JADE,” which stands for Justifying, Arguing, Defending, or Explaining. You do not need to explain or justify your feelings or thoughts. Furthermore, arguing with or defending yourself to a narcissist is generally counterproductive. Narcissists tend to be interested in winning, not listening; competing, not communicating.