Why do we miss the signs of narcissistic listening deficiency earlier in the relationship?
Narcissists do listen to people who seem to more powerful or who have something that they want.
So, when they are courting, they listen very well. It’s only when the relationship feels secure that narcissists relax back into their baseline dismissive listening style.
What can you do if someone you work with or love has a narcissistic non-listening pattern?
If you have chosen someone with narcissistic habits as a life partner or you have to deal at work in an ongoing way with someone who has difficulty listening to you, begin by viewing narcissism as a handicap. In spite of their charisma, narcissists have a genuine listening deficit.
Ratchet up your self-confidence because you’ll need to speak in a way that conveys an inner sense of personal power.
And from that self-confident stance, use collaborative dialogue skills. Show that you have heard your partner’s viewpoint and then persist until you have succeeded in conveying your viewpoint as well.
Praise and affection will also get you everywhere. Narcissistic folks relax and, therefore, listen better when they feel appreciated.
And keep reminding yourself that most narcissists can and do listen, even with empathy, when they experience the person with whom they are talking as having greater power.
What’s the moral of the story?
When you interact with a person with narcissistic habits, you need to stay strong. Don’t be aggressive; just strong in self-confidence. Expect to be heard. Keep nicely but confidently putting your comments back out there until you succeed.
Then you never know what might emerge. The most overlooked sign of narcissism may — or may not — melt away!