Google defines “narcissist” as a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves. And you’re absolutely correct Google! Narcissists are that variety of human-beings that probably everyone on this planet has encountered at least once in their life. How does one know if they’ve met one? Well, if you’ve ever felt valueless, inferior and unnecessarily doubtful of yourself after interacting with someone, know that you’ve been struck by a narcissist.
Given the fact that you’ll come across several egotistical people over time, one thing’s certain – we cannot escape them. For every human on your left just beginning to realize how ridiculous their self-centeredness is, there’s another one to your right brewing fresh arrogance in their mind. In fact, we might suffer from self-centeredness ourselves at some point. But does that mean that we can’t do anything other than bear such self-esteem-zapping behavior? Nope.
Having had my fair share of encounters with narcissists over the years, I’ve now understood that making slight changes in how we react to vain behavior from others can help us deal with such situations in a much better way.
Here are 6 types of narcissists and some tried & tested tricks on how to handle them:
The Cruel Joker
Ever been the recipient of a joke that isn’t funny? Do you know someone who loves to bombard you with mean and hurtful remarks, backhanded compliments, vicious sarcasm and conveniently ends each with “I’m just joking! Don’t take it personally”? Then you have been attacked by a narcissist from this category, my friend. The problem with this kind is that even if you confront them politely, they are highly likely to not understand and even of they do, they might change the narrative to make it sound like YOU are the one with sensitivity and ego problems.
Combat tip: Simply laugh and leave the scene. You’ll have to be the bigger person here and save your brain and heart from the torment. Know that they aren’t capable of understanding the other side (your side) of the story and are fuelled by ignorance and insecurity. So, there remains no reason to take their words to heart.
The Evil Well-Wisher
People belonging to this category act sanctimonious or superior around you throwing unnecessary advice and suggestions wherever possible. Their weapons of choice are usually condescension and demeaning remarks wrapped in “kind” and “wise” sounding words that make it seem like they’re trying to help you when in reality; they are throwing shade at you. Forget about adults, such people don’t even spare children. They’ll often shame them for their weight, mock their uniqueness instead of motivating it and target their parents by making them feel like they are failing at parenting. I remember seeing something similar happening to a family. It was painful to see how the parents, who had done nothing wrong in the first place, began feeling inadequate and took their anger out on their children in the form of over-the-top discipline and extreme strictness. And their little ones? Well, they hadn’t even begun living and someone else’s insensitivity forced them to face unnecessary hate at home.
Combat tip: As an adult, I found distancing myself from such people to be one of the best solutions to their narcissism. Another fun way (my favourite) is to act like you are listening to them but not pay attention. This works great with people who you cannot ignore like relatives or family because you get to escape their viciousness without creating any friction. Personally, I imagine them transforming into a funny looking animal with every word they utter. They end up shocked at why I’m laughing instead of feeling upset with all the sugar-coated shade being-thrown my way. If only they knew. 😀
The “Here For My Own Convenience” Friend
If you have ever experienced third/fifth/seventh wheeling a group, then you have encountered this variety of narcissists. Such people usually appear out of nowhere when they need help. Amusingly, they’ll act superior to you even when you are helping them with a generous heart and vanish as soon as they’ve achieved their goal. When back with their exclusive group, they’ll refuse to acknowledge you’re existence and might even indulge in making fun of you here and there. A sickening mix of arrogance and insecurity, such people often isolate and single-out people and make them feel unworthy of their friendship or love until they need a favour.
Combat tip: I’ve observed that one of the best ways to help fight such negative and catty behaviour is to simply not take such people seriously. If they dislike you for no reason, why feel bad for no reason? If that doesn’t work, distancing yourself from them should do. Now, this is indeed hard to do especially if the people involved are your friends, but one rather have less or no friends than those who make them feel worthless, right? Moreover, there are many amazing people out there who share your vibe and you are absolutely capable of making new friends that support and motivate you.
The Blame-Game Pro
One word – Gaslighting. For these people, it is super easy to do something stupid, cause trouble intentionally while fulfilling a personal goal and then blame others when they are questioned. This variety loves to use manipulation, weaknesses, history and artful-words and effortlessly makes you believe that YOU are wrong. For them, it’s always your fault and never theirs. Be aware that their audacity can cause headaches, heartbreaks and nausea. 😛 Also, the Earth may stop spinning but these people will never admit their mistake. NEVER.
Combat tip: RUN! Run away from such people! They’ll squeeze out all your energy like juice from a fruit and easily make you feel guilty of THEIR crimes. If possible, do not associate with them. But if that’s not an option, maintain distance.
The Broken Loudspeaker
Pretty similar to the previous category, these people use decibels in their favour. Often, they know far to well that what they’re saying doesn’t make any sense. So, they compensate by trying to dominate any conversation with loudness. They’ll yell and scream to get their point across hoping to create an environment where others already feel defeated by the sheer aggression of the person in front of them. And the victims, who are backed by logic, often choose to take a step back to prevent their sanity.
Combat tip: Be prepared to be greeted with tantrums, gaslighting (again!) and emotional blackmailing. Most importantly, you’ll face it all at eardrum-shattering volumes. I suggest to not engage with them much because there’s no point arguing or even discussing anything with someone who wouldn’t even let you utter a word. But if it’s really necessary, try to keep whatever you say short or to-the-point. Then knowing what could follow, distract yourself and avoid the urge to react in any way. Also, RUN! 😛
Here is the funniest of the lot! These guys are so quick with their responses, they could give improv artists a run for their money. There comes a point in the conversation where everything they say has no logic whatsoever. NO. LOGIC
Everything you could have possibly done has already been accomplished by the “One-Upper” of your life and in a much better way than you. If you just bought a branded t-shirt, they’ll brag (or lie) about owning 10 of those already. If you feel proud at finally being able to make a descent dish in 10 minutes, they’ll chime in and start talking about how they can prepare an entire three-course meal in no time. Their sole purpose is to make you feel perpetually insufficient in front of them. In a way, they crave admiration and their one-upping is the result of them feeling envious of anyone who seems to be an achiever in some way.
Combat tip: Such people tend to hide their jealousy under competitiveness which looks harmless. If you confront them, they might twist and redirect the story to make it seem like YOU are the one getting offended by their accomplishments and not the other way around. Not paying attention to what such people say has helped me deal with them greatly. Also, one can have a little fun and use a bit of friendly sarcasm to lighten up the situation. Congratulate them on their achievement even if you don’t mean it and go right back to what you were doing. Seeing that you’re surprisingly supporting them, aren’t bothered by anything no matter how shiny and refuse to counter them, they’ll be left with nothing to “one-up”.
Have you been targeted by narcissists? Do you know of another type that I might have missed? Don’t forget to share your own experiences and tips in the comments section.