Confronting Narcissism Effectively: A True Conundrum
Confronting narcissism effectively requires a certain tact. Most folks want to cut overtly haughty narcissists down to a palatable size. And sometimes we try to get them to appreciate how they’re coming across. We assume they just don’t “see” themselves. However, they’re generally quite aware. Problems arise mainly because they don’t care enough. So, you only waste time and energy trying to get them to see. And cutting them down only invites an unwinnable war of prideful self-justification.
So, how do you confront a narcissist effectively? You empower yourself maximally by not playing their game. Confronting narcissism effectively requires dealing only in truth. The truth stands on its own. And it genuinely has power – the power to set people free and strengthen them.
A Huge Media Mistake
You don’t have to have a Ph.D. to notice the narcissism in our current president. And you can’t help but notice the offense many take at the brashness and boorishness of his form of it. But we live in an age of rampant narcissism. So, it seems only its most vulgar expressions unnerve us. Far too many of us get seduced by and later victimized by its more “charming” and sophisticated forms. That’s largely why narcissism has flourished.
The media make a huge mistake confronting narcissism the way they do with our president. Styling oneself as intellectually superior and more decent in character doesn’t help matters. And standing in judgment doesn’t help either. These actions only invite the narcissist to fight back and disdainfully point out the flaws in others.
Many of my media interviews have been heavily edited or deleted from programs because I wouldn’t boldly and firmly condemn. And I also wouldn’t violate the ethical cannon not to diagnose remotely. But whenever I can I continue to send the same message. We can indeed confront narcissism. And we can also help usher each other out of this character-disturbed age. But we have to use the right tools.
Confronting Narcissism Tactfully
In In Sheep’s Clothing I urge folks to empower themselves by directly addressing issues. And I urge that you accept only direct responses to the issues. Attacking character won’t remedy things. But you can expose character when you bring issues to the fore. It’s always about behavior and its consequences. You “invite” the possibility of change when it becomes patently obvious that someone’s way of seeing and doing things simply isn’t working well. Confronting narcissism effectively takes that kind of tact.
I’ll have much more to say on this issue in upcoming posts. And you can read more about our narcissistic age in How Did We End Up Here? and Character Disturbance. Avail yourself also of the many other articles on this blog on this subject. (See, for example: Narcissism’s Sometimes Strange Allure.)
Character Matters will air live Sunday July 16, 2017 at 7 pm EDT. Call in at (718) 717-8296 or (501) 258-8326 to join the conversation. Also, check out the upcoming workshops in the greater NYC area this August.