How to Mentor a Narcissist

  • Begin with mirroring. Here is a paradox: Narcissistic behavior often provokes others to respond with criticism and put-downs designed to put the narcissist in their place. In effect, the narcissist generates the very behavior they fear in others. Rather than fall into this pattern with your mentee, work hard at starting with affirmation, understanding, and acceptance. Referred to as mirroring, wise mentors are careful to reflect a positive appraisal of the mentee and their basic worth early on (We’re really lucky to have you here. It must be hard for you when others don’t seem to appreciate your contributions). For instance, you might initially frame arrogance and entitlement as unusual self-confidence. By mirroring back unconditional respect and acceptance of the narcissist, you might just lower defenses, thereby opening the door to some dialog and self-awareness.
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