The “Catch-22” of Dealing With a Narcissist
So here’s the dilemma (or catch-22) in trying to deal with narcissists successfully when it’s just not practical to avoid them completely, definitely the preferred option. (And, admittedly, freeing yourself from their manipulative grip is difficult when they’re your spouse, parent, child, boss, or business partner.)
If you directly confront a malignant narcissist, you’ll never succeed in puncturing their ironclad defenses. Plus, they’re notorious for “counter-punching” really, really hard. Whenever they feel attacked, they can be set aflame. Even a simple suggestion that they try doing something differently can make them, cobra-like, bare their teeth at you. It doesn’t take long for most people dealing with narcissists to realize they don’t take criticism well, if at all. And how could they if—just below their proud, dominant exterior—they’re frightened little children, trembling anxiously with vulnerability? That, after all, is what all their defenses are precisely designed to protect.
So, when approaching disagreements with a narcissist routinely results in feeling punished, you soon learn that to achieve any peace in the relationship you’ll be required to keep your frustrations to yourself. And the manner in which most people accomplish this superficial harmony is through accommodating, or pacifying, them.