People around the world all have their own, unique personalities. We have to deal with them on a day-to-day basis but sometimes, we may come across someone who is a narcissist. This type of personality can be very difficult to handle and it typically involves somebody believing they are better than everyone else. They feel that they deserve recognition and attention, regardless of what they do.
There is also something else about a narcissist that most people come to realize sooner or later. They don’t like to be put down and they certainly would never want to be told “no”. They spend most of their time trying to convince the rest of the world that they are as perfect as they feel they are but there is one problem; nobody else feels it for them. When they find themselves backed into a corner or even in a slightly difficult situation, they will likely lash out and blame everyone else but themselves.
There is no doubt that a narcissist has a difficulty with criticism. There is also something that they never want to hear, the word “no”. Perhaps we have had to face this type of situation at our job or in our personal lives. We deal with somebody who wants to have everything their way and if you’re not willing to go along with them, they will openly criticize you for it.
Perhaps you have even pushed the limit with a narcissist in the past. You can almost see their blood starting to boil and, if you are wise, you backed down before a full eruption took place. Even if it didn’t reach its full potential for disaster, you likely heard about it later in a most negative fashion.
As we said, no is the single word than a narcissist will never want to hear. It doesn’t matter what form it comes in, they will resist it with all their might. It could be, “no, you have it all wrong” or perhaps “no, you can’t do that,” but the results will be the same.
If you have to deal with a narcissist, you might be interested in a 2014 study from Turkey’s Hacettepe University. According to Şefika Şule Erçetin and the other colleagues involved in the study, a problem with “managerial narcissism” can lead to a chaotic environment. The narcissistic individual in these types of situations will make it their goal in life to come up with dramatic and perhaps unachievable goals for everyone else. They do this to keep everyone else down and to rise up above the masses.
The problem is, you become the enemy if you stand up to them in any way, shape or form.
At this point, you’re probably thinking that you could easily identify a managerial narcissist. It’s important to put it to the test, and you can do so by weighing in against these sample personality characteristics from the Turkish study:
1. Leadership and authority: I am good at leading others
2. Anticipation of recognition: everybody says I am a good manager so it must be true.
3. Grandiosity: I want all the power I can get.
4. Self admiration and vanity: the world would be so much better if I was in charge.
5. Exhibitionism: everyone can’t get enough of my stories.
If you know somebody and they fit that list, it is likely that you are dealing with someone that has a bossy type of narcissism. How do you approach this type of situation if it is necessary to challenge their strategy or even their authority? After all, you may find yourself in a situation where it is necessary to say something but it could end up in your termination, depriving yourself of the opportunity to make changes and of your means of living.
In addition, if you are dealing with a family member who is a managerial narcissist, it creates problems all of its own. It could end up with a rift in the family arrangement that is difficult, if not impossible to mend. You also have to face them at every family gathering from that point forward.
Having a greater understanding of why those individuals are so unpleasant towards others doesn’t really help you to solve the issue. In fact, it may seem like a more daunting task when you have to face somebody that you are sure is a narcissist. You fear going up against somebody that has the ability to make your life miserable and who could inflict some form of injury over the conflict.
In a 2016 study conducted at the University of Kentucky, something interesting was brought out. David Chester and C. Nathan DeWall were responsible for that study and they were looking to see if the following was true: “narcissists react aggressively to interpersonal insult because of a heightened discrepancy between their grandiose self and the now threatened self.” A research team put together some undergraduates that participated in a simulated social rejection scenario. At the same time, a brain scan was measuring their neural activity and in particular, the area that is involved in maintaining vigilance.
In this simulation, a game of Cyberball was played that involved the participants, who were put into smaller groups. Two of the individuals would then throw the ball to each other and leave out the third participant. If the undergraduates scored high on a narcissistic scale, that region of the brain would have heightened activity. It seems as if they were reacting to their opponents by punishing them when they were rejected. Of course, no real punishment was involved and there weren’t any real opponents in the game but those who participated were unaware of it at the time. They thought the rejection was real and according to the response, they were looking for revenge.
Apparently, people who have those narcissistic tendencies look very carefully for any threats, and you should fear them the most. If you cross them by pointing out any flaw in their decision or personality, it is likely that problems will occur. Of course, it is impossible to test somebody’s brain activity in real life without a brain scanner but it is worthwhile to think about the observation to avoid the outcome of what could be a potentially difficult situation. According to the study, those who showed high levels of narcissism were “characterized by volatile, ‘hot-then-cold’ interactions with attachment figures.”
It is impossible to go back and undo everything bad that has happened in your younger years. When you understand more of where those problems come from, however, it can help you to face the future.
Sometimes, it is just a matter of stroking somebody’s ego before you present any type of a challenge. It can help to soften the blow and may reduce any anger response that would otherwise have occurred. It can be difficult to humble yourself in this way, but it may help you out of a difficult situation. Displaying a little bit of tact in your life can go a long way in helping you to be happier as an individual.