But isn't 'reinforcing the positive' a form of walking on eggshells? Walking on Eggshells
refers to not knowing how to act to prevent seemingly unexplainable and unprovoked attacks.
Once we know the cause and we have the tools - we know how to act and the actions are explainable. Sometimes we hold too tight to an expectation of fairness or appropriateness (e.g., a mother should nurture a child). If the other party is unyielding (e.g. mentally ill), then this is a commitment, of sorts, on our part to continued hurt. The alternative is radical acceptance - it is what it is - deal with it in a way that is least painful and frustrating to you.
Here are some rules that will make things easier for you to interact with a narcissist. The aim is not to provide comfortable guidelines - interacting with a narcissist may not be comfortable - but it doesn't have to be contentious.Demand little. Expect little
. You will find your role is one of support, acknowledgment, and recognition. The narcissist may see you as a kind of gopher or aide-de-camp. If that is acceptable to you, you should have little difficulty.Be willing to listen a lot and listen carefully.Find ways to provide positive recognition frequently.
It is important to check the narcissist's reaction to be sure you have understood what positive recognition he or she wants at the moment. If you are on the wrong track, that fact will probably be made abundantly clear to you fairly quickly.
If it is at all possible to do so, be honest and sincere in your acknowledgment, praise, and recognition. Identify and note any and all of the narcissist's endeavors or achievements you genuinely admire. Use them to provide recognition and acknowledgment. Insincere flattery may be tolerated by the narcissist, but keep in mind that deep down the narcissist usually lacks well grounded self esteem. Therefore, the more credible you can be, the better.Don't worry about making the narcissist become more self- centered
-- he or she became that way at a fairly early age and can't now stop. Narcissists need help, of course, though they are usually very reluctant to seek it. If you think the narcissist in your life may want to alter his or her narcissistic outlook, consider making an intervention.
Used adroitly, an intervention can be a profound psychological experience for all concerned. It is a carefully planned event that can begin a process of healthy redirection and personal growth.Avoid challenging the narcissist's wishes or desires.
Narcissists have a low tolerance for frustration or interference.Failing these, smile a lot and keep quiet.
While this may not put you in especially good standing with the narcissist, it avoids the risk of attack and leaves you still in the picture after others falter, fail, or flee.
These guidelines call for several qualities, among them, patience, forbearance, and focus. Patience will enable you to hang in when others may drop out. Forbearance will enable you to overlook the narcissist's boorishness, selfishness, self-centeredness, and arrogance. Focus will enable you to keep in mind both what the narcissist wants from moment to moment and what your objectives are in associating with him or her.