Toxic behaviour can present itself in many different ways. Narcissism is a great example of a toxic behavior that some of us will have to deal with from time to time and unfortunately some will have to deal with it often. When someone does or says something that is hurtful or inappropriate and it upsets you, you need to ask yourself why this has triggered you. The truth is that if someone says something hurtful about you you need to be able to make the distinction if that speaks more about them or more about you.
Nonetheless, narcissistic behaviour can be a challenging and oftentimes grueling ordeal to have to deal with. These individuals tend to display a sense of entitlement and a general lack of empathy for others. Therefore in dealing with these people you will need to develop a certain set of skills in order to protect your mental and emotional well being.
My recommendation If at all possible is to distance yourself from narcissistic people. However if you feel that”s not an option for you here are some tips that might make navigating this tricky path a little less problematic.
Firstly, understanding that narcissism tends to be formed with a deep underlying insecurity might help you to recognise that just like everyone else these people are doing the best they can with what they have and if they had more they would do better.
Understanding that it’s just something that affects you personally rather than something that is personal is the first step. This type of behaviour says so much about them and very little about you so you want to be able to get really good at letting comments and behaviours slide and not let them stick.
Setting some really firm and clear boundaries for yourself is vital when dealing with narcissistic people because they will push your limits above and beyond what is acceptable or in any way appropriate, often belittling you and or gaslighting you in order to get you to comply. Consistency is key here because the second your boundary moves you have opened a pandora’s box of possibilities for manipulation.
Understanding what you control and what you don’t is vitally important here because trying to take responsibility for what you don’t control is the fast track to anxiety. You need to know that you don’t control anyone or anything outside of yourself. You do have some influence there but influence is not control so understanding this and letting go of trying to control other people and/or taking responsibility for others behaviour is key. On the flip side of that is making sure that you take responsibility for what you can control, which is your internal space. Make sure you control how much airtime you give to negative thoughts and feelings and always take care to be responsible for your actions.
Avoid getting emotional when confronting a narcissist. Keep your communication really clear, direct and calm. Trying to win is impossible so instead my recommendation is rather to always step into speaking with a raw honest vulnerability. When you speak authentically from this space it’s very hard to argue with however when necessary be prepared to walk away and remove yourself if needed.
Lastly, please make sure that you are looking after yourself. Make your needs a priority by filling your own cup up because nobody can do that better than you can. Take time in your day to do things that you enjoy and seek out support where you can. Your happiness comes from within you.
You are not responsible for someone else’s behaviour, however you are responsible for your own. A really valuable life skill that you can apply in most areas of your life is the ability to let go of what you can’t control and take control of what you can and of course having the wisdom to know the difference. Therefore rather than taking something personally perhaps you might now find yourself noticing future confrontations with a mild curiosity and perhaps even asking yourself what limiting belief is that person running. When dealing with toxic behaviour it’s important to look after yourself by focussing on your own wellbeing and protecting your mental and emotional state. Dealing with any form of toxic behaviour is challenging and emotionally draining. You deserve to be treated with the respect and kindness that every human deserves. Ultimately you need to be your top priority. Perhaps it’s time starting right now to be a little kinder to yourself by adopting these strategies which will enable you to better protect yourself and encourage healthier and happier relationships because you are no less valuable or no more valuable than any other human on this planet and if not you then why not you?
What is one small change you can make today that might just create much bigger changes in your future?