The Narcissists. We all know who they are. We can spot them with the accuracy of a sniper. Not because they are showy and loud, but because of something more subtle. The behaviors that show up when the narcissist is engaged in conflict. While they come in both the male and female variety, I’m addressing the males here, because they’re the ones I have been exposed to most.

I’m an introverted empath. We seem to get a lot of attention for being deeply insightful, creative thinkers, and being the ones that actually inspire change. Though after studiously observing narcissists, I realize they do so many things I could never do.  So while I’m comfortable with my introversion, I can see areas where I have been weak. I discovered them from watching these guys.

For The Win

Get into a conflict with a narcissist, and be prepared for every weapon in their arsenal to be unloaded on you. Why? Because they are pros at winning at all costs. Deflecting the blame? Check. Attacking your reputation? Check. Portraying themselves as the real victim in the situation? Check again. This stuff works for them not because they are evil, but because they lack the empathy that would keep the rest of us from going this far. They are in it to win it. And the truly unbelievable part is that they don’t hold a grudge against you afterwards. Water under the bridge. 

So thank you, narcissist, for demonstrating how to win at all costs, using any and all tactics available, while never letting anyone’s feelings get in the way.

Fault and Blame

This is a good one. When things start to go sideways, the narcissist has no intention of looking inward or responding to the notion that something is his fault. When you address an area where he may have fallen short, he defends himself not by owning the issue, but rather labeling his behavior as his response to something that you did. That’s a brilliant tactic because if you are an empath, there is a part of you that actually takes it to heart for a second, and you feel bad for even suggesting it. Check Mate.

Thank you narcissist, for showing me that there is a way to relieve yourself of guilt in every situation by never owning the responsibility. I can see why, since guilt can be a paralyzing emotion.

Watch Your Back

Ask a narcissist what success means to them, and they will start with a very quantifiable list of things. Building, growing, financial achievements, and surpassing the goals they had set out to accomplish. And while in most instances, they had help from other humans along the way, that rarely gets top billing in this conversation. In fact, there may be a trail of destruction of sorts, made up of those in their past that lost their luster. They are loyal in the moment, but only until the next best thing comes along. At that point, you’ll be expected to understand that it’s nothing personal

So I thank the narcissist for showing me that you have to put blinders on and avoid getting personally attached to those around you, or it could impact your success in reaching your goals. There is no time for that.

The book Re-thinking Narcissism by Dr. Craig Malkin, has taught me a lot about narcissistic people. Mainly that they are misunderstood, have their own insecurities, and many times get a bad rap. The most illuminating observation is that we all need a healthy balance of narcissism in our lives, or we could end up losing our sense of self. I guess I can see that. Key words: a healthy balance. 

Like with so many things, moderation is the ticket. While having the personality traits of focusing only on yourself and getting everything you feel you deserve, is a concept worth noting, I suspect that once it starts to work for you, it may be hard to stop. 

But then again, they probably don’t want it to.