Based on everything that is known about human nature, that has ever been recorded, chance are: you’ve encountered a narcissist in your life. According to recent research, narcissism is actually running rampant these days. To go ahead and complicate matters, narcissist aren’t all created equally. In our lives we will not only encounter many different individual narcissists, we will encounter many different kinds.
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Thankfully, many of these narcissists are easy to spot, and even easier to ignore. I mean, that’s the main goal of the narcissist to be noticed, right? To stand up, and say “hey – look at me!” There are even levels of narcissism that are totally normal, healthy, and functional. There is something to be said about taking pride in who you are and what you do – to an extent. Pride is not an automatic diagnosis of a personality disorder. Hell, I am a narcissist to an extent, I have to be to write for a living.
The type of narcissist that I want to talk about today is one that flies so far under the radar of our lives that we don’t even see them. They sneak into our brains and wreak havoc on levels that we don’t even understand. The “quiet narcissist” is the brain ninja that creates self-doubt, self-loathing, and spreads depression like curdled cream cheese on the bagels of our lives. I can almost guarantee you, you have one of these narcissists in your life and you don’t even realize it.
SO, WHAT QUALIFIES SOMEONE AS A “QUIET NARCISSIST”?
Narcissists, in general, thrive on a couple of basic principles. First off, they need you to feel bad about yourself to build themselves up. This is typically found by pointing out every flaw that you may or may not have. Even jokingly. We all have that friend that likes to make fun of us, but they get away with it because they are your friend. “If a stranger said that to me, I’d react differently,” you might think. That’s true to an extent, and a little ribbing between friends is normal. The quiet narcissist, however, makes these jokes part of who you are to them. It’s almost like they develop a “role” for you and keep you in it. Maybe you are the “lovable idiot” or the “unattractive friend”. Whatever the case may be – the quiet narcissist will put you in a cage that they see fit for you and keep you there.
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Another basic aspect of the average narcissist is that they have a constant need to be right. You’ve average narcissist will usually just try to put down anything you say to make you look dumb by sheer conversational will. Narcissists are RENOWNED for their people skills, simply because attention is what they crave. Quiet narcissists accomplish this feat by engaging in passive aggressive tendencies. Things like cleaning up after you without you noticing (obviously before you’ve had a chance to do it yourself) or pointing out simple mistakes with a fixed amount of regularity. They won’t bring it up too often because that would be too upfront and obvious. The quiet narcissist will almost never mention these little things, they just do them in an attempt to make you feel helpless and looked after. Again, the goal is to break you down.
Finally, and most obviously, the quiet narcissist will project any of their own self-percieved imperfection on you. This goes back to the “flashlight” personality that no one needs in their life. Basically, by pointing out the same things that are wrong in you, that are also wrong in them, they lessen the impact of their own faults. You have a cookie, the quiet narcissist will make a passing comment about your diet plans and how you are “off the wagon again” (while they eat the same cookie). Anything to avoid not only facing their own imperfections but maintaining a false sense of dominance over you.
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SO HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THE QUIET NARCISSIST?
The simple answers to this question might be “hit them in the head with a gardening implement” or “never speak to them again.” Again, I never condone violence, and sometimes you can’t just hack someone out of your life (relatives). So here are Things to do to EFFECTIVELY deal with quiet narcissists:
*When they poke fun at you – POKE RIGHT BACK. Use the same casual tone, light-hearted demeanor, and non-aggressive actions they use when they make fun of you – as to not appear defensive. Then, be ready for them to immediately become defensive. If there is one thing a narcissist doesn’t like, it is having the tables turned on them. The more casual you are about your comebacks, the more unsettling for the narcissist. See how quickly they quit making fun of you.
*When they do things passive-aggressively and don’t say anything about it, SAY SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Ask why they did what they did, if anything, to defend yourself. If you left a glass on the counter and magically find it in the sink, point out to the narcissist that you were going to reuse the glass, that you are not a child, and that you know how to handle an empty glass.
*When they point out a common flaw in you, POINT IT OUT IN THEM. There is no excuse for letting someone be a hypocrite just for the sake of their own ego. Again, see how fast the narcissist quits pointing things out.
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If you take these simple actions, you’ll notice an amazing thing starts to happen: you don’t have to remove the narcissist from your life – they remove themselves from yours. It’s like self-healing cancer.