Understanding Narcissism: Why Calling Out a Narcissist Can Backfire

Labeling Narcissists

Narcissism and the Narcissistic Behavior patter: The Complexities of Relationships

While labeling narcissists through their narcissism would be lethal, as long as they don’t have a positive result, engaging in talk about actions of individuals having narcissistic traits can lead to negative consequences.

This is mainly due to the fact that discussing their behaviors is often difficult if not counterproductive since individuals having narcissistic traits tend to react indifferently towards both criticism and feedback.

Hazards of Labeling Narcissists

Individuals having narcissistic personality styles are mainly characterized by lack of self-awareness according to experts like psychologist Ramani Durvasula.

There are no chances for a useful talk after labeling narcissists. Typically, even if it is true that a person’s assessment is correct, hearing this from someone else means that they will only make negative responses.

According to Psychotherapist Chelsey Cole, criticism destroys the grandiose self-image of an individual with narcissism.

No matter how soft the claim may be thrown at them, it usually leads to wrathfulness, blaming and denying as well as further breakage in the relationship dynamics with the individuals having narcissistic traits.

Moreover, change-resistant is typical of most traits associated with narcissism; thus, rendering confrontation useless. According to Cole although they do know what harm they do- they just don’t care.

Reactions of A Narcissist to Confrontations

As Stephanie Sarkis states in her book on managing confrontational personalities, after labeling narcissists, one can generally predict their response.

Denial is common with individuals having narcissistic traits whenever they are accused, and in turn, they often counter-accuse or blame the accuser.

They do not react rationally most of the time nor do they show remorse; instead, they retaliate in anger, dismissing others. Such conversations result in word salad gas lighting as Durvasula cautions.

This kind of interaction is intricate, manipulative and convoluted hence difficult to navigate due to the tactics of manipulation that individuals having narcissistic traits use.

Alternative Actions Rather than Confronting

Aside from labeling narcissists directly, Durvasula stresses the need to have clarification. Understanding behaviors that define Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is important for people who want to better navigate interactions with such persons.

Durvasula also warns against confronting or labeling narcissists in professional contexts. This is because one who confronts an individual having narcissistic traits, may be seen as problematic or confrontational.

In addition, she proposes that rather than giving direct labels of being narcissistic to individuals whom you cannot confront, it would be better to focus on specific behaviors.

For instance, talking about things like using phones too much when someone is talking might help a little but not much more since people do not change their conduct drastically.

Accepting the Consequences

Some people still confront individuals having narcissistic traits even though they expect negative outcomes.

In this regard, Cole stresses that one should know what to expect for his/her personal healing and avoid trying to change the other person who has narcissistic traits.

“You’re essentially heading into a volatile environment prepared to handle insults and verbal attacks, knowing that you need to do this for your own good,” said Cole.

This is a road map for navigating interactions because understanding the complexities of Narcissistic behavior enables such individuals.

However, directly labeling narcissists is not realistic unless someone expects positive discussions or alterations in behavior.

Rather it means being able to make better decisions in relationships with those suffering from this personality disorder.

In conclusion, experts have advised against confronting people with narcissistic personalities due to predictable and detrimental consequences.

Awareness can help an individual establish boundaries and manage expectations enabling them to prioritize their own well-being in these challenging relationships.

Mental Health Topics (A-Z)

  • Understanding Narcissism: Why Calling Out a Narcissist Can Backfire