How to WIN with a Narcissist without Losing Your Cool

Do you feel like this around a button pusher personality in YOUR life?

• I hate that they always need to be right!
• I tend to feel inferior or less capable in my own life (even though I KNOW I am not),
• I get tired of hearing their ramblings about all of their accomplishment and successes in life,
• I feel down about my own accomplishments and successes,
• I tend to bounce between admiration for them and anger,
• I am always made to feel SMALL or less important to them than I believe I should feel,
• I don’t want to treat them as good as I would like for fear of “adding” to their inflated sense of self worth,
• I hate the un-winnable discussions and arguments,
• I feel that I always take a back seat in their lives,
• I am also somewhat embarrassed to present this person to friends – because he/she can rub people the wrong way and make OTHERS feel bad about themselves too,
• Its just not FUN being in shadows of this person.

Deal with a button pusher personality

Learn how to deal with “button pushers”

These are a few of the typical feelings and reactions that are signs that you are dealing with a “button pusher” narcissistic personality.

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Who are we talking about when we say someone is a narcissist? When we speak of a narcissistic personality, we are often referring to someone who is extremely self-centered.

And when we’re around someone like that we usually have some kind of automatic emotional reaction to them. In other words, they “push your buttons”.

Narcissism Definition

The narcissist measures life in terms of achievement. They seem to believe that being “the best” or “better than others” is the way to feel good about themselves. Conversely, if they are NOT doing better than others they feel bad about themselves.

They do not seem to see the value in just having fun with someone, or in the enjoyment of an experience simply because the experience is enjoyable, or in the good feelings that come from taking an interest in others.

Here’s a simplified summary of Narcissistic Personality Disorder from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5th Edition (DSM-5) of the American Psychiatric Association.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder definition:
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) or the following:

1. Has a sense of self-importance – may exaggerate achievements and talents, has a superior attitude,
2. Fantasizes excessively about success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love,
3. Believes he or she is “special” and can only relate to other special or high-status people,
4. Requires excessive admiration,
5. Feels entitled to special treatment and expects people to do what he or she wants,
6. Exploits people – takes advantage of others to meet his or her own needs,
7. Lacks empathy – does not recognize the feelings or needs or others,
8. Envies others or believes that others are envious of him or her,
9. Has an arrogant or haughty attitude.

What Are the Benefits of Dealing With a Narcissist in Your Life?

You’ll be able to talk with them and still keep your self-esteem intact,
Their “button pusher personality” will no longer make you feel less capable or inferior,
You’ll be able to assertively influence them to interact with you more appropriately instead of continuously bragging about their accomplishments,
Your anger, annoyance or anxiety will stop being triggered as you focus on EFFECTIVE responses to their behavior,
You’ll be able to help them see that your way of doing things can be just as right as theirs,
You can train them to talk about themselves less and take more of an interest in you and what you have to say,
You’ll be free to enjoy more of the positive things that this person has to offer,
You will become an equal in the relationship instead of taking the back seat any longer.

How To Deal With a Button Pusher Personality

1. Target One Behavior at a Time
You cannot change the narcissist’s whole personality, so don’t even try. This would be like trying to empty Lake Superior with a bucket!

You just want to target some piece of behavior that is problematic. After you influence that behavior you can target another behavior, and so on.

There are several specific behaviors that a narcissist might show, such as being critical or condescending, throwing a temper when things don’t go his or her way, being excessively controlling or always having to do things their way, displaying a know-it-all or arrogant attitude, always expecting special treatment, etc, but you will be better off narrowing down your focus on the button pusher’s specific behavior that bothers you the most or is causing the biggest problem.

I describe how to do this in more detail in my ebook, ‘Secrets of Dealing with Difficult People’ where you’ll discover:

    • How to break the problem down into bit-sized chunks – p.36
    • Understanding the key to why narcissists are so difficult – p.22
    • The secret for creating change that draws you towards success like a magnet – p.49
    • More ..

2. Don’t Take it Personally
Unfortunately when a narcissist builds themselves up, it can automatically make us think that they are putting us down.

This can trigger a variety of negative emotions including anger, inferiority, anxiety, etc. The problem is that whenever you act on these negative feelings you will ALWAYS automatically say or do the wrong thing!

Therefore, as with most difficult people, the first step in dealing with the self-centered self-important button pusher personality is to prevent yourself from feeling inferior when you are around them.

How can you do this?

The best way is to stay focused on your own self-worth and realize that feeling good is ALWAYS the best plan. When I say “feeling good”, I don’t mean feeling “happy” with the other person’s behavior. I mean feeling strong, confident and positive about yourself, even when the other person is behaving poorly.

In other words, train yourself to handle narcissistic behavior without taking it personally.

That means that you don’t allow the narcissist to trigger negative judgments about yourself and that you view their behavior simply as a sign of insecurity or immaturity.

Now I realize that this may be easier said than done, which is why I created the Wellspring Method and use it in my office every day with people who are facing stressful life situations or dealing with difficult people such as narcissists.

In my ebook, you can learn:

    • The 8 things you should never do when dealing with a narcissist – p.103
    • The first thing you should do whenever narcissistic behaviour “pushes your buttons” and triggers your sensitive spots – p.29
    • A simple and effective method for accessing confidence and assertiveness whenever you need it – p.53
    • More ..

3. Deal With Put Downs Effectively
Our natural reaction to a put down or a condescending comment is to defend ourselves (because our buttons have been pushed). This just fuels the narcissist who has become an expert in making themselves look good by making others look inferior.

Instead of letting the focus stay on you, put the focus on them by commenting on what they are doing. Label their comment or action for what it is.

For example, you might say “That sounded like a put down”, and then wait for their response. Remember, they don’t want to look bad so this will create some discomfort for them. You may have to persist, but when they modify their position to something more reasonable you can graciously accept it. For example, if they replied, “No, I wasn’t putting you down. I was just making a suggestion”, you can graciously say “Thank you. I might consider it.”

In other words, don’t react to WHAT the person is saying. Instead, comment on HOW they are communicating it.

In my ebook, ‘Secrets of Dealing with Difficult People’, I’ll teach you:

    • One of the most powerful motivators known to mankind and how to use it – p.190
    • The right way to respond to someone who is being rude or disrespectful towards you that ensures that they “change their tune” – p.123
    • 8 ways to gain cooperation from a narcissist – p.134
    • More ..

Learn How to Deal with a Narcissist Effectively!

The narcissistic personality is just one type of difficult person, but the fundamental principles for dealing with them successfully are the same for all difficult people.

The fact is that when you are able to stay centered in your own strength and confidence, you will be in a much stronger position to positively INFLUENCE the narcissist and create a change in their behavior … at least whenever they are around YOU.

Learn all about my principles and success strategies for dealing with a narcissist in my ebook, Secrets of Dealing with Difficult People.

Use my Shrink in a Box program, which includes a step-by-step interactive session with me as I help you deal with your stressful situation (including dealing with a narcissist) more effectively.

‘Secrets of Dealing with Difficult People’

Unlike other books, this 201-page book shows you a tested systematic method to help you calmly and confidently create the positive change you want when dealing with a narcissist and other difficult people.

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Live Powerfully!

Learn how to deal with button pusher personalities

Mark Lauderdale MD FRCPC
Psychiatrist and Personal Effectiveness Consultant

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr Lauderdale is a psychiatrist in private practice who has a special interest in helping people deal with stressful life situations and difficult people powerfully and effectively.

Posted in Dealing with People.

Dr. Lauderdale has had over 35 years experience as a child and adolescent psychiatrist using a variety of therapeutic methods including psychotherapy, hypnosis, Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), motivational psychology, medication and family therapy. He has specialized in helping children with fears and anxiety disorders.

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