Narcissists Lacking in critical thinking skills.
When it comes to communication with a narcissist, be it your parents, partners, siblings, boss, friends, co-workers or trying to co-parent. Fear and panic can set in due to the anxiety from the memory of the last time you tried to approach them. Learning how to Stand up for yourself and speaking your mind to them, to be yourself around them, then when you do try to get your point of view across, enforce your boundaries, it can be one of the most emotionally draining, hurtful, confusing and at times scary experiences.
Conversations with a narcissist can feel impossible. Yes, we can communicate with them. All we have to do is open our mouths and talk, that’s communication, yet having a two-way conversation with them about something they have done, being respectful of feelings, finding a compromise finding the middle ground, trying to work through issues together is virtually impossible. One of the best methods to recover from this kind of emotional abuse is no contact. In some cases, this isn’t always possible, so we need to learn how they work and how to handle ourselves around them. So we don’t end up feeling angry, hurt and confused. When you feel yourself going, it’s always best to retreat, rethink and then respond if you need to do so.
Just because they don’t understand us doesn’t me we can not understand them to make our life easier and no longer take their hurtful toxic behaviour personally.
A conversation with a narcissist is crazy-making. As they will provoke, switch the topic, talk over us, play the victim. Gaslight you, Triangulate or fall silent. Anger and rage, especially when they don’t get what they want or what they believe they are entitled to.
Learning the pattern they go around, and why they do this, recognising the effects it can have on you, helps us to observe what’s happening and not absorb, so we can handle ourselves around them on a conscious level, and not emotionally react on a subconscious level.
The conversation manipulation pattern.
- Invalidation is where the narcissist will not only invalidate your points of view, your opinions, but also your feelings. Within a healthy relationship, you might not agree with each other’s points of you. Still, you would be able to agree to disagree. You would be able to try and reach a mutual understanding or a mutual compromise. As a narcissist, is preoccupied with their own points of view and feels entitled to have things how they want, they invalidate you to put you down to feel better about themselves.
- Projection, this is when the narcissist will deny their mistakes they will deny their intent they will deny their feelings not only within themselves but they will then pass these feelings on to you to with ”You’re.” followed by whatever the narcissist thinks or feels, which causes you emotional distress.￼￼￼￼￼
- Blame shifting once they’ve projected their feelings onto you. The narcissist then often genuinely believes that you are the one at fault, they will pass the blame on to you to change the focus of the conversation on to you to distract you from their behaviour, so they’re not held accountable for their behaviour, with all the other manipulation within the conversation this can leave us with more self-doubt as to what our real intent was.
- ￼￼Word salad, this is when the narcissist will throw all sorts of conversation at us which is nothing to do with the actual discussion you’re having they will take you off the topic they will bring a third person into the conversation to distract you from what the conversation was initially about, this can be very bewildering.
- ￼￼Gaslighting, when they deny, when they distort reality, when they do all they can to confuse you to get you to doubt what your feelings are, what your intentions are, what has and has not happened, with all the other manipulation methods they used throughout the conversation, this can be a very confusing place to be.
- Provoke, if all the other methods haven’t worked to get you to conform so they can gain the control over you and the conversation that they wish to have, they will then go all out to bait you to get that reaction out of you so that they can then blame it all on you. The more hurt or upset that we get when we are in the situation, you might notice the calmer a narcissist becomes when they get you into that state of despair. Once they’ve got that reaction, then they will stand back and look at us with almost a smirk on my face and say, “Look at the state of you. Something is wrong with you to think you might need help.”￼￼￼￼￼
Some narcissist will go out to get this reaction in front of other people so that they can then play the hero to other people about how much they have to put up with, how much they’re trying to help you, how irrational you are or how irrational you are being.
Then whatever we initially went in to have a conversation about is often completely forgotten as we left feeling dazed and confused, disorientated. Like we are the problem, you are never the problem abuse is abuse. There is no excuse. ￼￼￼￼￼
The narcissist personality disorder ￼is a reason behind their behaviour it’s not to excuse their behaviour, abuse is abuse, there is no excuse, but as they don’t see themselves as the problem, we have to stop seeing ourselves as the problem that they blame and gaslight us into believing and start viewing them for who they are. As they try to protect themselves from their mistakes, they sometimes don’t understand a simple conversation they can take easily take things as criticism if it doesn’t match exactly what they think, Provoking their defensive mechanics and creating rage and anger in them, even though that’s not our intentions, or when you just want them to say Sorry, give you closure, yet they are either unwilling or unable. Now some are highly toxic and dangerous. These are a more narcissistic sociopath or narcissistic psychopath. The best is to stay well clear. Only you know the kind of narcissist you are dealing with. With all narcissist’s the more you stand your ground to them, the more all hell seems to break loose. You are the one left constantly on the lookout for the next game.
A narcissist can just not see someone’s point of view and always seems to work against you, as it’s always their way or you will suffer way. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can lead them to think something was their idea, true to narcissistic form if they believe it’s their idea they will go with it, if they believe they are in control, have the upper hand, most will go for it, yes this seems manipulative, so long as your doing it, with good intentions, so your relationship works better with your parents, boss, children’s parent, so long as it’s not out of spite to cause hurt or pain, you’re doing it to see healthier results all round not to be hurtful. Sometimes we have to work with people on their level of understanding, not ours. We have to treat people in a way they understand. A narcissist understands silence, so sometimes our best defence is no reaction. The narcissist will still blame us, that’s on them, us not giving them a reaction is, so we don’t feel worse for doing so.
Research shows that narcissists are less likely to use critical thinking and are lacking in cognitive reflection skills. This is good news for those of you that question am a narcissist? Which most of us do when we first learn about the disorder. Another reason you’re not when you overthink and over reflect and question so much from your past, also another reason why narcissists act on impulse and can simply walk away, taking everything with them without a glance back.
Grandiose and Vulnerable narcissist differ in their cognitive reflection skills, the grandiose narcissist, they are arrogant, have that sense of superiority, entitled and come across as having very high self-esteem, are often extroverted to the outside world, still feeling shame on the inside. The Fragile or Vulnerable Covert narcissists can come across as insecure to those closest to them. They are more defensive and often yet not always more introverted. Most narcissists do act on impulse and are unable to reflect on what they did wrong, while others are more calculated, and once they’ve made a choice are still less able to reflect on that choice. Both the grandiose and vulnerable narcissist are self-centred. They can be highly impulsive, even if they don’t act on impulse all the time. Once they’ve made a choice, they stick with it and can’t reflect correctly, see it from another viewpoint or change their mind. Once they’ve set a plan into action, they just roll with it and stick to their truths, their false reality. A vulnerable narcissist is most likely to reflect temporary but only in a process that is, namely me, myself and I, and not usually for the benefit of others.
Most narcissists seem to lack the ability to choose based on critical thinking skills, and even when they are wrong, lacking in cognitive reflection means they are not as able as those not on the spectrum to reflect on the choices they have made adequately.
The narcissist personality disorder is on a spectrum. Hence, some might be able to reflect. However, they often revert back to their original way of thinking once their needs are met, often why you get the false apology, ”I’m sorry you.” as that’s usually blamed on something you did, then once needs are met, they revert back to their negative ways.
Narcissists are far less likely to use critical thinking, which is important to make good sound decisions and the ability to solve problems.
A cognitive reflection is a person having the ability to reflect on something they might have done wrong, mistakes they have made. A narcissist overrides any thoughts that they could, in fact, be in the wrong as they can not reflect on their own actions, if others perceive them as wrong, they will cling on to the fact that they are right as they are unable to reflect and find ways of making their actions or behaviour correct.
Critical thinking is having the ability to analyse facts to form a judgment, the ability to think clearly and rationally, then understanding the logic between ideas, or actions, the ability to engage and reflect.
No one thinks all of the time critically, especially when our self-control is affected by anger, pain, resentment, grief or joy, or we are just being single-minded, which even those of us who are not narcissistic can slip into in various situations. However, a narcissist rarely uses critical thinking for the good of others, only temporarily to serve themselves.
This is why when you are trying to reach a compromise with them over something, they can not see it from your point of view. They can only see it from their own. You might as well go blue in the face discussing things that matter to you at a brick wall, as if you’ve thoughts, feelings or opinions are not the same as the narcissists. They are not listening if they are. They disagree with you. The more you push the subject, the more anger they feel that you don’t see it their way, the more they act on an impulse to cut you down.
When narcissists are show facts, they struggle to use critical thinking skills instead of going for gut instincts resulting in impulsive behaviours.
The grandiose side of their personality disorder overrides their ability to analyse facts critically.
So with some, it could simply be they are genuinely incapable of listening to what you are trying to say. They are merely stuck within their own mindset without the ability to think differently.
If you can not go, no contact, which I always advise as best, as their thinking skills, mixed with a lack of empathy and remorse. It makes for some of the most hurtful, toxic people there are, so with most, it truly needs to be no contact. Yet there are those on the lower end of the spectrum, or If you can not go no contact, here’s a few ways to deal with them in conversation.
Always look calm and collected, looking just over their shoulder and try not to make direct eye contact when they come at you with the word salad.
If it’s face to face and you feel a need to respond, do not react to the vile things they are saying to provoke you. Remember who they are, observing them, knowing they are only saying things to provoke you, passing their insecurities off onto you, not absorbing the words, don’t take them personally, don’t defend yourself. That’s what they want and why they are doing it. Instead, say things like. “You seem upset all the time. Are you ok?” Or “you seem negative all the time, are you ok.” And leave them to it, don’t continue a conversation, just hit repeat of what you said, as they will try to twist it and turn it onto you. If you repeat the same thing, you’ll watch them get more frustrating that they can not draw the reactions out of you that they want from you.
Shut them down by not reacting to what they are saying, if it’s messages, don’t go off-topic, do not respond to whatever they are throwing at you, say it once and leave it. So if it’s things like. ” kids have something on, they’ll be ready at 6.” And they come at you with. “That’s just like you.” You’ve said all that needed to be said do not explain yourself you already have, and they didn’t listen the first time they’ll not listen the second. Or when they bring the children home late, pick up late, again act to them like it’s not bothered you.
Other phrases are. “I’m not responsible for your opinion of me.” Or “you’re entitled to your point of view, and I’m allowed to have mine.”
When you do say, these things make sure your face stays straight and keep your emotions hidden. Always look calm and collected. When they are not getting what they want from you, they get angry, and they make themselves feel better by making you feel bad.
Once you learn to do it, you’ll know their games, and it’ll no longer affect you. It takes practice.
At the start, you may need to get your reactions and emotions out; just do not do it to the narcissist.
Nine phrases to disarm a narcissist.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.