A Narcissist’s negativity defines who they will be.
Consider the many times you have been interacting with a narcissist and the result of the conversation was being insulted, dismissed, and demeaned. That’s what they do.
How much respect do you feel toward that person? Well, the answer is obvious…close to zero.
Now let’s take it a bit further. As you’re interacting with a narcissist, how easily do you respond in kind? You too might become insulting, dismissive, and demeaning. In other words, you can behave with the very disdainful traits you dislike inside the narcissist.
In such moments, that unhealthy person has infiltrated your personality and has robbed you of your decency.
Sometimes wisdom requires us to act in ways that are inconsistent with what we feel in the moment. Any discipline requires a “mind over emotion” response at some point. In the case of life with a narcissist, I have determined that it is folly to allow that deeply unhealthy person to establish my pace, which leads to the conclusion that I will not allow my immediate emotion to guide my action.
When I suggest having respect even when the feeling isn’t there, let’s make sure we understand what I am not advocating. I am not advocating a lack of assertiveness. And I am not suggesting catering to that person’s commands. Nor am I suggesting pandering and acting like a buddy toward someone I dislike. Nor am I suggesting it is wrong to feel anger and hurt. Being strong in the presence of an emotional bully is what I am seeking.
Acting upon respect despite sour emotions means that you prioritize civility, decency, personal stability, and confidence.
In other words, you are determined to be healthy when the invitation is offered to the contrary.
Narcissists desperately want to be in control, and they want you to become their narcissistic supply. When you collapse into a consistently unhealthy response pattern, the narcissist can smile inside, thinking, “Oh, I have so won.”
I choose not to give the narcissist a victory of that sort over me. But more importantly, I choose to let my actions indicate: “I am a decent person and that is something you cannot have charge over. No way.”