How much attention does a narcissist need
This is a tactic that narcissists use to draw attention to themselves
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Narcissists hate when it comes to someone other than themselves. Occasionally, they enjoy the successes of the people they know. However, they only highlight these successes because they want to get a piece of the fame.
They still prefer to talk about themselves, their thoughts and opinions.
“Conversational Narcissism” is a term coined by the sociologist Charles Derber, author of “The Pursuit of Attention: Power and Ego in Everyday Life”. The term describes a tactic that narcissists often use and that their victims usually only notice after the conversation. Sometimes it is also people who are not narcissistic who use this method - but without bad intentions.
Cherlyn Chong - a breakup counselor who helps working women get over toxic exes - told INSIDER that conversational narcissism is about turning the conversation back on yourself.
"The person does most of the conversation and draws the subject on," said Chong. "Most of the people who steer the conversation this way are not even aware that it is happening at all."
This is the tactic that conversational narcissists use to draw attention to themselves
If you give a so-called “supportive answer” in a conversation, the focus remains on the person who just spoke. In conversational narcissism, on the other hand, people use a so-called "alternating response" with which they attract attention.
For example, if someone says they have a headache, a supportive answer would be, “I sympathize with you. I have something for a headache ”. Whereas an alternate answer would be: "Me too, I hardly slept last night because of the children."
Narcissists also sprinkle "disinterested supportive responses into the conversation," according to Chong, to make it appear that they are listening. Nonetheless, 90 percent of the conversation relates to themselves and their own needs.
"Because these conversations are never really about you, the narcissist reinforces the impression that you just have to give, give, and give more to get even a tiny bit of attention from them," Chong said. "Your role is to support, soothe or flatter your ego."
Narcissists will even likely make you feel guilty if you try to talk about yourself in one of these conversations. That keeps you "malleable, docile, and perfect for manipulation," Chong said.
This trick narcissists use to subordinate their victims is very subtle. Because of this, it is unlikely that you will immediately notice when you are in such a situation. However, if during a conversation you feel like you are not being able to speak, or if you are somehow frustrated, that could be the reason.
"After a while you feel like you don't have a say and you may even get inhibitions about getting involved in other conversations," said Chong. “After such a conversation, you may feel that something has not been clarified, or you may have a queasy gut feeling.” Don't be surprised if you get a little angry. "Because basically you have just been passed over."
How to deal with narcissists properly
In the first step, according to Chong, you should make yourself aware that your feelings are justified - they are not irrational. In conversation, you can also try to bring attention back to yourself if you feel that it is being taken from you. A person who is not a narcissist will likely understand that they are talking too much about themselves and then hold back a little. However, a narcissist is reluctant to allow attention to wander away from them.
"This will annoy the narcissist, but it will reduce his control," said Chong. “Keep a cool head and avoid giving it any form of approval. If there is no active exchange, the narcissist cannot win. "
Also read: 5 Habits All Narcissists Have In Common
In short, narcissists are bad listeners. And if you don't allow them to get all the attention, they will feel uncomfortable. If they're unbearable, you can just tell them you need a break - and walk away. "That could leave the narcissist confused and leaving you alone from now on," Chong said.
This article was translated from English by Claudia Saatz.
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