One thing you must remember when dealing with a narcissist is that to a narcissist all options, in regards to their own behaviors, are always on the table- always.
We can get caught off guard when we assume we have parsed and parceled a narcissist’s behavior options to a select few responses.
We can begin to think the narcissist will always act controlling and like a tyrant, then lo and behold, they show patience and a willingness to work with others.
Or we begin to notice they are at the very least “trying” to work with us and then, Wham! they demonstrate a ruthlessness that has our heads whiplashing and teeth rattling in regards to its severity.
This is the destabilization process of interacting with a narcissist.
We do not realize that to move efficiently through life and to have suitable interpersonal relationships, we are constantly anticipating and predicting the responses of others.
What we overlook in a narcissist, however, is that they never, ever limit their behavior options.
A narcissist stands before a buffet of options in regards to behavior choices with every engagement and interaction.
They do not allow prior behaviors, social acceptability, your needs or anyone’s needs to modify or limit their choices in any way.
Sometimes the best you can do with a narcissist is to spend less time predicting their buffet choices and more time keeping yourself centered. Narcissists always count on you leaning too far one way or another in anticipation of their needs, in a sense, putting your own balance in peril.
Don’t overreach with a narcissist. Don’t always anticipate (because truly no one knows what a narcissist will do next, and that includes the narcissist him- or herself).
Keep your own self centered. Let the narcissist wander up to the buffet of life and make his or her choice. And trust in your heart and in your own strength that you will respond to the narcissist appropriately.
If the response requires yelling and boundary-setting, you will do it. If the response requires neutral acceptance, then you will do that. If the response requires action, you will act. If the response requires walking away, you will walk.
You will begin to show the narcissist that you, too, are working with a whole buffet of behavior options and responses. And that sense of choice, something the narcissist has always tried to take from you, is yours to use.