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How to Deal with a “Kind” Narcissist

how to deal with a kind narcissist

There are various types of narcissists that exists, but did you know about the “kind” narcissist? Here’s how to deal with a kind narcissist and avoid them at all costs.

At first, the kind narcissist seems like a generous, attentive person. Trouble arises once more is asked of them than they want to give. It’s the same insidious selfishness and entitlement as regular narcissism, tucked inside a nice guy façade.

KEY POINTS

At first, the kind narcissist seems like a generous, attentive person.
Trouble arises once more is asked of them than they want to give.
It’s the same insidious selfishness and entitlement as regular narcissism, tucked inside a nice guy façade.

The kind narcissist sees themselves as good person. Often, they appear steady and good-natured. They are popular and well thought of. The trouble arises once more is asked of them than they want to give.

This instinct to preserve their time, autonomy, or affections is not based on what’s fair or necessary but instead on their feelings of entitlement about how much (or little) should be asked of them. This sense of entitlement differs from healthy boundaries and self-esteem because they both refuse to take anyone else into account and believe they are entitled to love, respect, and goodwill, no matter the pain and frustration caused to those around them. It’s the same insidious selfishness and entitlement as regular narcissism, tucked inside a nice guy façade.

What Is A “Kind Narcissist”?

Kind narcissistic behavior often looks like the following: not doing one’s share of housework, insisting that their work responsibilities always take precedence over yours, resistance to spending time with people or activities that are more important to you than to them, and reluctance to spend money on things important to you while insisting on big-ticket items that they value.

One glaring example of this was a friend of mine, who before her divorce had a kitchen with no working appliances and cabinet doors falling off their hinges. Her husband insisted there was no money for repairs and then spent over $100,000 on a new truck just because he wanted to.

How To Deal With A Kind Narcissist

In a work environment, this might be someone who never steps up their output or productivity, no matter how dire the need to do so, and happily allows their colleagues to take up the slack. They might be the sibling who acts concerned about the welfare of an elderly parent while resisting any real contribution to that parent’s care. If you push back on this behavior, you’ll be met with wounded eyes, defensiveness, and an accusation that “No matter what I do, you’re never happy.”

But where a kind narcissist is really exposed, unsurprisingly, is during long-term romantic partnerships. Especially after children. It’s hard to imagine a life experience better designed to put pressure on the system than having a baby. While the kind narcissist’s self-centeredness can often be masked in the beginning phases of a relationship or before there are any heavy responsibilities or tough times, eventually, the wheels come off.

Related: 7 Subtle Signs You Are Dealing With A Dangerous Person

Kind Narcissists In Relationships

How to Deal with a Kind Narcissist

Consider Jack and Meredith, who came to me after Meredith told Jack she wanted to divorce. When they came to my office, Jack looked shaken and fearful—like he’d just emerged from a car wreck. Meredith was calm and poised and radiated a cool detachment. They’d been together for eight years and had two young children.

They’d met in graduate school, and Meredith had immediately been taken by Jack’s sunny, generous demeanor. “He always seemed like the first guy to jump in and help out. I thought he’d be an amazing partner. All everyone says about Jack is how nice he is, what a great dad, that I’m so lucky to have him. But it’s for show. He does exactly what he wants to do and doesn’t lift a finger otherwise. I’m exhausted, and I’m done.”

Two weeks earlier, Jack came home after spending the day playing baseball with friends. Meredith was in the kitchen making dinner, both kids at her feet. She asked Jack to take the kids while she finished up. Jack agreed but said he wanted to change his clothes first. Fifteen minutes later, he still hadn’t emerged.

Related: 40 Red Flags That Point Towards A Toxic Relationship

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Tonya Lester

Tonya Lester, LCSW, is a psychotherapist in Brooklyn, NY. She graduated from New York University with a Master's degree in Social Work. Her post-graduate training includes a fellowship at Psychoanalytic Theory at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Theory and Research (IPTAR) and supervised practice in Psychodynamic Therapy under Drs. C.E. Robins and John Broughton. She completed training in IFS with Dick Schwartz, Nancy Sowell, and Pam Krause. Her training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) was with John Forsyth, Ph.D. She studied RLT with its creator, Terry Real. Additional writing and resources, such as journal prompt and values work, are available at www.tonyalester.com.View Author posts