4 helpful questions for dealing with narcissist leaders

Its one thing spotting a narcissist, and what that person is doing to you, its quite another thing being able to do something about it.

This article in Psychology today, describes some of the signs of narcissist abuse and also the common phrases that they use.

There are a number of ways, and I am seriously no expert, apart from considerable personal experience, in trying to deal with a narcissist in a personal capacity.

For me this isn’t the issue right now.  And, if you look at the list above you will see signs, fairly easy signs, that narcissism is rife in the leaders of the UK and USA at the moment.  The trick, is not to diagnose, that’s been done,  its what to do about it.

Gaslighting is one of the main forms. This was evident in the Bleachgate of Trump.

Step 1; Basically say one thing

2. ensue Media frenzy

3. Then dispute having said it, and virtually blame everyone else for not recognising sarcasm.

The stuff on gaslighting is far more complex. And it can taker many forms.

Therefore, theres a need to be armed with different strategies.

One of the main problems is that the media only operates at a pace of speed.

Watch the press conferences, watch the desire to have a moment to ask a question, watch the journalists clamber to say something and ask something for their readers. Its then written, reported and turned into a news. Its then debated. Its then rebuffed, needlessly by bleach companies, and so much time is wasted. So much, but then, when the narcissist in chief says anything, that’s the news.

Note what happens when the press argue, their source is challenged (fake news)

Speed is the playground of the narcissist.

Have you noticed how quickly Trump talks?  yeah… it’s far…too…confusing. Bewlidering in fact. Johnson is the same with much bwiffwaff.

Presidential platforms have become the objects of propaganda in a time where deep humanity and assurance would be significantly more helpful.


I really cant expect the western press to read this, or neither do I expect them to become emotionally adept at dealing with the narcissism in front of them, but I offer the following for anyone who is dealing with a narcissist.

In the UK, the reaction to ‘100,000’ tests being achieved (when they were not), or the ‘Care badge’ or the other distractions, misinformations being spewed , is similar.

I am happy to be wrong by the way. A few weeks ago I got angry, and suggested that I though the press weren’t doing their job.   That was harsh of me. The problem is that they are used to being reporters of news for a narrative,  not emotionally adept readers of the narcissism they are being subject to. Effectively being used. The system they are in being the incubator of narcissism.  And, by the way. Getting angry is exactly what a narcissist wants, drama. The other option is the silence.

Remember the face of the scientist who couldn’t speak at the briefing when Trump suggested bleach? – well this is the face of someone who in the face of something so incredulous shuts down. Brain does not compute. Its like sucking a lemon and time going so slowly.. yup, that’s what happens.  Anger or shutdown. And an angry press journalist heads into a fight that Trump will turn back. Creating drama. Another trick.

If drama, anger, questions and silence, don’t work – then what? – what might be the best way f0r the press to deal with the narcissist?  After all, its them who are in the firing line, we’re just sitting on our armchairs, watching and trying not to react, overreact and ascertain something helpful through it all.

The first thing, beyond anything, is to slow the process down. The best way to deal with the speed issue, is to slow down.  If speed is what the essence of the game is in the press room, then do whatever can be done to slow it down. You need thinking time to deal with a narcissist, especially the very self absorbed ones that currently are in power.

Time is power, so, take some in the room. Slow down. You have got to get some time in the room. Time to compose.

So, I offer 5 questions the press should be asking the politicians at the monument- to enable proper scrutiny and more accurate news.

  1. Can you clarify what you are saying?

Given the vitriol spouted at times, asking DT or BJ to repeat or clarify it, will cause them to have to think through whatever the lie is.

Slow them down.

Ask for clarification

‘you have made so many points – what are you actually saying to us.? Can. you add clarification to it, detail even…

it hurts them to slow down. Hurts even more when there’s silence.  This question can give time. It also means that, like anyone who is lying, getting them to talk more about it, what they have already said, their story, gives you time to be able to focus on that one issue.

2. Do you mean what you say?

See bleach gate.  ‘Do you mean what you say about people injecting bleach?’ if this was the question, and Trump had to say ‘yes I do’ or ‘no I’m being sarcastic’ or ‘im just thinking out loud’ or ‘I just saw it on Fox News’ – then time would have been saved.

‘Do you mean what you say – when you say 100,000 tests have been carried out Matt Hancock?

Trap them by their own words, make them believe what they are actually saying. Hold them to it.

3. Is this for real, are you being truthful?

Is a slightly better question than ‘are you being sarcastic?’ – but you get the gist.  Challenge whether what has been said is not only real, but also true.  Often a narcissist will have a created world, that only they know what’s really going on. They cant do anything other than be truthful in that world, but its often not a world anyone else inhabits, its just their ego. Asking for clarification of truth, or if it is actually real, and real for the many other people not in the ego world of narcissist leader, will cut through to it.

4. Stay firm, aware, and composed. Try and see the strategies ahead, they will include distraction, blame, not taking responsibility, and also projecting their own victim status. (and I got that right in my other blog) . Dont fall for it.

Question 4 could be anything, as long as it starts with

‘Are you going to take responsibility for…….’

and this could include ‘the death count’ ‘free school meals being a disaster’ or ‘telling people to inject bleach’ , ‘the governments response to this virus’  – and do this in real time. It forces responsibility. Which narcissists almost cannot do.

oh and dont ask them to take responsibility for something of human concern, their empathy is only strategic

There’s no point attacking them. The process of writing a story, social media and media reaction and then the sarcastic dismissal has let the gaslighting cat out of the bag. Old media processing has to be cuter and cleverer than that. It worked when the leaders where at least truthful with some spin, not manipulative emotionally distant narcissists.

On a collective and personal note, there is no chance of changing a narcissist. Not at all. But, you can  change around them, so they might change their behaviour slightly. Work out their game and they try a different one, or get angry, or hide. Which is what Trump did. If you change the behaviour, they’ll change theirs, hold ground, not attack, not silence.  I am sure the press conferences are tightly rigid affairs, questions known in advance etc, and so who am I to say and advise.

Personally you can get out of the cycle, and getting out of a narcissistic relationship is key. Collectively this is difficult when two nations are stuck with narcissist leaders. Stepping out the cycle means switching off and creating boundaries. One way T and BJ get in is through the media who allow free access, they also manipulate within social media too.  Getting angry back, especially at the incredulity. Best, seriously is not to let them in. Follow the president on twitter when its healthy too. Not when they’re trying to provoke, lie and create drama. Egos are fuelled by notifications, and thriving off the drama of their own making. Neither the UK or USA can get out the cycle of being emotionally abused. We may just need the press to help us all with playing a different game with the news media.  Being gaslit on an international scale about injecting bleach, at a time of international crisis should provoke a different way.

Because at the moment, the public are losing out to a media that isnt working in the face of narcissism. It needs new tools.

3 thoughts on “4 helpful questions for dealing with narcissist leaders

  1. There is the persecutor, rescuer and victim triangle. The narcissist may opt for any of the vertices. The option for us is not to feed this model but to escape the triangle. Don’t be the adaptive child when the narcissist is the parent. Listen, take the small percentage which could apply and ignore the rest. We control our decisions, not them. Whatever they wish to do is their choice, and we can elect to make our decisions.
    Thank you for this post. I’m in that boat of escaping the triangle now.

    Liked by 1 person

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