Ambiverts can Gain the Upper Hand in Conversations with Narcissists

Have you recently had a difficult conversation with a dominant, narcissistic-leaning individual? If so, you probably need a boost to your self-esteem as these individuals have a knack for destroying self-worth and you may need a pep talk.

The term “narcissist” is trendy, but not everyone with narcissistic tendencies is a diagnosed narcissist. Narcissistic-leaning individuals who seek to dominate you and make you compliant with their demands, use many techniques such as love-bombing and scapegoating.

At work, a narcissist using love-bombing techniques to get you to do what they want you to do will claim, “You are the ONLY one that can do this. You are the ONLY one that can do this perfectly. You are the ONLY one with the skills to do this right.” Soon you believe them and give in.

Scapegoating means they embarrass you by unfairly blaming you for problems or failures. Blaming you deflects responsibility or criticism from themselves. Another way they put you down is to exploit a weakness you have. Every individual has incredible strengths and a few limitations. The narcissist that is scapegoating you will find a weakness and exaggerate it to paint you in a negative light to other team members.

What are Ambiverts? Narcissists and narcissist-leaning dominant people have an extraordinary dose of extraversion and self-esteem. However, team members may be on the opposite end of extraversion, sliding to the introverted end of the scale.

Others may be in the middle. They are ambiverts. Lucky you if you are an ambivert with the verbal skills and the self-esteem to have easy and effortless conversations with the narcissistic-leaning, extraverted person. 

When I took the Myers-Briggs assessment, the scale for Introversion was 5 and the scale for Extroversion was 5. Depending on the social situation, I can be either. I concede – I’m an ambivert. 

According to Barry Smith, the director of the Laboratories of Human Psychophysiology at the University of Maryland, 68 percent of the population are ambiverts.

Though not scientifically researched, the word could have some relationship to an ambidextrous person such as the batter who can bat either left-handed or right-handed. 

When extroverts take control of  conversations, batting right-handed, they demand, “Listen to me” or batting left-handed, they send a message that “I’m right and you’re wrong.”  

Introverts stand back, listen, observe, and may choose to stay in the dugout.

Ambiverts, however, can bat with either hand. Ambiverts are great listeners and good communicators. They know when to speak up and when to pay attention to what others say.

How Do Ambiverts Hold Their Ground With Narcissists? Ambiverts succeed because they know their worth and as a human being. They know that the most important word in self-worth or self-esteem is SELF. Notice there is not such a word as “other worth,” or “other esteem.”

With their self-esteem intact, ambiverts can command attention in business settings, whether in a formal meeting or in the breakroom, but can use their intuition to pause, ask open-ended questions, and allow other individuals in the group to enter the conversation. They use active listening skills to engage team members for meaningful, problem-solving conversations. 

Here are other ways ambiverts use to preserve their self-esteem and recover from difficult conversations with dominant people:

They Control Emotions. Ambiverts understand that a narcissist cannot be controlled. If you, as an ambivert, become emotional, the narcissist wins. They, having no emotions, take delight in seeing you wiggle and squirm with uncontrollable irritation, hurt, or anger.  Therefore, controlling your own reactions to their rudeness is paramount. 

Use a technique called grey rocking which means that you give short, straightforward answers to their questions while you do your best to hide any emotion. Practice this mantra: I’ll Be Brief and Be Gone!

They Are Assertive. Assertiveness is a communication style that enables you to stand up for who you are. It enables you to express your feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and opinions without being intimidated by the other person.

You may have the verbal skills to go toe to toe with them but refrain from doing so. However, when in conversations with narcissistic-leaning, dominant individuals, you can avoid giving in to their excessive expectations. You can state your boundaries or what you will or will not do, then stand your ground.

Assertive individuals deliver a boundary message with strong body language: they stand upright and tall, look them straight in the eye and use the lower tones of their voice. They transmit the message “This is my opinion AND yada, yada, is your opinion. Did I state your opinion correctly?”

They Say I Choose. If you are an ambivert, you undoubtedly have the resilience to bounce back from the negative thoughts that come with the low self-esteem the narcissistic abusive language can inflict on you. After an encounter with a narcissist or a dominant-leaning narcissist, you may need a lifeline.

That lifeline is your ability to use “I choose” statements. When you say, “I choose,” you are deciding to take control of your life and emotions and not give into victimhood.

Say to yourself: “I choose not to engage with ___________.” “I choose not to internalize his poison.” “I choose to believe in my abilities.” “I choose to move on.”

These skills enable all individuals, not just ambiverts, to handle difficult conversations with narcissists and other extroverted, dominant people. Will you try them next time you have a difficult conversation?

We'd love to speak with you directly. Call 770-923-0883 or fill out the form below and we'll connect very soon.