How Do You Deal with a Narcissist During a Crisis?

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“What I found is when governors call me, I mean, I think in every case they’ve always been so nice. And then I’ll see them on television and it’s like a different person. I guess they assume I don’t watch them or something, but I watch very closely.”

— President Trump, quoted by the Wall Street Journal.


My unsolicited advice to the nation’s governors:  If you are in the midst of a major crisis and you need help from a narcissist—who just so happens to have the ability to provide significant assistance to you—what is the best strategy for how to deal with him?

Should you attack him when he fails to do as you ask?

Should you point out all his faults and weaknesses?


Cajole him.  Shower him with effusive praise when he does something right, even if it is something small.  That is how you will motivate him to do more of what you want and need.  If he says something dangerously wrong, politely point out that scientists and medical experts disagree “with that position” (not him).

Play to his narcissism.  That is the best chance you have of getting what you want from him.

You can attack and criticize him (and you should) after the crisis is over.  Lives depend on you acting maturely even if he does not.




End of post.


2 thoughts on “How Do You Deal with a Narcissist During a Crisis?

  1. Of course your advice is sane. But if I were one of those that needed help/assistance, I’m not sure I could follow your suggestions. Even if I knew I could “take it all back” after the crisis.

    Perhaps when dealing with “ordinary” people your advice would carry more weight … but the individual that is causing the problems is NOT ordinary.


  2. You are probably right. I’ve used this same strategy in the business world to deal with difficult people.
    On the other hand, I think some feel the right thing to do is to put their objections on the record so that this time in history is recorded accurately.


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