How to Successfully Negotiate with Narcissists
How to Successfully Negotiate with Narcissists
What is a narcissist? How do you negotiate with someone who’s a narcissist? Can you negotiate with a narcissist? Rebecca Zung—an expert on negotiating with narcissists—shares a simple formula that can help you control the negotiation process to get to a desirable outcome. Don’t miss this fascinating episode of Negotiations Ninja!
Speaker 1: Welcome to The Negotiations Ninja Podcast, where we develop and deliver the most engaging negotiation content and training in the world. We host negotiation experts, business people, and entrepreneurs, and discuss what works, what doesn't work, and how we can improve our negotiation skills. Hey, Negotiations Ninja listeners. Welcome to the Negotiations Ninja Podcast. I am so pleased that you're here with me today. Today, we have the pleasure of talking with Rebecca Zung again. She is the amazing and incredible attorney that deals also with narcissist negotiation. I'll say that again, how to negotiate with narcissists. She's got an amazing YouTube channel that I absolutely love, and she's doing an incredible job, whether it's at work or at home, whether it's in your personal life or in your professional life, Rebecca knows all about how to negotiate with narcissists. I highly recommend that you check out this episode with Rebecca Zung. Rebecca Zung, we're here. Welcome, round two.
Rebecca Zung: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Speaker 1: I'm excited for you to be here, and I'm excited for you to share your wisdom once again to our listener base. There are some people who don't know who you are though, so let's introduce you-
Rebecca Zung: What?
Speaker 1: Right?
Rebecca Zung: No, I'm just kidding.
Speaker 1: I know, it's crazy.
Rebecca Zung: inaudible.
Speaker 1: Crazy talk. But you're becoming so popular in the negotiation world around what you're doing, because you're speaking to a very specific issue that a lot of people struggle with. I mean, frankly, the vast majority of the married population, right?
Rebecca Zung: Well, and I just rolled out SLAY for business yesterday, so.
Speaker 1: Right. Okay, fantastic. Okay, let's get into the discussion. So introduce yourself, tell people who you are and what you do, and then we'll get into the whole narcissism discussion and what that's about.
Rebecca Zung: Sure. So my name is Rebecca Zung, and I always say I'm a lawyer by trade, but I don't really practice all that much anymore, because my life has sort of exploded in the last year. I have a YouTube channel and a podcast, you've been on both, and I teach people how to negotiate with narcissists. That's what I do. I always have to snicker a little bit as I say that, because it's such a funny thing to say in a way, but they estimate that one in 10 people have either narcissistic personality disorder, or have narcissistic traits or tendencies. I actually just recently saw a statistic that said 16%, so they're everywhere. I've been helping people through divorces for many years, but I have also had to deal with a narcissist in my own business life, and I've certainly been a business person for a long time. I have my own practice, now I have this whole SLAY enterprise that I'm running, and so, that's what I do. I teach people how to negotiate with narcissists, whether it's in business or in their personal lives.
Speaker 1: So when people hear this, they think to themselves,"How can there be that many?" I didn't realize the numbers were that high, but it sort of makes sense. So maybe before we get into that discussion, explain for people or define for people, what is a narcissist?
Rebecca Zung: Yeah. So I mean, an actual narcissist who's been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, has the seven traits in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the DSM-5, that the psychologists and psychiatrists use, and that is estimated to be like 1% of the population and they have-
Speaker 1: That's still really high.
Rebecca Zung: Yeah. So they have magical thinking, they expect special behavior, they have no boundaries. The basic thing is I distill it down to two really very discernible characteristics. One is that they have no inner sense of value, so they have to get all of their value, they extrapolate it from people, situations, and whatever, either through adulation, money, compliments, prestige, or what I call the dark underbelly of narcissistic supply, which is getting it from degrading and devaluing people, and controlling people, intimidating them, that sort of thing. So that's one-
Speaker 1: Because by extension, that makes them feel-
Rebecca Zung: Makes inaudible better.
Speaker 1: Got it.
Rebecca Zung: Exactly. So that's number one, no inner sense of value, and number two is no ability to have any empathy for others. And so, I kind of look at it as a continuum, because my book is called Negotiate Like YOU M.A.T.T.E.R, and the reason why I called it, that was because all people want to feel seen, heard, and know that they matter. I mean, that's part of being a human being. So there's nothing narcissistic about that, that's just being a human being. But I look at it as a continuum, as you get further down the path toward full- blown narcissistic personality disorder, you feel a little more like you don't have any value inside, a little more like you don't care as much about what's going on with other people, all the way to the pathological state where they can actually be diagnosed.
Speaker 1: Okay. So it's not binary. It's not like you're a narcissist or not a narcissist, it's a spectrum that sort of you graduate on, so to speak.
Rebecca Zung: That's the way I look at it. Now obviously, I'm not a psychologist, but I have sort of an unofficial doctorate in this, because I've read everything there is and studied this as much as I possibly can, because I have had to deal with them, not just in my law practice, which I only ever practice high net worth, high conflict divorce litigation. I've represented billionaires, celebrities, so a few narcissists snuck in there, as you can imagine. But also having to deal with them, I was targeted by two covert narcissists in my personal life, and that's when I started to really study this stuff and go," Oh my God, this is what's going on, and hey, I can apply what I'm learning about narcissism to what I've learned about negotiation all these years."
Speaker 1: So the thing that I find absolutely insane is the volume of people that have these tendencies, but it also makes me think that maybe I'm a little bit narcissistic, right? Whenever I hear this, I'm like," Well, maybe I'm narcissistic, maybe this is something that I need to deal with." So when we start thinking about these narcissistic tendencies that people may have and negotiating with these types of people, first of all, how do you know if you're dealing with a narcissist, and then once you know that you're dealing with a narcissist, does your negotiation strategy have to change as a result?
Rebecca Zung: Well, yeah. I mean, you're going to know, because with a narcissist or a person who has narcissistic traits who's pretty far down on that spectrum we were talking about, when the relationship starts to break down, or if they feel in any way that you're not for them, then you're going to know because with the narcissist, you're either for them or you're against them, and if you're against them, then you're public enemy number one. Then it's," I'm going to do whatever I need to take you down." Narcissists are street fighters, they fight dirty, they don't fight fair. If it were a physical fight, it would be the equivalent of hair pulling, groin stuff, pinching, biting. That's how they fight. So nothing is really too low for them, unless they think they might get caught, and even with malignant narcissists, they don't even care about getting caught, or even grandiose narcissists, sometimes they think they can get away with things. Covert narcissists tend to be a little more under the radar, a little more passive- aggressive, but because they're lying, they're manipulating, they're lining up people against you, when you're in the fight of your life, and their whole mantra and purpose in life is to take you down.
Speaker 1: They're out to seek and destroy, basically.
Rebecca Zung: Yeah. There's no hiding wondering if you're negotiating with a narcissist.
Speaker 1: Right. So I mean, how does this change our negotiation strategy with someone? Because I mean, in a perfect world, let's just say it's a perfect world, we'd try and find a way to create a mutually beneficial deal between both parties. Now, that's not going to happen with a narcissist, because they're out to kill you. They're out to crosstalk-
Rebecca Zung: Well, it can happen. It can happen, but you just can't go about it the same way.
Speaker 1: Okay. So how do we deal with that?
Rebecca Zung: Well, so in a normal negotiation, both sides, assuming they're reasonable people, when I was in law school, we always talked about the reasonably prudent person, RPP. So assuming that you're dealing with a reasonably prudent person and you are that as well, you are looking to come to a resolution, you're trying to figure out," How can we come to a resolution?", like just what you said, that's mutually beneficial, that where we can shake hands, wish each other well, go have a beer afterwards, and enjoy the fruits of our agreement. That's how normal people think. Narcissists don't think that way. They are looking to get narcissistic supply. That's their number one goal, no matter what it is, and if they're not going to get supply from you from the adulation, or getting you to do stuff for them to make them look good, tirelessly poring yourself into a situation, a business, or whatever, for no recognition from them, but you're just expected to continue to do it. Then once they realize they're not getting it from that direction anymore, then they're going to turn to," Okay, then I'm just going to make your life miserable. I'm going to use the court system as a sword. I'm going to lie about you. I'm going to constantly move goalposts. Even if I send you a proposed agreement and you agree to it, by the time you agree to it, it's changed, it's rescinded, it's revised, because you took too long, or you did this, or you said that. It's going to be your fault as to why the agreement's no longer on the table." But it's because they're getting narcissistic supply from controlling you and jerking you around, and making you continue to pay attention to them and their warped sense of reality, I think they think that somehow they're getting you to respect them, because you're afraid of them, or you're running around freaked out about the situation. They're not looking to come to a resolution, because then the narcissistic supply comes to an end. So there's a fundamental difference in your intentions when you're coming to the table, and the problem with reasonable people is that they're going," What do they want? How can we get this resolved? What can I offer them to make them walk away, to make them happy?", and that's a fundamental flaw in your thinking.
Speaker 1: That is fascinating. Hey, listeners. I want to tell you about another company that I run called Content Callout. It is a thought leadership brand marketing company. Now, what does that mean? It means that we take you as an executive or entrepreneur, a leader of a small or a medium sized business, and we turn you into a thought leader online. We take your personal brand, and we amp it up to 11, so that you can lead with confidence, knowing that people will recognize you, recognize your brand and recognize your business, because of the thought leadership approach that you've taken on social media, through content creation and content distribution, as well as engaging with all of your following online. How do you get involved in this? Easy, easy, easy. Just go to contentcallout. com/ getstarted, and you will see there three different options that will allow you to take your thought leadership brand for yourself and for your business to the next level. We are super excited to talk to you about this. We've seen some massive growth with the businesses that we've been working with. Very, very exciting time for us. Look at that, we appreciate it. Now back to your show. I love what you said there," Once resolution happens, narcissistic supply ends." So you're looking for a resolution based on your reasonableness and thinking like," What can we give this person to make them go away?" But the point is, then that ends their supply, and so the point is that they want to drag it out for as long as possible, so that supply keeps coming.
Rebecca Zung: Yeah.
Speaker 1: Fascinating.
Rebecca Zung: I actually had a narcissistic client say to me," I'd rather pay you than her."
Speaker 1: Well, at least you got paid.
Rebecca Zung: Yeah, except it was a pain in the neck, because he was a narcissist. So it doesn't make it any more fun to work for him as his attorney either.
Speaker 1: Yeah, what a jerk.
Rebecca Zung: And he used to try to goad me into doing underhanded, dirty things. He used to say to me like," Oh, Rebecca, you're going to be so lonely in heaven by yourself."
Speaker 1: My goodness. Okay. But because you've worked with this for so long, I mean, this is what you do, and you've helped people to come to resolution with these types of people, so clearly there's a strategy, there's a way, and you've built an entire program around this. Tell me about this program.
Rebecca Zung: Yeah. So it's called SLAY Your Negotiation With a Narcissist, and SLAY stands for develop super strong strategy, create invincible leverage, A, stands for anticipate and be two steps ahead of them, and Y stands for focusing on you, your position, your case, your side of the deal. It's a methodology, it's a framework, and it actually works. I know that it works, it's worked for thousands of people who've bought my programs, and it's worked for thousands of people who I've represented.
Speaker 1: I love that you used the word SLAY, because all that's coming into my head is someone facing off against a dragon, right? Like slaying the dragon to get to the gold, right? You can't get to the gold unless you slay the dragon. And that visual imagery for me is so perfect when thinking about a narcissist, because the dragon for me is the narcissist, right? So walk me through the strategy, just at a high level. When it comes to the strategy portion, the S, tell me about how you would approach strategy with a narcissist?
Rebecca Zung: Yeah. So I use the same kind of strategy that they've used in going to war, and many different areas. So in developing a really good strategy, you need to diagnose your situation and figure out what it is that you're dealing with, what kind of narcissists you're dealing with, what the situation is. Number two is develop your guiding principle or your vision, your goal, where is it that you want to go? Some people are so deep into the woods they forget about figuring out where it is you want to go, and keeping that as your guiding vision and your guiding principle. And number three is developing your action plan, and your tactics are going to be within that entire idea of your strategy. Some people want to skip right to the L, they just want to know," How can I find the leverage?" But leverage is important, but it's kind of worthless if you're not using it within a strategy, without having tactics about when you're going to present it, where are you going to present it, how you're going to present it. So having the leverage is not the only thing that you need. I'm really grateful that the word SLAY worked for me and the S came first, but leverage is important. I mean, leverage is very important. I look at all four letters as sort of legs to a table. Without one, it falls over, right? So leverage is really important, and the main overview I want to say about leverage when it comes to narcissists, is that there's a hierarchy of this narcissistic supply that we talked about, for a narcissist. So there's going to be forms of supply that are going to mean more to them, that I call diamond level supply, grade A supply, that they'll do whatever they need to protect, no matter what. So they also get supply from jerking you around, making you miserable and all of that, but I call that their grade D, or coal level supply, inaudible, it gives them energy, but it's not the most important form of supply. So the key in developing leverage is to threaten a source of narcissistic supply that's going to be more important for them to protect and maintain than the supply that they get from jerking you around, so that they have to let go of the supply they get from jerking you around.
Speaker 1: Yeah, because they're afraid of losing that other supply.
Rebecca Zung: Correct.
Speaker 1: Interesting. And so, it becomes about managing the scarcity of their narcissism.
Rebecca Zung: Correct.
Speaker 1: Oh, I love this. This is fascinating. Okay. Let's get to A. Tell me about A.
Rebecca Zung: That's a great quote. I've never heard it put that way before. I love that.
Speaker 1: Managing the scarcity of... Yeah.
Rebecca Zung: Yeah, because they are in scarcity mode at all times.
Speaker 1: They are. Yeah, just by being a narcissist.
Rebecca Zung: Correct.
Speaker 1: Fascinating. Okay. Let's get to A. What's A all about?
Rebecca Zung: Anticipating what they're going to do, and being two steps ahead of them. So figuring out what kind of narcissist you're dealing with. So in my program, I actually have like 40 different things and behaviors, and I have a chart, which says," Covert narcissist, grandiose, narcissist, malignant narcissist," and I have a checklist as to what they're more than likely going to engage in, so that you can kind of be prepared. And then doing your research for your side, doing the research for the other side, anticipating what their arguments are going to be, anticipating the types of behavior they're going to engage in. And a lot of times for arguments, one of the things I say in my program is, it's sometimes really effective if you can, at the negotiation say," I'm anticipating that you're going to take this position, and here's why it doesn't hold merit," before they even bring it up.
Speaker 1: Is it easier to anticipate someone with narcissistic tendencies and what actions they're going to take?
Rebecca Zung: They're very predictable. They're heinous to deal with, but they're very predictable.
Speaker 1: Right. That's what I was thinking, because narcissistic supply for them is the primary concern. And so, if you've mapped out the narcissistic supply matrix, I'm sure then you can determine where they're going to go to next, right?
Rebecca Zung: Correct. Correct.
Speaker 1: Okay. And so, this really ties into the strategy discussion that you were talking about at the beginning. Without that strategy portion, you're never going to know how to anticipate.
Rebecca Zung: Right, and you're never going to be able to create the proper leverage.
Speaker 1: Amazing. Okay. Tell me about the Y.
Rebecca Zung: I love the Y. Honestly, there's so many reasons why I love the Y, because even when I was a trial lawyer full- time and I didn't know anything about narcissism, I used to say to people," If all you have is a good defense, no one's scoring any points." So no matter what team you're on, if it's NFL or whatever, you've got to have somebody who's scoring points. But when you're dealing with narcissists or high conflict, difficult personalities, it gets easy to get sucked into pointing the finger at how bad they are all the time, but then you forget to build up and bolster your own position in your own case, depending on what kind of a negotiation it is, whether it's a litigation matter, or just a straight negotiation, you still want to have a strong position on your side. If all you're doing is pointing fingers and picking apart the other side, then you have no position. So it's really important to focus on your own position as well. Almost first, really. I mean, have both, but remember to bolster your own position. And then also taking care of yourself, and self- care, and your mindset, and removing your own psychological blocks, and I think 80% of a negotiation is won before you even walk into a room. I actually just interviewed Bob Proctor a couple months ago, and he actually corrected me on my podcast and said," Oh no, it's 95%," and in some ways, he's right.
Speaker 1: I mean, it's incredible to me to hear about how common this is, but at the same time, you kind of get it, why people move this direction. But to know that there are people like you who can help people through situations like this, is reassuring to me as well, because I think when a lot of people get into this kind of a situation, they think," I'm alone," right? Like" I'm alone in this situation," right?" This only happens to someone like me, and why am I dealing with such a jackass on the other side?" But the truth of the matter is, that's actually fairly common, and so common that you've built an entire business around it, to support people that are dealing with these narcissists. And so-
Rebecca Zung: So common that my YouTube channel went from a thousand subscribers in March of 2020, to 121, 000 as we sit here today.
Speaker 1: Unbelievable. Wow. Congratulations, by the way. That is fantastic. Okay. So let's ask the next obvious question. What if I'm someone in this position and I need your help? Where do I go to? What do I do?
Rebecca Zung: Well, you can start with subscribing to my YouTube channel. If you just type in my name Rebecca Zung, or you go to YouTube and you didn't remember my name, but you remember that I talked about negotiating with narcissists, if you put that in, I will surely be the first one that comes up. So you can definitely check me out there. I do have a free giveaway, which is my free Crush my Negotiation prep worksheet, which is 15 pages. It's basically an ebook, and I've given it away to thousands and thousands of people now, and people can just go to winmynegotiation. com. So just winmynegotiation. com and grab that. Follow me on Instagram @ rebeccazung, and those are really great places to start.
Speaker 1: Awesome. Very cool. Is there also a website for the program itself, the SLAY Your Negotiation program?
Rebecca Zung: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Just go to slayyournegotiation. com.
Speaker 1: Amazing. Rebecca, thank you so much for being on. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, and also thank you for what you do. I think there's a lot of people out there that look for help in this kind of an area and they're like," Man, I can't find anyone," but thankfully, you exist, so people can go to you, so that's fantastic. Thank you for being on today.
Rebecca Zung: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Speaker 1: We will link out to all of the resources that we spoke about in today's show in the show notes. You can visit that on our website, or wherever you download podcasts. I hope you enjoyed today's discussion with Rebecca Zung. If you need any contact information or anything like that, just go to the website and find her there. Again, Rebecca, have a great day.
Rebecca Zung: Thank you for having me.
Speaker 1: Hey friends, thanks so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it, please share it with friends and colleagues so that they can benefit from it as well. If you find Negotiations Ninja Podcast worthy, please go on to iTunes and give us a cool rating with a nice review. We certainly appreciate every single one that we get, because it helps us to understand who is listening, how they're listening, and what it is they like. If there's something that you would like me to discuss around negotiation influence or persuasion, give me a shout. You know how to reach me on social media, or you can get me on my website, which is www. negotiations. ninja.