25 Tips for How to Deal With a Narcissist
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Are you in a relationship with someone who is a narcissist? If so, you will want to set boundaries in order to protect yourself from some of the harmful behaviors that narcissists indulge in.
What is a narcissistic personality disorder?
We call someone a narcissist or someone who possesses narcissistic tendencies when that person substitutes a “false personality” that he or she presents to the outside world to cover up deep childhood traumas and hurt.
Some of the ways narcissists will present themselves to others include being excessively charming and having a “big” personality (very extroverted, wanting to be the center of attention at all times).
When the love for yourself gets to an extreme level, then narcissism changes into a personality disorder. A person suffering from this syndrome acts weirdly, and the attitude and behavior of that person cannot be considered normal.
It is important to keep in mind that underneath all that, people with NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) struggle with feelings of emptiness and never feel “good enough” because they are continually comparing themselves with those around them, and finding (secretly; they would never admit this publically) that they come up short.
Related Reading: How to Identify Vulnerable Narcissist and Deal with Them
How to spot a narcissist?
They are focused on themselves and self-absorbed, often conceited, thinking they are better than and know more than everyone else. In talking with them, they frequently dominate the conversation, leaving little room for anyone else to voice an opinion. For a narcissist, everything is all about them.
Certain traits of such people give rise to behavior which, if identified, can help you in dealing with a narcissist.
Read this article to learn more about it:
Related Reading: How to spot a narcissist?
8 signs you’re dealing with a narcissist
Here are some behaviors exhibited by a narcissistic person which are discussed below. If you want to know how to handle a narcissist, read on:
Praise is what they require all the time
Their hunger for praise is endless. And most importantly, this praise is only for them, and they want nobody to expect the same from them.
As a matter of fact, if sometimes they do not hear the same heart-winning compliments, then they get angry and frustrated.
At the same time, research has also shown that excessive praising can actually lead to narcissism in children.
Excessive sense of self-admiration
They do not understand the fact that others also have a heart and everybody possesses some value. Narcissists never feel for others; they indeed want themselves to be treated superior to others.
A sense of superiority
Irrespective of whether they have achieved anything or not they possess a certain sense of superiority that always surrounds them.
They want themselves to be recognized as having a more prominent status than the rest around.
They exaggerate their achievements
Furthermore, if they have a talent for something that has even allowed them to achieve what they desired; so these accomplishments are always exaggerated by narcissists.
Focused on beauty and power
A preoccupation with thoughts about beauty, power, brilliance, ideal life partner is another significant characteristic of such people. It may be difficult to notice at times because many people are attracted to these things but people who have experience of dealing with a narcissist know that their preoccupation is at a different level altogether.
Crafty in nature
They manipulate things and think of tricky methods to get what they want.
Moreover, they may also take advantage of other people, be very polite and kind to get their will accepted. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Alabama even showed that such people could strategically try to even make their partners jealous.
They are always envious of others and also think that others envy them as they are perfect beings possessing beauty with brains. This makes dealing with a narcissist pretty difficult since they think that people are just out to get them when they point out their narcissistic tendencies.
Can’t accept criticism
Lastly, they react to any sort of criticism against them with extreme arrogance (check out this interesting study that talks about the relation of criticism with narcissism).
How to deal with a narcissist in a relationship?
For people dealing with a narcissist, it is essential to remember two things –
- One: NPD is a disorder. The person can’t help themselves.
- Two: You cannot change them, as they cannot change.
You can, however, protect yourself when interacting or living with a narcissist husband or wife. This means setting boundaries when dealing with a narcissist.
How to set boundaries with a narcissist?
Boundary-setting is vital to your own balance, sanity, mental health, and self-respect when in a relationship with a narcissist.
It may be challenging to set boundaries when dealing with a narcissistic husband or wife. They typically have issues with their own boundaries: most likely, they do not respect others’ boundaries because they cannot recognize what a boundary is.
For example, a narcissist husband may speak inappropriately about his wife or daughter, revealing information that a normal husband or father wouldn’t normally share publicly. It will be a common occurrence for you if you are dealing with a narcissist.
What do we mean by “boundary setting”?
Imagine drawing a line in the sand, and telling your narcissist that they cannot cross that line. Any overstepping of that line is unacceptable behavior. That line is your personal limit, your boundary when dealing with a narcissist.
Setting boundaries with a narcissist means to make them abide by the rules that you set in the relationship.
25 tips for how to deal with a narcissist
If you are wondering how to deal with a narcissist, here are some steps to follow when dealing with a narcissist:
Set your boundaries in a calm manner
How to talk to a narcissistic husband or wife about boundaries will not be anything short of challenging. Nothing will anger the narcissists more than being told what they can and cannot do, especially if done in a hostile voice.
The best way to deal with a narcissist is to be kind, but be firm. If your narcissist is abusing you verbally, set your boundary by saying in a calm voice, “It is difficult for me to listen to you when you talk like this.
I am going to leave (or hang up, if you are on the phone) now, but I am open to talking with you once you are able to use a reasonable tone of voice.”
Then walk away, or hang up. Do not wait for the answer. In this way, you are protecting yourself from the abuse when dealing with a narcissist, all while teaching them that changing their attitude will allow you back into the conversation.
Related Reading: 6 Types of Boundaries in Relationships & How to Maintain Them
Understand that their actions come from a place of emptiness
Don’t get upset or blame yourself, especially when dealing with a narcissist. They aren’t doing this on purpose; it is the disorder that is showing itself.
When they criticize you to build themselves up, let it go
For your own peace of mind, don’t wait for them to apologize when dealing with a narcissist. And if the narcissist does apologize to you for the abuse, you need to be aware that the apology is not sincere. They are merely setting you up to hurt you again.
Detach from them
You may have to stay in contact with the narcissist because you have children together. Now, how to cope with a narcissistic husband or wife in this situation.
To save your sanity, practice detachment in your communications with them. The best way to deal with a narcissistic husband or wife is to not hold long, detailed conversations.
When communicating by email, scan to get the pertinent information (skipping over all of their egotistical ramblings) and respond in a businesslike way to those points. Stay brief, stay objective, and stay out of their manipulative behavior.
Pursue your own happiness
Do not count on the narcissists to do what they promise to do for you. They are only making promises to keep you entangled in the relationship. Go out and create your own happiness; do not rely on them to provide this for you. They won’t.
You must just concern yourself with questions like, ‘how to deal with a narcissist husband or wife, and ‘how to deal with a narcissistic boyfriend or girlfriend’. Your focus should be on how to handle a narcissist and not finding a ‘happily-ever-after’ with them.
Never show narcissists how their behavior affects you
Narcissists thrive on knowing that they emotionally influence others. For most people, knowing they are hurting someone makes them feel bad.
This is why divorced narcissists sometimes attempt to sabotage the ex-wife, by not ignoring boundaries such as respecting the divorce agreement, being “late” with child support payments, or dropping by the ex’s house without notice (and sometimes entering it unannounced!).
Do not let them see your reaction to these behaviors. The best way to deal with situations like these is to ignore them.
Related Reading: How to get a a Narcissist to Divorce You – Breaking the Conundrum
Be prepared to continually remind them of your boundaries
Typically, the narcissists will respect them for a while but soon they will test your limits again and again. They are seeking a weakness so they can slip through the crack and denigrate you again.
It will be hard for you to have to keep “drawing the line in the sand, “but it is essential to show the narcissist you mean business.
Related Reading: 10 Personal Boundaries You Need in Your Relationship
Forgive yourself for falling under their spell
And forgive them. Part of your dealing with a narcissist involves letting go of the resentment they invoke in you. This resentment takes up valuable real estate in your soul, and that is what they want. You don’t need it.
Let it go
Practice self-talk techniques to help you release your anger towards this flawed person. Remember: you cannot change a narcissist. They have developed this adaptive behavior due to something hurtful in their childhood. It has nothing to do with you.
Watch this video for more tips to manage a narcissist:
Want to know how to deal with a narcissist husband, father, mother, wife, friend or sibling? Begin with talking to them politely instead of reacting to their behavior angrily. Listen to what they think and feel and then gradually find a solution to it.
Never fight or force them to do anything which is against their mindset.
Narcissists are always conscious about their looks, their attitude, and their overall personality, but they may look awkward to others. So it’s important for us to ask them questions like, ‘Have you ever thought what would other people think about you?’, ‘Don’t you want to know what others feel about you and your extraordinary behavior?’, or ‘Do you want to look imperfect in front of others?’
Such questions will surely make them wonder about their behavior. Because they always want to look good, they will try to change them, but gradually.
This is one of the very effective tips to talk to a narcissist.
Opt for a ‘NO’ to many of their questions
Every time such people get approval for what they say, they get more spoilt which makes living with a narcissist an uphill task at times. They believe that only they are correct while others are against them. For instance, if your friend, who is a narcissist says, ‘Don’t you think that I am smarter than that colleague of ours?’
The best way to respond to a narcissist is that your answer must be negative. But in addition to saying no, you must explain the reason as well while dealing with a narcissistic personality. Try to convince your friend to count the positive qualities of the people around them.
Develop empathy for others
While dealing with a narcissist, it must be taught to them that it’s okay to be an ordinary person. Empathy for others is necessary for building relationships with them.
When ties with your colleagues, friends or siblings are good, you feel comfortable in their company. This even allows you to share your thoughts.
In addition to this, understanding others is vital; a narcissist must learn to walk in someone else’s shoes.
Related Reading: How to Build Empathy in Relationships
There’s no shame in visiting a psychologist
The answer to who we are is perceived from others’ eyes. We may get too selfish and self-centered that we deny the presence of the people surrounding us. Hence, if you get to pinpoint your narcissistic characteristics, then visit a psychologist who has the right experience in dealing with a narcissistic personality disorder. Discuss your problems and get rid of them.
Also, if someone you know is showing these signs then, by all means, suggest them to get help but to get a proper response, always remember to be polite and not defensive while confronting a narcissist.
Related Reading: How to Find the Best Psychotherapist
Forgive but don’t forget
Learn how to forgive the narcissist but do not forget what they did to you. This way you will be able to maintain your distance and not allow them to hurt you again.
It won’t do any good to invest your energies in a narcissist as you will neither get any return nor any acknowledgment. In fact, it might even fire back. Considering narcissism is a disorder, the person will not be able to help themselves much too.
So, practice self-care and self-love for your own good.
Related Reading: The 5 Pillars of Self-Care
Cherish other relationships
Rather than focusing on one relationship and making it the only point and purpose of your life, it’s good to focus on other relationships, like those with friends and family. Value all your relationships and give them important for a healthy balance.
Stand up for yourself
Never bear anything wrong done to you. While you are dealing with a narcissist, it could be possible that a narcissist is hurting, demeaning, and dominating you wrongly due to their self-obsessive nature.
So, have enough confidence to put forth what is right and do not back down.
Related Reading: How to Stand Up for Yourself in a Relationship
Know that you aren’t wrong
One way of how to deal with a narcissistic spouse is to stop blaming yourself for the failing relationship. It’s not your fault because the relationship is not working because love is a two-way street, and you can’t be the only one
Believe actions, not promises
A narcissist might always assure you they will change or do something for you but could fail every time. So, don’t always go by the promises and only trust actions.
What happens when you set boundaries with a narcissist?
If you think this is how to get a narcissist to respect you, then you are wrong. These boundaries will only equip you with the knowledge of how to deal with a narcissistic spouse and how to protect yourself from narcissistic rage.
Confronting a narcissist is not easy, they almost have a superpower to manipulate and maneuver your decisions in their favor.
If you are living with a narcissistic spouse, it becomes all the more difficult. Setting boundaries gives the power for dealing with a narcissistic spouse and narcissistic tendencies in relationships.
Your relationship will start to crumble under the weight of your boundaries. That’s a good thing because you can leave them, but you can never change them.
Setting boundaries are part of the steps to getting to that place where you will no longer have to think about coping with a narcissistic husband or wife. This way, you can start focusing on your own health and wellness.
Related Reading: Why Setting and Maintaining Healthy Boundaries in Dating Is Important
What not to do when dealing with a narcissist?
Dealing with a narcissist or overcoming a narcissist becomes difficult if you are not able to pinpoint these facts to them. Though it could be easier said than done, nevertheless, it is something that needs to be done.
Check out the things that should be avoided while dealing with the narcissist:
- Do not believe they will change
- Don’t behave like them to teach them a lesson
- Do not underestimate them
- Don’t justify their behavior
- Don’t expect them to apologize
- Don’t take their statements to heart
- Don’t expect them to be loyal
It’s too difficult to deal with a narcissist since they don’t accept what they are going through, which is a personality disorder.
Also, when they are asked to visit a doctor, they may react to it with anger because the prospect definitely hurts their self-esteem. It may even result, at times, in narcissistic abuse which can take a toll on a partner or a close one.
So, take the right steps and get help for fixing the relationship or getting away from a narcissist.
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