Let’s look closely at exactly how to deal with a narcissist. Narcissism is hard for everyone involved. It doesn’t matter if you’re around that person all day or you only see them on family holidays. Their toxicity spills over into every inch of your life, sucking all of your energy and decreasing your well-being.
You may find yourself constantly failing around them or even becoming ill when they are around. If you’re sure someone you know or care about is a narcissist, the very first step to take is protecting yourself.
You’ll need to carefully decide between two options:
Option #1 – You can either eliminate the narcissist from your life entirely.
Option #2 – You can choose to deal with the narcissist in such a way that they have no negative power over you.
The choice is an important one as breaking ties can be hard but living life connected to a person who suffers from narcissism is often much harder.
Option #1 – Eliminating The Narcissist From Your Life Entirely
Eliminating a toxic relationship stemming from narcissism is incredibly difficult because they refuse to believe someone doesn’t want them. The best way to get them out of your life is to maintain zero contact with them. Avoiding any type of contact/communication is the only way to break the psychological and emotional bonds between the two of you.
This sounds easy, but a narcissist won’t let you walk away easily. There will be phone calls, emails, text messages, cards, and flowers, and it can be hard to ignore them when they kick on their charming side. Remember that it’s short lived, though; as soon as you give in, they’ll quickly slip back into their narcissistic side.
Option #2 – How To Deal With A Narcissist In Your Life
Sometimes eliminating this person from your life entirely is just not possible, and for your own sanity, knowing how to deal with a narcissist and prevent their toxic behavior from controlling your own is essential.
1. Never Make Your Self-worth Dependent On Their Approval
This is the biggest boundary to set. If you let them dictate your self-worth and self-esteem, you’re going to be miserable. A narcissist gets off on knowing you’re trying to please them, and it greatly expands their ego. You’ll never please them, so don’t try.
Another important way you should know how to deal with a narcissist is…
2. Avoid Senseless Arguments
A Narcissist must have the last word of any conversation. They hate being wrong. It means that they are becoming insignificant and socially expendable.
Remember, being cast out socially is one of their biggest fears.
You will find yourself fighting tooth and nail over the tiniest things just so that they can be RIGHT.
Rather, submit and know that it’s their weakness which makes it impossible for them to see any other point of view. You know it’s not real submission, but rather more like letting child win at a kiddies game.
If you are in a position where you’re arguing with a narcissist a lot, you should be the one who evaluates whether the relationship is worth it.
3. Under No Circumstances Should You Be financially Dependent On A Narcissist
They use money to control people around them. They will give, only to show their power over you and will hold it like a sword over your head when they deem it necessary.
This is often a problem when a narcissistic husband has control over all the finances or when a narcissistic wife demands “payment” to remain devoted.
If you are in this situation, get out. Start by separating finances a little and having precise separate responsibilities. Grow this divide until you can separate finances completely.
This might even be the opportunity you’ve always needed to reflect on whether you do intend to live with this person for the rest of your life.
4. A Little Control Trick
Here’s a cruel little trick to keep you in control over a narcissist.
A narcissist loves praise. They crave it like air. If you sling them the occasional compliment, it will make them feel so good that it triggers their weakness and they will start to desperately seek more approval from you. Or at the very least, they will try to not fall out of your favor.
Never do it sincerely though. This will only put them on a real pedestal and actually encourage their behavior. A light approach is best. Do it just enough to keep them wanting more.
This simple technique is incredibly powerful and you will find it really messes with their heads. A word of warning: Don’t toy with their emotions too much or you will be no better than they are.
5. Anger Never Works
It’s hard not to get furious with a narcissist, but all it does is encourage their behavior. If you’re trying to get them to be cooperative or communicative, phrase it in terms of how it benefits them. If your partner is a narcissist, say things like “You should come to the birthday party. People love seeing you and they would absolutely love the new dress you bought.”
6. Don’t Ever Assume You’re Their Friend
This doesn’t mean narcissists are incapable of love, but they’ll always come first when it comes down to it. Never assume that you’re their friend or that they genuinely care about you. If it came down to the nitty gritty, a true narcissist is more than happy to send you packing if it benefits them in some way. No matter how romantic, kind, helpful, or charming the narcissist is, they’re probably just trying to make you feel special so you return the favor down the road or boost their ego in some way.
7. Lastly, Maintain A Shred Of Compassion
This is hard when the narcissist in your life is a total jerk, but it will protect your own mental and emotional health. Remember that a narcissist is nothing more than a simpering child on the inside. They’re terrified of being ostracized, criticized, or disliked. Having this constant need to know you’re liked and esteemed has to be exhausting, and the feelings associated with a lack of validation are hard for anyone. This doesn’t mean you should go out of your way to befriend them, but it can help you navigate the anger and hurt they seem to dole out on a regular basis.
There are more specific ways of how to deal with a narcissist when they are your partner or a parent. Check out the books in the side column for all the tips and tricks to stop a narcissist in their tracks.