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5 Ways To Deal With A Narcissist - Learn to Protect Your Peace

Narcissists are people who think the world of themselves. They have a deep need for admiration and lack empathy for others. They are charming at first but will turn extremely controlling, taking advantage of others without remorse.

Dealing with a narcissist can be challenging and emotionally draining. Whether it's a family member, friend, or coworker, setting boundaries and protecting your mental health is crucial.

Narcissists are experts at gaslighting and are usually both the hero and victim in their own stories. Here are some tricks to make dealing with them more manageable.

Narcissist staring at himself lovingly

5 Ways To Deal With A Narcissist


1. Stop Focusing on Them - Focus on Yourself

Take care of yourself first. It's not your job to fix them.

I know this can be hard. Somehow, your life has become so intertwined with theirs that your stomach drops even thinking about distancing yourself from them. You've become attached, and not in a healthy way.

Remember this: no matter how much you adjust your life to suit their needs, it will never be enough. They will bleed you dry and move on to the next. Believe me when I tell you this. There is no love for you in this scenario.

Don't allow them to damage your sense of self or define your world.

I do have good news for you! Once you start thinking this way, wanting to escape, you're on the right track. It means you've cottoned on to this person and are ready to start making changes.

Start limiting your time and interactions with them and make time for yourself. Think back to the things that used to make you happy and start doing them again.

For example:

  • Read a book

  • Go for a walk

  • Go to the beach

  • Watch your favorite shows

  • Visit family

  • Hang out with friends

  • Volunteer

As soon as you take your power back by taking care of yourself, you'll feel lighter, stronger, and in control.


2. Set Clear Boundaries - Enforce Consequences

A selfish, self-absorbed person won't realize or care when they're crossing boundaries.

Be super clear and vocal about boundaries that are important to you.

If you're scared that you'll lose this person because setting boundaries will make them angry...well... that's one of the most unmistakable signs that this person shouldn't be in your life.

The only people who get upset with your boundaries are those who benefited from you not having any in the first place.

If you're new to setting boundaries, start small. Communicate your boundary in a neutral setting when both of you are calm.

Also, explain the consequence should your boundary be crossed.

For instance, "If you raise your voice when speaking to me, we'll put the conversation on pause and only continue once you can speak to me calmly again."

Examples of boundaries:

  • Don't take calls after 10 pm.

  • Don't reply to messages during office hours.

  • You'll only see them once a week at your chosen time and place.

  • You won't pay for their food when you go out.

  • You'll only communicate about the kids.

The most important thing when setting a boundary - is no idle threats. Only set a boundary when you're sure you'll be able to follow through. And if they cross the line, you HAVE to implement the consequence.


3. Expect Them to Push Back - but Stand your Ground

When you set a boundary, they'll most likely come back with some demands of their own.

They'll try to manipulate you into feeling guilty or have you believe you're unreasonable and controlling (gaslighting). They might make a play for sympathy; there may even be tears and countless sad stories.

Stand your ground.

It's rarely a good idea to try and negotiate with a narcissist; you'll seldom come out the other side victorious, but if you're looking for advice on negotiating - read Never Split The Difference, a great book on negotiating.


4. Insist on Action - Not Promises

Narcissists are pros at making promises. But the promise is only a means to an end. They don't do anything that doesn't benefit them in some way. Instead, their words are meant to keep you hooked.

They'll keep you locked down with promises of being better, finding a job, getting a promotion, taking care of the kids, and paying you back; they'll promise you anything to keep you in their life.

You can't count on their actions matching their words.

Once they get what they want, the motivation to honor any agreement is gone.

Ensure that they complete their end of the bargain before you complete yours.


5. Don't React - Respond

This one is hard. But it's one of the most potent weapons in your arsenal against a narcissist.

Don't react. Respond.

To a narcissist, any reaction is a supply. It's ammunition to escalate to an argument, gaslight, and change the subject by saying you're the unhinged, hysterical one for reacting (reactive abuse).

Narcissists thrive on attention and drama. If the narcissist tries to engage you in an argument, calmly disengage and walk away. Remember, you don't have to contend with someone toxic or harmful to your well-being.

Focus on the issue, continue bringing the conversation back to the topic, and do not get personal. Instead, respond to gaslighting by giving one-word answers and act disinterested in any attempt at baiting you into an argument.


The Bottom Line

Narcissists are dangerous people. They are selfish; they'll drain you of all your energy and money, alienate you from friends and family, and leave you for dead without a second thought. The best action plan (if possible) is to get as far away from them as possible. In the meantime, I hope these five tips will help you regain control. You can do this.


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