It can be hard to deal with a narcissist, particularly if they only ever think about themselves. They might manipulate a situation to get what they want. Unfortunately, narcissists often don’t realize how self-centered they are because of past trauma, a lack of social skills, or desperation to have their needs met. Whether in the workplace or personal relationships, narcissists can be hard to be around, making emotional situations hard to untangle. In this article, we’ll be talking about ways on how to deal with a narcissist.
How to Deal With A Narcissist
1. See them for who they are, not who you want them to be
We often do this thing where we see the narcissists in our lives for their potential instead of seeing them for exactly who they are. No matter how much you want them to change, it’s not your responsibility to make the change for them.
If you’re in a relationship or friendship with a narcissist in your life, it’s even more challenging to see them for who they are because you care for them deeply. However, without therapy or good tools, they struggle to know how to change, so the best thing you can do for your sanity and mental health is to hold on to that truth. Often, they don’t intend to make it personal, but it’s just who they are in this moment, and it’s tough to change a narcissist.
2. Set boundaries
Setting boundaries is critical when dealing with a narcissist in your life. Without limits in place, they can easily push you around into doing what they want. A narcissist can also manipulate you with every aspect of your life. Boundaries can shift your relationship with a narcissist to become more balanced and fair for you. If you’re not careful enough, their narcissism can ruin your mental health.
No matter how difficult it must seem, it would help if you were firm in your boundaries with any narcissist. For example, speaking up when necessary or setting adequate space when you feel their negativity drains you. Whatever it is, you need to be strong and wise enough to set boundaries that will help you maintain your mental health.
For instance, you might set boundaries on how often you see them, how much time you spend together, how to talk to you, and ways to show you respect.
3. Acknowledge when they’re manipulating you
Narcissists can sometimes be manipulative. By acknowledging the circumstances they’re trying to make you follow, do what they want you to do, and have control over your behavior and decisions, you can have the awareness to stand against them.
Just because someone is manipulating you doesn’t mean you have to go through with it if that’s not what you want to do. There’s absolutely nothing you can do to change their manipulative nature because that’s part of who they are. The only thing you can do is to acknowledge it when they’re doing it, and if needed, that’s then you step back from the situation or have space from the narcissist doing it to you.
When you recognize that a narcissist is trying to manipulate you, it’s important to draw a clear divide. If you’ve recently started dating someone like this, it may be best to leave the relationship. Find a therapist who can help you leave the relationship safely to keep you out of harm’s way.
If you’re dealing with a narcissist in your family, you might add some physical distance between you and that person. You might decide to talk to them less, move further away from them, or remove them from your social media account if you find they’re trying to manipulate you.
4. Expect to be gaslighted
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse and manipulation that’s experienced by individuals who’ve dealt with toxic and narcissistic people in their lives. Gaslighting is when the narcissist creates confusion to make you think that you’ve lost your mind when it’s really them manipulating you to believe that. As a result, the victim feels like everything is their fault and can’t get out of the toxic cycle because the narcissist they’re dealing with is tricking them.
To deal with the narcissist in your life, you need to expect and know the signs for gaslighting when it’s being done to you. Narcissists are the master of gaslighting, so you need to avoid blaming yourself when they always make it out to be your fault. Narcissists don’t care about anyone else other than themselves so be wary when you’re starting to question your sanity or blaming yourself too much.
5. Don’t expect apologies
It’s not your fault, no matter how much the narcissist in your life reminds you otherwise. They’re not likely to apologize because, as narcissists, it’s not part of their personality. Even without an apology, you must realize that it’s not your fault. However, it’s also important not to expect an apology.
If a narcissist asks you to dinner to apologize to you, it’s almost always not going to end up being an apology. You may end up hurt if you think a narcissist will apologize to you if they promise to. Keep your distance and set boundaries. They’re incapable of saying sorry, and you need to have the strength not to take it so personally.
Otherwise, you’ll lose your sanity to a narcissist every time because you’re always blaming yourself in the process. Expect that they will project their negativity and toxicity to those around them, yourself included, and in that projection, they’ll want you to take the blame. You’re not to blame, and you don’t need to say sorry for something you didn’t do.
6. Determine which type of narcissist you’re dealing with
There are two different types of narcissists – the arrogant narcissist, the most common type, and the vulnerable narcissist. The latter is far more dangerous between both of these as they appeal to your sensitive and vulnerable side.
They’ll make it seem like they care deeply about you and your needs, and they’ll use that against you when manipulating things in their favor. Even if arrogant narcissists are toxic people just the same, it’s apparent that they only have it out for themselves. In contrast, you never see this coming from a vulnerable and sensitive narcissist.
It’s easier to deal with an arrogant narcissist since you’re better prepared for their selfishness and arrogance, whereas the vulnerable narcissist will appeal to you through your emotions and insecurities. He or she may criticize you often and make you feel small, causing you to develop low self-esteem.
7. Surround yourself with positive people
There are situations when you’re stuck dealing with a narcissistic person. You might not be able to escape them no matter how hard you try, such as if they’re your supervisor at work, family member, spouse, or friend.
In these situations, the best thing you can do is to surround yourself with positive and encouraging people to counter the toxicity after being with the narcissist. There’s no easy way of dealing with someone who only thinks about themselves.
Being around someone obsessed with themselves only impacts you negatively. By surrounding yourself with happy people, even for just a short while, you forget what it’s like to be overwhelmed with negativity and arrogance. Positive people will lift your spirit and remind you who you are, outside of your connection or relationship with a narcissist.
8. Cut him or her out of your life
If the narcissist in your life is someone you can live without, it’s worth cutting them off for the sake of your overall sanity and mental health. It’s not worth having someone in your life whose main priority is themselves and who doesn’t think about how their behavior and decisions can affect others.
If you’re in an intimate and close relationship with a narcissist, such as dating them or being friends with them, cutting them out is especially important. There’s a specific type of trauma caused by narcissists if they’re someone you get too attached to. Let’s be clear, you’re better off without them. You need to be strong enough to cut them off if this is something you can control. Otherwise, you’ll always be under their control, and that’s not a good life to live. That’s not what you deserve.
When cutting a narcissist out of your life, do it early. Unfortunately, sometimes people are sexually assaulted, physically abused, or emotionally scarred by dealing with a narcissist, even for a short period.
9. Don’t give them validation
In answering the question on how to deal with a narcissist, they seek validation above anything else. The more you give them the assurance they need, the more you’re stroking their ego and toxic behavior.
Validation doesn’t just refer to compliments and flowery words, but this also means not letting them see that you’re affected by them. If their narcissism getting on your nerves, they’ll likely do a better job at annoying you. By provoking a reaction out of you, they continue to hold power over you.
Don’t give them the validation they’re seeking but instead, act like they don’t affect you at all and keep going through with the rest of your day. The more you show your annoyance, the more likely they’ll show their narcissism more.
10. Maintain your optimism
Your optimism can save you so much when you deal with a narcissist. If you want to cope with a narcissist without letting them affect your sanity and mental health entirely, you must hold on to your optimism in whatever means possible.
Don’t let them destroy your positive outlook on life. Just because the world revolves around them in their eyes doesn’t mean you should let yourself be controlled by them.
Find time to do things that make you happy. Go for long walks, read your favorite book or watch your favorite movie. Find your independence despite your relationship with this person. When you and the narcissist are apart, do the things that help you maintain your happiness. Treat yourself the way you wish others would treat you.
11. Find a support group
If the narcissist in your life is in close and regular contact with you, such as a spouse, boss, or family member, you need to find a support system to help you deal with a narcissist.
You can’t deal with narcissistic people on your own, and that’s not a reflection of you. Ultimately, narcisstic people have unresolved traumas that cause them to hurt other people. Unless, your day job is a licensed therapist, you’re probably not qualified to help that person. So, don’t let their words and behavior get to you.
A support group will be there to lift you in moments you feel their narcissism overwhelming you to the point that you can no longer bear it. A narcissistic person will emotionally and mentally drain your energy, but a support group will provide you the encouragement you need in dealing with this.
You might find a therapist who can help you build the tools to leave the relationship, job, or cut the person out of your life. In therapy, you’ll also learn coping skills at managing difficult people and helping yourself through this challenging relationship.
This article shed insight into everything you needed to know on how to deal with a narcissist. Narcissists are difficult people to communicate with. Unfortunately, you may encounter at least one narcissist at one point in your life, as it’s not an uncommon personality trait. You need to prepare yourself emotionally and physically to protect yourself against manipulation, gaslighting, and toxicity. By setting boundaries and being aware that you’re dealing with a narcissist, you’re on the right track to keeping yourself safe.