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Updated: Oct 18, 2021

Why does a relationship with a Narcissist hurt us so much?

Narcissistic relationships can be with a boss, co-worker, friend, sibling, partner – anyone. If you are not able to leave the narcissist, then it is helpful to understand these key strategies of managing the narcissist in your life.

Number #1 Maintain REALISITIC EXPECTATIONS. The narcissist will disappoint you every time but is very predictable. Learn to recognise their confusing and negative patterns. Once you identify these you can expect their reactions. Don’t be surprised or shocked. You may still get disappointed, but maybe not as much. It’s kind of like - you know it rains in Melbourne during Summer- so you’re not that surprised when it does. Set realistic expectations that can help you mentally prepare.

The next most important strategy is Number # 2 RADICAL ACCEPTANCE. This comes when you accept that this is how the narcissist behaves and nothing is ever going to change. They are highly predictable people. They are damaged and have no empathy. They will always hurt and disappoint you. If you are waiting for them to one day change and become compassionate and empathic humans - you are feeding your own delusion and pain.

Number #3 DON’T ENGAGE. This is a hard one, but the minute you enter the narcissist' s web of deception and begin playing their games, you risk your sanity. If you need to communicate with this person, don't give them too much rope. Keep your answers trim and slim don't render yourself vulnerable. Don't walk into those danger zones that are invariably where you end up going down the wormhole. Keep it tight and superficial - even prepare a list of topics before you meet with them. The sort of contentious argumentative situations is the narcissist’s strong spot.

Number # 4 DON’T DEFEND YOURSELF. Even though there is a temptation is to rationalise and explain things - don't. Imagine a narcissist and you, decide to meet one Sunday at 9:00 am. You show up at 9:00am but the narcissist doesn’t show up until 9:30am. He laughs and says that you agreed to meet at 9:30am. Simply respond to the narcissist without defending yourself by stating- ‘You know it's interesting I had it down here in my phone for 9am, but it's quite possible I could have been wrong. I'm here now let's go ahead and begin our meeting.

Number # 5 SET BOUNDARIES. Be very clear with the narcissist what your expectations of the relationship are. If you are seeing your mother (a narcissist) at Christmas, make it clear that you have booked a hotel to stay in, so will not be needing accommodation with her. If your boss is expecting you to complete a task, ensure you have the expectations of what is possible within that context. Pre-empt the narcissist over stepping boundaries and set clear guidelines to alleviate yourself being abused.

Number #6 RECOGNISE GASLIGHTING. It's important to know the signs of gaslighting so you can identify it right away if it happens to you. The warning signs that someone might be trying to manipulate your thoughts include telling little white lies often; denying their own words or actions; constantly putting you and your ideas down and making you feel guilty for voicing an opinion. It's important not to let this type of behaviour continue because it often leads to more serious mental health issues such as depression and anxiety disorders. If you need to speak to someone about possible narcissistic abuse.

Want to learn more?

  1. Enroll in our online course, "Identifying the Narcissist"

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