How to live with a narcissist depends on the unique challenges they bring to their relationships. Living with a narcissist can be challenging, but with a strong support network, firm boundaries, and a narcissistic personality disorder treatment program, it can be done.
People generally have a healthy level of assertiveness and self-worth. However, a narcissist displays behaviors that go far above and beyond the average level of self-advocacy, creating instability in their relationships and distressing experiences for those around them. If you need help with narcissism, call Promises Behavioral Health now at 844.875.5609.
What Is a Narcissist?
A person with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) has a severe lack of empathy for others. The traits associated with NPD may be used to cope with deeply held insecurity and sensitivity to criticism.
Characteristics of a Narcissistic Personality
As is the case with many personality disorders, narcissism exists on a spectrum. The disorder is diagnosed when behaviors form a pattern that affects every aspect of the person’s life.
Some characteristics of a narcissist include:
- Pervasive feelings of entitlement
- A belief that they deserve special treatment
- A feeling of perfection and superiority over others
- Exploiting others for self-gain
- A grandiose sense of self
A narcissist is often described as arrogant and lacking insight. They constantly need praise and are often jealous, envious, and distrusting.
How to Live with a Narcissist
These symptoms and traits often make it difficult for narcissists to maintain healthy relationships. Many narcissists display controlling behaviors in relationships.
There are four officially recognized types of narcissism:
- Vulnerable narcissism
- High-functioning narcissism
- Malignant narcissism
- Grandiose narcissism
Each type requires different approaches to treatment and coping strategies for those living with a narcissist. For this reason, professional mental health counseling with an expert who understands narcissism is critical.
With that being said, there are some general suggestions for those living with a narcissist that can help.
Set Non-Negotiable Boundaries
When you set boundaries, you should not expect a change in the other person’s behavior. Instead, your boundaries are the limits in your mind of what is tolerable and acceptable. If the person speaks in an unacceptable tone to you, let them know that you will not stand for it and leave the room.
Keep a Knowledgeable Support Circle
Cultivate a network of people who are aware of the narcissist’s behavior (this network should include a mental health specialist). Support is the key to avoiding feeling isolated or trapped, and this network will provide a safe space where you can problem-solve and have discussions.
Negotiate the “Right” Way
A narcissist usually won’t respond well to “I” statements because of their limited empathy. Instead, use cause-and-effect language to assert your boundaries. Instead of saying, “I’m hurt when you’re late,” say, “If you’re late, I’m going out with a friend instead.”
Disengage from Emotional Outbursts
It’s not your responsibility to teach a narcissist to regulate their emotions. Give yourself permission to discontinue any conversation that happens during an emotional outburst. Let the other person know that you refuse to discuss anything until they approach you calmly.
Recognize the Signs of Gaslighting
Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic when one person acts in a way that causes the victim to doubt their sanity or themselves. Victims can lose self-confidence and feel insecure and confused.
It’s often described as the narcissist turning a situation around to make the victim believe they are in the wrong, even when they aren’t. To combat it, write down as many interactions as possible with details. Keep logs of conversations, receipts, dates, and other notes.
Living with a Narcissist? Find Help at Promises Behavioral Health
Living with a narcissist requires the help of mental health professionals who understand NPD and can help improve your situation. Reach out to the supportive team at Promises Behavioral Health today at 844.875.5609.