How to live with a narcissistic person

How to handle a Narcissist: 9 tips

Managing a relationship with someone who has narcissistic personality traits can take a toll on your well-being and mental health. Try strategies such as setting clear boundaries and relying on a support system of people you can trust.

The term narcissist is tossed around frequently. It is used to describe people who seem self-focused, concerned only for themselves, or manipulative of people in their lives.

Some people may have a mental health condition narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Only a qualified mental health professional can diagnose this condition based on the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Other people may exhibit some traits of narcissism but do not qualify for an official diagnosis.

Here you can learn how to cope with a person in your life who has narcissistic personality traits, including what you can do to establish healthy behaviors and boundaries around this person.

We tend to use the word narcissist to describe a person who’s self-centered and short on empathy.

However, it’s important to remember that NPD is a legitimate mental health condition that can create significant challenges for the person living with it. It can also make it harder to others to maintain a relationship with the person.

Still, some people can exhibit narcissistic characteristics without being diagnosed with NPD. These might include:

  • appearing to have an inflated sense of self-importance
  • fostering a fantasy world to boost their sense of grandeur
  • needing constant praise and admiration
  • having a sense of entitlement
  • taking advantage of others or exploiting people without shame or guilt
  • not recognizing or caring about the needs of others
  • demeaning or bullying others
  • monopolizing conversations or meetings

To make things more complicated, people with NPD or narcissistic tendencies are often very sensitive to feedback from others. They may react with rage if confronted. They can also turn angry if they feel slighted or ignored.

Here’s a look at some practical ways to deal with someone who has NPD or narcissistic tendencies — plus some tips for recognizing when it’s time to move on.

People without NPD or other similar mental health conditions usually think of a relationship as a selfless equation. It’s about offering something to another person without the expectation of immediate or equal reimbursement.

That’s not typically the case with people with narcissist personality traits. They frequently view relationships as transactional or something that must benefit them.

Indeed, people with NPD are frequently charming, magnetic, and compelling. That can make them seem irresistible, sexy even. But the truth is that people with narcissistic traits often have troubled relationships rocked by jealousy, anger, and abuse.

A person with NPD is not always capable of the reciprocity that is necessary for healthy relationships. They may try to turn their shortcomings or failures around on others. They can be volatile and sensitive in arguments. In some cases, they may also use lies or manipulation to avoid accountability.

That can leave a partner exhausted, drained, and empty. Instead of defending themselves or setting boundaries for their own mental well-being, partners of people with NPD may decide it’s easier to go along with their partner’s demands and manipulation.

Of course, it’s important to note that not all relationships with a person who has NPD will be this troublesome. Some people can improve narcissistic tendencies and develop less one-sided relationships with treatment.

How not to deal with narcissistic tendencies

Confronting a person with NPD about their behaviors is rarely fruitful. In many cases, they will try to maintain the upper hand and are often very resistant to change.

Instead of attempting to “fix” a person with NPD, focusing on your own behaviors and well-being is best. This includes setting boundaries and building a stronger support system of friends, family, and professionals to help you navigate the ups and downs of a relationship with this person.

People often describe a person with a narcissistic personality as charming and likable, which may make it easy to overlook some of their other more harmful behaviors.

However, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the signs of NPD so that they are easier to recognize.

This can also help you better understand the person’s strengths and weaknesses, so you are prepared to navigate any challenges that arise.

Plus, it can be the first step in learning to accept them for who they are and setting more realistic expectations about your relationship.

Talk with a mental health professional or read books written by mental health professionals. This may help you learn the best ways of communicating with your loved one showing signs of narcissistic personality traits.

Building healthy self-esteem can make it much easier to handle and cope with some of the potentially harmful behaviors you may encounter when maintaining a relationship with someone with NPD.

Engaging in positive self-talk, practicing self-care, and finding a healthy support system can help you develop resilience and foster your self-esteem.

Having higher self-esteem can also make it easier to set clear boundaries, be assertive, and advocate for yourself, all of which are key to maintaining a relationship with someone with NPD.

Sometimes, ignoring something or simply walking away is an appropriate response — pick your battles, right?

But a lot depends on the relationship. For example, dealing with a boss, parent, or spouse may call for different strategies than dealing with a co-worker, sibling, or child.

If you feel that your boundaries have been crossed when communicating with someone with NPD, try not to react, get visibly flustered, or show annoyance.

If it’s someone you’d like to keep close in your life, then you owe it to yourself to speak up. Try to do this in a calm, gentle manner.

You must tell them how their words and conduct impact your life. Be specific and consistent about what’s not acceptable and how you expect to be treated, but prepare yourself for the fact that it may be challenging for them to understand or empathize with your feelings.

You may notice that your boundaries are being crossed when dealing with someone with NPD.

Instead of trying to change someone with NPD, it’s best to set boundaries about any behaviors that are unacceptable to you and communicate them clearly to the other person.

You should also enforce these boundaries rather than making idle threats or ultimatums to ensure that you are being taken seriously.

For example

Say you have a co-worker who loves to park their big truck in a way that makes it hard for you to back out. Start by firmly asking them to make sure they leave you enough space. Then, state the consequences for not respecting your wishes.

Such as, if you can’t safely back out, you’ll have their car towed. The key is to follow through and call the towing company the next time it happens.

Practicing skills like deep breathing, yoga, or meditation may make it easier to remain calm and avoid reacting when interacting with someone with NPD.

Becoming clear on your intentions or practicing what you plan to say before asserting your boundaries may also be beneficial.

It can also help you anticipate how they may react to challenging conversations so that you can respond appropriately.

If you can’t avoid the person, try to build up your healthy relationships and support network of people. Spending too much time in a dysfunctional relationship with someone who has a narcissistic personality can leave you emotionally drained.

Rekindle old friendships and try to nurture new ones. Get together with family more often.

If your social circle is smaller than you’d prefer, try taking a class to explore a new hobby. Get active in your community or volunteer for a local charity. Do something that allows you to meet more people you feel comfortable with.

What is a healthy relationship?

Spending a lot of time with someone who has a narcissistic personality can make it hard to remember what a healthy relationship even feels like.

Here are a few signs to look for:

  • both people listen and make an effort to understand each other
  • both people acknowledge their mistakes and take responsibility for them
  • both people feel like they can relax and be their true selves in front of the other

Many people with narcissistic personalities are good at making promises. They may promise to do what you want and not to do that thing you hate or promise to generally do better.

Oftentimes, they are also sincere about these promises. However, in other cases, these promises may also be a means to their own ends.

Though direct confrontation is not recommended, it is important to be clear about what you want, need, or expect, and express yourself calmly and gently. Let them know that you’ll fulfill their requests only after they’ve fulfilled yours.

You should also stay consistent and follow through to take your expectations seriously.

People with NPD frequently have other disorders such as substance use disorder or other mental health or personality disorders. Having another disorder may be what prompts someone to seek help.

It’s also important to remember that narcissistic traits aren’t indicative of a more severe mental health issue. It is possible for some people to display some traits, such as delusions of grandeur or a sense of entitlement, without it being the result of a more significant mental health condition.

The only way to distinguish between random traits and a true disorder is through an evaluation with a mental health professional.

Of course, even people with narcissistic traits might benefit from the help of a mental health professional. Regardless of a larger diagnosis, some traits can be detrimental to relationships, personal development, and well-being.

And remember, while NPD is a mental health condition, it doesn’t excuse harmful or abusive behavior.

Regularly managing a relationship with someone who has a narcissistic personality can take a toll on your own mental and physical health.

If you have symptoms of anxiety, depression, or unexplained physical ailments, or you feel impacted by a relationship with a challenging person, see a primary care doctor first. Once you have a checkup, you can ask for referrals to other services, such as mental health professionals and support groups.

Reach out to family and friends and call your support system into service. There’s no need to go it alone.

Some people with narcissistic personalities can also be verbally or emotionally abusive.

Here are some signs of an abusive relationship:

  • name-calling, insults
  • patronizing, public humiliation
  • yelling, threatening
  • jealousy, accusations

Other warning signs to watch for in the other person include:

  • blaming you for everything that goes wrong
  • monitoring your movements or attempting to isolate you
  • telling you how you really feel or should feel
  • routinely projecting their shortcomings onto you
  • denying things that are obvious to you or attempting to gaslight you
  • trivializing your opinions and needs

But at what point is it time to throw in the towel? Every relationship has its ups and downs, right?

While this is true, it’s generally best to leave the relationship if:

  • you’re being verbally or emotionally abused
  • you feel manipulated and controlled
  • you’ve been physically abused or feel threatened
  • you feel isolated
  • the person with NPD or a narcissistic personality shows signs of mental illness or substance misuse, but won’t get help
  • your mental or physical health has been affected
Get help

If you fear the other person, you can reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233, which provides 24/7 access to service providers and shelters across the United States.

As you come to terms with your decision to leave the relationship, it might be helpful to talk with a professional.

These mental health resources can help you find an appropriate mental health professional:

  • American Psychiatric Association: Find a Psychiatrist
  • American Psychological Association: Psychologist Locator
  • Veterans Affairs: VA Certified Counselors

If you think you’re in immediate danger, call 911 or local emergency services and remove yourself from the situation, if that’s possible.

What should you not say to a narcissist?

People with narcissistic personalities can be hypersensitive to criticism and may react with hostility, rage, or aggression if confronted.

While it’s important to set boundaries and communicate clearly, confronting them about their behaviors, calling them a liar, or expecting them to change is unlikely to help.

Can narcissistic personality be corrected?

Narcissistic tendencies can improve with treatment, though this requires a lot of time, effort, and patience.

If you decide to maintain a relationship with someone with NPD during treatment, it’s important to set realistic expectations and healthy boundaries.

What are the four types of narcissism?

There are two main NPD types: Grandiose (overt) narcissism and vulnerable (covert) narcissism. While grandiose narcissism is often characterized by exaggerated self-worth and a need for admiration, people with vulnerable narcissism instead experience feelings of self-consciousness and insecurity.

There are also several other subtypes, including antagonistic narcissism, which is characterized by aggressiveness and feelings of entitlement, and communal narcissism, a type in which people tend to seek admiration for being altruistic or benevolent.

NPD is a serious mental health condition that can make building and maintaining healthy relationships challenging.

Though navigating a relationship with a person with NPD can be difficult, setting clear boundaries, building a strong support system, and practicing skills to keep calm and respond appropriately may be beneficial.

However, keep in mind that it’s also important to recognize when you need help and when it’s time to step away from the relationship.

How to Live with Narcissistic Behaviors at Home

Living with someone who has narcissistic traits carries unique challenges. So we asked a bestselling author and expert on narcissism for a few tips.

We all have some level of healthy assertiveness and a desire to put our needs first, from time to time. This kind of self-advocacy helps us preserve our confidence and celebrate our accomplishments.

But with narcissism, it’s a different story. For many, living with someone who has narcissistic behaviors can be a distressing experience.

If you have such a roommate or loved one, know that you’re not alone, and support is available. There are several ways to stand in your power and cope.

When you interact with someone who has narcissistic traits, you may feel confused, frustrated, or invalidated. You may also be asking yourself why they behave this way.

It’s understandable. Folks with narcissistic behaviors may be oblivious to how their actions have hurt you, perhaps due to brain differences (as some research has observed) or a diminished ability to empathize with others.

Research from 2018 shows narcissistic behavior may stem from childhood abuse and neglect.

It can be useful to view their patterns from this vantage point: They may be someone who craves love, acceptance, and validation, but they don’t know how to get it in an authentic way.

Characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder

Narcissism exists on a spectrum. It may be diagnosed as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) when it’s a clinically recognized recurrent pattern that pervades every aspect of life.

Some symptoms of NPD include:

  • exhibiting a grandiose sense of self
  • having limited empathy (more common in men, according to a 2018 study)
  • exploiting others for social clout or resources
  • feeling entitled to special treatment
  • having fantasies about beauty, success, or power
  • feeling special or superior to others

Quick tips for dealing with a narcissist personality

  1. Articulate non-negotiable boundaries.
  2. Learn the signs of gaslighting.
  3. Detach from emotional outbursts.
  4. Learn the art of negotiation.
  5. Fortify your self-esteem and self-soothing.
  6. Cultivate a tight and knowledgeable inner circle.

Whether your roommate or loved one has been diagnosed with NPD or you suspect that their behavior might fit the bill, there are several ways to navigate their narcissistic behaviors.

1. Articulate non-negotiable boundaries

“Boundaries are very much an inside job,” says Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a Los Angeles-based clinical psychologist and author of two books on narcissism.

“Setting boundaries doesn’t mean that you expect the other person’s behavior to change, but rather that you set a limit in your mind of what is acceptable, tolerable, and behave in line with that,” she explains.

“For example, if you set a boundary around communication or being late and that boundary is violated, then you have to make a choice on what to do for you — but not link that to their behavior.

What it sounds like

“I will not tolerate being spoken to that way.” If they persist, leave the room (safely).

2. Learn the signs of gaslighting

Gaslighting can be a manipulation tactic. It occurs when another person uses manipulation to cause you to doubt yourself or your sanity. As a result, you may feel confused or insecure, or lose self-confidence.

When someone gaslights you, it can sound like:

  • “I was just joking.”
  • “I never said that.”
  • “That didn’t happen.”
  • “You’re overreacting.”
  • “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

To combat this, you might consider getting as many interactions as you can in writing. You can keep a log of important notes, dates, receipts, and quotes in your phone or journal.

3. Detach from emotional outbursts

Engaging with a person during an emotional outburst is pointless, says Durvasula.

“Disengage. Don’t personalize their outbursts, as hard as it is, especially if they are directed to you. Recognize that dysregulated behavior, especially if it is hurtful or harmful is not acceptable, and give yourself permission to not engage,” she says.

Durvasula adds that you can express your unwillingness to continue the conversation until they approach you calmly and healthily.

“You are not a psychological punching bag. It is their responsibility to learn to regulate, and you are not their therapist. It’s not your responsibility to teach them,” she adds.

4. Learn the art of negotiation

People with narcissism may not respond to traditional communication or “I” statements, as their empathy may be limited.

You could instead try to use the same transactional or cause-and-effect language that they use, but rather to healthily assert your boundaries.

What this sounds like

Rather than, “I feel hurt when you’re late for date night,” you can try this:

“Our reservation is at 6. If you’re not there by 6:15, I plan to leave and go to the movies with a friend. You’re welcome to join us, but I won’t wait for you to show up.”

5. Fortify your self-esteem and self-soothing

It’s a myth that only people with low self-esteem end up in these dynamics, Durvasula emphasizes. “Plenty of people with a strong sense of self get pulled into these relationships for a whole range of reasons,” she says.

To self-soothe, you can do hobbies that make you feel good and build your self-confidence, particularly activities that prevent you from becoming isolated.

A strong sense of self and comfort with your own company can help you set better boundaries, she adds.

6. Cultivate a tight and knowledgeable inner circle

Durvasula advises that you try to keep a solid support network of those who are aware of this person’s behavior, which includes finding a therapist who “gets” narcissism.

A therapist can help you:

  • understand what’s happening
  • address co-occurring issues
  • help you devise a safety plan
  • provide a safe space to problem-solve
  • validate your experience

Research shows that those who live with narcissism may be slow to change. You don’t have to wait for the relationship to become toxic, dangerous, or abusive to leave.

Durvasula recommends evaluating your next move if you:

  • feel isolated from loved ones
  • doubt your sense of reality
  • repeat the same arguments
  • justify their behaviors
  • repeatedly fall for false promises

“If these things are happening, this relationship may no longer be healthy,” she says.

It may take some time to recover. For some, this process could take months. For others, years. Each person is different.

To support your healing journey, consider:

  • educating yourself about narcissism
  • fostering new friendships
  • leaning into your support network
  • journaling for self-discovery
  • pressing pause on romantic relationships
  • working with a therapist

“The end of a relationship with a narcissist is not an end,” says Durvasula.

She adds that “it’s actually a beginning and a real opportunity to take what happened as a lesson and a wake-up call to honor your authentic self, celebrate the opportunity that the end of this relationship brings, and view healing and growth as a lifetime process.

Living with a narcissist may feel difficult, but it’s possible to preserve your well-being with strong boundaries, a solid support network, and a therapist who’s informed on narcissism.

You may also find it useful to attend a National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) family support group in your area.

Also, consider adding these books to your wishlist:

  • “Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Surviving a Relationship with a Narcissist” by Dr. Ramani Durvasula
  • “‘Don’t You Know Who I Am?’: How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility” by Dr. Ramani Durvasula
  • “POWER: Surviving and Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse” by Shahida Arabi

Living with a daffodil | PSYCHOLOGIES


Man among men

What is it like to live next to a man who is completely absorbed only in himself? Based on statements on the Internet, a "Book of quotes about daffodils" was compiled.

Doctor of Psychology Leon Zeltser analyzed it and came to the conclusion that the victims of narcissists are very well versed in the nature of their offenders.

Narcissists are cruel manipulators

Egoists tend to take advantage of their partner's sacrifice in order to completely subjugate him. Therefore, people who have been in close relationships with narcissists often report that they have been constantly manipulated.

“Imagine if someone proposed to your daughter something like this: “First, I'll be the way you want me to be. I will give you attention, love, and you will feel special. But when I understand that you are completely dependent on me, I will stop pretending and show my true face. I will become insensitive, deceitful and cruel, I will humiliate you and maybe even beat you. Are you trying to figure out what went wrong? But you'll never make it, so I'll never be the same. Deal? Deal?"

You would immediately understand that only a real psycho can offer such a thing, and, of course, you would dissuade your daughter from such a relationship. But for some reason, you can't protect yourself from such a danger…”

I realized that the concept of “beating the down” is typical behavior for a narcissist

“We loved these men, but why? Because in the beginning they made us feel special, loved, surrounded by care. Narcissists are masters of manipulation, they work with us subtly and precisely. They are literally brainwashing us."

“We never know what the response to our behavior will be. Because there is no stable system and it is impossible to predict his reaction. We are forced to fight in a constant attempt to please, in the hope of avoiding completely unpredictable anger. I realized that the concept of "hitting the down" is a typical behavior for a narcissist.

The victim is not immediately aware of his subordination

People who have lived with a narcissistic partner for a long time often say that these relationships “dried” and “bleeded” them. But the realization of this comes only when the victim has already reached a critical point.

“Narcissists are quite simple: they want support (admiration, reverence) and do everything to get it. But if they don't get enough of it, they get annoyed. The partner is confused - after all, he tried, tried to please.

“My friends have always supported me and never tired of reminding me that I am a human being, that my life has value and meaning. Friends said that the years spent with him changed me, made me nervous, anxious and doubting my abilities. But in the process, I didn’t realize how much I was changing.”

The narcissist will stifle all that is good in you. He will manipulate your psyche until you forget who you really are

“Why don't we break off relations with such people? … After all, the narcissist demonstrates with his whole appearance: you are nothing to me. And then your head is filled with the darkest thoughts. Depression, an acute feeling of loneliness, constantly pursuing failures and, as a result, self-hatred. We start asking ourselves, “How could I put up with this? What did he think of me if I allowed myself to be treated like that?

Narcissists are capable of inflicting deep trauma on the psyche

The words most often used in their confessions by people who have lived with egoists for a long time clearly characterize the degree and depth of the pain inflicted on them: loss, sadness, emptiness, degradation, humiliation, emptiness…

“I melted into his world, tiptoed around and worried if I was doing the right thing. Am I right? And when he suddenly showed me at least some minimal attention, I was happy like crazy! I acted like a hungry and loyal dog who had been thrown a bone. "He thinks of me!" — revolved in my head. This is so sad".

“At first, the narcissist will stifle all the good that is in you. It will manipulate your psyche until you forget who you really are. Your own reflection will seem alien to you. Yes, it's going to be that bad, trust me."

“My narcissistic husband was not an intruder. He didn't want to hurt me just for fun. He just did it to achieve his goal. So that I depend on him, obey him, give him everything that he requires. And in the end, the pain turned into an end in itself for him. Because it was in a humiliated state that I was obedient.

Narcissists are dishonest

Narcissists are often spoken of as cheaters and liars.

For ten years I was completely under the control of my husband. He was my guide, my very life, and as a result completely destroyed it

“My ex-husband constantly lied to others about me. In the light of these lies, I was always bad and he was good, although in reality it was the other way around. I found out about this after we parted ways. It literally destroyed me. I just couldn't take the pain anymore!"

“The main habit of a narcissistic person is lying. He will lie, even if the only salvation for him is the truth.

Israeli writer and author of the book “Malignant narcissism. Narcissism Revisited" Sam Vankin openly admitted both his selfishness and his constant lies: "I'm lying. Obsessively, all the time and about everything. Why am I doing this? To be interesting and attractive. To attract attention, cause adoration, admiration, admiration and give rise to gossip.

Breaking up relationships as a way to salvation

Breaking up with narcissists can be a way out for people who are exhausted from dealing with narcissists, says Leon Seltzer.

“Remembering all the ardent egoists with whom life confronted me, I understand that from the very first meeting it was clear that they were deeply selfish, immoral, addicted to sex, or there was some other wormhole in them. I lacked experience, intuition, to understand that you need to stay away from such people. I didn't know how to set boundaries."

“For ten years I was completely under the control of my husband. He was my guide, my very life, and in the end completely destroyed it. Now that I remember him, I don't feel anything. At all. There is no hate, no love, no pity - only emptiness. And that's great".

Text: Alexandra Terentyeva Photo source: Getty Images

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Andrey Yudin, Gestalt therapist

How to recognize a narcissist, how to properly behave with him and is it possible to get along?

Article content

Diagnosis or character trait?

It so happened that every few years mass culture borrows a new term from the scientific and psychological language in order to designate with it the image of a conditional bad, unpleasant person. "Moron", "idiot", "hysterical", "schizophrenic", "neurotic" - once all these words had very specific scientific meanings, very far from the modern abusive meanings of these words. In attempts to dissociate themselves from semantic distortions, psychologists are forced all the time to come up with new terms - more subtle and devoid of offensive, stigmatizing connotations. Something similar seems to be happening with the once-psychoanalytic term "narcissist."

Today, everyone who has the audacity to show some kind of intractability or disagreement with the speaker is sometimes recorded as a narcissist: starting from people with deep psychopathic traits and ending with a spouse shirking from washing dishes.

Signs of a narcissist man

In modern scientific psychology, the term "narcissist" is most often understood as a person who meets the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder (hereinafter referred to as NPD). These criteria are very complex, and an accurate diagnosis sometimes requires the work of entire councils of professionals specializing in the field of personality disorders. However, there are signs that are universal for all narcissists, and the combination of which suggests that a person with a high probability is a narcissist:

  • persistent concern with self-esteem; self-centeredness; lack of emotional empathy;
  • hypersensitivity to the slightest sign of disrespect; high irritability; propensity to depreciate;
  • increased attention to issues of social status.

Depending on the ways they use to maintain their fragile self-esteem, outwardly narcissists can manifest themselves very differently: some obsessively seek the admiration of others, some try to "cling" to someone they themselves admire (turning it into a so-called narcissistic extension), and some attack the self-esteem of others, subjugating their will, humiliating them and devaluing all aspects of their personality. These strategies can vary greatly in their effect on others, but they are all unpleasant for the one at whose expense the narcissist is trying to fuel self-esteem at a particular moment.

Where do male and female narcissists come from? values ​​and bad education deserves public censure, punishment and re-education. It is extremely rare that one of the authors dares to dig deeper and soberly consider the inner tragedy of the narcissist's psychotype.

In reality, no one is born a narcissist and chooses to become a narcissist by choice. Narcissistic personality disorder begins to form at an early age (usually before 4–5 years of age) as the only possible adaptation of a child to a situation of chronic absence of stable unconditional love from parents.

It is so unbearable and terrible for a child to feel with all clarity that the adults who care for him do not really love him, that he will do absolutely everything to squeeze at least a drop of some kind of surrogate of love out of them - and thanks to this not get off with mind and not die of grief and devastation. And this habit of looking for substitutes for love is so necessary for the survival of the child that it is rather quickly woven into the structure of his character and becomes "second nature", constantly present and working at an unconscious level. The absence of unconditional love from a parent, forcing the child to develop a narcissistic character, can take many different forms. According to the American psychotherapist Elinor Greenberg, one of the world's leading experts in NPD, most of the life stories of narcissistic patients fit into one of the three most typical scenarios.

What makes up the psychotype of a narcissist

  • Quite often, parents use their children's talents to realize their own ambitions, for example, in sports or music. On the surface, a parent may praise the child and consider him a child prodigy, but the child is weary of his role, feels like an impostor, feels shame and humiliation from this role. At the same time, the child himself does not seem to be seen, he feels that he is loved not by him, but by someone else, whose life he should live instead of his own.
  • Another path to narcissism is an atmosphere of constant evaluation and competition in the family . If parents have only two poles - (extreme admiration for first places and five pluses and at the same time extreme humiliation or ignorance for any other results), the child cannot feel consistently loved. Sooner or later, the child begins to rigidly associate happiness with success and enters into an endless race for signs of success that never bring him true satisfaction.
  • Another path to narcissism is through years of humiliation and constant criticism from a domineering, irritable narcissistic parent. People who grew up in such a toxic atmosphere often then hear a cruel, critical voice in their heads all their lives, make completely unrealistic demands on themselves, try all their lives to prove to their parents, themselves and those around them that they can still meet even such an overestimated bar.

One way or another, all of these situations imply that the child's personality is ignored. The parent does not see the child as a person, an emerging personality, he only uses the child as his narcissistic extension, or as a cesspool for rage about his own inferiority.

But, since there is no one to explain to the child what the real problem is, he draws the conclusion that helps him to remain in at least some emotional contact with the parent: the conclusion that he is defective, inferior and that is why he could not cause in parents the love and attention that any child needs so much for normal, healthy development.

How to survive with a daffodil man?

If your spouse, partner, loved one, or family member is a narcissist and you plan on maintaining a close relationship with that person, it's good to know a few things that will improve your quality of life.

The most important thing is to realize that life in an intimate relationship with a narcissist is very difficult. If you expect a male narcissist to change over time, adapt to living together and behave like everyone else, a serious disappointment is possible. When deciding to connect your life with a narcissist, evaluate your motivation, the amount of complexity and psychological work that comes with this relationship. You will have to learn how to deal with a male narcissist.

It is important to philosophically, without moralizing, perceive the objective limitations of the narcissist : his inability to regulate self-esteem without external nourishment, the need to devalue others, lack of empathy, inadequately high sensitivity to criticism. In practice, this means that you will have to learn to ignore the negativity directed at you, not take it personally and remember that his emotional outbursts are not caused by you, but by the complex limitations of his character, with which, alas, he cannot do anything. Unfortunately, a male narcissist really needs your help with regulating his self-esteem: sometimes it is praise and a demonstration of good attitude, and sometimes the ability to take on an attack of devaluation and withstand it.

It is important to understand that the narcissist is not able to take criticism calmly and without drama, because it brings down his fragile self-esteem and plunges him into his personal nightmare, in which he is a nonentity, unworthy of life. Even hints of his being wrong become a knife in the bleeding wound of his personality. It is better to prepare in advance for the consequences - an outburst of rage, depreciating comments, a long-term resentment, or even an attempt to end the relationship. You - if you want to stay around - will have to take responsibility for some of the narcissist's mistakes, admit you are wrong in situations where you are right. You will also have to master the language of the feedback that narcissists endure: we-messages in the genre of “we didn’t manage to pick up the child from school on time today” (when the narcissist was actually late), wording like “surprisingly, but in one nuance you are due to a ridiculous misunderstanding today I was temporarily not at my usual level of perfection ”(when the narcissist man let you down big time).

A high quality of life next to a narcissist is impossible without clear and strong personal boundaries. Narcissists are sophisticated masters of loosening, blurring and breaking through the boundaries of even the most resilient people. Part of his tragedy is that his aching self-esteem will constantly push him to try to bend you to his will, but as soon as he succeeds, he will instantly lose respect for you with all the ensuing consequences for the relationship. Therefore, you should immediately tune in to the fact that you will have to repel attacks of various strengths, survive and not give up. And this requires not only courage, but also the willingness, if necessary, to put the fate of the relationship on the line in order to withstand the manipulations of the narcissist.

Very often, narcissists behave in a way that is unpleasant for those close to them, not because they cannot do otherwise. Firstly, in their family such behavior was the norm, they have no other role models, and secondly, their empathy is not at all enough to notice that such behavior of theirs hurts people and destroys relationships. It is hard to believe that many of the hurtful things the narcissist does not do on purpose, but simply because of a lack of empathy. Some narcissists can be "re-educated" to some extent, delicately, persistently, in a nonjudgmental tone, conveying to them information about what kind of reactions in other people their behavior causes.

How to survive if you recognize a narcissist in yourself?

If you recognize yourself in the description of narcissists and think you have narcissistic personality disorder, there are three good news.

First of all, most people with NPD are unaware that they have NPD , so in a way you are already lucky: you understand what is happening to you and can find many big and small ways to improve your condition.

Secondly, most often people with NPD cannot even imagine how much higher quality of life is potentially available to them in the event that they receive high-quality psychotherapeutic assistance. Not every psychotherapist is suitable for the treatment of NPD - you will need an experienced specialist with additional training in the treatment of personality disorders. Due to the high skill and experience requirements of a specialist, successful NPD treatment is usually expensive, can take a long time - up to several years, requires great effort in order to resist the temptation to stop it halfway or even after the first improvements. Because of these circumstances, even in the psychotherapeutic community, there are myths that NPD is practically untreatable or incurable. But the result of high-quality NPD therapy is most often worth the time, money and effort invested in it.

And finally, thirdly... You are not alone. Perhaps you are experiencing total loneliness and deep down you consider yourself a defective, unworthy person whom no one will ever be able to understand. All these experiences are nothing more than an echo of a terrible, unbearable past in which you were truly alone, rejected and misunderstood, in which you survived and to which you adapted in the best possible way.

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