Whether it's with a romantic partner or a housemate, there's no doubt that a relationship with a narcissist can be very challenging. But are there ways to cope better? Or is it better to leave the relationship?
We all put ourselves first at times, but narcissists focus on themselves and their needs to a far greater degree. Sometimes it's easy to recognise a narcissist, but covert narcissism can be harder to detect. The behaviour of narcissistic perverts is often hurtful and confusing to those who live with them. The signs that you're dealing with a narcissist include:
If you're living with a narcissist, it can be stressful, exhausting and damaging to your mental health. But when you understand what makes a narcissist tick, you may be able to manage your relationship better while looking after your own wellbeing. Here are some insights that you may find helpful:
Narcissists can't change their behaviour without professional help. NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) is often linked to factors such as trauma, childhood abuse, genetics and upbringing. However, narcissistic behaviours such as manipulation or gaslighting feel like personal attacks.
You can encourage a narcissist to seek therapy, but remember you're not responsible for fixing their behaviour. It's not your fault, and you didn't do anything to cause their actions.
Set clear, non-negotiable boundaries about what you aren't willing to accept in your relationship. For example, you might state that you won't tolerate swearing or rudeness when conversing. If they indulge in this behaviour, don't argue; just end the conversation and walk away.
It's essential to enforce your boundaries and carry out the consequences immediately.
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When you don't give in, the other person is more likely to take you seriously next time. But it's an ongoing process so keep reminding others about the behaviours you will not tolerate.
Narcissists often engage in the form of manipulation known as gaslighting. They do this by denying reality or rewriting history so that you start to doubt yourself.
They may flatly deny that they did or said something. Or they may try to undermine your self-confidence by accusing you of overreacting or misunderstanding the situation. Or they may say they were only joking and that you're being too sensitive.
It isn't easy to deal with gaslighting as it's often a case of one word against another. Try to have witnesses present during conversations, and ensure that important communications are done by email, so you have a written record.
When you know someone is gaslighting you, make them aware that you know what they are trying to do and that you will not tolerate this behaviour.
Narcissists will run down and undermine others to boost their sense of self-worth. Therefore, one of the biggest challenges of living with a narcissistic person is to ensure that your self-esteem stays healthy.
It's not only people with poor self-esteem who can be duped by a narcissist. It's easy to be charmed by their charisma and confidence in the early days of a relationship. But as you start to know them better, it's soon clear that these traits are actually narcissism. So, boost your self-esteem to help you cope with potentially damaging narcissistic behaviours. Be kind to yourself, forgive yourself for your mistakes and engage in positive self-talk.
Seek support from people who care for you. When you're in a relationship with a narcissistic pervert, it can be challenging not to lose your sense of identity. So turn to people who accept and support you and with whom you can be your true self. Having friends who understand what you're going through can relieve some of the stresses of being in a relationship with a narcissist.
If a narcissist is causing you anxiety and making it impossible for you to function normally, it may be time to walk away from the situation. Continuing to live with someone with NPD can seriously harm your mental wellbeing. And if the relationship has turned dangerously toxic or abusive, it's essential to seek help. Speak to a trusted friend, family member or mental health professional.
It isn't easy to live with a narcissist. It can be draining and stressful, but taking care of yourself is vital so that you stay supported, strong and mentally well.
Remember not to take narcissistic behaviours personally - you aren't the problem! Instead, build clear boundaries, boost your self-esteem and seek support from others.
Last but not least, follow your gut instincts. You don't have to stay in a relationship if you aren't happy. Getting away from a situation is often the best thing you can do for your mental wellbeing.
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