7 Ways To Deal With A True Narcissist — Before He DESTROYS Your Soul

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How To Deal With Guy Who's A Real Narcissist
Heartbreak

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The first man I ever loved romantically was a narcissist.

I won't go so far as to say that he was ever diagnosed with or suffered from Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) as it is clinically defined — because I don't think he ever was diagnosed and, also, I am not a doctor — but if I were to find out this was indeed the case, I wouldn't be even a bit surprised.

Chances are at some point in your life whether you had a name for it or not, you've run into a narcissist.

Psychologist Stephen Johnson defines a narcissist as a person who has “buried his true self-expression in response to early injuries and replaced it with a highly developed, compensatory false self."

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That's a really thoughtful and fancy way of saying that they have a constant need for attention and admiration, they couldn't care less about anyone other than themselves, they have more buckets of entitlement than you may have thought possible for one person to carry, and they cannot even begin to remotely handle an ounce of criticism.

So yeah, they're awesome.

In fact, my first great love and I bonded over how great he was.

Seriously, though, he was a filmmaker and I thought he hung the moon. I had no problem draping myself all over him and telling him how perfect he was. He, in turn, had no problem agreeing with me... and then telling me all of the different ways I was going to have to change if I wanted to be worthy of his time.

Unsurprisingly, this relationship didn't go anywhere. How could it?

I was dating a man who was only in love with himself, and even that love affair was between two people who didn't actually exist.

Sometimes when you realize you are dealing with a narcissist, you are in a position from which you can easily walk away. However, sometimes, because of work or because of your family or some other situation, it can be far more difficult or even impossible to escape this person.

The good news is that there are definitely ways to deal with narcissists and make your life more peaceful again, and I've got a few to share with you. I've listed the most obvious option first because it certainly has to be put out there, but I am well aware it may not be what you want or what you are ready to hear, so there are six additional coping strategies that follow for you to give your best shot.

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In order to compile these strategic techniques, I spoke with a group of anonymous men and women who have been married to narcissists, lived with narcissists as roommates, or encountered them as bosses, friends, and even family members. Hopefully, their real-life insights will help you as you navigate the massive frustration, trauma and damaged self-esteem that arise when navigating a relationship of any kind with a narcissist.

Here are seven ways to deal with someone you've finally realized is a true narcissist before they destroy your soul.

1. Cut them out of your life.

"Cut them off and stop trying to comprehend their bullsh*t. Remove yourself from their sphere of influence. Don't feel guilty. Feel empowered."

Many people will tell you the only surefire way to deal with a narcissist is to cut them off, and to a certain degree, they are right.

When you have a narcissist in your life they will do everything possible to make sure your every waking hour is spent in some kind of service to them. That, my friend, is no way to live.

If you are stuck in this cycle and you need to break it, and you CAN break it. It's normal and natural to feel guilt or shame for ending an abusive relationship, but remember that if it suited them better to do so, they would drop you in a second and never once look back.

2. Maintain firm boundaries.

"A narcissist will lie, steal, flatter, cheat, bully, and do anything necessary to get what they want. You need to exclude such people from your life if at all possible, and if not possible, learn to keep them far from your true friends, family, money, and possessions."

If you have a narcissist for a boss, as the person quoted above did, sometimes cutting them out of your life isn't an option. In those circumstances, the best thing to do is to maintain boundaries.

Work is work, home is home and that's all there is to it. Do not let this person know anything about your life or they may use it against you. They are constantly going to look for ways to get to you. If you maintain strong boundaries, it's like they will find you to be less worth spending their time and energy on, which is exactly what you want.

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3. Be honest with them, and yourself.

"If it's too much for you, just walk away. Interrupt them and tell them what you think, and don't be shy about it. If you have to talk with this person because they're your colleague, boss, or client, just remember specifically what it is you need from them and focus on that."

Because narcissists are such game players, you may sometimes feel tempted to play along with them. DO NOT DO THIS.

When they behave in a way that negatively affects your life or work, let them know that they have behaved badly. If you are in a situation with them that is untenable, turn your back and walk away for the time being. You do not have to play along with their games or adjust your behavior to mirror their own.

Calling the truth as you see it won't change who they are or what they do, but it will short circuit degree and frequency of negative interactions you have with them.

4. Assess the situation honestly.

"Everyone who behaves in a self-important, inconsiderate way isn't necessarily a narcissistic individual. They may very well be someone who had such a bad day or week or decade. We all sometimes behave inconsiderately simply because we're focusing in on our own problems and failing to recognize someone else's needs from time to time."

There is a difference between people who are selfish or behaving selfishly and people who have a diagnosable, pathological personality disorder like NPD.

Never assume someone has NPD when you are not in possession of all of the facts and a degree in psychiatry. If all you have are suspicions because a person acting like a shopping cart full of jerks, they might just be a jerk or someone who's having a really, really, really bad day. 

5. Do not engage with them in their drama.

"Never engage and never give attention, no matter how their own behavior escalates. When you try to reason with a narcissist, you only feed into their drama. You cannot change them and they will suck you dry whilst lapping up your care, and then cast you aside once they've depleted you. They will do their best to convince that every negative is solely your fault, so don't be surprised and don't lose your cool or take it to heart when they blame you."

When you engage with a narcissist you unintentionally let them know that their behavior is something you are willing to tolerate. Everybody goes through a tough time every now and then and everyone needs support and a helping hand from a friend at times, but being a nurturer quickly grows toxic when you are involved with someone who has narcissistic personality traits.

When they come at you desperate to engage, do NOT allow it.

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6. Try going the polite route.

"My sister is a narcissist. When I used to have to put up with her in person, she liked to insult me when she was bored, then act like she was doing me a favor. I found that the best response was to thank her as honestly and cheerfully as I could."

I'm usually not a huge fan of passive aggression or head games, but sometimes in situations like the one listed above, a big smile and an authentic "thank you" is all it takes to blow a narcissist's mind. When you accept their "helpful advice" you are refusing to let them make you feel inferior and denying them the powerful and dramatic reaction that they anticipate.

At first, this may anger them, but over time it will make you too boring for them to consider a target any longer.

7. Accept who they are... and move on.

"That ideal person that you sometimes hope he or she will become... well, he or she is not and never will be that person. If you can't leave because it hurts too much, try to start by distancing yourself as much as you can. Find someone trust-worthy to confide in and hang out with during this time."

You will never be able to "cure" a narcissist.

It isn't your fault this relationship isn't working. When a relationship degrades it's normal to want to take responsibility for that fact and to assign yourself some blame, but doing that is a waste of time when it comes to dealing with narcissists.

As far as they are concerned, you could have been anyone.

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a sex, humor and lifestyle writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the sex, love, and dating advice show, Becca After Dark on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:20 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.