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How To Deal With A Narcissist

Marc Hubs is a writer/researcher on mind, science, and conspiracy. He is the author of "Know Your Enemy: Reflections of NPD."

Dealing With Narcissism

Being victimized by a narcissist can be a long, daunting and damaging experience.

Finding out that someone you love has NPD can be even more daunting and damaging and learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder from the internet can sometimes be so shocking that just the information alone can be enough for some victims of narcissistic abuse to be left in a state of post-traumatic shock.

However, it's important to understand that the information which is now available on the internet does not apply to each and every single narcissist in the world and that there are varying degrees and various subtypes of the disorder and it's very possible for someone to be narcissistic without even having the disorder.

All of us have different personalities and it's possible for personalities to clash.

Getting to grips with the fact that someone you know has Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be extremely difficult to cope with and it takes time for victims to learn about what they've been through, or what they're going through, and some of the literature now available on the topic of NPD can be quite extreme.

The most common piece of advice offered to those dealing with narcissistic personalities is usually to cut off all contact. However, for some of us this simply isn't a choice. For those of us unable to cut all ties with the narcissist(s) in our lives, it's important to maintain a healthy distance and keep communication to an absolute minimum.s

Victims need space and time to rebuild their self-esteem and self-worth, re-establish their identity, build up a network of friends and get themselves into a better financial position.

Most victims of narcissistic abuse will inevitably have had all these things stolen from them during their unfortunate experience.

Unfortunately, victims will need to escape the clutches of their narcissist first and this is much more profoundly difficult than the average person could ever believe - the chains are on tight.

People dealing with narcissistic personalities will most likely have been gradually manipulated into co-dependence and the only person they may be able to turn to for help could be the very narcissist who manipulated them into the situation in the first place.

Additionally, victims will inevitably have a mountain of problems and insecurities which have built up over the course of their experience and may have even been convinced that they are the source of the many of the problems when, in reality, they are of sound mind.

Learning about malignant narcissism/NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) is something which should be done discreetly and gradually, some of the information can be a lot to take in and it can be overwhelmingly difficult to understand, therefore it's also important to acknowledge the fact that there are many common myths about NPD.

Talking about NPD with the narcissist in your life or trying to get them to consider that they may be inflicted with it is a bad idea which, in some cases, has proven to have had devastating results.

That's not to say that it hasn't been done successfully in the past... but you should choose your steps very carefully; some narcissists can be so crafty, devious, callous, manipulative and shallow that it defies all logical explanation.

It really literally is beyond all normality, beyond comprehension and beyond belief what they are truly capable of, whilst they expertly mask away their evil inner side.

Attempting to communicate with a narcissist about the real issues and concerns you have in your relationship with them is pointless. They will say whatever they need to say in order to get their own way, after all, what they are saying are just words to them, nothing any more.

Showing signs of emotional insecurity is seen by the narcissist as a vulnerability and the victim will usually be kicked while they are down.

If a victim or relative of a narcissist does successfully manage to get them to acknowledge that they have a problem and perhaps agree to go to counseling or therapy, this is usually either for one of two reasons; they have either successfully penetrated the narcissist's solid exterior during one of their temporary periods of self-reflection and communicated with them on an emotional level whereby they will probably end up promising that they can change...,

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or, on the other hand, it could all be a ploy and as soon as they go for a counseling session the narcissist will make out it's the victim or relative who is the problem and will act as though it was them who wanted counseling or therapy.

Narcissists inevitably end up manipulating the therapist into helping them tag-team the victim.

If the acknowledgement was during a temporary period of self-reflection, the narcissist will probably act as though they are making a genuine effort to change but usually this is all just a facade to suck the victim back in before returning to their normal self.

Of course, the narcissist may not have really had a temporary period of self-reflection and may have been acting all along.

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Emotional Intelligence

People who have been victimized by narcissists may be feeling emotionally and mentally devastated, they may be feeling anxious, depressed, tense and perhaps even suicidal if they have been victimized for long enough.

Given the extreme circumstances, this is completely normal and is understandable.

Victims often feel so alone, cut off from the world and isolated during their experience that they feel like an empty void yet there are, in fact, many other people in the world going through the exact same thing.

Thankfully, awareness of the devastating amount of damage that people inflicted with the personality disorder can cause is growing.

The one thing in particular that makes dealing with a narcissist difficult is empathy. Not the narcissist's lack of it, but the empathy that the victim does have which is inevitably being exploited by the narcissist and this often leaves the victim repeatedly questioning themselves whilst the narcissist successfully plays the victim, fooling those around them.

Victims of narcissists often have an overwhelming desire to prove the truth to the people around them.

However, this could prove to be an unnecessary evil. Instead, it's better for victims to care less about what other people believe and focus on themselves.

Trying to get others to open their eyes to the truth can seem like an attempt at ostracizing the narcissist, even though it's the victim who has been truly ostracized.

Most victims of narcissistic abuse will have had their self-esteem, self-worth and their emotions worn down to their very core of their soul and so it's important for them to learn how to regain control of themselves.

This means learning to break to free of the co-dependence, stripping control away from the narcissist and taking responsibility into their own hands once again but this requires resources; resources such as identification and money which the narcissist has intentionally deprived their victim of. Victims need to be hyper-vigilent in planning their escape.

Just as many narcissists carry out their abuse covertly, victims must escape covertly and stealthily. The narcissist must not find out about the escape plan or it will effectively be sabotaged. If someone lives with a narcissist under the narcissist's roof and gives them an indication that they are trying to leave then they will most likely be leaving the narcissist's house a lot sooner than they were anticipating.

It may seem harsh to just suddenly disappear unexpectedly for an unspecified period of time without any warning but desperate times call for desperate measures - whatever it takes must be done and this requires strength. Additionally, some victims feel like they need to get revenge on the narcissist in their lives and this is also a bad idea right from the start. Simply put, revenge is for fools and usually causes more trouble than it's worth.

Although emotions are natural and are there for a reason, it is possible to learn how to deal with our emotions much more efficiently and effectively and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) is a form of applied psychology which teaches us how to do this. NLP may not necessarily be for you but it helped me greatly in my struggle for escape and along my road to recovery. Emotional strength is a necessity for any victim of narcissistic abuse to be able to escape.

The Road To Recovery

Although there is no official diagnosis for it, there is such a phenomena as Narcissistic Victim Syndrome, a term which was coined by Medical News Today, due to the conditions that victims of narcissistic abuse find themselves suffering with during and after their experience.

The longer they are subject to narcissistic abuse, the more adversely their health is affected and the more extreme their conditions become. Such victims often suffer with depression, anxiety, mental anguish, stress-related illnesses, weight loss, insomnia, irrational fears, post-traumatic stress (nightmares and flashbacks) and more. In extreme cases the symptoms can be much worse and people who are being, or have been, abused severely may be at high risk of committing suicide or having a heart attack or stroke. Unfortunately, unless the victim can escape the clutches of the narcissist, the abuse will continue unabated - the narcissist has no empathy and cannot understand the damage they are inflicting.

Any victim of narcissistic abuse, once they eventually realize what is happening, would be wise to speak to their doctor as soon as possible about their situation, without their narcissist knowing. Not all doctors understand NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) too much but simply just having someone to talk to about the situation can be a great weight off the shoulders. The doctor may be able to refer the victim, relative or spouse of the narcissist to a therapist or counselor who may be able to provide further help.

Speaking to a doctor about the situation can be tricky for victims and it's important not to try to explain experiences to the doctor, but rather to inform them of the health conditions which the victim now suffers with, so that they can be provided with the necessary medical help. In some cases this may be a wide range of symptoms, all of which must be addressed - this is important because in some extreme cases (such as my own personal experience) there has been permanent physical damage caused to health, which may need to be treated.

The road to recovery can be a long and drawn out path and in cases that involve post-traumatic stress it can often take victims up to five years to fully recover. Of course, in cases where damage to physical health has been caused, it's possible that the victim may never fully recover completely and so they need to ensure that no narcissist is ever going to compromise their health in the future.

Once a victim of narcissistic abuse has successfully traveled the path to recovery, they are often left feeling liberated and highly appreciative of the beautiful things in life and the things around them, they do not take things for granted so much and it can feel both enlightening and refreshing for them to be able to be themselves once again - they are no longer a puppet.

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© 2013 Marc Hubs


Wes Walter on August 04, 2018:

Your ability to bring together the information on this subject and describe it near perfectly is still unmatched. Your comitment to helping others through educating is commendable and beyond words.

If only I would have had a grasp on any of this, I could have saved my daughter.

Molly on April 25, 2018:

I am the daughter of what I believe to be one narcissist and one borderline parent. The sibling I was raised with committed suicide in their 20s and I am pretty close to it in my 30s. The symptoms of my abuse have included self harm, suicide attempts, depression, anxiety, addiction, under achievement, self sabotage and abusive relationships. I have complex PTSD and DID but sadly lack the finance to fund therapy. I suspect I will not live long enough to recover but it is comforting to know the truth. It was never my fault. I did not deserve it. I will not pass it on.

alice lawton on March 19, 2017:

This article is so true. You will never win against a narcissist. I have been seeing one for 2 years and didn't realise what was going on for a long while. he would blow hot and cold for no reason and I could never figure out what I had done wrong. I eventually left and started seeing someone else and he went mad. He broke down and pestered me day in and day out for 4 months until i caved in and left the new man. He had promised to change but the same week i stopped seeing the new man my narcistic ex told me he no longer wanted me. the chase was over and he was no longer interested. I have loved this man and this has totally destroyed me. He has also lied to our friends about me and they no longer interact the same way with me. He works in the same place as me down the corridor and some people at work will no longer speak to me - he has told lies and is trying to destroy me for leaving him. It is awful and I am suffering with depression as a result. I no longer speak or even look at him because he will twist any words or looks and make them into something they are not. A very twisted and sick individual. You can only feel sorry for people like that. I have also found out that he has been in secret contact with two of his ex girlfriends for the 2 years that he was seeing me. definitely follow the no contact rule. You can't change these kind of people and will destroy yourself in trying to. You will never understand why they behave like they do so don't waste time or energy trying to figure it out. Nasty, toxic people who just don't care about anyone but themselves. Turn and walk away and don't look back. It has taken me months to realise this and I find it incredibly hard. I have been left with no boyfriend and awkward friends who believe his twisted lies and an uncomfortable work situation. Its a mess and has thrown me into a pit of despair and depression. I have finally turned away and am doing well at not looking back. Look forward - it can't be any worse than where i have come from. there is hope by looking forward and that keeps me going each day. Try to focus on now and don't think too far ahead. Day to day - little steps.

JENNIFER on July 15, 2015:

it is refreshing to know that if one escapes the narcissist, and recovers , that they appreciate life more. my question is, can malignant cerebral narcissist begin to kick their dog, not too hard at 1st, but it slowly evolves to the point where the dog suffers internal injuries, and the mate of the malignant narcissist refuse to help the animal. I suspect the mate is a narcissist , but an intro one.this has haunted me. my father adopted a dog, a sweet jack Russell. he began to kick him , yet my mom would never even ask him not to continue. at Christmas I saw him haul off and kick the dog so hard I feared for it's life. I live out of town and this happened as I was leaving. when I returned for new years the dog was nearly dead. I begged them to get the dog to the vet. they just laughed. the next day I called my mom from work 14 times that day begging her to take the dog to the vet. each time she said she would , when I would call 40 mnutes later she would , each time say she was just about to do so. when I got home from work I called and she said the day had run out , but she would in the morning. the dog died that nite, they were never going to tale him to the vet because the vet would have determined the trauma. I have been plagued with this guilt for 18 months now. now, for the 1st time the narcissist has turned his attention to my daughter. he never did before, he knew better. he knew I would never stand for it. so she gets into the best university in the world and he offers to pay for it. but it is on a revocable contingency, she must call biweekly. she goes on an archaeological dig and misses a call. when she returns he has cancelled all her acccts and she has lost her dorm room at school. now they are just days away from going into an assisted living center and as the days tick away , I fear he has really become dangerous, knowing that there will not be 10 acres between neighbors and staff will hear the melt downs. my mothers only concern is to protect his image- he is a federal judge- and hers. the wife of.....when I was there last, I was actually frightened he would physically attack me. he sat there and stared at me with a much hate as I have ever seen in his eyes. I acted unphased. this is when he began in on my daughter. she completely disassociated herself from them and I doubt will ever have any contact with them again. I applaud her for that. how will the staff handle that, esp with his power since he is 85 but not retired. they are moving there so he can continue to wk for his narc supply and not have to tend to my mom. I made it very clear to him whem my daughter was about 1 yr old that he was never to treat her like he did all other family members, and he did not until I disengaged. the whole thing has me so rattled and sick

Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on February 14, 2015:

Narcissists are 'stuck' in the self-love stage of human development, which all of us go through early in life. Instead of going on to learn love of another, many of them remain in this stage whilst some of them never learn to truly love themselves. It's impossible to love another person if you cannot learn to love yourself first. Unfortunately, I would also say that painting a picture of an NPD and a BPD in a relationship together wouldn't be a pretty picture, that's for sure. I think a BPD would make an easy target for an NPD.

Judi Johnson from Anoka, Minnesota on January 22, 2015:

can you paint me a picture of what a relationship would look like between the man being the narc and the woman which is me being borderline personality disorder. so does the narc not even love us?

ive been better to him given him more, and am the mother of his kids. why does he treat the friends so great and me so bad. why me? why doesn't the narc treat his friends bad, but his girl me with love. so are you saying that my man does not love me? a narc wont or can't love? he can't see he is killing me and change? one more thing if i did commit suicide would he care or feel bad sad or guilty? and last of all why me?

Judi Johnson from Anoka, Minnesota on January 22, 2015:

i have been with my man for 23 years. omg this article fits him to a t. because of this abuse forcso long, my arms and legs are full of cuts and cigarette burns because this man made me hate myself that bad. i finally after all these yrs. with him realized the other day that he has been making me feel like im doing smthing wrong just to justify him leaving for 2 or 3 days, while the whole time i was thinking it was me that did something wrong, i would finally get submissive and call him crying begging for him to come home and apologize, and he would come home when he was done partying and he needed to shit shower shave and sleep, then he would start the cycle over as soon as he was ready to get out again.i am suicidal, i have borderline personality disorder, i have a few questions:

GreenQueenCA on August 07, 2014:

Due to my very failing health i have been planning escape for a year and a half i am still in shock and experiencing's reassuring that i should be planning carefully when a few have said just leave but i know there will be more hell in that. It's been hell having no one...but i am slowly getting healthier and i look forward to the moment when I'm free even knowing there will be more to deal with i will know i have a chance at decent life again...

Lori Powell from Denver, Colorado on July 11, 2014:

Now when you realize that a person is a narcissist, and is continually causing harm to children, with whom they cannot have any unsupervised access, and where children protective services is involved but working on reunification, at my son's and his wife's insistence, (I'm the grandmother in this situation, who is now primary caretaker, and my son isn't seeing these issues with her), and they say they are aware of the issues, but to many times don't seem to be doing anything, I'm sure they are limited by law with what they can do, and they care (this case is over 3 years old, the kids were in foster care for 2 years, because my son would not leave her till their parental were about to be terminated, at which point she moved out and CPS first it was permanent at first, but then they let it be known that at some point she would be coming home, so thus continued intervention and reunification) but they are not personally involved and thus when she shows short periods of so called reflection that she seems to have, (even I have been fooled before) and we think she's making progress I don't know if they see that it's not real like me, it takes 48 hours at max for me, without me saying anything, (I've learned I can't deal with her but at times has to) to them for the sake of my grandchildren without seeming like a vindictive person, I try to hold my tongue but at times reach a breaking point, and say things that I wish the children didn't hear, even though I was told by their guardian at litum, that these kids have gone through so much, that even though it doesn't come out in the most positive way these kids need to know someone is looking out for them and will keep them safe. That is why I continue in family therapy, but I feel like I'm hitting my head against a wall, and my grandson who is 12 used to act it out, it makes a grown person crazy I have to wonder what it does to these kids, why can't we just ship all these people like some others I can think about who shouldn't be in regular society to an island all their own to live out their life and let the rest of us alone. Just a thought sometimes narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths, and pedophiles who have an almost no rehabilitation chance need to go and drive each other crazy and leave the rest of us in relative peace. oh I thank you for this info I'm going to bookmark these pages to maybe know where to go in case anyone else might be interested in this info as I am, for so reason I'm doubtful, it mostly those of us who are being or have been affected negatively by these people who read these things.

Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on January 12, 2014:

vJ, I understand your frustration. However, trying to help them will be a waste of time and they will just suck you back in and spit you out again. There is no way to help a narcissist I'm afraid.

VJ on January 05, 2014:

Surprisingly, I've been living with that for the past 10 years,.. But I love her so much. I can bet you its true and fact.,but rather than escape away , how to help them ? any advise

Gail Meyers from Johnson County, Kansas on December 18, 2013:

Sparkster, this is a well written and needed hub on this topic. I think you did an excellent job. Voted up and useful.

Heather Mcdougall on October 05, 2013:

Gail, I don't know if you are in the UK, but if you are you can very easily and cheaply get a 'stop' put on at the land registry against him taking your house or your share of the house. Basically, this legally puts a big 'stop' on any changes of ownership on the house until the Family court sort out your ancillary relief ( posh term for the money and property). If you are in the US, gt some advice about how to do it there because it can be done easliy and cheaply. Now as for the joint checking account, go and get some backdated bank statements (before he left) and now go and with draw if you can exactly half of it. If you have further retirement assets you must inform the asset holders that there is an impending divorce and not to let him asset strip you.

Of course the narcissist will undermine you and lie to the kids.probably all your friends too, as well as family he can reach. You fight back best by perhaps finding some lovely old warmheated photos of you and your kids when they were little that brigng back really good memeories for them, and send them a lovely card with a message of love in it with the photo. Just keep offering the calm, loving, supportive and validating experience to your kids. Eventually they will tire of his negative rants and the 'me,' I' and 'my' vocabulary they uncontrollably use, especially oif you use the 'you' language with your kids.

Gail on September 29, 2013:

I am presently trying to divorce my narcissist after he wrote me 2 letters begging for a divorce and I found texts that he was in relationships with other women! I already filed and he did not contest but is trying to steal our house, joint checking a d retirement assets! We live in the house together until the divorce is final and have no contact with him! He continually says things like (its your fault we are divorcing, I'll go to counseling now, this is my house I will do what I want, I'll work a business deal out with you - you do what you want and I'll do what I want). My husband also is turning behind my back and undermining our kids...We have been married 35 years and life with him is always painful! I can't wait to be free again!

Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on September 10, 2013:

Indeed it's the only way. Congratulations on your escape Lea, now you can be yourself again!

Lea on September 10, 2013:

I planned my escape for 4 months. It worked and he was furious that I deceived him. It's the only way.

Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on July 18, 2013:

(wondering why all the other comments have disappeared from this hub!)

Marc Hubs (author) from United Kingdom on July 18, 2013:

Indeed, if it is the narcissist's house - but they wouldn't want anyone finding out about this and are likely to act as though the victim left of their own accord.

Anon on July 17, 2013:

"If someone lives with a narcissist under the narcissist's roof and gives them an indication that they are trying to leave then they will most likely be leaving the narcissist's house a lot sooner than they were anticipating." - Does that mean that narcissist kicks their victim out of the house?

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