* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.
It’s more than likely that we’ve all come across narcissists in our lives, whether it be a boss, a friend, or a partner, but sometimes we have no option but to coexist with someone with this pathology.
How To Live With A Narcissist
Oftentimes, leaving or moving out just is not possible.
You may be a parent with an adult child or children with narcissistic tendencies, but you can’t find it within you to send them packing.
You could also be a spouse who loves their husband or wife despite their narcissism, and can’t bring yourself to leave.
Furthermore, you could even be the child of a narcissistic parent who simply cannot cut ties with them for a myriad of reasons, be it love, security, or financial reasons.
Is it even possible to happily live with someone who displays the characteristic traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, such as arrogance, entitlement, and even bullying?
Understandably, it can be incredibly difficult and draining to coexist with narcissistic people, but there are some things you can do to help make things a little easier.
An important thing to do to help make living with a narcissist is to understand and recognize patterns in their behavior.
If you know more about how a narcissistic person’s mind works, it will help you to understand and make sense of their negative behaviors, and therefore help you cope better with this.
Here are a list of tips that will help you deal with living with a narcissist, and allow you to preserve your emotional wellbeing.
Study Their Behavior
When you’re in a relationship, it can be very challenging to step outside oneself in the context of your relationship and simply analyze the person as if you were a psychoanalyst.
Learning how to detach yourself emotionally from your situation will be very beneficial for you to avoid conflict and maintain your own emotional wellbeing.
By studying the narcissist’s behavior, you can systematize the way they act as if you were looking in from an outside perspective.
It should also help you avoid conflict and arguments if you can see them coming before they take hold of the situation.
Hopefully this method should provide you with some clarity and help you to understand when a person’s narcissism is emerging, allowing you not to be manipulated or gaslit by them.
Call Out Their Behavior
Although it may not seem wise to call out a narcissist, it is a necessary step to get them to improve their behavior.
They might not react positively at first, as most narcissists get extremely defensive as they believe they are always right, but over time it may be beneficial for both you and them.
If the narcissistic person values their relationship with you at all, they should want to hear when these negative traits emerge in their speech and behavior.
Understand the Tactics of Abuse
Most narcissistic behavior is, in fact, learned.
Once a narcissistic person has learned the best ways to abuse and manipulate someone, whether it be emotional, mental, financial, sexual, or even spiritual abuse, they will likely repeat this behavior if it has been effective in the past.
Examples of these behaviors include gaslighting, twisting the truth, sexual coercion, intimidation, blackmail, withholding money, and dichotomous thinking.
Instead of becoming a victim to these tactics, you can learn how to observe it from an outsider’s perspective and recognize it when it occurs.
Feed Their Ego
Narcissists thrive off attention, validation, and admiration from others. Bearing this in mind and purposefully giving them simple compliments here and there can keep them feeling content.
Although it may seem like manipulation or disingenuous, really it is simply understanding the nature of how Narcissistic Personality Disorder works, and it will make both your life and theirs a little easier.
A comment such as “you look great” to your spouse can go a long way. Or something like “you’re really good at that” or “that’s impressive” to whomever the narcissist is, be it a roommate, parent, or child can feed their ego in a gentle way.
Oftentimes, narcissistic people are in fact deeply insecure, and that is why they need constant validation.
Adjust Your Expectations
It is commonly known that people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder have a lack of empathy for other people.
Understanding this will help you deal with this lack of sympathy and compassion from the narcissist. Although they often expect and even require sympathy and compassion from you, don’t expect it from them.
This is often a blind spot in the narcissist’s perception. They won’t even realize they are lacking empathy or how it affects their relationships and ability to be intimate or committed to others.
Don’t Play the Blame Game
People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder tend to shift the blame onto others and not take responsibility for their own wrongdoings.
They will also never apologize unless it benefits them to do so. Additionally, they tend to exaggerate the wrongdoing of others whilst minimizing their own.
While they may expect the same level of humility from you as you expect from them, you should not apologize just to appease them, particularly if it is unwarranted.
Avoid shifting the blame back onto them, too, as this will only serve to exacerbate the situation.
It can be easy to fall into adopting the same blaming and manipulating behavior as the narcissist as a defense against them, but it’s important to try to rise above it and refuse to play their games.
Find the Good in Them
Just because a person has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it doesn’t make them an inherently bad person. Of course, narcissism is a spectrum, and some narcissistic people have more extreme and damaging behavior than others.
Sometimes it can be very difficult to see the “good” in them, but understanding their personality disorder is a step to understanding why they behave in the way they do.
Living with a person who is on the narcissistic side or has Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be so difficult and draining.
If you still value your relationship with them, it is worth taking the time to understand their personality disorder and learn how to cope with their behaviors