Coping Strategies for Life with a Narcissist - Part 3 in the NPD abuse series
“A healthy relationship doesn’t drag you down. It inspires you to be better.”
– Many Hale.
Narcissists make life difficult not only for themselves but those who care about them, because they continuously take and take without giving anything back. Thus, if you are living with a narcissist, you may find yourself feeling emotionally and physically drained. Of course, in order to have a healthy relationship with someone, there is usually give and take. At times, circumstances demand that one person takes more while the other gives more. While going through a difficult phase, your partner can certainly need extra support and it is acceptable to maintain this imbalance where you give and the other takes. But to keep the relationship healthy and mutually beneficial, it has to be kept in mind that this cannot be for an indefinite amount of time.
Coping with a Narcissistic partner can be trying, but there are a few essential ways it can be made easier.
- Talk to your Partner: They key to a healthy relationship is avoiding a communication breakdown. Be open and honest about issues that arise, while keeping calm when discussing matters. Strike a convincing tone, and explain your point of view in a non-confrontational way. You must convey your feeling of dissatisfaction about the nature and course of your relationship.
- Ask Questions: It is the best way to get to heart of the matter as it focuses the conversation on your partner, giving them the much needed importance. Try and mirror their feelings, to bond better. For example if they say “I feel underrated at work, my boss doesn’t appreciate my efforts” reply with an empathetic “I know exactly how that feels, it’s very difficult facing that.”
- Positive Reinforcement: It helps if you praise your partner when they support you in some way or exhibits unselfish behavior, because it will make them want to repeat such thoughtful gestures.
- Remain Confident: It’s important to maintain your individuality in any relationship. More so if you are with a Narcissistic partner. Having confidence allows you to hold your own and remain calm even in an argument where they use tactics like gas lighting to break you down. It also helps you void temper tantrums and be more independent.
- Carefully Approach Couple’s Therapy: Don’t be surprised if your suggestion meets with an aggressive “NO.” Ease them into the idea by creating a sense of shared responsibility towards your relationship. Choose your words carefully and sensitively, making sure you don’t put the blame entirely on your partner. Appear proactive and ready to work on your relationship together, with the guidance of a professional.
It is possible to cope with a Narcissistic relationship as long as you know how to keep your wits about and watch out for yourself. With resilience, you can avoid your partner getting underneath your skin – something a Narcissist always aims for. Create a support system for yourself by sharing your experiences with friends, family and close ones, as well as others who have faced similar experiences to avoid feeling isolated.