How to Survive a Relationship with a Narcissist

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If you have been watching the 2016 Presidential race, you are now aware of what a narcissistic personality looks like, in the ever charismatic Donald Trump. Narcissists are only capable of seeing the world through their own perspective, and make everything about an opportunity to puff themselves up. If you are in a relationship with someone like this, it can be incredibly exciting at first, as the challenge to win you will make him or her charming, original, thoughtful and attentive. However, once they feel that you belong to them, you will go from a challenge to a possession, and everything will become about them. If this is where you are, there are still some ways to keep a relationship with a narcissist while still getting your needs met.

Find Support
Support can come in the form of a sympathetic friend who encourages the best version of you, a therapist, or a support group. Whatever form of support you choose, it needs to remind you of the value of yourself and to help you to be able to stick up for your needs in the relationship when necessary. It must be a support person or group that you feel comfortable admitting things to when you feel shame, because causing shame is a major weapon of people with narcissism. Your support must also be able to help you to keep your commitment to the narcissist, but warn you when they feel the relationship is no longer on your terms at all so you can readjust.

The more you understand about narcissistic personality disorder, the less you will take the things that a narcissist says personally. If you really want the relationship to work, it is important that you make your partner aware of the role that they are playing in the relationship, or convince them that they should accompany you to a qualified therapist who can teach them about their condition and act as a neutral party. This may allow you to either distance yourself from his or her attacks or to know how to warn them that their behavior is once again inappropriate.

Be Compassionate
The opposite of narcissism is compassion. Where a narcissist looks at the action of all people and events as being strictly about them, a compassionate person can understand that another person's negative actions are most often about their own concerns and fears. This insight can not only help you to survive difficult times with a narcissist, but also to redirect an attack into an actual discussion about the real problems between you and how to fix them. Fighting selfishness with understanding is one of the most important tactics in dealing with narcissists, and can often disarm the most fiery personalities.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "How to Survive a Relationship with a Narcissist," in, February 9, 2016, (accessed September 29, 2022).