Despite being wrongly blamed for causing intimacy problems, family troubles, and miserable financial woes, many people, particularly women (and some men, too) stay too long in a relationship with a narcissist, sacrificing their sanity, reputation, dignity and more. Many of these men and women go to great lengths to work on the relationship without realizing relationships with narcissists are not like relationships with other people. That they are not really relationships at all.
Contact with a narcissist can be at once exhilarating and confusing, hurtful and seductive. At work, at home, on a date, in the bedroom, it can make you feel like you are losing your mind, yet without an understanding of why you feel that way.
Here are 5 tips for helping partners regain sanity and recover from a relationship with a narcissist.
1. Don’t take the blame. Where direct or subtle, a narcissist always blames others for his problems. Don’t accept the blame – and don’t apologize when something is not your fault.
2. Notice cracks in the armor. The narcissist, though polished on the outside, lacks self-esteem and therefore lacks a very basic sense that he belongs anywhere – and is desperate to avoid this feeling. Self-esteem is very different than confidence. While confidence is gained through experience, self-esteem is far more basic, a sense of knowing who we are and our place in the world. Does this sound like someone you can reason with?
3. Trust yourself, not the narcissist (aka: the parasite). Narcissists are parasites; they feed off a host (whomever that may be, depending on the moment). Ironically, they have the “host” believing that they, in fact, are feeding off of/using the narcissist. Narcissists often surround themselves with accomplished people, then little by little eat away at them. Not someone you can trust for intimacy.
4. Remind yourself that the narcissist suffers from a disease. Narcissists suffer from an disease experts refer to as a personality disorder. Experts agree there are no drugs to cure personality disorders. Personality disorders are very hard to change, though, with professional help, people can improve and relationships can sometimes be mended.
5. Remember, the narcissist is not in love with himself. Many people believe that the narcissist is deeply in love with himself or herself. If the narcissist is in love with anything, it’s the image of himself, an image he has crafted. Even the narcissist, on some level, knows this persona is only temporary, and this is what makes him more desperate. Try to remember this the next time the narcissist tries to blame you for making him look bad.
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