Until we gain perspective, the pain of dealing with a narcissist can slice deep. But what should we do if we are scared or we are not ready for big changes? Although seeking help from a licensed therapist can help, here are a few things to try:
Abstain from reacting and simply notice what the n does
Narcissists don’t know they are wounded, so they go around wounding everyone else. In an attempt to protect their fragile sense of self, the n will blame others for hurting them. Disengaging is one way to step back. When we stop feeding the union, the n will typically find someone else.
Remember why n’s act the way they do
They hurt themselves because they never fully grow up. They hurt others as a result of their emotional stuntedness and immaturity. See the n’s wrath for what it is: a desperate attempt to keep you engaged. Recognize that the wrath is a way the n tries to rope you back in.
See the illusion―rather, delusion―of grandeur
Being nothing, a shell where only the insides matter (but the insides are missing) is the core fear of the narcissist. They know they are deficient, so they react in desperation. They need another person to prove they exist. You are that person, whether they are elevating you or knocking you down. They only exist if the light is shining on them. Whether the n has labeled you good or bad, they have made you that light.
Don’t take the bait
There will always be bait. Part of what makes the n tick is bait—having it, flaunting it, using it. Bait is an outside manifestation of inside emptiness and loneliness. Be aware. You contribute to bait and all its reverberations when you react to it.
Stop offering an opinion, even when asked
This takes you out of the cycle and allows the n the opportunity to feel what it’s like to figure things out on their own—not as a punishment, but a gift.
Adapted from NARCISSISM: SURVIVING THE SELF-INVOLVED