How to Deal with a Narcissist

How to Deal with a Narcissist

We all need to know how to deal with a Narcissist, be it in a relationship with a man, woman, or mother. They can  be vindictive, covert, malignant or you are one yourself. Who can be a Narcissist? Your boyfriend or girlfriend, your parents, your father in-law or mother in-law, your brother or sister, your boss or supervisor at work, your community leader, group leader, your friend, or you.

Narcissism is a dangerous trait, it brings more harm than good to those with this disorder and people they relate with. It is one disorder that makes the Narcissist a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, from afar a nice and good person, close enough you see someone with nasty habits and behavior.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) always almost start has a result of an incidence, insecurity and emotional disappointment. They have the most manipulative tendencies and care mostly about their own interest. The interest may be connected to them directly or indirectly. In today’s world the rate of narcissim is on the increase, due to craving for wealth, recognition, and publicity.

There are quite  a number of books that have extensively researched Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). The summary of most of these books is that, you need to be very careful around a narcissist, we all have narcissist tendencies, it is best to stay clear of narcissist or better play their game with them, if you can deal with a narcissist. Some recommended books can be found below.

Changing a Narcissist can be a Lifelong Project

You are better off avoiding a narcissist if the person is not your boss, spouse or family. Attempting to change a Narcissist will involve identifying the level of the individuals Narcissism, then you can now proceed to understand how deep the person is into this behavior. Next plan a clear strategy to tackle this habit over a period of time. And most importantly do not fall into their trap, they are very manipulative, and also subtly or aggressively make people dance to their wish.

The Narcissist around us, mostly move around undetected if we have a short term relationship with them. They longer you stay with them or relate with them the more you unmask their true identity. That is if you have not been manipulated to the extent that you feel incompetent or inadequate around them.

Who is a Narcissist

There are several definitions to that, however I will use that of Mayo Clinic. A Narcissist suffer from a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

The concept of unconditional love for others is far from a Narcissist, they love their self first and above every other thing. It is almost like protecting a very weak shell or self esteem against any intruder, who threatens it in any form. A critical look at how they behave will make anyone conclude that they are temporarily insane. Especially that they are unreasonable, they do not see other peoples point, they are rigid in their ways, they manipulate others and sometimes lie.

how to deal with a narcissist

How do you recognize a Narcissist

You cannot deal with or handle a Narcissist if you cannot properly identify who has that tendency or disorder. To deal with a Narcissist you should be able to say yes to most of the traits identified below.

Red flags to watch for in relationships with narcissists include a lack of emotional intimacy, constant criticism and belittling, and a sense of walking on eggshells around the narcissist. It is important to differentiate between healthy confidence and narcissism. Healthy confidence is characterized by a sense of self-assurance and self-esteem, while narcissism is characterized by an excessive need for attention and validation.

  1. A Narcissist will mess you up, and still turn around to pamper you because they still need you. This will continue in a loop until they do not need you for their own gains anymore.
  2. Will flare up when your correct or point out an embarrassing error. They tend to stay and remain blameless. They cannot handle constructive feedback or criticism.
  3. Requires constant praise and compliment to get their attention or approval.
  4. Blames you or someone else for all errors, mistakes, and for not taking initiatives to prevent a negative occurrence.
  5. Does not appreciate other peoples effort not matter the impact it has, often like to take credit for others work.
  6. Self centered, self absorbing and self righteous.

A diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder can only be made by a suitably qualified mental health or medical professional.

How to Deal with a Narcissist

First you need to know the type of Narcissist you are dealing with; the vulnerable and grandios narcissist types stands out has the two major types.

  • A vulnerable narcissist’s outward shell of self-centeredness and self-absorption masks a weak inner core.
  • The grandiose narcissists truly believe in their own greatness—and they may even be almost as good as they think they are.

Also depending on the type of relationship you have with them, there are ways of handling and dealing with a narcissist in our lives. Setting boundaries with a narcissist can be difficult, but it is essential for protecting oneself from emotional and psychological abuse. It is important to establish and communicate boundaries clearly and assertively, while also being prepared for pushback from the narcissist. Strategies for enforcing boundaries may include disengaging from the narcissist, seeking legal support, and prioritizing one’s own well-being

How to deal with a Narcissist Spouse, and Family Member

A narcissist spouse or family member may fall into any of this class; husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, mother, father, uncle, aunt, father in-law, mother in-law, and cousin.

They often exert control through aggression, power and manipulation. How do you feel around them? Are you dare to the individual? Does the individual reciprocate the love you extend to them or you feel it is one sided?


Be smart – Wake up. A Narcissist is a natural manipulator, you will lose on all sides, if you use conventional methods to address them or confront them. That says you need to have a plan and response to their antics. Narcissist are one way traffic, predictable and goal oriented. They have one major goal be praised and validated, while they make every other person invalid or useless.

One antidote to this antics is to shower the narcissist with praise, positive validation, massage their ego. You must not overdo it otherwise it will back fire and they will see it as a sign of weakness on your own part. Also know them for who they are, and do not act beaten, keep a positive look outwardly, though you may be boiling inside. That brings us to the next point.

Be unruffled. If you look angry, defeated, pained, scorned or any way feeling of disappointment. A narcissist feels accomplished, inflicting pain on others to look good or above them is their second nature. This may be hard for some people, you can try to keep your emotions in check. Act emotionless in the face of provocation, though you may be angry within, tune-off and focus on something refreshing or hilarious within you. This is not allowing the narcissist to win you over, though some argue against this method, it works always.

Sell your ideas to them and make them feel like it is theirs. Most Narcissist do not like to be told what to do or directed, they crave for the “I am in charge feeling”. You can subtly sell you ideas to them and make them feel like it is theirs. This way seems manipulative, however it is probably the only way to get their attention to your own needs. Whatever the idea is, let them see how it will benefit them greatly, otherwise they will not be interested.

A narcissist does not really care about your needs, if they promise you something for helping them with what they need. It is advised you get the promise beforehand, chances of getting it after is slim.

Narcissist do not feel guilt but react to shaming and disgrace. Thick skinned narcissist are not remorseful of their ways or act, what takes them aback is shame, they avoid it at all cost. They would blame everyone for a fail, to avoid been shamed or looked at as been incompetent. It you make a bold move to shame them openly with clear facts and evidence among friends, peers or people with authority. They may never forgive you, or worse may happen. Dealing with them alone may not work also.

Show them the potential shame and disgrace they will get for not doing something or consequence of an action, and you will get them to act. The fear of been seen has incompetent, or with fault shakes them to their foundation. Keeping a narcissist dirty laundry from public glare is a priority to them. Once they know you have something shaming of them, they tend this increase their manipulative tendencies towards you for fear of been exposed.

The charming nature of a narcissist can draw you closer to them, in the long run it will turn to you been the inadequate one that needs support. You feel you are the problem, dropping your self worth and esteem.

Note: It is relatively hard to change people, they must resolve to change by themselves or with help from a professional.

If you are dating and not married to a narcissist, it is advised you move on. Dealing with them may take a toll on you, it is tough getting out of such relationship.

How to deal with a Narcissist – Things to remember

  1. Never point an accusing finger to a Narcissist.
  2. Attention is what a narcissist breath – Be available, praise and do a lot of  ego massage.
  3. Not all narcissist are friendly and charming some are egotists. Take time to identify the type.
  4. They downplay other peoples feeling and opinions, do not be fazed by their action.
  5. They are not the judge of your true worth, they are often worse than they appear to look.
  6. Learn to re-frame words in a way it is agreeable to a narcissist. Often ways that makes them see the benefits to them.
  7. Change is almost impossible to a narcissist – Seek help if you feel drowned by them.
  8. Be calm and do not engage in an argument with a narcissist.
  9. Recommend healthy books that can help them deal with their behaviour
  10. Seek a professional help.

The above tips on how to deal with a narcissist is not tailored to meet every situation, some of the methods described might not be suitable in certain circumstances. A professional help can be sought privately on how to deal with the issue or read books with good and insightful reviews on how to deal with narcissism.

Good book reference here

NB: One way to really help a narcissist is divine help, if you can intercede on behalf of a narcissist through prayer. A divine intervention can lead to a behavioral change and healing. And also a healthy relationship and life for you, I believe this is the best way to deal with a narcissist situation.

15 Comments to “How to Deal with a Narcissist”

    1. Sam

      Mine as well.. they drive the coolest most peaceful person nuts. The problem is that the kids will suffer the consequences of a relationship failed by an unshakable low self esteem narcissist. Extensive research should be done to find a cure because ruining a family and a future is not a joke. Each person who become parent should be obliged to make a psychological check and take the appropriate cure for any life threatening disorders such as narcissism.

  1. JOHN

    This is all very new to me. I appreciate reading about this, because it lets me know that I am not alone. This situation is very aggravating and mentally unhealthy to me.

  2. JOHN

    The more I please her, the worse she gets. She is just RUTHLESS!!!!!!! She is so ruthless, that she will not listen to me even if it saves or makes her thousands of dollars. She would rather go and borrow thousands of dollars, ( AND NOT MAKE IT INSTEAD ), than to admit that I am right. Now that is very very crazy!!

    1. Sam

      Do you have children? It is the love for children that we try to contain the family, otherwise i would have left mine years ago

  3. Surya

    I am in the same situation. My father is unwell with cancer. My brother is taking care of him. I am providing financial support.
    My wife says since I am providing financial support that is enough and you don’t need to go near him and take care like taking him to hospital or sharing he support with my brother.
    During earlier days there were some skirmishes and as my father was conservative, he used to scold a lot to my wife.
    She now takes all those situations and tell me that I need to give priority to the family only and not to go near my dad always. She doesn’t listed that my father is counting his days.
    I feel helpless and guilt is so much that I don’t know what will happen in future.

    1. John Doe


      This is the time to act.

      You will be more guilty and helpless when he will pass away and it will be lifelong then.

      Understand your priorities and your boundaries and her boundaries and then take the stand now. Then she will really see the boundaries and your leadership. Marriage is a legal bond formed with mutual agreement but father is a bond by blood.

      She will then come to ask for inheritance share as your right due to financial contribution. She will then let you visit the house as often to complete the paperwork.

  4. Mahesh Kumar R

    Dear John,

    The points mentioned by you gives me a good picture about Narcissist.

    But every damn single word mentioned by Mr.Sam, is the same issue I am facing.

    They make our life a mess always, they are not constructive, because of their own happiness, they are ready to leave kid also and wanted to stay in their home for longtime, even my kid is school going (lkg).

    I feel It is very tough to deal with them, as Sam mentioned if I don’t have a kid I would have done the same thing, but I love my kid, even her and my family, but due to
    Narscissitic behaviour of her, every damn single minute is getting messed up very worse in our day today life.

    Don’t know how to handle her, always trying to find mistakes with others, not realising that what they do , and too stubborn in their attitude, making simple life to so much complicated.

    Dominating always, most of the time not showing love and affection, even to kid, more commanding, always moody, not even showing smile at their face. Never gets satisfied.

    They always feel they are getting controlled, even when any one try to tell how to be good in life. Quarrel and fight at home with kid and me is what actually filled in our life, always scolding the kid by comparing with others.

    Not ready to listen and not at all trying to understand people, there is no word like adjustment in their life, expecting others to listen and follow to what they command, if not starting to quarrel and shouting.

    They are not matured enough to handle any situations in life and making every minute as painful.

    Behaves like they knows everything and others knows nothing, ill treating, not listing to what we speak, always adamant at their point of view.

    But surprisingly, I am experiencing this stage behaviour, they looks like they have some kind of mask, to their friends and other people they like to be nice and talking to them politely but when it comes to inside our family, they act entirely different.

    Do you guys faced similar kind of issues?

  5. Roger

    How to end a relationship with a narcissist.

    I’ve been married to a narcissist for 11 years. My self esteem used to be very low, however over recent years I became more confident about myself and wise to others displaying similar behaviour. Outside of family I started to avoid such people, however this so easy when you are married to a narcissist. I’m a very tolerant person, however I soon realised that she was NEVER in the wrong and heaping on praise or massaging her ego was no longer for me. Instead, whenever she exhibited overly controlling behaviour , rather than argue, I generally just switched off. In group conversations when I became subject to one of her manipulative conversations I started walking away – much easier than starting an argument in public.

    If there is one thing a narcissist hates is having the control taken away and the end result is that she now wants us to separate. Over recent months I have tried almost everything to make our relationship work however I can’t go back to massaging the ego of someone that displays such immature behaviour. Whilst this will be devastating for our children I am happy to let her feel like she has control over this last stage of our relationship.

  6. Sunil

    This long chain of replies have come like key to my problem, which I am facing for last 18 years. My kids are in teens, son in 18 and daughter 15 and I love them deeply. My wife has no respect for my parents and myself. She will even go to a point of demolishing one of the kid to prove her point. I am getting crazy what should I do?

  7. James

    Dealing with this now! My wife has NO CLUE as to MY VALUE and takes me for granted. 12 years and she remains in a tug of war with HERSELF and everything that she has been through BEFORE ME! I have told her on severaI occasions that AM NOT THE ENEMY! I have held on, prayed suggested Counseling but in the DENYING eyes of the Narcissist , they do NO wrong! I’m not stupid nor in a coma but I am becoming more and more tired of this marital tug of war in trying to be seen for WHO I am. I’m a “convenience” whenever she has a problem. Once the “problem” is resolved, here she goes giving me her butt to kiss and back to the MISTREATMENT! I’m a Tic Tac away from leaving this marriage, taking our son and raising him to KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A MATE!

  8. Ali

    I have clicked on this article only to realise that I am not the only one in this world facing this problem. The characteristics mentioned are very much true. I was very fond of my marriage and used to think how wonderful life will be but it is just the opposite. It all started after one month of our marriage and just about to complete 3 years with two wonderful kids. She is 8 years younger to me so in the beginning I thought the stubbornness is because of the young age and she will become mature someday. But after each passing day the situation is getting worsened which is also affecting my professional life as well. Upon reading this article, I found out that the only way to get over a narcissist is to seek divine help. I will pray to almighty for all the husbands that their marriage life be fruitful.

    Kudos to all the husbands who work hard everyday and face these problems when they get back home!

  9. Nate Smith

    9 years of a crap marriage, 4 years of absolute torture separated from a narcissist, my wife, but more importantly my 3 amazing kids that I miss so soul crushingly bad every minute.

    I only get to see them at their house. With her. That’s it. Most of that time is spent doing whatever she wants me to do, like I never left, just to keep the peace. All so I can have some precious moments with each of the kids.

    I have to live with my parents (and I’m 40 ff sake). And she has always hated my parents and any of my family, all who I basically had to give up when I got married, so none of them have seen my kids in years now. She doesn’t work (not since we met), and that’s… mostly ok, I’ve never cared about money. I still pay for everything, so I can’t afford my own place, hell I can’t even afford food – my parents feed me.

    I’m a shadow of my former self. I never thought I was an anxious person, hell I made it through the Marines and a couple tours to the sandbox – easy in comparison to a marriage with my wife. But now anxiety paralyzes me some days. I always make it to work and luckily my boss knows my situation and is understanding when my productivity takes a plunge for a day.

    There are no good days except when I manage to get my kids to the park or run to a store or something. Sometimes she’ll leave the house for a few hours. Which is about the amount of time it takes me to unwind from her and the kids and I have a fantastic time.

    But I’m fading. I thought in leaving I would remember who I am without her, but instead I’m fighting a losing battle with depression. I try to fill my evenings after work with projects, to keep my mind busy. But money is always an issue. Trying so hard to pay off debt from the years of marriage where she never cared about a lack of money and ‘hey lets just charge it on the card’. My fault mostly, in hoping it would make her happier for a change. Stop the yelling for a day. Since I moved out I leased her a new car, to avoid any complaints. After much anger I got one thank you after a week.

    I used to scoff at people that were the “Eors” and had nothing good to say about life. There’s another word that I won’t use, because I’m afraid to let it in my head at this point. But I get it now. Without my kids I would have little reason to keep all this up. I do it for them. I work for them. I pay for everything for them. I try to condense every dad moment I can in the short time I see them.

    Horrible thing is, I love her. If she could cut out the atrocious part of herself that alienates everyone in her life she has ever known, she’s amazing.

    But if she dropped dead tomorrow, I would cry for a week not in sadness, but relief.

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