Narcissists are masters of disguise and narcissistic abuse is a form of thought control, it’s emotional manipulation of another person into handing over their mind and will, and thus their thoughts, desires for the narcissist’s personal gain.
A woman suffering from narcissistic abuse syndrome is often disconnected from her own emotional pain. She tends to obsess over her own failures after years of buying into the flaws her narcissistic partner identified in her.
Her mind is often spinning, preoccupied with trying to sort the confusion — the effects of the use of gaslighting and word salad on her mind, with intent to distort her reality and impose his own — seeking an explanation for why the narcissist is so miserable, why he treats her the way he does, why he’s so insecure, why they cannot communicate, why he still doesn’t “get” what she’s trying to tell him, and so on.
In other words, what the victim of narcissistic abuse syndrome feels and thinks about herself, life, and the narcissist, in most areas, mirrors to some or greater extent what the narcissist wants her to think, believe, feel.
If you think that you or someone that you love is struggling with narcissistic abuse syndrome, it’s important that you seek help. Not only should you make a conscious effort to put the narcissist out of the picture, but you should seek some treatment from a certified professional trained in treating PTSD.
7 Ways to Deal with Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome
1) Educate Yourself
Learn all you can about narcissistic abuse. Don’t learn all you can about the narcissist. Knowing what makes him tick, won’t undo the damage he has done. Focus on the symptoms you’re experiencing and the tools you need to utilize to help you heal.
2) Respect Your Boundaries
“The key to setting boundaries with a narcissist is to stick to them. You will want to communicate clearly and directly each time. If you make a mistake and find that you “lose it” or say something wrong, just keep practicing and be accountable for your behavior.”
3) Assert Yourself
Know what you want and fight for what you want. Being with a narcissist is a constant powerplay, and if you give up that powerplay, you give up all your own freedom in the relationship.
According to Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT, you need to fight against their power and assert your own area and needs. Use verbal put-downs that demand respect and push your mind to the forefront, such as:
“I won’t talk to you if you…”
“Maybe. I’ll consider it.”
“I don’t agree with you.”
“What did you say to me?”
“Stop or I will leave.”
4) Confront It Face First
Don’t run away from a fight; you might think you’re saving yourself from a bad night, but the narcissist will just see it as another win.
Stand up, look them in the eye and speak up. Be a fuller person and show them that they can’t drown you out with shouting and bullying.
According to Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT this doesn’t mean to fight and argue, but “it means standing your ground and speaking up for yourself clearly and calmly, and having boundaries to protect your mind, emotions, and body.”
To stop toxic people taking advantage of you, check out my eBook on the art of resilience here)
5) Worsen Your Consequences
After you’ve set boundaries and your partner has crossed it, it’s time to show them that you’re going to stick to your consequences.
But they have to see the consequences worsen; there needs to be a gradual worsening of their punishment, so they can see that they are slowly losing you from their behavior.
According to Timothy J. Legg, PhD, CRNP in Health Line, consequences start to matter with a narcissist when things start affecting them personally:
“Why would the consequences matter to them? Because someone with a narcissistic personality typically starts to pay attention when things start affecting them personally.
Just make sure it’s not an idle threat. Talk about consequences only if you’re ready to carry them out as stated. Otherwise, they won’t believe you the next time.”
Remember: when you’re with a narcissist, you’re playing a constant war for power until one of you wins.
And to beat a narcissist, you have to understand the way they think—every interaction is just another battle for power.
According to Darlene Lancer JD LMFT, it’s important to understand your limits, their limits, and make the most out of every interaction.
“Know what you want specifically, what the narcissist wants, what your limits are, and where you have power in the relationship.”
7) Know When Enough Is Enough
And finally, it’s important to know when it’s time to quit. You are a person, and your narcissist partner will do everything to convince you that you are not.
Get support, seek therapy, and figure out how to move forward with your life without your current partner involved. You don’t need to stick it out with him or her; it’s your life, and they don’t own it.
According to licensed clinical psychologist Dianne Grande, Ph.D., a narcissist “will only change if it serves his or her purpose.”
So save yourself the trouble and prioritize your own happiness and sanity. In many cases, you might not have a choice, so when you do – get out, now.