How to Survive a Narcissist

Updated: Jul 27

Narcissist is a word that is often thrown around, but do you know what it really means? A narcissist is not just someone who is perpetually selfish. Someone who has these true tendencies usually assume one of two roles at all times: the hero or the victim. When you’ve encountered a narcissist in your life, you probably feel frustrated and emotionally drained from the encounter. Here are three ways to maintain your composure and endure the time you have to spend with them.

1. Do not argue.

A narcissist always wants to win. When you argue, you give them fuel to ramp up the conversation back to them highlighting their own accomplishments. This is when the hero complex shows up. Arguing only puts you in a bad mood because you want to call them out for gaslighting you and lying about what they are saying. However, narcissism stems from deep trauma and is a way of blocking out and coping. That said, a narcissist cannot hold themselves or be held accountable to the truth. They avoid it because they would then have to address other truths and face their inadequacies and vulnerabilities. You will never win an argument with a narcissist, so why try?

2. Take Your Emotion Out of it

When you tell a narcissist how you feel or what they’ve done that hurt you, the victim rears its ugly head. This is when the person lists all the things they’ve done for you or flat out denies that they’ve ever done anything wrong intentionally. This person typically tries to paint themselves the victim about some past wrong you’ve done to them. This can be an emotionally exhausting part of the conversation, which comes at your expense. Instead, use short, simple, cold phrases like “No” or “I don’t like that”, or “please stop”. You’re setting a boundary without the emotion so the narcissist doesn’t go on the defensive and get the best of you trying to gaslight you into what they did not do and what you wrongly perceived.

3. Be Firm in Your Boundaries.

This is the most important part. Know when to walk away. Even when you’ve used all your strategies and done your best not to engage, you still have to remind yourself of your limits and value your time and energy. A narcissist wants that power just to be able to feel something since so much of their emotions are repressed and buried. However, as they try to take your power, remind yourself that your power is yours to give and you don’t owe anyone anything. Be clear when you are stepping away with phrases like “I need to go”, or “I choose not to engage you anymore”, or simply “I will talk with you another time”. You can call it quits whenever and however in order to protect your own peace.

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