It’s not always easy to pack your bags and leave when you realize just who you’re living with. Until you can move, here’s how to live with a narcissist.
When you have to live with someone who’s a narcissist, it’s not easy. Many people will tell you to leave the situation, but it’s not always so cut and dry. If your partner, roommate, or a family member is a narcissist, other issues play a role. Maybe you want to leave, but the timing is off. If so, you must learn how to live with a narcissist.
These tips will help you keep your cool and bring more balance in your life. If you’re stressing out over living with a narcissist, you can make the situation better.
How to live with a narcissist
A couple of my friends had siblings that weren’t clinically diagnosed as narcissistic; however, it was pretty clear what they were suffering from. The thing is back then, we were thirteen and didn’t have many living options.
Their parents didn’t believe them when they would complain about their narcissistic brother or sister. If anything, it pushed everyone else to side with their sibling, which left many of my friends feeling helpless. What other options did they have? They weren’t going to pack their bags and move out of their homes. They had nowhere to go.
Sometimes, you have no choice but to learn how to live with a narcissist. So, follow these 15 tips to help you handle the circumstances until you find a better solution.
#1 Accept who they are. If you’re planning on trying to change them, think again. They are who they are, and this is something you’ll need to accept. If you’re trying to get them to see the light, it’s not going to happen. Accept that this person is narcissistic. By accepting who they are, you’ll be able to handle the situation without trying to “fix” them. [Read: How to recognize and stop selfish people from hurting you]
#2 Stop focusing on them. When someone is a narcissist, they crave attention. The thing is you seem to be giving them what they want. When this happens, you push aside your own needs and make them a priority. To deal with a narcissist, stop giving them the attention they want. Make sure your needs are fulfilled first and foremost.
#3 Create firm boundaries. The reason they’re getting away with their behavior is that you give into what they want. But this is when you need to create firm boundaries. There are some things you’ll be willing to do, but then there are some that aren’t negotiable. Create a line for yourself that cannot be crossed. [Read: How to say no and stop all the people pleasing]
#4 Speak up. You have a voice; they just haven’t heard it… yet. Of course, there are some things that aren’t worth arguing over, but when a narcissist has crossed the line, they need to be told. Don’t get upset or flustered. If you want to know how to live with a narcissist without losing your mind, keep your cool and let them know where your boundaries are.
#5 Know when you’re being gaslighted. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book for narcissists, and they work every time. Gaslighting is when someone says something, but then later denies what they said or claims they said something else. “Are you crazy?” or “I didn’t say that, you’re insane,” are common sentences they’ll use to make you think you’re the one who got it wrong. [Read: 14 signs a narcissist is gaslighting and playing games with your mind]
#6 They will push back. You’re going to speak up, tell them where the boundaries are, but don’t expect them to go along with it. They will push back because narcissists need to be in control of everything. They’ll try every trick in the book to get you to falter, but stand your ground and stay strong.
#7 Work on your self-esteem. With narcissists, they know the people around them well and use their weaknesses to take advantage. When living with a narcissist, you need to be strong in yourself and work on your self-esteem. Spend more time practicing self-care and surround yourself with supportive people.
#8 Have a good support system. Living with a narcissist isn’t easy, but when you have a strong support system around you, it’ll help you significantly. Don’t make the mistake of isolating yourself from friends and family. Rather, do the opposite. Talk to your friends and family about what’s going on, and ask for professional help if you need it. [Read: Good friends are like stars: How to build lasting friendships]
#9 Make them take action. A narcissist will tell you they’ll do everything later, but you don’t want it done later. You need them to take action now. If they make a promise, have them fulfill it immediately, not in two or three days. Narcissists love to make promises and never keep them.
#10 Become a good negotiator. When it comes to narcissism, it’s tricky. You must become a good negotiator because they’re going to try and control the situation. Don’t assume that every time they push back, you should give in. They’re willing to negotiate as well, so give them the chance to make a deal.
#11 Be safe. By creating boundaries, you decide for yourself what’s safe and what’s not. If you feel you’re in an unsafe position, don’t assume things will get better because they won’t. Remove yourself from the situation and get into a safe space to figure out your next step.
#12 Keep your cool. Narcissists work off of emotions, so the best thing you can do for yourself is to keep your cool. Don’t fall into their emotional trap because they will try that trick on you. Express your feelings, ask for an apology, and move forward. There’s no reason to fight with a narcissist; you’re not going to win. [Read: Narcissistic supply – How to stop giving a narcissist what they want]
#13 Don’t take it personally. A narcissist is never thinking about you, so don’t take this personally. For them, they’re focused solely on themselves, and you’re just one of the many pawns they’ll try to use along the way. Whatever they do towards you has nothing actually to do with you.
#14 Get out of the situation. Not all of us can pack a bag and go; I understand that. But if the situation is getting out of control and you’re not able to improve it, try to find an alternative solution. If your roommate is a narcissist, look for another place. If you can’t move, seek professional help. [Read: Here’s how to get a narcissist to walk out of your life]
#15 They may need professional help. You can do everything on this list to help yourself live with a narcissist, but understand that they probably need professional help. Of course, they don’t see they have a problem, but they usually have other issues such as substance abuse or personality disorders. Suggest *when the time is right* they seek professional help.