What Are the Best Tips for Living with Narcissism?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 October 2016
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Living with narcissism can be damaging both for the person exhibiting the symptoms and the people living with that person. Narcissism is a set of behaviors in which a person is exceptionally self-absorbed, egotistical, or vain. The roots of these behaviors can be varied, and they can sometimes be damaging for the narcissist himself. A person living with narcissism will need to first identify the problem and accept that it exists; if a person living with a narcissistic person has drawn attention to the problem but the narcissist is resistant, it may be necessary to seek outside professional help.

Learning as much as possible about the condition is the first step toward living with this condition. Various types of narcissism exist, so a narcissist or a person living with a narcissist will need to identify the specific type of narcissism being exhibited. Internet resources are available for this research, as are books at libraries and bookstores; it may be wise to consult a mental health professional or relationship counselor as well, as these professionals will be able to identify the type of narcissism and make recommendations for living with this personality disorder.


Unfortunately, no real chances to a narcissist's behavior can be made if that person does not recognize there is a problem. Making such people aware of the problem can be exceptionally difficult, since narcissists often create false realities and place blame for problems on others. Coping with narcissism requires that people around the narcissist begin to draw boundaries. It is not enough to simply ignore the behaviors and hope they go away, because they most certainly will not. Friends and family will need to make the tough decision to either seek treatment ideas themselves or convince the narcissist that it is in his or her best interest to seek help.

People surrounding the narcissist cannot allow him or her to dominate the relationship. Narcissists seek out vulnerable people for relationships because they feel the relationships can be controlled and manipulated. Coping with this disorder will require a person to recognize the patterns and behaviors that trigger narcissistic actions and find ways to work around them. Of course, this is only avoidance of the real issue; if the narcissist is allowed to exhibit such behaviors, the problem will never cease and the relationship will never be valuable to him or her. In the worst cases, it may be necessary to end relationships with narcissists to avoid domination and abuse.


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Post 6

The current emphasis on pumping up children with excessive praise but refusing to impose limits or consequences for rude or inappropriate behaviour is creating a new breed of unsocialised belligerant people with little respect for the rights, needs or feelings of those who share their world. Most people learn to share and be fair at an early age. By spoiling a child you are creating an impulsive and manipulative person who lacks insight into the fact that relationships require give and take and consideration for those who share your space. Me mes grow up to be hated by most decent folk for their bloated sense of entitlement, selfishness, rudeness and greed. Time to trim the ego in favour of encouraging appropriate social conduct based on respect and equal consideration.

Post 5

I just would like to add a little to this forum for those people struggling to live with a narcissistic person because I have been with one for 44 years now, and for most of those years, did not know that the person I was living with had a real issue with his mental health.

He had managed to make me a quivering wreck with all of his demands on me and his need for constant attention from whomever he could get it, even to the extent of upsetting people around him. He demands attention, has no sympathy or empathy for anything or anyone, chooses not to take and stand on anything at all so that people think he is

a saint, but behind closed doors, I see the rages, the secrecy, the constant need for approval and to be right, the need to dominate every conversation in social company and to belittle me when he can to suit his stories. But it seems to go unnoticed by those who see this and they think it is eccentricity rather than anything else.

He will somehow steal things from me and replace them where I can find them but wonder how they got there (that, by the way, is called “gas lighting”). He will tell me he told me something and I have forgotten I did. He will shuffle papers in a household file so that they are not as you left them (again gas lighting). He will turn off his mobile phone when away from home and tell me that it wasn't working, he was at a meeting, which used to cause rows but now I just know what he does to cause an incident.

He is mean and will break things I value if he thinks I have caused an indiscretion around him, he will withhold sex on almost a permanent basis now, he will stash away in his brain anything he thinks is an indiscretion against him and use it in a volatile lash out if he thinks he can win an argument.

Nothing is off limits for this person in order to get his narcissist’s supply of praise from people. The trouble is the people doing it don't see anything but this charming, self-assured man with a stupid wife! It could, of course, be the other way around with it being a narcissistic wife, but in my case it is not.

Had I known that marriage was not forever and had I had the information I have now, I would have been gone long ago, but not at the grand age of 66 and facing the prospect of being poor, because I don't believe I would walk away with anything out of this relationship. However, I learned to walk away, learned to keep things private myself, learned that I don't like him, learned that if I had my time over knowing what I know now, I would never have married him.

I recently met a narcissistic woman and it didn't show at first but within three months she did something to me that opened the door to what she was, too. She asked me to go shopping and when we were out, we bumped into some people we both knew in a coffee shop and they asked us to join them. I found it fun but no, because we were all bantering with conversation and she couldn't, she stood up and told everyone that she didn't have time for all that, that she had shopping to do and got up and waltzed out, leaving me there. Of course, I made my apologies to the couple, telling them I had gone shopping with her and I should go to join her but she didn't care. I was running after her and she was just walking off! Boy, did I learn fast what her problems were.

Young people, be aware of who you are with. Do not take grief from another human being, especially from a narcissistic person. They can't help it, they don't see it and therefore they won't change it and you cannot change them! Run for your life. Otherwise, you will be suckered into giving up your whole life for them and their needs.

Post 4

It was richard dawkins perhaps? I lived with a narcissist whom I believed was a god, and he only asked my forgiveness when a faith healer told him he had to settle with "a daughter in need of your attention" in order to get well.

Here I am, age 40, and I just encountered someone just like my father and, ta-dah! Tried to rescue him.

My fellow human beings, the beat goes on. I find it repulsive to give up on human beings who got this way because they were abused and logical to acknowledge that until they realize there is a problem, there is no 'go'.

Dramatic displays of 'look at me' constantly. I remember once winning a silly

bet and asking my lover to ask me a question about me - as a reward.

I'm not sure, but I can tell you my mother looked in the mirror a lot. Unluckily, she had me as a daughter and I pointed it out to her.

Post 3

I love the way they came up with the term "narcissim". It originally came from Narcissicus, who was a man obsessed with his own appearance. He looked into a pool of water which reflected his own image and fell in love with himself. He stayed there until he died. Then he became a flower like a daffodil, which still likes to sit on the river bank and "look" into the water.

I guess I particularly like that the character in this story is a man, because nowadays women get accused of being self obessessed all the time, but men rarely are. I think it's more of a cultural difference than a gender difference. Men are just as capable of being narcissistic.

Post 2

I've heard that having some narcissim is actually good for you. I think it was originally a Freudian theory, though, so I don't know how respected it is now.

But, the theory goes that self interest is healthy, unless it gets to the point where you aren't at all interested in other people. Then it should be considered a disorder.

Which makes sense to me. I'm sure there are convoluted reasonings behind it, if you get into his original theory, but I have no objection to people practising self confidence and love. It's just when they get inconsiderate of others that it becomes a problem in my opinion.

Post 1

Narcissism is one of those terms that can get misused quite a lot. I know I've used it as a way of telling someone they like looking in the mirror a little bit too much.

But, there is an actual clinical condition called narcissistic personality disorder. This is where someone has very little empathy, and is really excessively concerned with power and vanity.

They think it might occur when children are given too much praise when they are younger, or, alternatively when they are emotionally abused.

I've never known someone who had this disorder, I've only read about it for my college classes, but it seems like it would be very difficult to live with.

I mean, most mental disorders, you can see the person is suffering and it is easier to be sympathetic. In this case, I think the person would just seem insufferable!

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