How To Navigate and Manage Dealing with a Loved One Who Is Narcissist [Episode #790]
This week’s topic is: How To Navigate and Manage Dealing with a Loved One Who Is Narcissist
This is a bit of a delicate term. We don’t want to just label people per se and not see the person underneath, however, in the context of our show, this is really about how do we protect ourselves and our own health and our own wellbeing, while at the same time, perhaps reflecting back to someone, some of their tendencies around narcissism to focus solely or largely on themselves.
Narcissism springs from somewhere. It springs from a childhood wound, perhaps, or someone not really being seen or being neglected as a child. And this develops into an exaggerated sense of importance as an adult, and unfortunately not really being able to equally value others’ needs.
We want to approach this with love and with care, and with an expanded context. We will get into this more in the research that we present on the show, and action tips on how we can move forward because this person is in your life. You love them, you want to keep yourself sane and healthy, and at the same time you care about this other person.
Dealing with narcissism and people that may be a bit selfish is something that most all of us have to deal with or have dealt with or will deal with in the future. So take note of the practical tips on today’s show.
Have you been wondering about this very topic? If you want to know the answer to this question sent in by a Beauty just like you, listen now to find out!
Kimberly, your podcast is always the highlight of my week so thank you. I am currently in a relationship with my partner who is a narcissist and he can be very difficult to deal with. Do you have any ideas of what I can do to make it easier to deal with him?
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Namaste loves and welcome back to our Thursday Q&A show. Our topic today is How To Navigate and Manage Dealing with a Loved One Who Is Narcissist. So this is a bit of a delicate term. We don’t wanna just label people per se and not see the person underneath, but in the context of our show, this is really about how do we protect ourselves and our own health and our own wellbeing, while at the same time, perhaps reflecting back to someone, some of their tendencies around narcissism to focus solely or largely on themselves and narcissism springs from somewhere. It springs from a childhood wound, perhaps, or someone not really being seen or being neglected as a child. And this develops into a, um, uh, shall we say, an exaggerated sense of importance as an adult, and unfortunately not really being able to equally value others’ needs.
So we wanna approach this with love and with care, and with an expanded context. We will get into this more in the research that we present on the show, and action tips on how we can move forward because this person is in your life. You love them, you wanna keep yourself sane and healthy, and at the same time you care about this other person. So there’s a lot of conversation around narcissism today, and I find that some of it is a bit coldhearted and sort of just putting this label on a person and sort of saying that they’re bad and they’re to be avoided. And I don’t believe that to be true, but because there again, there’s this, um, the complexity, the wholeness of the person underneath. But at the same time, we definitely wanna take steps to understand how to best navigate these situations for our own mental health, our emotional wellbeing, which of course has a profound impact on our physical health and the stress and the feelings of, you know, elevated nervous system reactivity can really manifest in hormonal imbalance and inflammation and many things in our physical body if we don’t take care, if we don’t really take notice of these potential indicators and what we can do about them. So I’m very excited to get into our practical show today. This is, you know, dealing with narcissism and people that may be a bit selfish is something that most all of us have to deal with or have dealt with or will deal with in the future. So take note of the practical tips today for sure.
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Question around the topic of: How To Navigate and Manage Dealing with a Loved One Who Is Narcissist: Kimberly, your podcast is always the highlight of my week so thank you. I am currently in a relationship with my partner who is a narcissist and he can be very difficult to deal with. Do you have any ideas of what I can do to make it easier to deal with him?
All right, let’s get into our show today, which talks about narcissism and how we can best navigate around this delicate topic. So our question comes from Kaylee, who lives in Boston, sending you lots of love out there, my East Coast beauty, thank you for being part of our community. And your question is, Kimberly, your podcast is always the highlight of my week, so thank you. I’m currently in a relationship with my partner who is a narcissist and he can be very difficult to deal with. Do you have any ideas of what I can do to make it easier to deal with him?
So let’s talk about narcissism in general. There are some other podcasts we will link to in the show notes from experts who specialize in this. One that comes to mind is Dr. Judith Orloff, who wrote the book. She’s written several books, but the one that we talked about on the show was the Empath Survival Guide. And she talks about people that are sensitive can tend to attract more narcissists to come into their life. A narcissist being one who tends to be a bit more self-centered and doesn’t have this perspective of everyone is equal, but may more, um, be more opinionated about their needs and what they would like and can tend to trample a bit on those of us that are softer or gentler or more sensitive. So again, we don’t wanna just put people in a box and a label and say, that’s who you are and point a finger at them.
When someone is a narcissist, as I mentioned at the top of our show, we have to see what created this. You know, what was the background of this? What childhood did this person have? What did they learn from their caretakers? Because there is so much love and understanding that comes when we look at the more expansive picture. So at the same time, we wanna be curious about where this came from. At the same time, we can see where someone is at this moment and take these steps to protect ourselves. But if we can help that person to reflect back, to create more curiosity within themselves of exploration of what they’re trying to communicate, what their real needs are, we can help that person come into balance as well. Whether that it’s in the form of that person seeking professional therapy or reading more books about this condition, or, you know, any number of ways in which they can create more balance within themselves.
So I just wanna emphasize that it’s important not just to create labels on people, to write them off, because we’re all coming back to the heart. We’re all coming back to the true self. We’re all coming back to love on our journeys in different ways through our unique journeys and our unique experiences. And so we really wanna open our hearts to supporting one another. And in the context of the show, we wanna open our hearts to being aware of how we also support ourselves. How do we navigate dealing with narcissists, especially when we love them, especially when they’re in our inner circles of family life, friend life, they’re around us all the time.
How To Navigate and Manage Dealing with a Loved One Who Is Narcissist
What do we do? So first, let’s get into a little bit of research, and I wanna highlight a study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, where the research looked at the level, uh, the relationship between narcissists and social networking websites and social media.
And this is really interesting. It found that narcissists tend to be more prominent, they tended to have more activity and more friends, more followers on social media platforms using these platforms for self-promotion. So this is something to be aware of, to create more discernment around who we’re following on social media. Does it feel good? Does it feel inspiring or really is it just about that person highlighting themselves, highlighting their opinions, which may or may not be founded, may or may not be helpful to others? Because a lot of what’s out there is, you know, based in narcissism. So this is just an important thing to keep in mind. There’s actually research about this today. And also to realize those that are more soft spoken, that may have a really powerful message, we may need to seek out more. Maybe they’re not posting as much or maybe they’re under the radar, but this is where a lot of the gems and the jewels are.
I know this for myself, a lot of the accounts, and I’m not on their super, super ton, but you can be sure that the ones that I haven’t unmuted, the ones that I really love, are from this soft, gentle, wise place, which isn’t always this motivational microphone. It isn’t always so raw, raw and loud. And look at me, there’s a, uh, authenticity there. There is a, um, real wisdom to share, and it’s not always the loudest voice. Now, I’m not saying that the biggest accounts or the loudest people are, are all narcissists. I’m saying it’s up to us to discern what we are paying attention to and to notice what feels authentic to us, what is really coming from the heart versus the ego, which is where narcissism is focused on this egoic external self, right? We talk, I talk about this in the new book, the false confidence versus the true self, this unique energy inside of us, which is unique to each of us.
So as we become balanced, as someone balances out of narcissism, they realize that there really is no better than lesser than. There is no real I’m superior, you are inferior. But rather we are all unique and we have unique expressions and gifts to give to the world. So we wanna make sure that we are, you know, honoring that truth and following and supporting those that really honor that. Otherwise, there’ll be this imbalance in the message, in the energy. And so that’s, you know, we just wanna be discerning about what’s coming into our space and into our social media.
So another study, this is published in the Personality in Social Psychology Bulletin, found that there was association between narcissism and aggression. So those that were narcissists became easily more triggered and aggressive when their egos were threatened or their self-esteem was challenged. Again, we wanna look at this from the place of compassion because it means that this person is really seeing their self worth their identity in a very external way. And, you know, what’s the root of that? The root of that often comes from childhood. If that person wasn’t seen or valued or um, there was a level of neglect in them, what happens is they overvalue, they overfocus on the external, and this is the root of narcissism in many cases. But we want to be careful to protect ourselves against this type of aggression, which we will get into in a moment when we talk about tools and practices.
But it’s just something to be aware of. Aggression. The next thing we wanna talk about is, um, relationships. And in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, there is, um, this has actually been studied to show that those with higher levels of narcissism tended to behave in or engage in behaviors that undermined relationship quality such as infertility and lack of empathy. So I’ve heard about this a lot. I have not personally been in a relationship with a, with a strong narcissist, but I have many friends that have and that have been hurt time and time again through cheating and infidelity and through gaslighting this narcissist, you know, having this person believe that, you know, their very real authentic needs that they were trying to communicate were, you know, unfounded. That that other person was the crazy one, right? So we wanna see, we wanna look at ourselves, especially if you are sensitive, if you are very soft and loving, which are beautiful heart qualities, unfortunately we may not be as discerning.
And you may attract the narcissist, that very strong energy that comes in and can trample on your heart and can leave you hurt and, um, feeling wounded or used or what abused. So this is an opportunity to create more awareness and to shift our relationships going forward. There’s great empowerment in wisdom and knowledge put into action. So if this rings a bell in any way, or this rings a bell with, you know, someone in your life, you know, please send them this podcast, this information, because this can really help to shift their relationships and their whole life. So the next thing is, um, the next study I wanna talk about is leadership. And this is a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology that found that narcissistic leaders tended to be very charismatic. They were putting out this energy, but this was appealing at first.
But as you go deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole, into long term, you know, um, being this person, being the leader, they found that over time, this level of self-centeredness and this lack of empathy led to negative outcomes both for the leader and the organization. So we can all think of many examples, whether it’s in larger corporations where the leader is, you know, prominently put in the media or in the political arena as well, where there’s charisma, there is something magnetic about this person. But then as time goes on, you see that they’re pushing their way instead of perhaps the way that’s good for the whole. They’re pushing their personal ideology, their personal opinions, what they want instead of what is win-win <laugh>. I’m here to represent a group of people, right? I’m not just here to represent myself. And we’ve seen this in history.
We see this in the present day, how the narcissistic leaders ultimately hurt that group or that organization or that political party. So we see this in the micro, we see this in the macro. And finally, I wanna also highlight a study around parenting. And this research suggested that narcissistic parents, um, used emotional manipulation, excessive control with their children, a lack of empathy. They weren’t able to really see and connect with the child’s feelings and the child’s experiences. And this had profoundly negative effects on their children’s emotional wellbeing and future development. So if you’re hearing this right now and you’re feeling big feelings right now, like, oh my gosh, my partner, my co-parent is a narcissist, or someone in my household, my aunt that lives with us, or my sibling, or whatever, this is not about evoking guilt or shame. This is about empowerment. So we can always shift, we can always change.
Everything is dynamic and fluid and the dynamics can shift. So this is more of a see this more as a wake up call. And again, please pass this information onto anyone that you know that may be in a potentially harmful or damaging situation at the present moment with a narcissist, because this can really help to sh shift it for them. This can help. So awareness is the very first step. If we remain in the darkness, we do not, you know, we’re not able to come into a place of power. And so the first step is the light of awareness. The great yoga guru, Paramahansa Yogananda often talked about this analogy of the light that’s shown into the cave. The cave can be in darkness for 10,000 years, but bring in the light and it’s as if the darkness has never been. So this may be the time to create a shift in yourself, in your relationships, in a relationship with a partner, a significant other, a friend, an acquaintance, or you have a lot of contact with a work colleague, a family member, whatever it is.
So the research is there, you can delve into it further in our show notes if you’d like to read more about it. But let’s talk about some of the things that we can continue to do.
#1. How To Navigate and Manage Dealing with a Loved One Who Is Narcissist: Educate yourself about narcissism
So number one, we want to educate ourselves about narcissism. This show gives you a little bit of an idea, a little bit of the research about it, but there’s a lot more that you can understand. And so we’ll link into the show notes about, again, especially Dr. Judith Orloff, who has a lot of information about this. She’s a psych, a clinical psychiatrist, and so there is information out there. You can find other books on narcissism. There’s actually a whole set of characteristics and dynamics around narcissistic personality disorder, n pd, which you can learn about, which will help you to understand more of the patterns. And in that way, you can learn to break the patterns in your life if you are somehow involved with a narcissist yourself.
And again, this will help you to protect your own wellbeing. It can be very emotionally draining to be in relationship with a narcissist, which it’s like almost a energy vampire we can think of it as, which is take, take, take, suck, suck, suck more energy. So we know what that feels like if you just tune into that energy. Now, if you’ve been in a conversation, even not just a full blown relationship, but let’s say a conversation with someone at a party or an event or a get together where you left a conversation and you said to yourself, holy crap, what was that? That felt so draining, right? That’s a clue that you were in a conversation with a narcissist that really wasn’t asking you questions. It really wasn’t a two-way conversation. It was sort of a just take, take, take. And that will never feel good.
#2. How To Navigate and Manage Dealing with a Loved One Who Is Narcissist: Prioritize self-care
The second thing is to prioritize self-care and healthy boundaries. Boundaries are a huge part of surviving narcissism. A boundary can be setting a clear, um, you know, just a line between when you can text me, how often we talk, where we talk, is it through text or is it through email? A friend of mine is going or just finished a divorce from a narcissist and she created a healthy boundary that they’re only going to email about their, you know, pickups and drop off times with their, um, children because texting back and forth was so draining that it wasn’t healthy at all. Right? So we have other podcasts around boundaries. Dr. Um, or Joelle Provost is one that we’ll link to in the show notes that was all about boundaries and she had some really great tips in that arena.
#3. How To Navigate and Manage Dealing with a Loved One Who Is Narcissist: Not engage in power struggles
The third thing is not to engage in power struggles. We don’t wanna rise up to the bait. The narcissist will often say provocative things or, um, try to engage. And then, you know, the, the energy just wears us down. They’re going back and forth. This is about control, this is about attention. This is about keeping them as the center. So we want to limit our emotional responses. We don’t wanna get into that, that bait, right? We just, you know, don’t text back or keep it really simple. Um, and in all fronts, sometimes this means leaving the room. This means leaving, uh, removing your physical body, getting in the car, going somewhere else, leaving an event, whatever it is. We don’t wanna engage in the power struggle.
#4. How To Navigate and Manage Dealing with a Loved One Who Is Narcissist: Seek support
The next is to seek support from others. This is to reach out to a third party that’s trusted, that can give you insight, that can say, Hey, this is what I see a trusted friend. This can be in a spiritual group or support group. They can validate your experience. Yet, especially if you are energetically sensitive and more soft, it can be more difficult to validate yourself. Also, the um, what happens with a lot with um, narcissist is this gaslighting, which can make you question your own experience. They can say, Hey, that’s not really true. You are actually doing this again, you are the crazy person leading you to question yourself. So this is where others can help reflect back, and this is a really important aspect of community.
#5. How To Navigate and Manage Dealing with a Loved One Who Is Narcissist: Practicing assertiveness
Next is practicing assertiveness and effective communication. Narcissists can often try to manipulate you. So this is where we come from a, a centered place. The true self calm, composed practices like regular meditation can really help before we engage in conversations, before we engage in communication, we breathe, we speak from our center, right?
Not from this place of, oh, I’m already scattered. So that person can sense it and pounce, right? They have this almost like this, this, you know, this energy vampire, ugh, like this knowing of when to pounce, when to suck more blood from our energy. But communication skills can be learned about more they can be approved upon. So it’s really important that we learn more about how we can communicate from our own place of power. And so the tools, the books, the other podcasts that we will list on our site will give you some more resources there.
#6. How To Navigate and Manage Dealing with a Loved One Who Is Narcissist: Focus on realistic expectations and effective communication
And finally, or, or next, is to focus on realistic expectations. Um, this person may or not be able to see right away, so you may wanna reflect back to them. You wanna make sure to mirror, you may again, as you learn more about narcissism, to understand the roots so you can better support that person.
But at the end of the day, that person may need professional help or maybe they’re not ready to see. So this may mean realistically, maybe you need to have more time to yourself. You need to limit your time with them, you need to do your own thing sometimes, you know, whatever it is.
#7. How To Navigate and Manage Dealing with a Loved One Who Is Narcissist: Professional therapy
And finally, this is a big one to consider is professional therapy. And help because a narcissist can leave you feeling fragile in your self-validation, more fragile in your self-esteem. It can create more self-doubt. It can create just a lot of emotional impact, especially if you feel very close to this person. So this is why it’s very important to seek out a trusted counselor, um, a therapist, a healer, just someone that can support you on this journey in a deeper way, in a more individual way.
So to review some of these, um, action tips is number one, to educate yourself about narcissism so you can understand more about the patterns and the dynamics. Number two, to set boundaries and to prioritize self-care. Number three, do not engage in power struggles, which is where the narcissist can often thrive. Number four, to seek support from others, trusted third party friends and family members and so on. Next to practice, assertiveness and effective communication. So you stand in your own light of personal power and you’re not manipulated, you know, the gas lighting, the just, um, you know, nipping away at our, at our own, um, self-esteem and self-doubt. Number next is to focus on realistic expectations for the progress that can be had for where this person is and you know where they can go, what they’re open to. You know, how they’re open to shifting and evolving within themselves. And next to consider professional help in terms of therapy or counseling.
So I hope this supports you. We’ve all been exposed to narcissist in some way or another, and especially if they happen to be in close contact in your life, you definitely want to be aware of that and to practice some or potentially all of these action steps that we highlighted today. So please connect with me further. Please let me know how I can, um, continue to support you more. Any questions that you have, any topics that you want me to cover, you can head over to mysolluna.com. That’s mysolluna.com to submit your questions or let me know any comments or any, um, subjects you want me to go further into in my solo casts. I’m always listening, I’m always here. I love to connect with you. Remember that I am launching a monthly live zoom call as well with live questions for our inner circle, which is our Solluna subscribers for our digestion focused supplements. Those of us that are really committed to leading and living the Solluna lifestyle, I want to reward you with more lifetime with me every single month. So that’s another way that we can continue to connect. I’ll be back here Monday for our next interview show. So till then, take great care. I’m also on social for inspirational social at underscore Kimberly Snyder, sending you so much love and so much gratitude. [inaudible].