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How To Help Someone Involved With A Narcissist

What to do if you suspect someone you know is involved with a narcissist

First of all let’s cover the don’t:

* Do not underestimate how dangerous, manipulative and conniving a narcissist can be.

Too many times people confuse narcissism with ordinary abusive behaviour or someone with an inflated ego. A true narcissist is cruel beyond comprehension and can cause immeasurable emotional and physical damage. They will stop at nothing to control their victim and that could include death.

* Never make the victim feel they are responsible for their own abuse.

By saying things like: I would never have stayed, I would have seen he was an asshole a mile off, he was attracted to your co-dependency, etc
No one knows what it is like to be manipulated by a narcissist unless they have been there.

-Narcissists are attracted to strong, competent, self sufficient women with a strong sense of responsibility and moral fiber. What woman wouldn’t want to be described in those terms? The last thing a narcissist wants is someone needy or someone any one could have, she has to be a “trophy” and confident enough to keep his narcissistic supply coming. Plus the more self sufficient and confident she is the more determined the narcissist will be to “break” her, if he can make her totally dependent on him it is the ultimate in NS.

* Do not withdraw your support in an effort to make them choose between you and the narcissist, or in anger because they won’t leave or went back.

Withdrawing your support is giving the narcissist exactly what they want – total control over their victim and makes the victim dependent on the narcissist and reinforces what the narcissist is telling them; that they (the narcissist) is the only one they can rely on, the only one who truly loves them and that they are flawed in some way, why else would someone they cared about turn their back on them?

* Do not expect the victim to return to their “old self” immediately after leaving the narcissist.

The longer a person is involved with a narcissist the more damage is done to the person’s self confidence, their esteem and even their perception of reality. That does not heal quickly, sometimes never. The victim has been abused at a soul level, comparable to a prisoner of war, a rape victim, a hostage; they can probably not even adequately describe what they have been through. In many cases they have blocked much of the abuse or minimized it; which is typical of a person in highly dangerous situation and was part of their attempts at survival.

- Many people leaving a relationship with a narcissist suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and should get help from a professional for that, someone who is familiar with Narcissism and the effect on the victims.

*Do not believe anything the narcissist tells you, he will try anything to discredit the victim and make them appear to be the crazy one and it is the narcissist who is the victim.

You can almost guarantee that whatever the narcissist is saying is the exact opposite of the truth. If he is saying she was unfaithful; it was him cheating. If he says she spent all the money; it was he who spent money.

Remember the narcissist is an award winning actor, he’s been doing it his whole life, if he does admit to any wrong doing it will be part of his plans to manipulate the situation in his favor.

*Do not show the narcissist any sympathy!

One of the tactics often used by a narcissist (especially when he feels he is losing ground) is to use other people as pawns in his efforts to control his victim.
The victim needs no reasons to feel sorry for the narcissist, if they see you are sympathetic to his cause they will doubt they are doing the right thing by leaving.

*Do not be overly critical of the narcissist to the point of the victim feeling they must defend him; remember the narcissist uses guilt as a means of manipulation. You don’t want the victim to feel she has done anything wrong by confiding in you.

The To-Do List:

*Research Narcissism

There are hundreds of support groups, forums, advice sites and sites giving professional opinions.

No one can understand the power a narcissist has over his victim or how
he gained that control or why a victim finds it so hard to leave. Unless you have been there it is impossible, but by reading other people’s accounts of their experiences you will come to realize it is very common and perhaps develop some compassion for the loved one you are trying to help.

*Reinforce that the victim is NOT responsible for the abuse, it is the narcissist that is sick and they can not save him.

-You will have to do this often, once out of your company and back home with the narcissist the narcissist will work over time to extinguish any confidence the victim might have acquired while with you. It is a constant roller coaster ride in emotional hell and you might be the only person who can counter the insanity of living with a narcissist.


When the victim tells you of abuse, infidelity or any other mistreatment by the narcissist make note of it; if there is any physical abuse try to take pictures even if she refuses to press charges. It is actually best if she doesn’t keep records herself because the narcissist IS going through her stuff whether she realizes it or not and if he finds it he will destroy it and “punish” her in some way. But this information will come in handy in the future as:
Proof there was abuse should she have to go to court or get a restraining order.
A reminder for the victim of what she had to live with when her resolve weakens.
Proof of the truth in defense of the lies the narcissist will inevitably tell anyone who will listen.

*Be There!!!

I know it is frustrating to hear the victim cry about the abuse and then they don’t leave or they leave and go back, but you need to be her voice of reason and sanity. You must understand that narcissists are experts at making someone feel crazy.

A woman in an abusive relationship leaves an average of 7 times before leaving for good. As long as he can make her feel that she has some power to change things she will go back, she needs to be reinforced that she has indeed done all she or any woman could do and no one deserves to be abused.

* Believe them!

Once they opening up and start sharing some of the things the narcissist did, believe them, no matter how bizarre it may sound and reiterate it is the narcissist that is sick, not them!


If they are still with the narcissist all you can do is be there to listen and reinforce that: They are NOT crazy
They are strong
They are not alone
They CAN leave and when they do you will be there to help

* If they have left they will need to rehash the relationship trying to make sense of it, trying to find answers to why something so wonderful turned so ugly.

Quite often while in “survival mode” the victim will block or minimize a lot of the abuse because they are overwhelmed or simply can not accept how horrible the situation is. Once they are away from the narcissist and the danger emotions and memories will come flooding back and the brain needs to acknowledge and accept what happened in order to start the healing process. It might be necessary for the victim to relive some events over and over again.

*Allow the victim time to grieve the loss.

Too many times the people close to the victim get frustrated that they are so sad and “taking too long” grieving and should “just get over it”. That they should be happy they are away from the abuse.

Remember this is probably what they thought was the love of their life and not only is the relationship over but they have to accept it was all one sided; the narcissist is incapable of love; they were in love with a sham. The narcissist will never admit to any fault, and over time more and more of the lies he told will surface reopening the wounds.

Nine times out of ten the narcissist will be involved in another relationship very quickly and will be on his best behaviour and doing everything he can to rub his ex victim’s nose in it.

Either that or he will stock his victim, call incessantly, write letters, anything he can think of to get to her and weaken her resolve.

You can’t stop the victim from going back, but it is less likely to happen if they don’t feel alone. The narcissist can be very convincing especially if the victim is alone, depressed and filled with self doubt.

Good Luck!!!

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129 responses to “How To Help Someone Involved With A Narcissist

  • Shelley

    I loved and still love him so much….2 weeks ago he left me a cruel email….saying I had had two affairs at work (not true) , and he could not be with me….he will not respond to any calls, texts, or emails….we had tickets to go to Cabo tomorrow..I lost my will to live and am sitting in a psych unit, trying to stop crying, trying to not feel the pain in my heart, desperate to know why he wont even talk to me.

    Like this

    • Carrie Reimer

      Shelley, Of course you still love him, and of course you are confused and hurt because he won’t even talk to you about it. That is what they do, they blame the victim for the exact thing they themselves are doing or have done. I am sorry but I am sure he is the one who had 2 affairs, and the reason he dumped you is because he had his new victim lined up and didn’t need you any more. That is harsh and hard to take, let alone accept that he never loved you, he has never loved any woman and never will.
      I don’t know how long you were together, or how your relationship was but no normal person just up and leaves without discussing it. For whatever reason, once the narcissist is done with his victim, it is over and he hates them, he does everything he can to make them hurt.
      We have all been there, and we all thought we wouldn’t survive it but you will.
      I am sorry you are going through this. We are here if you need to talk.

      Like this

  • Steve

    Hello Shelley,
    You are not alone in your feelings. I was involved with a N for a while and what you are experiencing is harsh. You have support here and remember you are never alone. Carrie is right on. I wish I found this support sooner than later when my relationship ended. I blamed myself for everything. I was wrong. Hugs to you! Steve

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  • Jackie

    Hi Shelley I am in exactly the same place as you (emotionally). I’ve had a year of hurt and rejection. Complete cut-offs by him. Leaving me at the drop of a hat in the street/bar, disappearing and not knowing where he is. No answering of calls/texts.The pain is unbearable. Permanently on egg shells waiting to say the wrong thing and bang! cut off again.But I cant take anymore. And nor can my bank account! We’ll survive, all of us! Much love. Jackie

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  • Elizabeth Kane

    I am in the process of divorcing a malignant narcissist after 33 years of marriage…. not an easy task. I am on the receiving end of a full blown narcissist rage and my soon-to-be ex has pulled every conceivable stunt in an effort to diminish me. The only thing left that he could do is have me murdered which is a possibility given his personality disorder. I am struggling but will survive. No longer will I participate in my own self abuse. Amen.

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    • Carrie Reimer

      Elizabeth, please be careful, murder is definitely a possibility but good for you for standing up for yourself. it is not easy and takes strength and determination but so worth it in the long run. Taking control of your life back is so empowering and the first step in healing. Good luck, you will survive it, just stay determined and believe in your right to fair and just treatment.
      Like I have said to others, you WERE a victim, but once you leave him then it is your choice to remain a victim. You are not a victim any longer. Congratulations!
      Big hug
      ps let us know how things go and how you are doing please

      Like this

  • Bonnie

    Good morning, I really need some help this morning. I have not written for quite sometime because usually every question or concern gets covered.

    I left my “N’ over a 1-1/2 years ago. This past weekend was horrible, I cried all weekend not because I want him back but because I wish to belong.I would like to meet a normal person that could love me.

    I had to go by my old martial home to drop of some medicine for our dogs and the whole situation hit me like a ton of bricks. I pulled up to the mailbox to see his vehicle and his girlfriends vehicle in the driveway. 1-1/2 years ago I left my “N” with just my clothes and my car. He moved his girlfriend in the following weekend. Which helped me in my divorce but still hurt like hell. I was so replaceable. I couldn’t help but think maybe he is the smart one, never feeling empathy or pain when my not one day for the last year have I not cried. I put on a good face, while inside I feel like I am dying a slow death. When will it stop hurting? I don’t know how much more I can take.

    Thank you

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    • Carrie Reimer

      Bonnie, I am sorry you are hurting, it is normal and why no contact of any kind is so important. I am not criticizing you because I have done it myself; found some reason to make contact. I know you love your dogs, I don’t know why he has them and you probably have a good excuse why they have to be with him and why you have to stay in contact so you can see them or take them medicine. He can’t get them the medicine?
      The thing is as long as you have any contact with him whatsoever you will hurt. I didn’t go total “no contact” until about a year and 1/2 ago and we had been split a year and 1/2 by that time. Every time I saw him I ended up having a relapse and feeling like I had made no progress at all and that the pain would never end. I would think I was doing really good and even hold it together while in his company but then I would get home and totally fall apart. It’s like ripping the bandaid off, the scab comes with it and we bleed again. I haven’;t talked to or seen my ex in almost 2 years and I did more healing in that first 6 months of no contact than the whole previous year and 1/2. I avoid seeing him at all cost and never ask about him because I don’t want to hurt.
      For one thing he is not happy, and he is not smart; it is not a choice he makes to not have a conscience, he is incapable of love or caring, sympathy or empathy. It would be great if we were able to shut off our feelings at will and then turn them on again when we want but that is not the case with the N. Yeah, her car is sitting in the driveway but can you see what goes on behind closed doors? A car in the driveway does not mean they are happy, I guarantee she is going through exactly what you did; hell. And he isn’t happy because he doesn’t even know what happiness is, he is happy when he is making someone else miserable. So if it isn’t you he is making miserable then it has got to be her.
      As far as finding love yourself, you may not realize the aura you are exuding. Meeting a man right now would be the worst thing that could happen, because you need a man to make you feel worthy of love and are attractive; which makes you a prime candidate for a narcissist love bomber. Guys can pick up on desperation in women and a decent guy wants a woman who isn’t looking to get “fixed”. You take the chance of getting into a relationship with a guy you don’t even like just because he shows you attention, even if he isn’t an N.
      Try going absolutely no contact, (I just reposted an excellent post from another site that lays it out perfectly) and I bet in 6 months you will notice a huge difference in how you feel.
      Also I have talked before about having a “healing crisis”, I had several of them and most victims experience them. I have some posts on it
      A link to one of them is here
      Let me know if it helps.
      You will; get through this!!

      Like this

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