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.

*Document!!

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!

*Listen!!

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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539 Replies to “How To Help Someone Involved With A Narcissist”

  1. Leaving the narc…. Everyone makes it sound so simple! This is my ex husbands new woman. We are still very close, as he is my best friend. She is a control freak from HELL! She won’t clean and now the have rats! She has ruined his relationship with his family by being totally destructive of anything and everything! Not limited to his stuff, but his families and mine as well. Most recently she used my bathroom and stole my brand new jeans that were hanging on the door hook. I asked him to watch for them, and showed him a picture, (I got them on ebay) later that day, he confided that she was wearing them. If he says one wrong word, she will throw a huge fit! She yells things at him whie they are in public like “baby raper” “mom-fucker” “heroine junkie” and worse. None of these things is he, but he is so conditioned to keep her happy, so he can avoid her wrath – that it is literally killing him.
    Her violence knows no bounds. She trows full coffee mugs across the front seats, she takes an AXE to the trailer they used to live in, until she destroyed it. They no longer have a sliding glass door because every time he gets one, she throws something and breaks it, Nothing means anything to her, yet in her mind she is completely justified. “You made me do this!” ” IT’s all because you didn’t ______” or “This didn’t have to happen – but YOU…” He thinks he deserves the abuse at this point.
    Is there no one we can call to get her out of there? She won’t leave. and if she does it’s only for a couple hours and when she returns? She acts like nothing even happened. He will ask “What are you doing here? and she will reply: “I live here”,

    I / we NEED help! She’s going to kill him, and then just move on tho her next victim, like its no big deal.
    Please! HELP?!

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    1. Hi Carolyn

      I’m in the same position as you are with my ex-wife, took her into my house after she was left completely broken and homeless by the narc she left our son and me for last year.

      All advice I can give you try a few times to him your honest opinion and ask his friends (if there are any left who cares) to talk to him. (no idea if someone else agrees)

      All that will happen now is the narc’s target gets a new fresh look and their efforts will be doubled to manipulate and control. And you will dragged down with him into an emotional hell; I’m pretty much back to the low point when she first started cheating and my our family life to appease the narc.

      Every time she breaks down, I listen to hellish detail I do not want hear about the she really feels and what has been done to her, then I build her up, he phones her and convinces her how evil I am and that it is all my fault etc within minutes. It is emotionally draining and not something someone who does not have the necessary training and knowledge can do. I’ve given her this week Wednesday as the ultimatum day; either she breaks it off or she needs to find new accommodating at the end of the month.

      I feel sorry for the victims and still care very very much for my ex-wife but in the end they are adults and until they open their eyes and see what is for what there is no changing their mind. All you can do is hope their eyes open in time and shield yourself for the eventual fallout.

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  2. I can’t seem to find an answer to this. Our son is married to a covert narcissist and she has treated us horribly for years. We went low contact with them because of how we were disregarded.
    Everything peaked recently when my husband asked our son why he didn’t show up for an agreed dinner together for just the two of them. This isn’t the first time he’s done this but it was a time my husband was finally fed up. Our son blew up in an email and went on and on about past hurts and how it’s affected him for years.
    Seriously, we are having a hard time reconciling the disrespectful message in the emails with the person we have known prior to this marriage. We have decided to go no contact with him as his allegations and insinuations were so full of deceit we can only imagine his covert narcissistic wife has projected her opinions of us onto him. His lies are so obvious and dismissive it’s unbelievable.
    How can we be there for someone who displays this kind of behavior? We cannot save him and we would never try and point out to him what she is. We have NEVER said one bad thing about her to him.
    The world from day one was all about her and her family and we didn’t argue with him. We are two parents who ask very little as people have a right to live their lives the way they want but we draw the line at disrespect and his emails were the first time we got a taste of it from him. Any insight would help.

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    1. I’m so sorry you’re going through this! When our daughter’s narc started turning her against us, we were given the very best advice – let her go and make her own decisions, but love her and keep the relationship open. I found a way every day to send a text that let her know I was thinking about her and missing her. I thought about what would speak love to her and gave her gifts or a Groupon for a meal out. Over time she decided she wanted a relationship with me, and even though her narc was still angry and wanted her to hold a grudge too, she stood up to him and said, no, life is too short and too precious to spend it angry. Even though he is now dating her best friend, she is still caught in his web and the three of them are best friends. But! I have a good relationship with her! She treats me with respect, even if she doesn’t listen to my advice. We talk or text every day and she wants to spend time with me. I would say, even though he is disrespectful to you, only respond with love and don’t ignore him. Don’t get pulled in to his drama that she is causing. Over time he may come back to you. Our strategy is to leave the narc out of our conversations, unless it’s just to ask a question. I keep my opinions of him to myself. She has cut off some of her closest friends because they speak out about him and I know she’s going to need me the next time he discards her. And my biggest advice – pray and get others to pray with and for you. God really does do miracles!

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      1. Susan, thank you for your words of wisdom.
        Our son has chosen to shut us out. We have to save ourselves now and stay out of their toxic relationship. He seems to have taken on her opinions and I’ve done a lot of research on co-dependency. This could go on for years and frankly we are tired of losing sleep from getting the silent treatment.
        We’ve always been here for him, we are the same people so he knows where to find us.
        I’m happy for your relationship with your daughter it sends the message of hope.

        Like

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