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

  1. Help I’m a victim of a narcissist I’ve almost lost everything including my children because of this man he is still trying to manipulate me and control of me to come back? Please help I’m reaching out to as many people as I can for help

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    1. I feel for you as I too was married to a narcissist but finally left. Now, my fear is that my daughter’s husband is a narcissist. She and I were closer than most mothers and daughters and now she hardly speaks to me and when I am there visiting, another state which makes it even harder, she walks by me like I am not even in the room, never comes up and just hugs me to say “I love you Mom,” like she used to. Her husband also walks by me like I am invisible, has never called me by my name or even had a conversation with me. My daughter defends all of his bad behavior with excuses. I know she is in total denial. How do you help someone you love so much that now treats you like you never existed. I hope you have family support you through your situation. I want to be there for my daughter but with her n another state and barely speaking to me how can I do anything. I cry daily and unless she just comes out and says, “I need you mom,” my hands are tied. If I point out things he does she just covers for him. I know her children mean the world to her and I believe she wants to present the perfect family to her kids but kids see things we don’t realize. I finally, after 10 years of this had to tell her I just cannot do it anymore because she is so mean to me just like he is. I have held my tongue so many,many times, but I am finally at the end of my rope to allow her or him to abuse me anymore. When I visit I am so uncomfortable in their home that i get physically sick. So how canI do anything to help her when she is in total denial. Financially he can afford to give her the world and I feel she has been affected by this especially because she wants her children to have everything. Maybe knowing your situation would help me some. I am desperate myself at this point. If you need a sounding board I will be happy to be that person for you. Thank you, Rj

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      1. I am a mom in this same position. We had a bad fight on Thanksgiving and my daughter went crazy with anger. Throwing things hitting people. I pushed her away and we fell to the ground. She has alienated herself from all of us. She will not speak to anyone from her life prior to this guy! He is 32 has no drivers livense bad credit a total peach. Her boyfriend is a terrible person. He treats her terribly and says bad things like your a bad mom. I feel like she died. I am fulled with grief. We were best friends and now I am blocked from her life completly. I do not know how to help or what to do. We have not seen our grandson in 6 months. We missed his first birtjday. 😪

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      2. I’m in the exact same situation with my daughter… Her husband’s abusive to me as well as her… ( not physically) but he speaks veey disrespectfully to me and his words are abusive… and ahe defends him, saying I caused it… Saving myself is the only answer I have until she wakes up and sees reality… would love any advice!

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        1. Jodie, you are right, you have to save yourself and remove yourself from the abuse.
          Your daughter is still in denial and the harder you try to make her see the truth the deeper into denial she will go and the further away from you she will pull. You are no competition for the control the N has. The harder you try to break them up the harder he will work to put a wall between you and your daughter. Every time he is successful at getting you upset you are feeding the monster.
          My suggestion to you would be to totally back off without shutting your daughter out.
          I would go no contact with the N but explain to your daughter that the only thing you have control over is how someone treats you and you don’t appreciate the way the N treats you so you are removing yourself from the toxicity.
          Tell her that you love her and are there for her if she ever wants help to leave but you refuse to pretend everything is alright or that you like the N.
          It is all you can do. Hopefully once the pressure from you is off she will realize what is going on. I know as a mom you want to protect your child but you can only save yourself and be there when she see’s the light.
          Hugs to you
          Carrie

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    2. I’m sorry dear. Try to stay strong and away from him. I have the same problem. I’ve lost all of my belongings, almost my job and kids. I’m homeless and broke because of this man(demon). Replace that love with anger to help you resist him. He’s not going to stop or change. Don’t play the game with him and let him always win. You play the game but better and you stay head of him, but you have to ready as its like WAR to them. They don’t care about anything unless it’s about them.

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  2. Our son is about to marry a narc. In one month, he hasn’t spoken to us in 16 mos. because of her. We have tried everything to try to get him to just talk to us and he won’t. Do you have any advise for us? We are despaired and grieving greatly over a once wonderful relationship with him, that is gone, because we were on to her. We just can’t except that we have to wait for him to wake up. He is ruening his whole life.

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    1. Like you, my daughter married a narcissist. My daughter and I were so very close and she had NEVER said a cruel thing to me. Now she talks to me like I am beneath her, She hasn’t reached out and hugged me or said I love you mom in I cannot remember when. I was ALWAYS nice to her husband even though I saw through him from day one. What can we do when our once loving children now treat us like they hate us. Its almost as though she takes out the anger she feels towards him on me and then I think she is so mad at herself for treating me so badly that she gets even more angry with herself and treats me worse. Its a vicious cycle. Because she lives in another state it is even more difficult for me to be near her. From day one I saw that he only wanted his family in her life. They say narcissistic men usually had a controlling mother, but in his case his mother is just the opposite, She let both of her sons do whatever they wanted and waited on them hand and foot. Now, believe it or not, both of his parents are on his payroll. At first I thought she was just a doting mom, but quickly realized that all she does for him is because she bills him monthly. He makes an EXCELLENT living so can afford the best. My daughter in the very beginning confided in me as she always did that his mother bills for things I wouldn’t believe like gas for driving to their house to babysit and charges for that too. When she and I watched the children once for a week when my daughter and her husband were away, she asked me at the end of the week for my receipts. I said, “FOR WHAT,” because they are our kids and she said, “well, we have to eat too. I was baffled and just kept saying. “but they are our kids.” She sickens me. But now when I reference it to my daughter she denies having ever told me that. There is nothing we can do unless they realize on their own. I supported my daughter and was there for her but she has treated me so poorly that being with them makes me physically sick because of the treatment and I am always afraid I am going to be reprimanded by her for doing something wrong. I want to be there for her but she is in denial and at what cost do I continue to allow her to brow beat me. If you have any ideas I would love to share with you because I am sick over this whole thing and the worst part is that because I cannot be in their home without being constantly on guard I don’t get to be there for my grand children. This is the worst case scenario I could have ever envisioned when I thought about her getting married.

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  3. Kim we were almost in the same situation, except that in our case the relationship they had did not last to the point of marriage , I completely understand how horrific this is for you but I feel at this point all you can do is let your son know that when he does need you that you will be there , keep an open line of contact because there relationship will not last and he will end up crying out for help , be ready at that time so he doesn’t have to endure the pain of abandonment all on his own , do not judge him for he has been slowly broken down to the point he feels he needs the narc to survive , also be ready to accept the fact that recovery is a long hard road full of frustration and pain , don’t expect no contact to happen easily, it takes time , the reality is that until the narc is done feeding on your son or the day comes that he leaves there is not much you can do , I am sorry, we have been in your shoes and it is the hardest thing a loving parent can endure , but do not give up on your son , he will need you someday , we are at a place now where ours has figured it out but his suffering from the emptiness created by two years of abuse , it’s an ongoing struggle every day with twist and turns and progress and defeat but we refuse to give up and be defeated by this , we love our son and we will with love , prayer and time see the whole person in our presence again !!

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    1. Everything you say I completely agree with, but my daughter did in fact marry the narc. She now treats me like dirt. She is in total denial so how do I support her when she tells me things are perfect. I see that they aren’t and that she is overly stressed to a point that I worry about her health. She will turn on a dime if I in anyway try to make her understand that what he is doing is wrong. I tiptoe around him but they both abuse me. He does it indirectly through her so it makes me physically sick to be in their presence. I too pray she will eventually see the light but because her children mean the world to her I do not see that happening in my lifetime. I actually often think that when I die I am afraid she will with remorse and regret for having treated me so badly but at the same time I fear she won’t even care that I am gone. He makes an EXCELLENT living and my fear is that because she wants her children to have the perfect life she will never see the light. Her kids have WAAAYYY too much, I mean WAAAAYYY too much. This is going to give them a sense of entitlement and I am in no position to do anything. He completely supports his parens and they are in fact on his payroll. I mean literally if they replace a light bulb or pick up milk for the kids, they bill hm at the end of the month. I thought at first she was a doting mother but quickly learned she just does for him because she can pad her monthly bill that way. If you have any thoughts for me I would truly appreciate the help. My fear is that because I can no longer endure my daughters abuse of be that I have to stop going to visit. They live in another state so I cannot afford to go that often anyway. His parents live there so they constantly come over and charge for anything I MEAN ANYTHING, they do. His mother even had them over for Thanksgiving one year and billed for the food. WHO DOES THIS???? I need help!!!!

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  4. Hi everyone,
    My mother in law in a narc. She has manipulated me since the day one. We lived close to them (my whole in laws are controlled by her including my husband) for 10 years and it was like hell. I was walking on eggshells but still there was too many things that i was blamed for. Unfortunately I stayed and now I have four kids (under 11 years). We changed our City but She started to come and visit and now the drama has started again. My husband doesn’t see her mother’s sickness and he listens to her all the time. If he doesn’t listen to her then she abuses him as well in many many ways. She has turned the whole family against me. Even though I still do so much for them but they still are very cold and manipulative towards me. I don’t know how to make my husband to see her real face, but he is his loyal servant and deny it.
    I need help!!!!
    I want to leave my husband but when I see my kids that they are very young I want to stay.

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    1. Iam in your same situation. we ve been married for almost 14years and 2years ago I reached my point where I wanted out of the marriage because of his mother controlling him against me. We went to counseling and it helped some. At least it helped him to see he was unable to see it. We are still struggling It takes time. Hope this helps!

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  5. it takes great deal of strength to live with a narcissist everyone needs to be most supportive of these . people in their fights to save themselves and their children I am there but there are no children and I am a very strong person who has done a lot in the relationship without help from this person who now claims he is everything and I am nothing – bully bully bully it is difficult to listen to their bull even when you know they are wrong – I am trying to deal with one without walking as he is not in good health and as long as I can be strong and ward off his bullshit then I can stay and get the best out of the relationship – yes there are some good things that happened and I don’t let him pull stuff on me that has long term effects on me – I know who I am nd who he is and while I am still trying to cope with the reasons why he is like he is and how to deal with it I am attempting to stand my ground we are both older so I question why leave now? but hold that thought wide open – I am reading lots about these people as we all should- knowledge is strength and ability to cope – finally lets support people anyone who needs a little help getting thru any struggles in life I don’t want towalk but wont let myself be destroyed survival is a basic in life thank you for listening I get a little smarter every day and he pushes a little less as idont let him control me – he tries the poor me stuff ever at th emergency room when he goes to have a bandage up on a wound he could do himself – they just look at him like you are doing what in the emergency room when there are people with life threatening events – but they take him anyway – he just did this to make me feel guilty when I didn’t jump right on it tried to tell them his wife wouldn’t bandage it – he could do it himself – also if he lies to a “friend” abut you and you hear of it – they are not very much a friend it they will believe him in his slandering – find a REAL friend – they are out there keep looking ok lets keep up the good work!

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  6. I’ve been living with the narcissit in my life for nearly 3 years. We are not in a relationship but we do relationship things. More specifically, I’m expected to do relationship stuff like cooking and cleaning and attending to all of his needs. The first few years were just emotional and verbal abuse. But these last few months have escalated to physical abuse. But it’s not overt. It’s always done in such a way to be slanted as “I’m sorry I overreacted, but you’re not hurt.” kind of thing. Generally after he apologizes though, he immediately finds something that i did wrong and before I know it, we’re focused on that. I feel like I can’t leave because he’s in control of my housing situation and my phone (I let him talk me into going on a joint plan in his name and he gave me his older phone). If I left I’d be so lost. My friends and family don’t understand and many of them have backed away from me becuase I always go back to the living situation.

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  7. My heart goes out to you all who have been affected by a narcissist , Over the last month I have been doing my research online and figured that one of my sister in law is a narcissist , for the last 6 years she has been bullying , torturing, and passing nasty comments towards my daughter who’s now 17 . She has exploited my daughter in many ways and scarred and caused depression to all of us that we feel like we cant carry on and our souls feel drained.she then plays the victim , she is far too loud and makes sure she interferes in every conversation and foolishly lies and thinks she’s grand, I feel sorry for the children she’s giving birth to and mostly my brother in law as she is totally fake using him.

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  8. We are devastated. Our dear beloved daughter who we have been close to for her entire life is engaged to a narc…a very clever, “Christian ” guy…. we have talked till we are blue in the face to her asking her to postpone the wedding that they are rushing headlong into to no avail… we feel broken hearted and powerless…she is 21 and we feel we have lost her. My husband, her father does not want to attend her wedding to give her away. He sees the fiancée for who he truly is. What do we do? We wish for a miracle

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  9. Thank you so much for your post here…I was married to a narcissist for 13 years, with him for 20 in total. All of what you have written in the post and following replies is just so true, yet staggering to me as I am trying to come to terms with the man I shared my life with. I could never explain to people why I felt so worthless, why I was so full of anxiety, why I didn’t trust myself or have any self confidence. I still say now, after 8 months separated, that he wasn’t a bad person, I left because i was so unhappy, that he didn’t intentionally be the way he was. I’m still confused on this one, because maybe he was? Maybe it’s just so hard to comprehend!
    But my freedom has been worth it and I know I will become the person I want to be. I’ve had some moments of doubt, but they certainly haven’t lasted. I’ll never be anyone’s trophy again, of all the things he did that hurts the deepest, it sickens me.
    Tho reading your comments here, I’m also deeply upset with how I’ve treated my mum over the years…I have some talking to do with her to try explain why I was so awful. And I know she just wants me to be happy, now she can see that I will be.
    It does take strength to live with these people, but it takes strength and help and support to leave them.

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  10. My son is the victim he has 8 children and has been married 20 he has no idea what is happening to him. One child tried to commit suicide last week what can I do to show him what is going on?

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