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!!!


490 thoughts on “How To Help Someone Involved With A Narcissist

  1. Really Scared

    I am really worried for my two nephews — 12 and 14. Their mother is a classic, textbook narcissist. My poor brother finally managed to get away from her two years ago, after suffering 16 years of abuse. They are now divorced, and engaged in a custody battle, and she is so cunning and manipulative, she’s viciously lying about my brother, and I’m really worried about the children’s safety — as is my brother! But his hands are tied. If he calls out abuse, it just looks like he’s trying to win the custody battle. The evaluter seems to be kind of suspicious of some of her actions, but she’s such a skilled liar and actor, we are left just hoping and praying for a miracle, that my brother will get full custody. Any advice on how we can help get the children out of there? They are so traumatized, and I fear for their safety.


    1. Barbara

      I believe that children of that age are able to talk to judges and social workers and have a say about where they live. I would check this out first.
      Then of course you get the problem that the children may be made to feel guilty not opting to stay with her.
      1) check on legalities
      2) make sure the children feel happier, safe and pressure free when with your brother. That done, let them know that they do not have to take responsibility for either parents happiness. They need to put themselves, their happiness first because a happy child is more likely to have a successful life and make better life choices.


    2. Carrie Reimer Post author

      REally Scared, I totally understand being fearful; we hear such horror stories on the news. Has your brother kept a journal? have any proof at all that she is lying or a danger to the kids? Judges love proof, journals, letters, text messages, photos, anything that is going to make their life easier. Things have changed and men do get custody of the children but I think there is still a tendency to give custody to the mother unless there is proof of mental instability or abuse of some sort. Your brother has to be the epitome of the calm and rational father who only wants the bet for his children. He can not allow her to bait him into getting angry or overly emotional. Have the children been to a counselor? It would be a big help to your brother’s case if he and the children have been to counseling and a counselor could be called on to testify on your brother’s behalf. The children should be old enough that the courts would take their wishes into consideration. If they do’t want to live with their mother they should be able to say so to the courts, it wouldn’t necessarily be the deciding factor but it would be taken into consideration, if the children are afraid of their mother, they should say so. But it can’t come just from their father, a professional counselor should help them deal with any guilt feelings they have and speak to the judge on their behalf.
      Whatever your brother does he should not communicate with his ex in any way and let the lawyers do all the talking. He has to be very careful to live an exemplary life so she can’t get anything on him,because she will be slandering him (think Trump).


    3. Sk

      My daughter has been a victim of a narcissistic boss for the past year. This boss moved my daughter into her home and had full control over her both socially and financial. Blames my daughter on lots of things, shouts at her, doesn’t allow her make friends with people her own age and gives out to her when she speaks to the bosses friends. She belittles her on front of others etc etc. The narc has turned my daughter against her family, caused her to split from her long term boyfriend etc. My daughter is back home now but blaming me for everything. The narc is giving her the silent treatment, then contacting her telling my daughter that she was wrong and saying ‘poor me, what did I do to deserve this?’ ‘I did everything for you’. She tells my daughter bad things others have said about her. My daughters self esteem has been
      taken. My daughter feel she is being disloyal to the narc and I fear she is going to return to this toxic situation.


  2. Jason

    My ex girlfriend was living with her ex boyfriend, as she had just opened her own business and depended on him financially. We started dating November 2015 and since then he has abused her verbally and physically. He has completely run her down and she is unable to stand up to him at all. He has threatened me and intimidates her. She broke up with me in October because he threatened her and said if she ever leaves the house she is living in then he will destroy her life and she won’t see the dog that she is extremely attached to. Just the other day she said that we must cut all contact because he saw that he saw me wave at her and i presume he must of threatened her again. I really don’t know what to do, if i must try and help her some way or just walk away.


  3. Mona

    My brother is involved with a narcissist and they have a baby together. She has completely obliterated his personality and created huge distances between him and me as well as our mom. Leaving her is out of the question and he is still crazy about her. She controls him by saying malicious lies about me and claiming undying love for him while at the same time breaking him down bit by bit e.g making him doubt himself, his looks, self esteem etc. He has been completely cut off from his family and friends. He is my only sibling and I don’t want to lose him. Where once we used to chat endlessly on skype/phone, now it’s weeks before he will talk to me. Please help, im heartbroken. He is my only family and it kills me to lose him.


    1. Adrienne

      My sister is married to a narcissist.He plays the same games I’m afraid he will come after my son if I do anything. It’s a dangerous situation now my sister is acting like her husband. I consult with a counselor on what to do. Be careful we can’t predict a narcissist behavior.


    2. Yolanda

      I just found out the word narcissist after reading a book the other day. I finally had some answer to what is happening to my son. Before he married his wife he was the most loving and and caring individual. They have been married 20 and have 8 kids! I have just been sick since I finally figured out what was happening to him. He has no idea. He totally sticks up for her even when he found out she was running around on him. The eight kids are her cover for staying as the center of attention. My son always told me it was her idea how many kids not his. I can’t even believe there are people like that. Her mother from the little contact I have had with her over the years is just like her. She is also an alcoholic and very lazy. She uses the kids to do things for her. Like grocery shopping, cleaning. My grandson that comes over to my house a lot never talks about her and very little about my son. He is very dependant and has no idea of where to go in life. I found this out two days ago and am now trying to figure out how to help him. Now that I know I will be giving my son 100% support without accusing him of anything. I have learned a lot from this site. Thank you all.


  4. Carlita

    Oh how I feel your pain. I’m in the same situation however it is my younger sister with the sociopath. This February will be three years. We went from being the closest sisters ever talking at least probably five times a day to Zero. This guy has done the same exact thing by making her believe we are a terrible family etc. I’m not sure what I would do differently if I had to do this again. Besides I guess the only thing you could do is never talk about their mate. We were the type of sisters that would tell each other like it is. However we’ve never dealt with a true narcissist/sociopath. Now we know you have to act like you like them and be fake basically to keep your brother/sister around. We pray a lot and are just waiting for her to realize what he’s done to our family. I’m even reading a book (which I am not one to read books) called Freefom of Mind” to try to learn what I can do to try to save my sister from this monster. I will pray for you!! It’s the worst thing our family has ever experienced. I could write a book myself on all the things this guy has done over the last three years. I did recently hear he’s on a dating website “again” so I’m debating if I should tell my sister about it “again” or not. For some reason she gets mad at me when I tell her, however I asked her a while back if I ever catch him cheating did she want to know and she told me “sure”.
    Again try not to say anything about her to your brother at all and I guess you have to become an actress and pretend you like her to keep him involved with you. I’m so sorry you’re going through this and will pray for you.


  5. avictimtoo

    In my opinion all narcissists are controlled by something demonic. My belief is that all abuse and trauma opened demonic doors inside the person’s,say soul. And when a victim of a narcissists begin to adore and even worship the narcissist the victim begin to be blinded by demonic powers of darkness. Both the victim and the narcissist could be unaware of this, they might even be atheists. Unaware of the invisible realm both are being manipulated.The “master manipulator”is actually being manipulated by maybe a legion of demons or powers of darkness. Unfortunately victims of abuse are cursed by the abuse and all resentment, fear and anger tend to atract the demonic. So when a victim is dealing with a narcissist the victim is actually dealing with more than 1 psychopath who just come to kill (in some cases not literaly for e.g.:kill the good things in your personality, kill pure joy ,kill relationships),steal and destroy. The abuse curses the person’s soul which makes the person weak against the demonic.


    1. Anonnymous

      I literally had seen a narcissists demon when I did mushrooms with him, two actually, luckily I was so intuitive at the moment I was (and usually am) the “anti-manipulator” and removed him from the home, although it was very difficult and he tried to make me fear for my life. I’ve noticed that many of them are trained, whether consciously or not, in the art of NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) which can be used for good or evil. It can be used to pressure somebody into something or make them feel they have to do it, invoking involuntary responses from their victims with techniques such as “anchoring” (NLP anchoring uses a stimulus; it may be a sound, an image, a touch, smell or a taste to trigger a consistent response in you or someone else.) Ivan Pavlov’s work found that you could associate a stimulus such as a bell to a response such as salivation in dogs. By presenting food and at the same time ringing the bell they anchored the ringing to eating. My dog Hoochie gets excited when the microwave dings.
      You can link desirable states like fun and excitement to just about anything. Advertising tries to create anchors associating their products with feel good states. That’s why car ads feature semi clothed pretty girls.

      NLP Anchors can occur in all Representational Systems
      Visual anchors — stopping at the red light, colors that affect our mood.
      Auditory anchors — songs that take you back to a given time and place, a police siren, a loved one’s voice
      Kinesthetic anchors — a comforting hug, the feel of velvet that reminds you of grandma
      Olfactory anchors — fresh apple pie that reminds you of home, smell of coffee
      Gustatory anchors — oranges that remind you of a special summer, licorice


  6. Brenda

    My daughter has been married to a narcissist for over sixteen years. At first he was so charming and funny and fun and we all just loved him. When they got married everything changed. She is my only living child; my other child, my son, was killed when he was fourteen. He was hit by a car while riding his bike. She has children with him that are being deeply affected by his control, anger, manipulation. My daughter has opened up to me how unhappy she is, other times she says everything is good, really good. I have seen her change into a completely different person. He favors one child and the oldest daughter is treated like dirt. He tells lies and spreads malicious rumors around town about me, which just happened again last night. I have the oldest daughter with me a lot of the time but he uses her against me of course. I’m done being lied about and manipulated by him. My sixteen year old granddaughter wants out more than anything in the world. I have thought about seeking legal help to get her to live with me, but I don’t know where to start. My health has been deteriorating because of this “person”. My daughter is sick and depressed a lot too. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


    1. Carlita


      I feel for you and so sorry for anyone dealing with this. I’m in the same boat about my sister, unfortunately with your daughter having kids w this path, it makes it even worse. I do a lot of praying and trying to be patient. I wish I knew where to say, but since this is new to our family as well (3 years this month) I’m lost for words……we’ve caught my sister’s path(etic) boyfriend on dating websites and even showed her but of course he & she makes excuses… awful….just awful!!! I’ll pray for your daughter to wake up!!!!


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  8. Melissa Riegel

    Wow..I needed this so badly. Thank you for explaining this so clearly. My Daughter well educated,beautiful and vivacious had always dreamed of a beautiful wedding with a man who loved God. She went to church. She is a surgery tech she works in surgery. I use to wish that every Mom could experience having a daughter like mine funny and kind and so thoughtful we were so close. Until she met her husband she was going to date him for a while but he insisted he couldn’t do a long distant relationship she lived 2 hrs away. She didn’t want to just live with him she had a 6 yr old daughter. So after 3 months of dating maybe twice a month she texts me and says hey Mom I just got married!! It was so not like her to do that. But soon she found out he was a member of am Aryan type gang.He had served 16 yrs in prison. Over the next year I would get calls her crying over the terrible things he does and says until I finally confronted him. This was a mistake.Now he rules her like the Nazi Bastard he is. She makes good money but he controls it. She isn’t allowed to decorate their home. He is on probation but has only felon friends he is not worried that anyone will tell his officer because and I quote I will know and there will be consequences when I get out. These guys will kill you. She is so far from the vibrant young woman she was.I know that she is in a dangerous situation and so is my granddaughter they are my heart.She has been with him 2 yrs he has tried to make her hate me he controls when I can come visit or see my granddaughter. She is a shadow of her former self she has developed a stutter. She isn’t allowed to talk to me much when he is there. He told her it makes him feel like she is cheating on him when he hears her talking to me. He told her I made sexual advances to him it broke her. A total lie.A horrible awful lie from hell. Please God please deliver my baby girl from this situation.


  9. Heartbroken Sister

    Dear Melissa,
    I am so sorry for this happening to your precious daughter….the same thing happened to my smart, educated, beautiful, financially set younger sister who we were so very close with – besides, so far she hasn’t married the jerk. This just makes me sick how these monsters can do this to people. Why isn’t there a law against people like this? They totally take over people’s minds!! I wish I knew what to say to you, but I don’t because it has been a little over 3 years for us & I am stumped myself……I just keep praying that God will show her what we all see in this sicko. Everything I have learned just keeps saying she has to be the one to wake up. We have tried giving her articles, etc., but that pushed her further away from us to where now she no longer speaks o us at all……it hurts terrible since we used to talk 5-10 EVERY DAY for almost 50 years now……..I will say extra prayers for everyone dealing with this same thing.


  10. momofteen

    My daughter is in a relationship with a narcissist. They are both 16. They started dating when they were 15. We are so at a loss of what to do. We are in counseling – she sees someone and we (she and us her parents) see another person together. Sometimes it seems so good after our session, she will be happy with us again and friendly and talkative. Then she sees him and goes cold as ice. Barely talks to us, sometimes she will let us give her a hug, but she won’t hug us back. Sometimes we feel that things are getting better, than she will see him at school and go back to being cold and distant. We are trying not to attack him, but in the beginning we just reacted. It has been over a year they have been dating, and we have made every mistake in trying to help her. We have gotten angry, tried to say she couldn’t date him. I don’t think we have ever blamed her or devalued her, but I am sure that words have come out wrong and the boyfriend will immediately use that to turn her against us. We want to educate her as to the type of person she is dating, but I fear it is making it worse instead of helping. We try not to attack him and be loving and kind and supportive, but some days our frustration comes out, and I will break down and cry and say something that I don’t mean to say will slip out of my mouth, like one day I was crying and said he is awful, and I wish she wouldn’t see him anymore. My husband makes mistakes too, ends up attacking him, and she defends the boyfriend right away. How can I help her? We are letting her date him once a week, but she sees him at school every day, and they text constantly. Should we take away her phone? Not let her date him? Move her away? Change schools? I am so at a loss of what to do. I am crushed emotionally, and I’m trying to take care of myself, but I am exhausted and so sad for her, and feel like I am not doing enough or doing the right thing for her. Any advice on what we can do to help would be so appreciated.


    1. Barbara

      Although my daughter was not dating a narc when she was sixteen, her boyfriend was hot headed and had a short fuse and his over-reactions did worry me. I knew his mother was worried because he was about six months younger than my daughter and she thought she would lead him astray.
      One Christmas she had saved up her money and bought him a nice jumper. He got jealous over some small thing and took an axe to it. That scared me and also angered me because I knew how hard she had saved for it.
      Like your daughter, (all teens come to that) whatever I said seemed to make her more determined to defend him. She said they were in love and would get married one day and I didn’t understand.
      Then, purposely, I let her overhear me talk to my sister in law and say that there was only so much you can do to help your children make the right choices. I said there was nothing more I could do as ultimately it was her decision, but that it was a pity, as I had thought she would have made herself a good life.
      My seeming to just give up on her seemed to do the trick, not straight away but after a couple of months of her giving me sideways looks just to check I was for real. Teenagers can be such sods because they know you so well that they can read your moods and they know just how to hurt you. It is quite hard to fool them.
      Goodness knows what he is saying to her about you, but somewhere deep down she will know it is not true. Has she also alienated some of her friends? Perhaps they are good ones for you to talk to in order to find out what is being said at school. The chances are her friends will not like him either.
      Good luck with it. If I had my time again with teenagers I would send them to camp – for six years!!


      1. momofteen

        Thank you for your reply. She left all her friends within 6 months of starting to date him. They didn’t like him from the start. Every day, we are just trying to do what we can – trying to support while also trying to give her the freedom to “figure it out for herself” as she puts it. IAs a mom, I’m going crazy with worry over her – praying every day.


  11. She also sends him nasty threatening messages, and goes around his house 5am in the morning. What can he do legally to stop her. And what can i do to stop her from threatening me to losing my daughter. She opened up 2 false dcfs cases o

    I have a narcisst mom who has been terrorizing me and my daughter. Even the guy friend i had she harraseed to the point wherre she did a full background check on him, went to his job too my neice to get him out of his job, she a


  12. Lillian

    My sister recently divorced her narcissist husband after 25 years. The things he did to her were unimaginable to me and her family. I began documenting the last year and a half of their marriage bc she’d “forget” the bad stuff. He turned their children (19 & 31 years old) against her, tried to turn our parents against her but my parents and myself already knew who/what he was and is. My struggle is the divorce is final and he sucked her right back in! She’s for the most part, cut me and our parents off! He convinced her that all of their issues stemmed from her and her drinking (which she started to do the last 2 years of the marriage to cope!) and that HE would help her!!! Oh my gosh! HE IS THE REASON! So what’s so loved ones of victims do? We’ve feared for her life, I’m confident she’s suffered mental break downs from him. I feel helpless!! I’ve done everything I know to help her get out and stay away but nothing worked! I’ve lost not just her but my nephews too. Any suggestions?



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