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!!!

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

  1. Kelley Neitz

    My sister just divorced her narcissistic/sociopath husband. It was not her decision but his idea for the divorce. After he beat her down emotionally and verbally and financially for 32 years there is nothing left of her self esteem. Actually, I think his plan was to leave her in about a 1 1/2 years with absolutely no money and no self esteem. It is very hard for me to understand why she can’t see the a**hole he truly is but I wasn’t the one getting abused all these years. I read your tips/ideas to help realize that she can’t see what I see in him. She does keep asking me if it something she did which I say “no” but its like she resets herself every morning and its a new day and she asks again what went wrong. He truly is cruel beyond comprehension. So I read/learned to not withdraw my support even though its so frustrating. I know I’m not the abused one but it hurts so much watching what she is going through every day. Thanks again for article.

    Like

    Reply
  2. Ed Baker

    Thank you for this information. We have just lost my 22 year old daughter to an evil narcissistic bastard and it’s true that I am feeling very lost in grief. I had lots of advice when I realised this was happening but it is so hard as her Dad not to feel like I should be or could have been doing more to protect her. I walked into her room last night that is now empty after she she cleared it out when I wasn’t home. Devastated is an understatement. I have now started a whats app group with my family and her close friends so we can keep in touch, be supportive and share Information like your excellent blog. Thank you again.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Barbara

      Sorry if I am being obtuse, but do you mean the evil narc has actually killed your daughter or she has gone off with him cutting off all contact with the rest of the family?

      Like

      Reply
    2. Ed Baker

      Very sorry poor wording. Lost as in she has moved in with him not killed. Can I edit my previous comments to avoid confusion?

      Like

      Reply
      1. Barbara

        Carrie might be able to edit it for you.

        Regarding your daughter, at her age she will be ultra susceptible to a narc. Teens and twenties seem to regard all the intense drama that goes with life with a narc as proof their love is real, passionate and meant to be. When a man who is so jealous that he gets physically threatening when he thinks she has looked at another man and then blames her for his loss of control, it makes her feel she is his whole world and who doesn’t want to be somebody’s whole world? She doesn’t understand the meaning of a loving caring partner yet, she is living life in the fast lane emotionally.

        When the moments of him putting her down get more intense her confidence will sap away, but by then she will be looking to him for every morsal he throws her way. Like a beaten but loyal dog.

        Unfortunately, you cannot fast forward the process she is going through and you will be learning yourself just how much you can speak out against him before she starts to avoid you and cut contact. I expect that aspect of getting through to a victim varies from person to person.

        All you can do is assure her that when she needs to come to you she can do so at anytime, day or night. Nobody knows when this will be. Some victims are in the clutches of a narc for many many years, others rationalize and act relatively quickly (a couple of years can actually be considered pretty quick). The fear is she falls pregnant. Narcs often want this because it makes a victim all the more vulnerable. Hopefully she will look around her and compare her relationship with him to others of her age group and start to think.

        I know all this is so frustrating for the family and friends of victims, but there is little you can do but watch and wait. This puts you in a victim category too, so even more lives are affected by the narc. Your daughter should be enjoying meeting so many new friends, planning a career and embracing all of life’s possibilities opening up for her and so we all, on this site of Carries, know how distraught and helpless you are feeling right now. Keep faith in that one day she will return to you, but in the meantime do not let it overshadow all aspects of your own life. Don’t let the narc ruin that too.

        Like

        Reply
  3. Merta

    My sister is married to a narcissist. They have a young daughter that I want so much to be a part of our lives still. My sister has always chosen abusive men. I have a family of my own and can’t help her. She doesn’t want help. He has turned her against us. They have a nice lifestyle and she knows if she confronts the bastard he will threaten a divorce. Even if she divorced him she would just find another self centered creep to be with. After a while, you realize that some people don’t want help. You are wasting your time. I hope and pray for my niece mostly. I don’t care about my sister or brother in law. They are both selfish people.

    Like

    Reply
  4. lizzym34

    I am so grateful I’ve stumbled onto your blog. I’m in the process of ending a relationship with a narcissist and truly thought I was the crazy one. I cannot wait to sink my teeth into your writings. Thank you.

    Like

    Reply
  5. Ed Baker

    Thank you. Your words are reassuring. It’s very difficult at times but i hope through reasurance and knowledge we can all stay waiting to support her when she needs it most

    Like

    Reply
  6. Sally

    I have been going through this with my 27 year old daughter. She has a 5 year old son, my grandson. She recently left and stayed with family for several weeks. The entire time she never stopped contact with him. He has done everything that has been said in this post short of killing her. He is textbook narcissist. She recently went back because she thinks he will change. She is also pregnant by this man. The baby is due in November. At this point, I am the bad guy and she doesn’t even speak to me. She is using my grandson and keeping him from me to hurt me. I have always been in his life with everything from the moment he was born. My daughter and I have always been really close and since he has came into the picture our relationship has spiralled down into a dark place, basically nonexistent. She has no contact with anyone in our family except my mother. He has fatally alienated her and my grandson from everyone that loves them. He has made her believe that her family does not love her. I am heartbroken and feel helpless in all of this. My family says give it time, it will not last. Its so difficult just waiting. This man also did his previous girlfriend of 8 years the same way and to this day she doesn’t speak to her mother. I guess the only thing I can do now is wait and be there for her when it falls apart. I have always been there for her and my grandson no matter what. I have moved her several times and it’s like she doesn’t appreciate anything. She would tell me of all the verbal and physical abuse, but then when I would react and she had took him back, I was the bad guy. Please help!

    Like

    Reply

Don't be shy, add your comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s