Setting boundaries with a narcissist in your life is extremely important.
Dr. Henry Cloud, a psychologist, is known for his teachings on how to build healthy boundaries in relationships. He says boundaries teach others how to love us. Are you dating/married to a narcissist? If so, setting boundaries with a narcissist is even more important.
Narcissists offer only conditional love…
If you are expecting true love with a narcissist, love is a dangerous thing. Conditional love is based on performance or stature, and it is love that we must earn. Boundaries may not teach a narcissist how to love us, but they can show a narcissist how to engage without causing as much damage.
Here are 8 ways to establish boundaries with a narcissist:
1. Don’t let the narcissist define you.
A narcissist can hurt you deeply with words alone. This person may have called you lazy, a bad parent, a financial disaster, or a lousy cook. It’s easy to absorb those identities when a person you love or respect calls you such names. Don’t listen to the narcissist or attach that label to yourself. Ignore him or her.
Write down what you thought of yourself long before you met the narcissist. Did you feel like a strong, sensitive, intelligent man or woman? Remember it and believe it. You are still the same person you were when you met the narcissist. He or she is inside of you, somewhere, and that person needs some love and care to reappear. This is a great way to start establishing boundaries with a narcissist.
As Dr. Carter says, it’s about dignity, respect, and civility or DRC.
When you are with a narcissist, it’s critical to have dignity, respect, and civility toward yourself first.
2. Establish separate financial accounts.
Ninety-nine percent of abusive relationships have some financial abuse, according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence. Establish a boundary with the narcissist to stop this. Open your own account and start saving money. Protect yourself against further abuse.
For narcissists, money can equal power and control. Take some of that power back with handing finances yourself or sharing in the management of funds.
3. Don’t give your power away.
The narcissist is skilled at picking fights and putting you on the defensive. Don’t let that happen. Stop crying, pleading, and begging for forgiveness for some perceived wrong. When you go on the defensive, it gives the narcissist more power. You can be silent, walk away, or use a non-committal phrase such as “I understand.”
4. Don’t accept the silent treatment.
The narcissist finds the silent treatment advantageous as a manipulative tool. The narcissist can say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about” when you confront them. After all, they are verbally communicating with everyone else!
A healthy relationship involves communication and respect. The silent treatment is abusive and rude. Instead of trying to get a response from a non-communicator, do something for yourself. Call a friend or spend time with the kids. Stop talking to a brick wall.
5. Stop trying to change that person.
We cannot change others. We can only work on ourselves. It is up to the narcissist to make any changes. Another way to establish boundaries with a narcissist is to quit altering your behavior, schedule, words, and actions to satisfy the narcissist. Take care of yourself. You do you.
6. Be strong.
When you set boundaries, you will receive abuse. Putting limits in place with a narcissist is like trapping a lion in a cage. They are going to roar and fight back. Let them. You stay on your path to your authentic self. Your hopes and dreams will resurface, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll have a clearer vision of how to find peace.
7. Download my Ebook on the “7 Tips to Leave the Narcissist and Live Your Best Life”
After taking five years to make the decision to file for divorce, and another year to execute it, I speak from personal experience and dive deep into the pain of divorce, the stress it burdens, and the things you can do to make the divorce process easier. I also include my approved resources and further recommended reading.
8. Consider Online Therapy
If you are wanting more information on how to establish boundaries with a a narcissist, I suggest considering Online Therapy. Dr. Carter and I do not conduct online therapy, however we have vetted a group who can assist. They are a trusted sponsor. I’ve received real feedback from real individuals telling me how pleased they’ve been with the services they’ve received from BetterHelp. I want you to get the help you deserve.