Living with a Narcissist
Today, I’m sharing a guest post by Cassie Christensen about the consequences of being in a relationship with a narcissist. Cassie is a therapist and the co-founder of Modern Therapy, a tele-mental health company offering mental health services from the comfort of your home. (…which is pretty awesome, right?)
side note: if you’re interested in checking out Modern Therapy, you’ll receive a free week of therapy by using promo code livingsimply when you register.
Among other important tips, Cassie points out that your self-esteem can crumble by spending time with a narcissist. Her article below will help you recognize the various traits of narcissism, determine if those around you may be narcissists, and protect your self-esteem when you’re in a relationship with a narcissistic individual.
Read the full article below . . .
What is a narcissist?
According to the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by constant illusions of grandeur, need for admiration, entitlement, and lack of empathy. These characteristics can stem from feelings of inferiority, emptiness and low self-esteem. The individual personality traits of narcissists can vary greatly, so it is often difficult to identify narcissism.
Five common traits of narcissism:
1) Controlling the conversation
They love to talk about themselves and do not give you the opportunity to share your views or have your feelings heard. If you do not agree with them, you are most likely corrected, dismissed, or ignored.
2) Interrupting the conversation
They interrupt you and quickly make the topic about themselves. They usually show little genuine interest in what you are saying or doing.
3) Breaking the rules
They enjoy getting away with breaking rules, such as stealing, missing appointments, and not following traffic laws.
4) Violating boundaries
They disregard your thoughts, feelings, possessions, and physical space. They may borrow items or money from you without returning it and show little remorse.
5) Projecting a false image
They do things to impress you by making themselves look good externally. This is called a “trophy” complex, which they exhibit physically, romantically, sexually, socially, financially, or professionally. They use objects and status to represent themselves.
So, how can you tell if you are living with a narcissist?
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Do they talk about themselves all of the time?
2. Do they impose rules on you?
3. Are they possessive and jealous?
4. Do they make everything about what they want?
5. Do they ever cheat on their significant others?
6. Do you feel “small” and like your feelings don’t matter when you’re around them?
7. Do they say things that make you feel like you’re worthless?
8. Does it feel like they wouldn’t truly care if you walked away?
9. Have most of their good friendships ended?
10. If you’re venting about something, does the conversation end up somehow becoming about them, even if you are talking about something very personal and important?
If you answered yes to more than half of these questions, you may be living with a narcissist. The best thing you can do for yourself is to protect your self-esteem.
How To Protect Your Self-Esteem
Living with a narcissist can be very difficult. Often times, it can take a large toll on one’s self esteem. It you find yourself in this situation, it is essential that you protect yourself. Here are a few tips you can use to help preserve your self-esteem.
1) Ignore them
Narcissists will intentionally try to provoke a reaction. By ignoring their behavior or comments, it eliminates that satisfaction they are seeking. This can cause them to shift their targets.
2) Don’t take it personally
This is a disorder that is outside of your control. As difficult as it can be, try not to personalize what is said to you.
3) Set clear boundaries
Be direct/to the point when communicating.
4) Learn how to decipher compliments
Are the compliments that you are given insincere or genuine ones?
5) Stand up for yourself
It’s important that you listen to your intuition and speak up when you feel you must.
Try to practice one of these tips in your next interactions with the narcissist in your life. Be sure to note how it changes the dynamic of the relationship!
If you or a loved one is experiencing violence in your relationship, contact local police or call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
About the Author- Cassie Christensen
Cassie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Rowan University in Psychology and a Master’s Degree from Rutgers University in Clinical Social Work. Cassie is a therapist and the co-founder of Modern Therapy, a tele-mental health company. Cassie aims to make talk therapy accessible for everyone. She focuses on the mind and body connection to guide her clients to a happy and healthy life.