How to Set Boundaries with Narcissists – Strengthen Your Defences

If you have a narcissist in your life – whether it’s a friend, family member, or romantic partner – it can be difficult to set boundaries. Narcissists thrive on control and manipulation, so they will often try to cross your boundaries in order to get what they want.

In this blog post, we will explore the reasons why narcissists struggle with boundary setting and how you can better navigate your relationship with them. By understanding what makes them tick, you’ll be better equipped to protect your own feelings and needs.

Table of Contents

What are boundaries?

Boundaries are the limits we set for ourselves. They can be physical, emotional, or digital; they can be verbal or unspoken. Boundaries help us maintain our own integrity and respect other people’s boundaries as well. They provide a sense of safety and security in relationships and protect us from being taken advantage of.

Boundaries also help keep relationships healthy by defining clear expectations and ensuring each person is getting their needs met. Setting boundaries is an important part of self-care and can even lead to greater self-awareness over time.

Narcissists rarely respect boundaries

Lack of Empathy: A major reason why narcissists have difficulty respecting boundaries is because they lack empathy and often disregard the feelings or needs of others. They have no problem disregarding someone else’s boundaries and pushing their own agenda instead.

Sense of Entitlement: Another reason why narcissists do not respect boundaries is because of their sense of entitlement. They believe that whatever they want should be given to them without question, and fail to recognize that other people may have different ideas or needs.

Poor Impulse Control: Lastly, narcissists tend to have poor impulse control. When they are faced with boundaries established by someone else, they are likely to act impulsively and ignore them.

How do I set boundaries with a narcissist?

Know Your Limits: One of the most important things to understand when setting boundaries with a narcissist is your own limits. Make sure to take time to reflect on your own wants and needs before going into any conversation. This will allow you to have a clear understanding of what is acceptable behavior in the relationship and what isn’t.

Be Direct: If narcissists sense that you are trying to be passive aggressive or indirect, they may use it against you. It’s important to be direct and straightforward about your boundaries so there is no room for confusion or misinterpretation.

Stick To What You Say: Once you’ve established your boundaries with a narcissist, it’s essential to follow through with what you say. If you make a promise or an agreement, make sure to stick to it as this will keep them from using loopholes or exploiting any inconsistencies in your words or actions.

Don’t Take Responsibility For Their Actions: While setting boundaries with a narcissist, it’s also important not to take responsibility for their behavior or reactions. Knowing when and how much you can control in the situation can help ensure that your expectations are met without making excuses for them when they behave in unacceptable ways.

Know When To Walk Away: Sometimes even after setting boundaries with a narcissist, they may still cross them on purpose or inadvertently due to their own lack of self-control or awareness of other people’s feelings and needs. In these situations, it might be best to walk away until both parties are able to come back together in a more productive manner that respects each other’s boundaries better than before.

How to establish and maintain boundaries

Define Your Boundaries

Knowing what your boundaries are is the first step to setting and maintaining them with a narcissist. Take some time to reflect on the values and rights that you feel are important in order to maintain a healthy relationship. Once you know what those are, make sure to communicate these values to the narcissist.

Be Assertive but Respectful

It can be difficult for narcissists to respect boundaries because they often lack empathy and are very. It’s important to be assertive in setting your boundaries, but also remain respectful of their feelings and opinions while doing so.

Make it Clear

Once you have established your boundaries, it’s important that they are clear and concise and that everyone involved is aware of them. Make sure to explain why certain behaviours or actions may not be acceptable or have consequences if crossed.

Monitor Progress

Establishing boundaries can be hard work, so it’s important to monitor progress along the way in order to ensure both parties are respecting them properly. Regular check-ins can help foster an environment of trust and respect between both parties whilst ensuring limits stay intact.

Stay Calm

Finally, when dealing with a narcissist and enforcing your boundaries, it’s important not to become too emotional or angry, which can fuel the conflict further instead of deescalating it.

Try your best to stay calm no matter how challenging the narcissist’s response might be, as this will help you keep a clear head when trying to enforce limits without becoming frustrated or overwhelmed yourself.

Final Thoughts

Dealing a narcissist can be difficult, but with the right boundaries and some patience, it’s possible to maintain healthy relationships with them.

Keep in mind that narcissists aren’t always trying to be malicious. They just might have trouble respecting your boundaries due to their own issues.

In cases like these, compassion and understanding from all parties involved is key to creating an environment of mutual respect.

For Further Reading

The following are the most potent abusive tactics in the narcissist’s toolbox –

Abuse by Proxy – How to Identify and Deal with this form of Psychological Abuse

How to Detect and Escape Ambient Abuse: A Survivor’s Guide

Divide and Conquer – a strategic way of isolating victims

The Fauxpology – a devious weapon of the Narcissist

Future Faking – Narcissists make hollow promises about the future

Narcissistic Grooming – How Narcissists Brainwash and Condition their Victims

Love Bombing – The Narcissist’s Trick to Keep You Hooked

What is Narcissist Discard and what are the signs?

Narcissist Hoovering – How to Deal With It

Narcissist Triangulation – What it is, why Narcissists do it, and how to deal with it

What you need to know about Narcissistic Rage

Narcissistic Smear Campaign – how to spot it and what to do about it

Narcissistic Word Salad – one of the tools in the narcissist’s toolbox

7 Types of Narcissistic Abuse with Practical Examples

Narcissistic Abuse – How Narcissists Manipulate and Hurt their Victims

13 Warning Signs of Narcissistic Abuse: How to Deal with It and Get Help

Narcissistic Abuse Examples – How to Recognize the Toxic Signs of Narcissism

The Narcissistic Abuse Cycle: How to Recognize It and Break Free

Narcissist Manipulation Tactics: How to Safeguard Yourself from Emotional Abuse

Jokes or Abuse? When Jokes Cross the Line

Narcissistic Abuse – The Signs and Why it’s so Damaging

What Is Narcissist Abuse Syndrome and How Do You Recover from It?

Manipulative things a narcissist will say to pressure you to stay

Blaming the Victim – The Narcissist’s Insidious Strategy to Avoid Responsibility

Toxic Things a Narcissist Will Say To Destroy Your Confidence

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. When you use one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me. At no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission, which helps me run this blog and keep my in-depth content free of charge for all my readers.

Leave a comment