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. However, by strengthening your defences and knowing exactly what your boundaries are, you can stand up to the narcissist and protect yourself from their harmful behaviour. In this blog post, we will discuss why boundaries are important when dealing with narcissists and how you can go about strengthening them.
What are boundaries?
Boundaries are often misunderstood. They’re not about telling someone what they can and cannot do. It’s a way of protecting yourself from others’ behaviour that has the potential to be harmful towards you.
Setting boundaries is an effective way to let people know how far their actions or words should go before crossing into unacceptable territory for you – without having direct conflict with them directly over those behaviours (which would only serve as fuel for the narcissist).
How do I set boundaries with a narcissist?
In order to set effective boundaries with narcissists, it’s important that you have a clear understanding of what your needs are and how they can be met. For example, if the narcissist constantly makes fun of you in front of other people, then this might be something worth setting limits on. Make it clear that you find the behaviour unacceptable and that if it does, you will leave. If the narcissist does it again, make your excuses and leave the group.
Narcissists thrive on attention. They tend to manipulate situations to get as much attention as possible (usually at your expense). You may need to let go any expectations or desires for approval from these types of people and do what’s best for you instead.
I struggle with setting limits. What can I do about it?
There are many ways to go about strengthening your boundaries. How you do it will ultimately depend on the situation you’re in and what makes you feel most comfortable. One way is to talk to someone else about the situation. It could be a friend, family member, therapist or any other support system. This can help give you some clarity and outside perspective on the situation so that you can better assess what steps need to be taken next.
Additionally, setting physical boundaries can often be helpful. You could establish distance from the narcissist, refuse contact or limit conversation with them. It’s important to remember that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to dealing with narcissists; you need to find what works best for you and feels most comfortable.
The most important thing is that you stay strong, resilient and don’t give up. Standing up to a narcissist can be difficult, but it’s worth it in the end. Remember that you have every right to set boundaries and protect yourself from their harmful behaviour. With time and practice, you will get better at doing this – and eventually, the narcissist may even back down.
For Further Reading:
You might also want to check out the following posts about the different abuse tactics in the Narcissist’s toolbox:
- Abuse by Proxy
- Ambient Abuse
- Coercive Control
- Divide and Conquer
- Flying Monkeys
- Future Faking
- Love Bombing
- Narcissist Discard
- Narcissist Hoovering
- Narcissistic Triangulation
- Narcissistic Abuse
- Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome
- Narcissistic Family Roles
- Narcissistic FOG
- Narcissistic Grooming
- Narcissistic Projection
- Narcissistic Rage
- Narcissistic Smear Campaign
- Narcissistic Word Salad
- Parental Alienation
- 7 Types of Narcissistic Abuse with Practical Examples
- The 10 Stages of Healing After Narcissistic Abuse
- 13 Warning Signs of Narcissistic Abuse: How to Deal with It and Get Help
- Flying Monkeys in the World of Narcissism: What They Are and How to Deal with Them
- Gaslighting Defined – How Can You Tell If Your Partner Is Gaslighting You?
- Why Narcissists String Along their Exes and Never Cut Them Loose
- Understanding the Cycle of Emotional Abuse – The Red Flags of a Toxic Relationship
And finally, this is my story. I was the scapegoat daughter of a narcissistic father.
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