If you’re dealing with a narcissist, or are in any kind of relationship with one, you know that while going no contact is often the ideal solution, unfortunately this is not always possible or practical. A good example is when you have to co-parent with them, or see them at work every day.
Whether it’s a family member, friend, ex-partner, or co-worker, a narcissist’s constant need for attention and validation can leave you feeling exhausted and helpless.
This is is where going low contact comes in as a viable strategy to limit your interactions with the narcissist while still maintaining some level of connection.
In this post, we’ll explore the concept of going low contact with a narcissist, to be used when going no contact is not possible.
We’ll provide tips and strategies to help you navigate this difficult situation and prioritize your own mental health and well-being above all else.
Step 1 – Set firm boundaries
Setting clear and firm boundaries is crucial when going low contact with a narcissist.
Narcissists have a tendency to push boundaries, so it’s important to be very specific about what behaviours are not acceptable.
For example, if the narcissist tends to make derogatory comments or put you down, make it clear that this kind of behaviour will no longer be tolerated.
When communicating these boundaries, it’s important to be assertive and confident in your delivery.
Avoid using language that is overly aggressive or confrontational, but also don’t back down if the narcissist tries to challenge or dismiss your boundaries.
It can be helpful to write down your boundaries ahead of time and practice how you’ll communicate them with the narcissist. This can help you feel more prepared and confident in your approach.
Remember that setting boundaries is not about controlling the other person’s behaviour, but rather protecting yourself from their negative influence.
By clearly communicating what behaviours are not acceptable, you’re taking an important step towards prioritizing your own well-being and emotional health.
If the narcissist continues to violate your boundaries despite clear communication on your part, it may be necessary to consider more drastic measures.
These could include reducing contact further or seeking outside help from a therapist or counsellor who specializes in dealing with personality disorders like narcissism.
Step 2 – Limit communication
Limiting communication with a narcissist is an important step in protecting your mental health and well-being.
This can be achieved by setting clear boundaries around when and how you communicate with the narcissist.
One effective way to limit communication is by reducing the frequency of interactions.
This might mean only communicating when absolutely necessary, rather than engaging in constant back-and-forth exchanges.
It’s important to be firm but polite when declining invitations or requests from the narcissist, and to avoid getting drawn into lengthy discussions or debates.
Another effective strategy for limiting communication is to switch to less personal modes of communication, such as email or text message.
This can help create a sense of distance between you and the narcissist, while also allowing you to carefully consider your responses before sending them.
If you do need to communicate with the narcissist in person, it’s important to set clear expectations around what will be discussed and how long the interaction will last.
Try to keep conversations brief and focused on specific topics, rather than getting drawn into emotional discussions or arguments.
Ultimately, the goal of limiting communication with a narcissist is to reduce their ability to exert control over you and manipulate your emotions.
By creating healthy boundaries around when and how you communicate with them, you can take an important step towards protecting yourself from their negative influence.
Step 3 – Keep conversations short and to the point
When communicating with a narcissist, it’s important to keep your conversations brief and focused.
This can help prevent them from manipulating or controlling the conversation, and also reduce the likelihood of arguments or emotional manipulation.
One effective strategy is to stick to specific topics and avoid engaging in small talk or unrelated discussions.
This can help keep the conversation on track and prevent the narcissist from trying to derail it.
It’s also important to be clear and concise in your communication.
Avoid using overly emotional language or getting drawn into lengthy explanations or justifications for your actions.
Instead, focus on stating your needs or concerns clearly and directly.
If the narcissist tries to derail the conversation or engage in emotional manipulation, it’s important to stay calm and assertive.
Refrain from getting defensive or engaging in personal attacks, as this will only escalate the situation.
Remember that when communicating with a narcissist, less is often more.
By keeping your interactions brief and focused, you can protect yourself from their negative influence while still maintaining necessary communication.
Step 4 – Don’t engage in arguments or debates
Narcissists are known to thrive on conflict and attention. This means it’s important to avoid engaging in arguments or debates with them.
It’s also important to recognize when the narcissist is trying to manipulate the conversation or control the situation.
This might involve using tactics such as gaslighting, where they try to make you question your own sanity or perception of reality.
If you do find yourself in a situation where the narcissist is trying to start an argument or engage in emotional manipulation, it’s important not to take the bait. Instead, calmly state your boundaries and disengage from the conversation.
Step 5 – Keep emotions in check
Narcissists can be very skilled at manipulating others by playing on their emotions.
They may use tactics such as guilt-tripping, gaslighting, or projecting to make you feel responsible for their feelings or behavior. This can be incredibly frustrating and emotionally draining.
To avoid falling into this trap, it’s important to keep your emotions in check when interacting with a narcissist.
This means staying calm and focused on your goals, rather than getting caught up in their drama or emotional manipulation.
One effective strategy is to practice mindfulness and self-awareness.
This might involve taking deep breaths before responding to the narcissist, or checking in with yourself regularly to see how you’re feeling.
Step 6 – Focus on yourself
One of the best ways to protect yourself from a narcissist is to focus on your well-being and personal growth. By taking care of yourself, you can build resilience and reduce your vulnerability to their negative influence.
Make an effort to pursue pastimes and interests that bring you joy. This might involve taking up a new hobby or revisiting an old one that you’ve neglected.
Engaging in activities that you’re passionate about can help boost your self-esteem. It will also provide a sense of fulfilment outside of your interactions with the narcissist.
Another important step is to surround yourself with supportive friends and family members who understand what you’re going through.
Having a strong support system can provide much-needed validation and encouragement when dealing with a difficult person like a narcissist.
Prioritizing self-care activities like exercise, meditation, or therapy can also be beneficial for protecting yourself from the negative effects of interacting with a narcissist.
These activities can help reduce stress, improve mental health, and provide coping strategies for dealing with difficult emotions.
Step 7 – Consider professional help
If you’re struggling to cope, it may be helpful to seek professional help from a therapist or counsellor.
A trained therapist can provide valuable support and guidance for navigating difficult relationships and managing the emotional toll of interacting with a narcissist. They can also help you develop coping strategies for dealing with their behaviour and setting healthy boundaries.
In therapy, you may work on identifying patterns in your interactions with the narcissist, as well as exploring your own feelings and reactions to their behavior.
This can help you better understand how to respond in a way that is assertive but not aggressive, and how to maintain your own sense of self-worth in the face of their negative influence.
Therapy can also provide a safe space for processing difficult emotions like anger, frustration, or sadness that may arise from dealing with a narcissist.
A therapist can teach you techniques for managing these emotions so that they don’t overwhelm you or negatively impact other areas of your life.
Always keep in mind that seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness.
It’s a proactive step towards taking control of your own well-being and protecting yourself from the negative effects of interacting with a narcissistic individual.
With the right support and strategies in place, you can learn to navigate difficult relationships while still maintaining your own sense of self-worth and emotional resilience.
Final thoughts re going low contact with a narcissist
In conclusion, going low contact with a narcissist can be a difficult but necessary step towards protecting your own well-being and emotional health.
By setting clear boundaries, focusing on personal growth and self-care, and seeking professional support when needed, you can learn to navigate the challenges of dealing with a narcissistic individual while still maintaining your own sense of self-worth and emotional resilience.
Remember that you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness in all of your relationships, and that it’s never too late to prioritize your own well-being and take control of your life.
Frequently Asked Questions About Going Low Contact With a Narcissist
Going low contact with a narcissist means reducing the amount of communication and interaction you have with them. It’s a strategy used by individuals who do not want to completely cut off a relationship but need to set boundaries for their own mental and emotional health.
Some people choose to go low contact because they may not be ready or able to completely cut ties with the narcissist. This could be due to various reasons such as shared responsibilities, legal issues, family connections, or simply personal choice.
Establishing low contact involves setting clear boundaries about when and how communication will occur. This might mean limiting conversations to specific topics, restricting the times when you’re available to talk, or choosing to interact only in certain settings.
Strategies for maintaining low contact include setting strict boundaries, avoiding emotional engagement during interactions, practicing self-care, seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist, and reminding yourself of your reasons for going low contact.
It’s normal to feel guilt or fear when reducing contact with someone, especially if they’ve been a significant part of your life. Remind yourself that you’re doing this for your own wellbeing. Seek professional help if needed, and surround yourself with supportive people who understand your situation.
Low contact can sometimes lead to a more manageable relationship with a narcissist, as it limits their opportunities to manipulate or harm you. However, it’s important to remember that narcissists often struggle to respect boundaries and may not change their behavior.
If the narcissist continually disrespects your boundaries, you may need to consider going no contact. Alternatively, seek advice from a mental health professional, who can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation.
Absolutely not. Choosing to go low contact is a sign of strength. It shows that you’re taking steps to protect your mental and emotional health, which is an incredibly brave thing to do.
It’s normal to second-guess major decisions, especially when they involve significant relationships. If you’re doubting your decision, it may be helpful to speak with a therapist or support group, or to write down your reasons for going low contact and refer to them when you’re feeling unsure.