People with narcissistic personality disorder may seem like they’re very confident and self-assured, but in reality, they are often deeply insecure and needy. When it comes to relationships with these types of people, it can be hard to set boundaries and create a healthy relationship dynamic. Here are some strategies for breaking free from the narcissistic relationship pattern.
What is a narcissistic relationship pattern?
A narcissistic relationship pattern is a type of dysfunctional relationship dynamic between two people, typically with one individual exhibiting numerous narcissistic traits.
This pattern of behaviour involves manipulation, emotional abuse, control, and domination from the narcissist, while the other person often plays the role of accommodating or enabling this behaviour in order to maintain some level of peace or stability.
Common patterns that people experience in narcissistic relationships include gaslighting, invalidation and criticism, unrealistic demands from the narcissist, and an overall imbalance of power between the two parties.
Breaking free from a narcissistic relationship pattern
Breaking free from a narcissistic relationship pattern can be an incredibly difficult process.
It takes courage and strength to recognize the signs of narcissistic behaviour and begin the process of healing and recovery, but it is possible with the right tools and resources.
1 – Know Your Worth
It can be easy to get caught up in the cycle of trying to please someone who is always looking to be pleased, even if that person is not giving anything back in return.
This could mean giving them attention, validation, or material possessions without ever receiving any reciprocation.
To break this pattern and create a healthier relationship dynamic it is important to first recognize that you are dealing with a narcissist and acknowledge the negative impact the relationship is having on your mental health.
It’s important to recognize your worth and know that you do not have to put up with someone else’s manipulative behaviour or emotional abuse.
It can be very difficult to break away from a relationship like this, especially if the person has become an integral part of your life.
However, the fact is that no one has the right to make you feel worthless, and it’s okay for you to establish limits.
Facing a narcissistic person takes courage, but once you have made the decision, start taking small steps towards breaking free from the cycle of manipulation.
2 – Set Boundaries
The most crucial step when breaking free from a narcissistic relationship pattern is to define your boundaries.
Narcissists tend to assume that their needs should come first, so make sure that you are clear about what your needs are and how they need to be respected within the relationship.
This could mean anything from establishing an expectation for communication frequency to letting them know when something feels inappropriate or unacceptable behaviour-wise.
Defining your boundaries also means being honest with yourself about what you can and cannot tolerate in the relationship.
Communicate Your Boundaries Effectively
Once you have established your boundaries, it is important to communicate them effectively to the narcissist in order to avoid any misunderstandings or misconceptions.
Communicating effectively also involves being assertive but not aggressive when expressing your needs or concerns.
It is important to remember that even though it may seem like the narcissist doesn’t care about your opinion, this isn’t necessarily true.
Communication can help bridge any gaps between you two and foster understanding.
The following are some examples of the types of boundaries you could put in place and how to enforce them:
“It is not okay for you to manipulate me or be disrespectful towards me, and if it happens I will leave.”
“I expect you to treat me with respect, and if that doesn’t happen I will end our conversation immediately.”
“You may be going through a hard time at work, but my feelings and needs are important too, so if those aren’t respected then I will have to leave.”
“I will not put up with any more manipulative behaviour from you, and if it continues I will end this phone call.”
Recognize projection and do not get drawn into their drama
Narcissists often project their own insecurities onto those around them by engaging in destructive criticizing or insulting behaviours.
It is important to remember that these attacks are not personal, and that the narcissist is likely coming from a place of insecurity or hurt.
The best approach when faced with this behaviour is to remain composed and detached while also reinforcing your boundaries.
It can be helpful to remind yourself that this behaviour is more about the narcissist’s insecurities than you as an individual.
3 – Get Professional Help
Professional help from a therapist or counsellor can be invaluable when breaking free from a narcissistic relationship pattern.
A therapist or counsellor can provide invaluable support, advice and resources to anyone who has been in a toxic relationship with a narcissist.
Receiving professional guidance can help those affected by narcissistic behaviour gain clarity and insight into the situation, while also learning how to address the underlying issues that caused the patterns of abuse in the first place.
Talking to a therapist provides victims with a safe environment to talk openly and honestly about their experiences without fear of judgement or criticism.
This empowers them to take back control over their lives, while also learning key strategies and techniques that they can use to better handle future interactions with narcissistic people in their own lives and professionally.
Therapy is therefore one of the most effective ways of breaking free from the cycle of abuse that often characterizes relationships with narcissists.
It allows those affected by narcissistic behaviour to gain valuable insight into how their own behaviours may be enabling this cycle of abuse, as well as getting access to specific tools and techniques for navigating these kinds of dynamics safely and confidently going forward.
4 – Take Time For Yourself
When trying to break free from a narcissistic relationship pattern it is crucial that you take time for yourself away from them.
This includes engaging in activities that enrich your life such as hobbies, spending time with friends, pursuing passions outside of work or school, etc.
Taking time for yourself will help build your confidence and self-esteem while also providing an opportunity for reflection and growth without having to worry about the influence of the narcissist’s presence or opinions over yours.
5 – Build a Supportive Network
When it comes to finding emotionally supportive people during your journey of healing, friends and family can be invaluable sources of guidance and support.
Spending time with those who understand what you’re going through and can provide a shoulder to lean on or an ear to listen can be incredibly helpful when trying to break free from a narcissistic relationship pattern.
It may also be beneficial to seek out groups or organizations specifically designed for those struggling with issues related to narcissistic personality disorder.
Conclusion – How to Break Free from a Narcissistic Relationship Pattern
At the end of the day, navigating a relationship with someone who has narcissistic tendencies can be incredibly challenging, but that does not mean it is impossible.
By understanding your worth, setting boundaries, not taking things personally, and seeking out professional help if necessary, it’s possible for someone stuck in a narcissistic relationship to break free from this toxic pattern and start building healthier relationships instead.