10 tactics on how to behave with a narcissist man in a relationship
A narcissist man is not someone you would want to be in a relationship with.
A male narcissist is not always easy to recognize, because he knows how to create the right image of a charming, gallant and charismatic man.
Once he is sure that you are completely emotionally dependent, he will show his true nature.
Who is a narcissist
By definition, narcissistic personality disorder is a disorder characterized by a constant need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. The narcissist is characterized by such traits as arrogance, pretentiousness, and envy.
Narcissistic men tend to purposely belittle or disrespect women in a relationship, marriage or at work, causing them insecurity and their own powerlessness.
Often they try to dominate using manipulation or emotional swings.
Simply put, this is a man who thinks he is better than others.
Signs of a male narcissist
The main traits of a narcissist man are:
1. An inflated sense of self-importance
2. Low self-esteem, though he will never admit it.
3. frequent use of manipulation techniques, including gaslighting.
4. The desire to always and in everything to achieve the best.
5. The belief that their opinion is right and everyone else’s is wrong.
6. The tendency to belittle others in order to look and feel better. 7.
7. An inability to maintain friendships and relationships over the long term.
8. An inability to show love in normal ways, such as through sincere affection.
9. A fixation on control.
How to communicate with a male narcissist
If you find yourself in a relationship with a narcissistic man and want to get out of it, you will need time, patience and support.
There are several ways that you can use to stop the manipulation and domination of the man in your life.
1. Don’t give in to your emotions.
Don’t let aggression or toxic behavior influence your response. You will likely be accused of being overly sensitive and emotional.
However, if you do succumb to your emotions, remain calm and don’t let him make you lose your temper. Let him get mad as much as he wants.
The calmer you are, the more annoyed the narcissist will be. Stay detached and keep your composure.
2. Stop apologizing.
Eliminate the word “sorry” from your vocabulary. While the man may try to play the victim, remember that you are the one who is being exploited, used and abused.
His behavior is not your fault. Your apology will not correct his behavior. If you keep apologizing to defuse the situation, it will only encourage him to manipulate you further.
Don’t keep apologizing for things you didn’t do.
3. insist not to walk away from the topic of conversation.
Narcissists tend to change the subject during a conversation to get their attention back. They skillfully use words to offend you and maintain a dominant position. So constantly remind them of the need to stick to the given topic.
Don’t try to react or confront the narcissist, for he is a subtle manipulator. Once you react, he will make you look “bad” in the relationship.
4. Have a silent treatment.
Narcissists love to bully others, and they will continue to do so if you play by their rules. If a man treats you disrespectfully, don’t respond to him.
A narcissist needs attention like he needs oxygen . If you keep reacting to him, he will trap you in accusations and insults. So refuse to communicate with him until he begins to show respect.
Such a man is most afraid of not getting your approval and validation.
5. Use his name in conversation.
Addressing a man by his name may help you regain control of the situation.
Say his name over and over again throughout the entire conversation, looking him in the eye.
This behavior may make the narcissist anxious and show that you are not afraid of him.
6. Take a firm stance.
Speak for yourself in a calm and gentle manner. Talk to your man about how his words and behavior affect your mental and emotional well-being.
Set clear boundaries, say “no” when you have to, and let him know what is unacceptable and what behavior you expect from him.
Although a narcissist may disregard or ignore your personal boundaries, be strong and protect them at all costs, but approach everything intelligently.
7. Avoid trying to get the upper hand.
Narcissists are characterized by toxic behavior and are hard to outsmart in their own manipulation. No matter how angry or upset you are, don’t stoop to their level.
It will only make things worse for you and better for them.
Control your emotions and don’t give the narcissist the opportunity to use them against you. Avoid wanting to fight back and don’t give them any power over you.
8. Catch him in a lie.
While it’s advisable to avoid confronting a narcissistic man directly, don’t be afraid to voice things if things don’t add up. Voice your concerns and let him know that you are aware of his deceptive tactics.
Calmly counteract attempts to fool you or make you look mentally unstable.
Talk to the man in front of other people, ask him to repeat what he’s saying, you can pretend you don’t understand him and ask him to write to you. You can also make audio and video recordings of your communication and write down what is happening.
Narcissus tries to distort the truth in order to get his way, so make sure that your communication is transparent and can be verified.
9. Overcome Fear.
Narcissistic abusers can cause you anxiety and fear, and use that fear to control you. But you don’t need to be afraid. Behind the ostentatious appearance of a narcissist is fear and insecurity.
The narcissist is a fragile person who is frightened by humiliation, rejection, and even the smallest of failures.
Instead of being afraid of him or what he might do to you, realize that the man is more afraid that you will abandon him. Use your inner strength and overcome your fear of the narcissist.
10. Focus on yourself, not on him.
People with narcissistic personality disorder love to get the attention of others. Instead of sacrificing yourself for his needs, focus on your own psychological, physical and emotional needs.
Don’t adjust your life according to their craving for attention. Don’t let the narcissist shape your self-esteem.
Take care of yourself and love yourself. Pay attention to a relationship where you are valued and loved, and focus on yourself instead of trying to fix the man.
How to deal with a narcissistic man: a guide for survival
Psychologist Andrei Yudin – about where do narcissists come from, and whether you can live with a partner of narcissistic and be happy.
Diagnosis or a character trait?
It so happens that every few years mass culture borrows a new term from scientific and psychological language in order to designate with it the image of a conventionally bad, unpleasant person. “Moron,” “idiot,” “hysterical,” “schizophrenic,” “neurotic”-all these words once had very specific scientific meanings, extremely distant from the modern swear words. In their attempts to disassociate themselves from these semantic distortions, psychologists are constantly forced to come up with new terms that are more subtle and devoid of offensive, stigmatizing connotations. Something similar seems to be happening now with the once psychoanalytic term “narcissist.
Today, anyone who has the audacity to show any kind of intransigence or disagreement with the speaker is sometimes labeled a narcissist: from people with profound psychopathic traits to the spouse who lags behind in dishwashing.
Signs of a male narcissist
In modern scientific psychology, the term “narcissist” most often refers to a man who meets the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder (hereafter referred to as NPD). These criteria are very complex, and making a precise diagnosis sometimes requires the work of entire councils of professionals specializing in the field of personality disorders. Nevertheless, there are signs that are universal to all narcissists, and the combination of which suggests that a person is highly likely to be a narcissist:
- Constant preoccupation with self-esteem problems; self-focus; lack of emotional empathy;
- Hypersensitivity to the slightest sign of disrespect; high irritability; tendency to devalue;
- increased attention to issues of social status.
Depending on the ways they use to maintain their fragile self-esteem, narcissists can manifest themselves outwardly in very different ways: some obsessively seek the admiration of others, some try to “grovel” to someone they themselves admire (turning it into a so-called narcissistic extension), and some attack the self-esteem of others by subjugating their will, humiliating them and devaluing all aspects of their personality. These strategies may vary greatly in the strength of their effect on those around them, but they are all unpleasant for the one at whose expense the narcissist is trying to feed his self-esteem at a particular moment.
Where do male and female narcissists come from?
Thanks to the abundance of popular psychological articles and books about narcissism with a strong dramatic, accusatory, and moralizing bias, society has developed a distorted picture of the narcissist as this bad, morally promiscuous person who deserves public censure, punishment, and re-education for his improper values and bad parenting. Rarely do authors dare to dig deeper and soberly examine the inner tragedy of the narcissist psychotype.
In reality, no one is born a narcissist and no one chooses to become a narcissist of his or her own free will. Narcissistic personality disorder begins to form at an early age (usually before the age of 4 or 5) as the child’s only possible adaptation to the situation of a chronic lack of stable unconditional love from parents.
It is so unbearable and terrible for a child to feel with all clarity that the adults caring for him do not really love him, that he will do absolutely everything to squeeze out of them at least a drop of some surrogate love – and thanks to this he will not go mad and die of grief and devastation. And this habit of looking for substitute love is so necessary for the child’s survival that it rather quickly becomes woven into the structure of his character and becomes “second nature”, constantly present and working on an unconscious level. The absence of unconditional love of the parent, which forces the child to develop a narcissistic character, can take very different forms. According to the American psychotherapist Elinor Greenberg, one of the world’s foremost specialists in NRL, most life histories of narcissistic patients fall into one of the three most typical scenarios.
What a narcissist psychotype is made up of
- Quite often parents use their children’s talents to fulfill their own ambitions, such as in sports or music. On the surface, a parent can praise the child and consider him a child prodigy, but the child is weighed down by his role, feels an impostor, feels shame and humiliation of this role. It is as if the child himself is not seen, and he feels that he is loved not by himself, but by someone else, whose life he must live instead of his own.
- Another route to narcissism is the atmosphere of constant evaluation and competition in the family. If parents have only two poles – (extreme admiration for first places and A-pluses and at the same time extreme humiliation or neglect for any other results), the child cannot feel consistently loved. Sooner or later the child begins to rigidly associate happiness with success and becomes involved in an endless pursuit of signs of success that never bring him real satisfaction.
- Another route to narcissism is through years of humiliation and constant criticism from an oppressive, petulant narcissistic parent. People who grow up in such a toxic atmosphere often hear a harsh criticizing voice in their head all their lives, make completely unrealistic demands of themselves, and spend their lives trying to prove to their parent, themselves, and others that they can still live up to even such an overstated bar.
One way or another, all of these situations imply that the child’s personality is ignored. The parent does not see the child as a person, as an emerging personality, but only uses the child as his narcissistic extension, or as a dumpster for rage about his own inferiority.
But since the child has no one to explain what the problem really is, he draws the conclusion that helps him stay in at least some emotional contact with his parent: the conclusion that he is defective, inferior, and that is why he has failed to elicit in his parents the love and attention that any child needs so badly for normal, healthy development.
How to survive with a male narcissist?
If your spouse, partner, beloved man or family member is a narcissist and you plan to maintain a close relationship with this person, it is useful to know a few things – it will improve the quality of life.
The most important thing is to realize that life in a close relationship with a narcissist is very difficult. If you expect a male narcissist to change over time, to adapt to life together and to behave like everyone else, you may be seriously disappointed. Making the decision to tie your life with a narcissist, assess your motivation, the amount of complexity and psychological work that comes with the relationship. You will have to learn how to behave with a male narcissist.
It is important to philosophically, without moralizing to perceive the objective limitations of the narcissist: his inability to regulate self-esteem without external support, the need to devalue others, lack of empathy, inadequately high sensitivity to criticism. In practice, this means that you will have to learn to let the negativity directed at you pass you by, not to take it personally and remember that his emotional outbursts are not caused by you but by the complex limitations of his character, which, alas, he can do nothing about. Unfortunately, the male narcissist really needs your help with regulating his self-esteem: sometimes it’s praise and demonstrating a good attitude, and sometimes it’s the ability to take on the attack of devaluation and endure it.
It is important to understand that a narcissist is unable to accept criticism calmly and without drama, because it crushes his fragile self-esteem and plunges him into a personal nightmare in which he is nothing, unworthy of life. Even a hint of his wrongdoing becomes a knife in the bleeding wound of his personality. It’s better to prepare in advance for the consequences – an outburst of rage, devaluing comments, lasting resentment, or even an attempt to break off the relationship. You – if you want to stay close – will have to take responsibility for some of the narcissist’s mistakes, admit your wrongness in situations where you are right. You will also have to master the language of tolerable feedback for narcissists: we-messages in the genre of “we didn’t manage to pick up the child from school on time today” (when in fact the narcissist was late), formulations like “surprisingly, in one nuance you were temporarily not at your usual level of perfection today by a ridiculous misunderstanding” (when the male narcissist let you down big time).
A high quality of life next to a narcissist is impossible without clear and firm personal boundaries. Narcissists are sophisticated masters at loosening, blurring, and breaking down the boundaries of even the most stable people. Part of his tragedy is that his nagging self-esteem will constantly push him to try to bend you to his will, but once he succeeds, he will instantly lose respect for you with all the consequences for the relationship. So you should immediately tune in to the fact that you have to repel the attacks of different forces, to withstand and not give up. And this requires not only courage, but also a willingness, if necessary, to put the fate of the relationship on the line to withstand the manipulation of the narcissist.
Very often narcissists behave in a way that is unpleasant for those close to them, not because they cannot do otherwise. First, it was the norm in their family, they have no other role models, and second, their empathy is not enough to notice that their behavior hurts people and destroys relationships. It is hard to believe that many of the wounding behaviors a narcissist commits are not on purpose, but simply due to a lack of empathy. Some narcissists can be “re-educated” to some extent by gently, persistently, in a non-judgmental tone, making them aware of the reactions other people are having to their behavior.
How do you survive if you recognize yourself as a narcissist?
If you recognize yourself in the description of a narcissist and think you have a narcissistic personality disorder, there are three pieces of good news.
First, most people with PDP don’t realize they suffer from PDP, so in a sense you’re already lucky: you understand what’s going on with you, and you can find lots of big and small ways to improve your condition.
Secondly, more often than not, people with NER can’t even imagine how much better quality of life is potentially available to them if they get quality psychotherapeutic help. Not every psychotherapist is suitable for NPL treatment – you will need an experienced professional with additional training in personality therapy. Because of the high demands on the qualifications and experience of the specialist, successful treatment of IUD is usually not cheap, can take a long time – up to several years – and requires a great deal of effort to avoid the temptation to interrupt it halfway through or even after the first improvements. Because of these circumstances, even in the psychotherapy community there are widespread myths that IUD is virtually untreatable or incurable. But the result of quality NRL therapy is most often worth the time, money and effort invested in it.
And finally, third. You are not alone. You may be experiencing total loneliness and deep down inside you think you are a defective, unworthy person who no one will ever understand. All these experiences are nothing more than echoes of a terrible, unbearable past in which you were truly alone, rejected and misunderstood, in which you survived and adapted to in the best possible way.
That past is over. To discover it and say goodbye to it requires a little faith in the fact that a person is immeasurably more than any personality disorder. That one’s psychological functioning and one’s character as a narcissist can well be changed if one makes sufficient systematic efforts to do so. And most importantly, that despite what has happened, things can be different in your life.