How to Set Boundaries With a Narcissist (and Make Them Respect Them)

Are you absolutely one with being manipulated and controlled? Has the narcissist in your life walked all over you one last time?

Setting boundaries with a narcissist seems like an impossible act, but I’ve got some secrets up my sleeve that I want to share with you. 

How you set those boundaries and how you keep to them can provide you with life-changing results!

You and I know you must regain your peace and stand your ground. It’s overdue, and it’s time to make changes that hand you back your reality.

Ready to transform?

Read on!

What are Boundaries?

Boundaries aren’t just typically ‘what you’ll tolerate’ in life – they’re more complex.

Depending on what kind of boundary you’re thinking about, they can range between:

  1. Physical. These involve space and touch, for example your personal space. Who you allow into it and how much privacy you need.
  1. Mental. These surround your thoughts and what your values are. They also include your opinions and allow you to explore your own beliefs and how to respect the opinions of others too. 
  1. Emotional. This is where narcissists can encroach – it’s all about your emotional wellbeing. Strong emotional boundaries will prevent you from being manipulated. 
  1. Time. This is all about how you manage your time, who you spend it with, and how you ensure you have a healthy balance in your life. 
  1. Material. Who are you willing to share your finances with? Who are you inviting close to your possessions, and how do you expect them to treat those things?

As you can see – this is far more than simply “what you expect from others.”

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Why Are They So Important?

Boundaries define you. They tell the world who you are and tell everybody you meet how you align your tolerance with your values. 

Your boundaries are nobody else’s business! What you need to start thinking about is why they weren’t there before, and if they were, why were they broken down so easily by the narcissist?

The importance is down to your well-being. Solid boundaries will keep you secure and enable you to find people who respect you.

Narcissists will neither keep you secure nor respect. 

Your Boundaries: Values

So when you think about your values, what do they look like?

Forget about what the narcissist wants you to think. Forget about what they’ve asked you to value.

This is you

If you put value to your boundaries, then you also have to boundary your values. Protect them. Protect yourself.

The narcissist isn’t going to like it, because you’re doing something they can’t do/

Does the Narcissist Have Boundaries?

Narcissists can actually have boundaries. What they covertly do is set unrealistic boundaries. For some that has been known to look like this:

I will not tolerate any arguing or shouting in this relationship. 

I will not stand for the silent treatment. 

I mean, can you imagine?

The narcissist will employ every game in the book to get these things to happen, and blame you for the reason their ‘boundaries were crossed.’ 

Living with somebody this toxic is really hard. All the while they fall down on you for ‘crossing the line’ even though you were pushed over it by them, they still disrespect your boundaries every day you’re together. 

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How to Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries with a narcissist might seem like too much hard work, but it’s the first step in protecting yourself that you’ll have done in a long time. Here are four ways to start doing so.

Know what you will and won’t put up with.

I know it sounds simple, but it’s where you have to begin. Reflecting on your relationship to date, where have things gone awfully wrong for you? Where has the frustration been the deepest? Where has the conflict caused you pain?

If you don’t like how they talk to you, saying things like, “I don’t like the way you’re speaking to me, so I’m not going to continue on this issue.”

You know, narcissists aren’t going to like this new assertive you – but that shouldn’t be your reason to back down. 

Do not explain or defend 

You can explain until you’re blue in the face and the narcissist still won’t understand your point of view. They’re only interested in their own. 

Narcissists also won’t recognize when their own behavior has caused problems, because they see themselves as perfect and faultless. Instead, it will be you who will be to blame. 

Learning to ignore the narcissist when they start to blame you for something will help you in your quest for newfound self-assurance. 

Don’t engage in drama

Hard to do, right?

Well now’s the time to make it easier for yourself!

Narcissists thrive on drama and any kind of conflict. These are the people who will tell you so honestly that they hate drama. That it saps their energy. Yet there they are, front and center of every argument. 

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Then they will say to you;

I told you I hate arguing and yet you’ve drawn me in/let me down/ and now I’m forced to do something I don’t want to do!

No, that’s really not how it panned out. They know it, and you know it. 

Instead, go total gray rock. This is where you respond minimally, if at all, to their emotional prods. Acting indifferently will be how you can disengage and walk away without your voice being raised the way they want it to be.

Set non-negotiable consequences

You’ve every right to say:

I refuse to talk with you if you’re going to accuse me.

I will not engage further with you unless you lower your voice.

If you keep telling me you don’t like my cooking, you will have to start cooking yourself. 

Whatever it is the narcissist is pushing – you do not have to be the one to tolerate it.

Your warnings let the narcissist know that you are unwilling to budge or be pushed or pulled by their manipulation anymore. It does take a great deal of strength to stand up and speak this way. Your boundaries are something that the narcissist will have to back down to if they’re dug deep into the ground though.

Any narcissist won’t like the fact that you’re suddenly becoming more comfortable putting across any consequences. Make no mistake, though – it’s the only way you are going to gain long-term respect from a narcissist. 

Approaching any boundary request with kindness and respect for them will help add a little sweetness to your new rules!

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