9 Rules To Survive Living With a Narcissist

Last Updated on April 18, 2021 by Alexander Burgemeester

Are you living with a narcissist? Struggling to keep your sanity?

Narcissists believe that they are superior to others, expect constant praise and admiration, and fail to recognize the emotions and feelings of those around them.

These aren’t exactly ideal traits for a roommate.

Sometimes, however, it can’t be helped, and we find ourselves living with a narcissistic parent, a significant other, a friend, or a child.

Luckily, you can learn to cope. If you’re ready to take your life back once and for all, this list will teach you everything you need to know to deal with a narcissist in your life.

1. Set Boundaries

It’s very important to set boundaries when living with a narcissist.

You don’t have to let everything go. Instead, you should know where the line is and refuse to let the person cross it.

For example, if your partner has unruly spending habits, you need to speak up and let him or her know that their actions don’t align with your wishes before their behavior gets out of hand.

If there is behavior that you can’t tolerate, you must speak up when your boundaries are crossed.

2. Develop Your Negotiation Skills

By developing and learning about conflict management and negotiation skills you may be able to better deal with a narcissistic person’s frustrating tendencies.

When a narcissist uses his or her forceful personality to push your buttons, you can learn about the best ways to respond.

These methods may include finding ways to divert and focus their attention or learning tactics to elicit more empathy when they fail to see your side of a conflict.

When you know exactly how to negotiate and respond to a conflict, you will have much more power when a difficult situation arises in your home.

3. Practice Self-Care When Living With a Narcissist

NPD includes many symptoms such as “An inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others.”

A narcissist works on satisfying their own needs while sucking the life and strength out of the people around them. It is important that you work hard to take care of yourself first.

Find things to do for yourself. Try focusing on a hobby or participating in a group activity outside of the home.

You should also start relying on the other people in your life. Spend extra time with the people who can give you the emotional support that you don’t receive from your living situation.

4. Understand Them Better

People who have narcissistic personality disorder often have a lot in common.

Try to understand their past as well. What lead them to become the person that they are today? Were they always a narcissist or did those tendencies develop over time?

It can be a huge benefit to you to try and understand more about their situation and symptoms.

When you learn about their symptoms and the games they play, you can recognize them easier when they occur. You can also learn about the proper methods for reacting to their behaviors.

5. Know Your Role

No man is an island, and the same is true for narcissists. It may seem weird to think about yourself in this way, but try to determine what your role is in their life.

What things do you do in your relationship that pleases them? What displeases them?

A narcissist in your life may be more dependent in your life than you realize. It’s very likely that they need you more than you need them.

By understanding how they view you in their life, you can gain the strength to develop more boundaries. You can also learn to cope better with their erratic behavior.

6. Be Careful With Their Words

Narcissists are often pathological liars. It can be a mystery as to why they would lie about the things that they do.

Because of this, it’s a good idea to take the words that come out of their mouth with a grain of salt. Don’t be sure about anything that they say.

Decide carefully what to believe and what not to believe in order to avoid becoming the constant victim of their deceptive behavior.

7. Don’t Take the Blame

Narcissists often lead the people around them to feel responsible somehow for their own unreliable behavior.

They may blame you for everything bad that happens in their lives.

A person makes their own decisions. Don’t get into the habit for placing blame on yourself for someone else’s actions or shortcomings.

By refusing to accept the blame for their emotional turmoil you can create a lot more power and confidence in your relationship with them.

8. Accept Them

The truth is that there is very little you can do to change a narcissist’s behavior. If they do ever change, most of it will have to come from them alone.

Believe it or not, accepting that you can’t change them will give you freedom.

If you attend to their needs, you can stop expecting them to reciprocate. If you lend them emotional support, you won’t expect any in return.

You can stop thinking about the way they “should” be, and start focusing on how they actually are.

9. Walk Away

When a narcissistic person shows intense displays of emotions that are completely uncalled for, it’s usually not the right choice to argue with them.

In these situations, it’s a much better choice to walk away.

If you’re caught in the midst of a temper tantrum, sometimes you have to simply leave. This may mean leaving the house or leaving the room.

Sometimes a response will only serve to give them more material to work with. Walking away can often be the best choice for de-escalating a difficult situation.

Final Thoughts

If you’re living with a true narcissist, it can be a nightmare. However, you can survive.

In the end, you may find that it can be easier than you thought to become a master of dealing with difficult behavior.

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Alexander Burgemeester

Alexander Burgemeester has a Master in Neuropsychology. He studied at the University of Amsterdam and has a bachelor's in Clinical Psychology. Want to know more?

4 thoughts on “9 Rules To Survive Living With a Narcissist”

  1. My husband of 25 years is a psychopath. This article really helped me understand how to better cope. It was 22 years before I learned the truth about who he really was. My life and my children’s life was forever changed. We still live together but only for financial reasons. It has been pure Hell on earth. It has been like an eating cancer. Thank you for this article. It made me realize I have to accept who he his and what he has done. Maybe I can let go of some of the hate. Again Thank You.

    • I feel the same way. We’ve known each other since 1966 and have been married for the last 21 years. After reading these articles, I can see when the depression started and it took about 10 years for he narcissism to finally rear it’s unglanceable head. He actually has been seeing a psychologist for the last couple of years. I felt so left out of the process except when he calls from her office and they both yell at me for something I’ve said or done. He now sees a psychiatrist as well. I feel that him seeing the psychologist unleashed this condition and of course she can’t tell me anything and he won’t. Now that I know what’s going on, I need to follow theses tips for living with him…of course he took control of all the finances and leaving is not much of an option

  2. Thankyou for your article it is one of the very few I have been able to apply to my particular situation. I believe he is a passive aggressive closet narcissist.


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