How to Deal with a Narcissistic Brother? 5 Tips That Truly Help

Last Updated on August 15, 2022 by Alexander Burgemeester

“Help my brother is a narcissist!” Is the cry of the sibling forced to deal with a narcissistic brother; you love him to bits, but you are at your wits end with his ridiculous behavior.

Do these characteristics sound familiar to you? He thinks he’s superior to others even though he hasn’t achieved anything in life to warrant this status.

Your brother has a sense of entitlement and needs constant admiration for every little thing that he does.

He lacks empathy and cares about no one but himself. It’s difficult to accept that your brother is a narcissist, but its necessary if you are going to move forward.

It is also important to understand that narcissistic personality disorder is a condition, your brother didn’t choose to be this way, so try and be as empathetic as possible in your dealings with him. If you want to know how to deal with a narcissistic brother, keep reading. 

The Tell-Tale Signs of a Narcissistic Brother

Having a narcissistic brother is distressing, to say the least. He can’t stand you, and you don’t understand why. Having a conversation with him is like pulling teeth. He’s either playing the blame game or word salad.

Word salad combines gaslighting with a dash of lies, confusion, and crazy! He talks endlessly about nothing and creates absurd arguments that make no sense.

Reading Suggestion: Read our Guide to Narcissists In The Family

Your brother can’t keep a secret to save his life; at the dinner table, he will blurt out something you told him in confidence to shame you.

If you don’t live together, you dread the holidays because you don’t know what to expect from your narcissistic brother.

You are truly tired of his behavior and you are looking for a get-out clause. If you want some deeper insight into your brother’s narcissism, you will find it in the next few paragraphs. 

#1 He is a Pathological Liar

He doesn’t know what the word ‘truth’ means; your brother tells so many lies, you’ve lost count.

They start off as small white lies and then escalate into these grandiose stories that sound like it came straight out of a science fiction movie.

For example, one week he is begging you to lend him money to pay his rent, the next, he has bought a Beverly Hills mansion in cash!

You know full well he’s lying so you press him for more information and because he hasn’t thought about the logistics of his story, he gives you scarce answers.

As you continue probing, he gets angry and accuses you of not trusting him.

Reading Suggestion: The Narcissistic Liar

Or he is constantly lying to exaggerate his talents or achievements. If he’s just graduated from university, it just so happens that he got the highest grades the university has ever seen since it opened! 

#2 He Doesn’t Recognize Your Needs or Others

One of the most common symptoms of narcissism is a lack of empathy, they simply can’t experience things from another person’s perspective.

You could be sick in bed with a terrible flu. Your brother will walk into your room and start talking about how marvelous his day was.

Never once does he stop to ask how you are feeling. He then proceeds to go downstairs, make a cup of tea, and doesn’t bother to make you one.

Or, your relationship with your partner is going through a rocky patch, you go to your brother for advice, but instead, he hijacks the entire conversation and spends it talking about himself.

When he gets tired of talking, he politely excuses himself, and you are left sitting their advice less! 

#3 He is Very Jealous of You

Narcissists are massive attention seekers; if all eyes are not on them, it’s a problem. If you have noticed that your narcissistic brother does everything in their power to outdo you, that’s why.

Your brother might be a phenomenal artist, he has had several solo exhibitions and he is well established within the art community. You are a writer by profession and you are about to publish your first book.

Out of nowhere, your narcissist brother feels the need to come and tell you that someone is writing a book about them. His first point of attack is to let you know he can do everything you can.

Second, he will wait for you to release your book, and then make sure that his launch is bigger and better.

Reading Suggestion: Why Do Narcissists get Jealous?

A narcissist must be number one at all costs, and they will do everything in their power to ensure they uphold that position.

As far as I’m concerned, jealousy is the root to all evil, and your brother will stop at nothing to remain on top.

Additionally, you might of noticed that during conversations, lets say your father says something like,

“My youngest son is so intelligent, he got an award from school for his academic abilities.”

Your brother will feel the need to chime in about their academic achievements. When you have a narcissistic brother, it’s a never-ending competition. 

how to deal with a narcissistic brother

The Typical Behavior of a Narcissistic Brother

Narcissism is a mental illness; they are not conscious of their behavior and they can’t hide it.

When you are familiar with the character traits of a narcissist, no matter how clever they think they are, and no matter how much they think they’ve got everyone fooled, you will know that you are dealing with a narcissist.

Your brother is no different; and in case you are wondering how do narcissists treat their siblings, here are some typical behaviors of a narcissistic brother:

  • He has an entitled attitude: Your narcissist brother believes wholeheartedly that you owe him something in life. The worst thing you can ask the narcissist for is a favor. They will hold it against you for the rest of your life. Every time they need something from you, they remind you of the time when they got you a glass of water when you were choking! 
  • He is always talking about himself: There is no ‘we’, ‘us’ or ‘them’ in the narcissists world. All your bother knows is ‘I’. A conversation with a narcissist revolves around nothing other than self. 
  • He does not accept responsibility for his actions: Even if your brother is caught with his hand in the cookie jar, you get your phone out, record him eating the cookie and then play it back to him, your narcissistic brother will find a way to deny it. And he will manage to convince you that maybe what you are seeing on the recording is some type of mistake! Narcissists don’t know the meaning of personal accountability, so personal growth is never a consideration for them. 
  • He looks down on people: Narcissists suffer from delusions of grandiose; they live inside their own heads and have an inflated view of self. As far as your brother is concerned, he is a cut above the rest, he believes he is royalty and everyone else is a peasant. 

5 Tips on How to Deal With a Narcissistic Brother

#1 No Arguing

One of the most annoying things about a narcissistic brother is that they play the perfect son role so well.

Your parents will often have no idea who they really are because they ensure that the people who matter never get to see that side of them.

They will play the blame game, tell lies about you, and all manner of evil to maintain their goodie two-shoe reputation. You mustn’t argue with your narcissist brother as frustrating as this can be.

For one, you will never win. That argument will last a lifetime until you back down.

Second, they will use it as ammunition against you and go running to your parents and insist you are bullying them. In other words, arguing with your narcissist brother will not benefit you in any way. 

#2 Set Boundaries:

Keep them at arm’s length; if you live in the same house, keep a lock on your door so they can’t just burst into your room when they feel like it.

Refrain from talking to them too much, give them very limited information about what you are doing with your life or anything else for that matter.

As mentioned, narcissists love to use what you say against you; therefore, the less information they have about you, the better. 

#3 Don’t Call Out Their Narcissism

This is another waste of time; exposure is one of the narcissist’s worst fears. They will go to great lengths to ensure that the reputation they have crafted so well stays intact.

By calling the narcissist out, it means their cover is blown and they will not tolerate that.

At this point, narcissistic rage will set in. Your brother will get so angry that you dared to confront him, that he will stop at nothing to destroy you.

When it comes to narcissistic rage, you can expect your brother to start spreading rumours about you, try and break up your relationship, spoil your gadgets, try and get you written out of the will and whatever else he feels is necessary to stop you in your tracks. 

#4 Get Support, Find Help!

In some cases, your brother may have successfully blinded all your family members to believe that he is the nicest, caring, sweetest person in the house.

If this is the case, you will have no chance of getting support from them, holding a family meeting about your brother’s narcissistic behavior will just backfire.

Instead, go outside the home, speak to a trusted friend, or get professional help.

Either way, you are going to need it. In whatever capacity you choose to get support, just make sure you get it, because this narcissistic brother life is no fun! 

#5 Go No Contact

If you have exhausted every other option and you’ve found that its simply impossible to maintain a relationship with your brother without your mental health being affected, go no contact.

Unfortunately, family members often cause us the most psychological damage.

I am all for the family, I believe it’s important to have a close relationship with your loved ones.

However, sometimes that’s just not possible; society has conditioned us to believe that family is for life, that we should do everything in our power to keep our families together.

Reading Suggestion: How to deal with a narcissistic son in law?

But when there are members who have no desire to anything else but cause disruption, you will need to separate yourself from them.

Some people come from a narcissistic family; all of their family members are narcissists, and they just about managed to dodge the narcissist bullet.

A toxic family member is no different than a toxic friendship or a toxic romantic relationship; it’s only a matter of time before you get fed up and leave.

Take the same approach with your narcissistic brother, or they will destroy your self-esteem and suck your life out.

No contact means that you don’t have any contact with them. Block them on your phone and social media platforms.

Don’t go when you have family gatherings, don’t go; you can arrange your own family time without him being there. 

Final Thoughts

A lot of empowerment will come from understanding your narcissistic brother if you choose to view it that way. It’s important to understand that now you are armed with this information, it is not your responsibility to try and fix them.

It is a rare occurrence that a narcissist will change; if they do, they need to make that decision on their own.

If you end up going no contact, that might be a wake up call for them, but don’t try and force the issue.

For now, the best advice I can give you is to protect yourself, narcissists have got terrible energy and they will completely drain you if you give them the chance.

Enforce boundaries and do your best to keep them at arm’s length, you will thank yourself for it when you realize how much peace you have when they are not around. 

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help my brother is a narcissist
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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?

14 thoughts on “How to Deal with a Narcissistic Brother? 5 Tips That Truly Help”

    • I have a family of narcissist!! My brother and sister and son. Oh and husband. My entire family. I still speak to my brother however I usually pay the price. He lies pathological and so cruel and argumentative. It does get tough as I’m sure you know. Sounds like you’re determined not to get caught in his trap. ????

      Reply
  1. Mine lives with me…he doesn’t own anything, not even his own car. He has no girlfriend/wife. He can’t keep a job. He’s lived with us for 4 years and I am so tired of it. Not only is he narcissistic, he’s paranoid. He thinks I’m taking his clothes and giving them to my husband or thinks that because the township is paving, the government must be tracking us. He only asks if I’m okay when he’s paranoid that I’m mad at him. He only ever talks about himself. He asks you questions, but doesn’t allow you to answer them. I have Stage 4 cancer and the stress, irritation, etc that he causes, makes living almost impossible. What the heck happened to him that caused this?

    Reply
    • I feel for you.
      you should ask him to leave, he is not your responsibility, his attitude will only make you more unwell.
      I just came across this blog, so helpful.
      For ten years I’ve been living away from family, today I moved to another country and he is asking me to send him my location. I put the boundary down.
      told him I was uncomfortable.
      I could hear potential rage and he instead took a different route to attempt to keep me in the friendship. Tried to persuade me its unsafe, I reminded him quiet bluntly that I’ve lived in Asia and Middle East alone and can handle a neighbouring country in Europe. He backed off reluctantly and had a fake sweet tone.
      I feel much better. Take back what is rightfully yours.

      Reply
  2. I dread any holiday because he will turn it into a drama. If I happen to be out when he phones, he will say I am deliberately ignoring him and that I should know that he phones at 10am precise. Even though that was a year ago. I have tried reasoning with him but it turned into an argument that lasted for years.

    I have tried going no contact but have been bombarded with hateful emails and phone calls. He will never apologize for anything but turns it around and demands an apology from me. Basically, he would rather destroy my life than admit he got something wrong.

    Reply
  3. My brother is so cool to me and he’s a bully he tries to kill my little dog he’s threatens me he’s it’s just to the point where I am going to leave we’re both here trying to take care of my 94-year-old mother with dementia and that’s why I haven’t already left but my mom will soon probably pass and I’m out of here and then there’s the will and all this other stuff it’s just out of control and I’m just been studying this narcissism and they say just leave and I’m going to but I have to stay here for my mom but it’s it’s hell I’m so drained from this this cruel bullying that I just have to trust in God he will get me out of here safely because I feel in danger because of this property in the will and it’s not going his way and he’s really lashing out and so anybody out there just pray for me

    Reply
    • Hi Lucy, im going through the exact same thing! I gave up my job, my rental place, friends etc. to come help my brother look after my mom, i havent lived at home since i was 17. I flew from the East coast to the West. My brother is like Dr. jeckyle & Mr Hyde. I find i have to tip toe around him, hes constantly putting me down, and i dont agree with his care of my mom. But i dont dare say anything. I also dont comfront him back about his behaviour, not worth it! I just stay in my room most of the time, until im needed to help with him with my mom! I cant take his mental abuse towards me anymore & i am seriously thinking of returning back East soon, im at my wits end, Hes also been diagnosed with bipolar, for years now, so his own mental health is questionable! I pray everyday for the right path to take!

      Reply
  4. This was incredibly helpful! I used to regret not telling my parents everything my brother was doing. It’s only after reading this that I understand that it wouldn’t have helped and he would probably have turned it and them against me!

    Reply
  5. My little brother is 57 years old. Been in and out jail and prison his life. Has never held a job more that a few weeks at a time – with long stretches of not working at all. He likes to get high and party and then lay around til he feels like he wants to do something. He ignores all boundaries – exhibits every narcissist trait you can think of. Parents catered to him his whole life. Now passed – my mother left me with a death bed request to look after my brother. For the last 17 years I have tried to do that. I have tried to get him help but you cannot help someone who does recognize they have a problem. He is now broke – has no one left and no one left to turn to. Has to home no car no money and expects me to continue to care for him. He is violent and yes I have had him arrested once for choking me. I know I cannot do this anymore. He has emotionally and financially drained me. I am kicking him out of my house and he will be homeless and penniless. I hate that but I cannot keep living with him and trying to tote him through life. I fear the only way I will be free of this nightmare is when one of us is dead. I feel like there is no other solution.

    Reply
    • I had to go no contact with my whole family to avoid my narsacistic brother.l do not go to see my mom for any kind of fàmily gatherings. To me it was worth it.

      Reply
  6. I’m 60, bro & his wife are 67 & professionals with accomplishments. My husband died 6 months ago after 2 year illness (liver transplant hopeful). They helped “once” (seriously) even though s-i-l is nurse. Now he’s & her are being mean. Sis in law got mad because I forgot her bday. JFC, I am in mourning, brain kind of broken right now. We were married almost 35 years! I have to stay somewhat connected due to trust income from parents. I cringe knowing I have to show up. I removed my emotional involvement by treating them like “work friends”. Never give them info. Smile. Keep conversations light & meaningless. Leave ASAP too. Tummy ache, headache any excuse to bail quickly. Wave & smile as you leave a survivor!

    Reply
  7. My brother is a narcissist and is mentally and physically abusive. This was enlightening to know that I am making the right decision to cut him completely out of my life. He has held me prisoner for the last 7 years to be his personal punching bag because of my little nephew. I’ve always disliked my brother my whole entire life because of the abuse. My nephew brought us together and I’ve stayed for him but I have to let him go for my own sanity.

    Reply
  8. Wow I am really impressed with all of these comments from my fellow humans who have suffered tremendous pain from this Horrific Mental Disorder! I am a 58 year old woman who is just now learning how to set boundaries from my Narcissistic Younger Brother and a Manager at work who Bullied me daily for 5 years, while the Boss whom she had a 35 year affair with allowed Her to do it to me and when I complained to him One time to many, He fired me with no warning. Just told me to leave one day with no explanation after 5 years with no warnings ever! I was devastated and still am, one year later. My Narcissistic Brother cut me out of my Fathers will and when I lost my job I had no food. I live next door to him and he has lived with my Mother his whole life. He is 55 with a 32 year old wife who does not work! They live off my Mother and my dead Father! I have not spoken to him in about a year to protect my mental health. I am struggling to grow emotionally and set boundaries. I am desperate to hear more from all of you. Thank You. One and All. We are all Special, look at what we have survived!!! Mimi

    Reply
  9. Hello All

    This has helped me immensely. My mum fell ill last year and my brother has been an alcoholic for 20 years all I wanted him to do was get him sober so I would have an adult big brother that could assist. Firstly he tried to scheme behind my back and move in with mum as he wanted to take her home. She did not want to live at her home. I bought a house so she could move in and we could come together as a family. My intention was that mum gets looked after, we sell her house, my brother buys a property and we help mum oh how wrong I was. My brother has a pot addiction and was plain jealous, I was gobsmacked at how he always thought about himself, he offer no emotional support, and he kept saying he was helping me not mum. Then when I had an argument with my first love and best friend who was drinking too much he said right I am going to sort this out. He did not tell me he did it then thought about his own relationship with her and then spent the weekend with me knowing how upset I was. It was only after he left that I asked him if had he seen her yes he said my body was in shock. I had to get him to pick mum up. I then explained for 3 weeks about the fact I was experiencing complex trauma and dealing with a sexual abuse case, he wrote back and appeared to be listening and empathetic. Then he rang and mum said the same friend was coming to his place to do her hair, I was gobsmacked he told me not to make things about me. I said that she used to do mum’s hair when we were together and I wanted to see her, to make sure she is ok she was drinking heavily. I explained again it was important for him to be honest with me but it was his choice I did not stop him from seeing her but explained my needs and set a boundary with mum as she was so sick.

    Mum then falls down breaks her hip and is admitted to the hospital, he says that he stopped my friend from coming over. For 5 days we hugged cried and watched a movie he told me that I’m your older brother we are family we got this. 2 weeks later mum told me she saw my friend, he had lied, 3 weeks later she had died, he screamed at me she’s dead!!!! he took my choice away by lying to me and not helping me and now he plays the victim. I ended up in a clinic for complex trauma for 3 and a half weeks I am a strong woman this brother and his behavior has shocked me. Since I have gotten out his violence and yelling have escalated he then pretends around friends he is gentle and kind. This has shaken me to the core I now can’t see him. Mum is in a home and this year with my brother has shown me all about narcissism and cruelty from a person that I have protected and loved my whole life my heart is broken I am so fucked in the head about it I never saw this and I can’t believe it. But it’s true it’s like he hates me I handed him a key to my sanity and he kicked me when I was down and acts completely different in public, just like my father, sickening sad, confusing it’s like a sociopath. And blame blame blame, riddles lies and superiority yet then acts like the biggest victim….

    Reply

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