5 Ways to Support a Narcissist

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It is estimated that around 5% of people in the United States may have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), indicating that more than 16 million individuals could be affected by this condition.

This means it is quite likely that you know someone who is narcissistic, given the prevalence of NPD among the population.

It is commonly understood that maintaining a relationship with an individual who exhibits narcissistic personality traits can harm your overall health and psychological well-being.

This is why most people would suggest leaving the relationship is best.

If the person in question is someone you care about, what do you do in that case?

As challenging and emotionally taxing as it can be to be around people with narcissistic traits, you may be amazed to know that the right support for narcissism can make all the difference.

As a result, you must learn about the different ways to support a narcissistic person.

This includes what you can do to establish healthy behaviors and boundaries around this person.

One crucial step to take before you can support a narcissist is learning about the disorder.

It's difficult to navigate unfamiliar territory without some understanding of what you're dealing with.

Also, another example of ways to support a narcissist is by setting clear boundaries.

Supporting anyone is a two-way street; you can't help a narcissistic person get better if you always let them have their way.

Above all, one of the best ways to support a narcissist is to encourage them to seek professional help.

Only an expert can assist individuals in addressing the underlying issues or patterns that contribute to their current state.

Read on to learn more information on ways to support a narcissist.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Therapists in Colorado

Shannon Matlock, LPC, NCC

Shannon Matlock, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021
Dr. Michelle Palmieri, DSW, LSW

Dr. Michelle Palmieri, DSW, LSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342

Educate Yourself About NPD

The first step is educating yourself about their disorder because that is the only way to support them well.

This encompasses learning about the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for NPD.

By doing so, you'll be better suited to understand the narcissist's behavior and communicate with them more effectively.

Many people don't realize that, despite their charming and likable persona, people with NPD can exhibit harmful behaviors, so it's important to recognize the signs of NPD.

For instance, you can begin by educating yourself on the strengths and weaknesses of the narcissist.

This knowledge will help you prepare for any challenges that may arise and set more realistic expectations about your relationship.

Another alternative to consider is seeking guidance from a mental health professional, reading experts' books, and joining support groups or online communities.

These groups can help you communicate more effectively with your loved one with NPD.

Understanding NPD can help you approach narcissists with compassion and empathy, which is crucial in building healthier relationships.

Set Clear Boundaries

As narcissists tend to have a sense of entitlement and a disregard for others' feelings, dealing with them can be very challenging.

As a result of this, you must always establish clear boundaries to prevent them from manipulating or taking advantage of you.

Let them know exactly what behaviors are unacceptable and the consequences of crossing those boundaries.

Most importantly, ensure you consistently enforce your boundaries to protect yourself from any unwanted behavior.

Rather than trying to change their behavior, focus on communicating your boundaries clearly and effectively.

When enforcing your boundaries, always show the narcissist that you are serious about maintaining them.

Suppose there is ever a situation where you feel that your boundaries have been crossed.

In that case, it's important to address the issue assertively and take appropriate action to ensure that your boundaries are respected.

Be Calm and Patient

When dealing with a narcissistic person, it's important to remain calm and patient as they have a fragile sense of self that can trigger defensive or hostile responses.

Don't engage in any form of arguing or trying to force them to change their behavior.

Rather, try to always communicate with them in a calm and non-judgmental way, focusing on the issue at hand.

Patience and understanding are always at the core of any healthy relationship.

However, in the instance that you feel it is important to address the issue, approach the conversation smartly.

Those with NPD are only receptive to negative feedback in small doses and with flattery; consider trying that.

The compliment sandwich approach can be useful.

You begin by sharing what you love about them, then mention areas where they could change their behavior to improve the relationship, and end with expressing your confidence in their ability to make these changes.

Avoid using the term "narcissist" as it can trigger their sensitivity to criticism and worsen the situation.

By being strategic in your communication, you can effectively address the issue without causing unnecessary conflict.

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Find a Support System

When dealing with a narcissistic person, it can be emotionally draining.

This is why it is just as important that you have your support system to help you cope with stress and frustration.

You could consider starting with friends and family; that is a good start.

In the incident that your social circle is limited, think about taking up a new hobby or volunteering for a local charity to meet new people.

It's essential to have someone who understands what you are going through and can provide emotional support, whether it's a friend, family member, or therapist.

Keep in mind that it's not your responsibility to fix the narcissist or compromise your well-being for their sake.

Encourage Them to Seek Help

Another example of ways to support a narcissist is by encouraging them to seek help.

It's vital to seek professional help to treat narcissism, but sometimes, convincing someone with NPD to attend therapy can be challenging.

You can try to convince them that therapy can improve their relationships and help them achieve their goals; however, you should never try to force them.

Deciding to start therapy has to be a personal choice; otherwise, your efforts may be futile.

Also, individuals with NPD might have other mental health issues like substance use disorders.

So, having a dual diagnosis might motivate them to seek treatment.

Even people with narcissistic traits may benefit from therapy because some of those traits can negatively impact relationships and personal growth.

Lastly, NPD does not justify harmful or abusive behavior.

Conclusion

Helping a narcissist can be challenging, but support for narcissism can help them manage their disorder effectively.

Remember that supporting a narcissist should not come at the expense of your own well-being.

Ways to support a narcissist include educating yourself about NPD, setting clear boundaries, being calm and patient, finding a support system, and encouraging them to seek help.

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July 21st, 2024

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