Having a sustainable relationship with a narcissist can be challenging. Here is a list of tips to help you stay in a relationship with someone who is narcissistic. Realize that some of these tips contradict each other; this is because remaining in a long term relationship with a narcissist is a contradictory endeavor.
It is recommended that you understand that the relationship rules for narcissists are different than those for others. The following suggestions will help you to have a close, ongoing relationship with a narcissist:
- Make sure you collude with your narcissist to reinforce his belief that relationships are one-sided and that he is entitled to have a fantasy wife, child, etc. Become comfortable at living with double standards and performance based approval.
- Do not require him to share in household or child-rearing responsibilities. Make sure you are willing to carry these weights yourself.In fact, make sure you are ultra-responsible in all areas of your relationship. Do not expect the relationship to be 50-50. A more realistic expectation is that he will require 100 percent of your emotional energy and almost, if not all, of your personal identity.
- Be available as a sponge or garbage pail to absorb his rage and shame. When he needs a place to dump all his negative emotions, make sure you are readily available with a willingness to listen, understand, forgive, and feel empathy for his anger.
- Let go of your need to be listened to, validated, or respected.
- Become comfortable with indirect and incomplete communication. Learn well how to navigate silent treatments and gas-lighting. Do not expect dialogues, but learn to be a captive audience for long monologues and diatribes. Do not ask questions for anything requiring a specific answer. Learn to solve problems without your loved-one’s input or approval.