How to Set Boundaries With Narcissists and Other Difficult People

How to Set Boundaries With Narcissists and Other Difficult People

If you’re in a relationship with a toxic narcissist (or have ever been in one), you might have a few boundary issues, am I right? One of the hardest parts about being involved with a narcissist is learning to set firm boundaries with them. Narcissists tend to have poor boundaries themselves. Not only do they feel they need to win and to maintain power, but they most certainly do not like others setting boundaries with them.

To establish healthy boundaries, you need to be clear with your partner who you are, what you want, your beliefs and values, and specifically what your limits are. Narcissists do not allow this. They are known for pushing and stepping on boundaries in order to manipulate and control you more easily.

Some narcissists even feel that they’re not bound by the law, so they won’t even follow court orders. When you think about that, you can easily see why they find personal boundaries so easy to step all over and ignore.

That’s exactly what we’re talking about today – why it’s so hard to set boundaries with narcissists and specifically how you can overcome this and successfully do exactly that.

The Codependent’s Guide to Setting Healthy Boundaries After a Toxic Relationship

SETTING BOUNDARIES – See The Codependent’s Guide to Setting Healthy Boundaries After a Toxic Relationship video here and learn how to set boundaries with a narcissist and how to set boundaries with healthier people after a toxic relationship.

The Gray Rock/Grey Rock Method

Worth noting: If you can’t go “No Contact” with a Narcissist because you have children with them, or you are somehow unable to get them out of your life for whatever reason, you can implement a technique called “Gray Rock”. Gray Rock is where you become as exciting and interesting as, well, a gray rock.

The goal is to blend into the background, and become the most boring, unreactive person they’ve ever met. The reason being is that if you can quit being a source of supply for their drama and attention, they will eventually leave you alone. Learn everything you need to know about the gray rock method in this video playlist.

Narcissists Put You in the Middle of Their Arguments (Narcissist Triangulation Tactics)

Narcissists Put You in the Middle of Their Arguments (Narcissist Triangulation Tactics)

Ever been stuck in the middle of an argument between two people? If so, you know exactly how gut-wrenching it can be – and that could not be more true when one or more of these people is a toxic narcissist. That’s because toxic people have a tendency to use triangulation, which is a manipulation tactic often employed by narcissists.

What is narcissistic triangulation?

More specifically, triangulation is what we call it when the narcissist communicates as a third party between two people but prevents the two from communicating directly through either manipulating or controlling at least one of them.

What does this mean exactly? Well, that’s exactly what we’re talking about today at QueenBeeing – how to identify and deal with triangulation in a toxic relationship – how and why narcissists put you in the middle of their arguments and conflicts with others; plus, how you can end that, fast.

This video explains everything you need to know about narcissistic triangulation and being put in the middle of arguments.

An Example of Triangulation in Relationships

Let me start out today with a quick story.

So, there’s a woman I know, let’s call her Sally, who’s best friend Molly always seems to put her romantic conquests above Sally. At first, it didn’t bother Sally much, because while it could be frustrating to watch, she knew that Molly was looking for Mr. Right pretty actively – and she totally supported that.

But recently, Sally finds herself feeling angry that Molly keeps canceling their plans in favor of a guy who she swears is “the one” – and it doesn’t seem to matter how important the plans are or how long they’ve been in place – if this guy calls, Molly drops everything.

Including Sally.

Rather than just talking to Molly and explaining how she’s feeling – how she feels like she doesn’t matter to Molly when she blows her off, Sally goes toxic.

See, Sally works with the guy’s sister – let’s call her Becky – and one day, while they are on break together, Sally spills the tea.

She tells Becky that Molly is obsessed with her brother, and how she is worried that the relationship is going too fast. She might even hint around that Molly has a history of being obsessive with her boyfriends in the past, and halfway “warn” Becky to keep a close eye on the situation.

Then, Sally asks Becky to keep it to herself – to not say a word to her brother because she’s not trying to interfere in their relationship.

On her end, Becky feels worried and protective of her brother. She doesn’t want to break Sally’s trust, but she also worries that her brother has a right to know. So she begins to obsessively spend time with the new couple and before long, her brother feels like she’s smothering him and asks her to back off.

While all of this is going on, Molly begins to feel more distant from Sally and mentions to her boyfriend that Sally seems more distant recently.

Molly asks her boyfriend not to say anything to anyone because she doesn’t want to cause any trobule. She assures him she’s just venting.

So, rather than just dealing with each other, Sally and Molly end up complaining to other people, and then end up never addressing the actual issue that is causing the problem – the fact that Molly always puts her boyfriend above Sally, even when they already had plans made.

Meanwhile, Molly continues to ignore Sally for her boyfriend, and while she feels stuck in the middle of Sally and her boyfriend, she can’t help but feel some resentment toward both Becky (her boyfriend’s “smothering” sister), who has started to behave this way as a result of Sally bringing her into a situation that had nothing to do with either of them.

Narcissists and Triangulation

This kind of stuff happens between people all the time, and the pattern of triangulation can become the very reason that many people find themselves feeling heartache – not to mention ending their relationships.

Being stuck between two people in an argument, conflict or general disagreement is really difficult on an emotional and psychological level, especially for those of us who are or have been codependent with a toxic person. And while you may be tempted to take sides or offer advice to one or more of the parties involved, it’s best to steer clear and remain neutral when a narcissist is involved.

Sure, there are times when a well-placed nugget of wisdom can literally fix a problem someone’s having with another person. That’s when it helps to offer insight and advice when you see what could help (as is often the case when you’re connected but not directly involved, a third-party perspective can often be useful). But sometimes, especially with smart, stubborn people like narcissists, you have to stay out of a situation and let people deal with it on their own.

Don’t Waste Your Breath! Narcissists Don’t Take Your Advice

See, in general, most narcissists just aren’t receptive to advice unless they choose to be. You might say they work on pure energy and emotion, so when the energy and emotion aren’t entirely positive, they cannot focus on what’s really happening and everything becomes clouded, distorting their thoughts and sense of being present.

Their every interaction becomes tinged by the negativity and they begin to see it spill into other parts of their lives – most notably, their relationships. So if you push them to fix their issues, you’ll simply become part of that negative energy they feel and they’ll direct it to you as well.

And you know what happens then, right?

Triangulation – the narcissist begins to play you and the other person off each other and then it gets even worse: you become a source of narcissistic supply. But if you take a different road and literally refuse to get involved, you actually do the narcissist and his current victim a favor.

If the issue is resolvable and if resolving it matters to the narcissist, they’ll get through it, one way or another. This is even more probable if the relationship is important for him or her.

It might be painful to watch but you’ve got to just look away while they work through it – even if you are certain that your advice could really change things. By choosing to let go of stuff and work through it on their own, their relationship remains their own, and your own nose stays clean. I don’t know – that sounds like a win-win to me. How about you?

Are you struggling to break away or recover from a toxic relationship with a narcissist? Here are some helpful resources for you.

Narcissistic Recycler (Why Narcissists Recycle Their Former Partners)

Narcissistic Recycler (Why Narcissists Recycle Their Former Partners)


One of the most common questions people ask me early in their narcissistic abuse recovery is “Will the narcissist come back to me?” And sadly, I can often tell them yes, it’s highly likely. (See video here)

See, there are some narcissists who are infamous for their recycling habits – but not the good kind of recycling that helps save the earth. Instead of recycling garbage, these narcissists recycle people – specifically, people with whom they have relationships.

You might say that narcissists have their own personal harem dedicated to being dedicated sources of narcissistic supply.

In fact, when we are talking about a “narcissistic harem,” we are talking abt a group or “collection” of friends/admirers (AKA sources of narcissistic supply) that a narcissist gathers up to keep them topped up on their daily supply of love and admiration.

Since no single individual person could ever fill the void that is the hole inside a narcissist’s soul, they seek to fill it with whomever they can – and often these relationships are interchangeable.

So how does “narcissistic recycling” happen?

The narcissist has their group of “options” – AKA their little harem – and while there may be an occasional new addition or temporary member of the group, there are a few who remain in place for years or even decades.

As the narcissist cycles through the idealization, devalue, discard and hoover phase with one, they’re often in a different part of the cycle with another.

But in any case, the “re-idealization” part is often facilitated by the hoover maneuver.

You might think that it’s over – but very often, the narcissist has other ideas. in fact, more often than not, the narcissist will do something to suck you back into their drama – or even fully back into the relationship – using a technique called hoovering.

What is hoovering?

Hoovering, named after the famous vacuum cleaner company, is what we call it when the narcissist tries to “suck you back in” after you’ve left them or ended the relationship, or after they have discarded you. They may use some kind of personal problem or dramatic issue to pull you back in, or they may use love-bombing. Hoovering is always an attempt to obtain more narcissistic supply from you, and in many cases, it can be an attempt to reconcile the relationship. It can also just be a manipulation tactic used to get you to break no contact.

What are the signs of a hoovering narcissist?

The first thing you need to remember here is that there is no level to which a narcissist won’t stoop – nothing is off-limits for them. Here are a few ways narcissists might engage in hoovering you. (Details on each are included in this video)

  1. Finally saying that one thing you’ve been dying to hear.
  2. Future faking you.
  3. Getting you involved in their drama.
  4. Accidentally “butt-dialing” you or sending you a text “meant for someone else.”
  5. Swearing that they can’t live without you.
  6. Engaging flying monkeys to do their dirty work.
  7. Suddenly recognizing the error of their ways.
  8. Using fear and intimidation to bully you.

How can you deal with hoovering?

The next question on the mind of every narcissistic abuse survivor is usually, “How can I avoid the hoover?” Here are a few of the most important things you can do.

  1. Remember that knowledge is power.
  2. Use the gray rock method.
  3. If possible, eliminate their ability to contact you.
  4. Focus on YOU for once!
  5. Reconnect with old friends, and make new ones.

Question of the day – have you been recycled by a narcissist? Are you worried you might be? Click here to share your thoughts, share your ideas, share your experiences in the comments section below this video and let’s talk about it.

4 Things That Happen When You Ignore A Narcissist

4 Things That Happen When You Ignore A Narcissist

What happens when you ignore a narcissist? In the narcissistic abuse recovery community, we often suggest that survivors go no contact and essentially ignore the narcissists in their lives in order to begin to heal.

But what should you expect when you try to ignore a narcissist?

We all know how desperately a narcissist wants to have all of the attention of anyone who might be willing to dole it out. And who of us doesn’t realize that they demand attention from us – their sources of narcissistic supply. They expect you to make it clear that THEY are the most important person in any room.

Watch this video to discover five possible outcomes of ignoring a narcissist.

The Truth About Ignoring a Narcissist

Narcissists and other toxic people are often psychologically and emotionally abusive as well. This is mostly because they could not care less about hurting your feelings – or anyone else’s for that matter. They have seriously impaired empathy – and when you get to the sociopathic end of the cluster B spectrum, they have no empathy whatsoever. Narcissists will do everything to control you, gaslight you, and abuse you as long as it serves them in the end. Your suffering to them does not matter at all.

But one thing you can do to get the narcissist back for their abusive behavior is to ignore them. You may think that ignoring them doesn’t sound like it would really make a difference in how they control you. But it does.

4 Things That Happen When You Ignore A Narcissist

Let’s now talk about four things that happen when you ignore a narcissist.

1. The Narcissist Gets Scared

The narcissist will be afraid that something is quite wrong if you are ignoring them. Suddenly you are not giving them the attention that they crave and need. They may begin to start hovering over you even more by sending texts such as I’m sorry, or Can we talk? Just keep ignoring them anyway.

Watch this video to better understand the narcissist’s fears and why they are so worried about these issues.

2. The Narcissist Will Begin To Gaslight You Again

Narcissists cannot stand the idea being ignored, so they will do anything they can to get your attention. This means that one of their favorite kinds of manipulation will pop out again – gaslighting. Gaslighting is a pervasive and highly-effective tactic meant to manipulate you. The narcissist will use psychological means to sort of push you into questioning your own sanity. This could be as simple as the narcissist sending messages about the fun times that you had with them (leaving out that whole “psychological abuse” part, of course). They will make up stories about the lovely romantic dinners you had with them which never happened (or which were ruined by the narcissist, as usual). They may even go to the extreme by saying how memorable the trip to a certain country or city was with you and how you cannot just throw those memories away – even though this trip never happened or was toxic due to the narcissist’s bad behavior. Just keep ignoring them.

Watch this video to understand more about gaslighting and to learn how to overcome it.

3. The Narcissist Will Become Angry (Be Cautious When This Happens)

You keep ignoring the narcissist, and the emotions they feel go from fear and worry to fury and rage. We call this narcissistic rage. Narcissistic rage is often coupled with narcissistic injury. Narcissists employ the narcissistic rage tactic when they know they’re wrong but won’t admit it, or when they don’t get what they want, or when people don’t treat them different or more special than others, or when their sense of entitlement is threatened – anytime things don’t go their way. This is when narcissists get inconsolably angry in an attempt to bully or coerce you into giving them what they want.  They will begin to stalk your social media profiles, and they can even create a smear campaign against you. Narcissists can become quite vengeful at this point. Be very careful and if they begin to harass you, or invite others to harass you and to ruin your reputation, get the authorities involved. This is a painful and scary step because you will be afraid of your safety once the narcissist becomes enraged. Eventually, they will give up. Going no contact at this point is the best thing to do. Block them and disappear from them.

Watch this video to better understand narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury and how to deal with both.

4. They Give Up And Find A New Victim

This is the part that you know logically you want – but you also secretly fear (at least in the beginning). It is when the narcissist goes on and finds a new source of narcissistic supply. A narcissistic supply is usually a person, but can also be a pet or group of people. Narcissists use the narcissistic supply for attention, validation, admiration – all the “supply” they need to feed their ego. The narcissist often has a circle of supply or “narcissistic harem.” You have ignored the narcissist and got them out of your life. They may have even accepted that you are not accessible to them anymore. This hurts their ego a lot, but they will not change or have learned anything. They will forget about you and find a new victim. You can only hope that any future victims that the narcissist finds will be able to ignore them again, and again. (Despite your urges, there’s really no ethical obligation or point in actually telling the new supply what they’re in for, so be careful.)

There are a LOT of questions people ask us about the narcissist and their new supply – all of the answers are included in this playlist.

Ignoring a narcissist is the best punishment you can give them. It will be difficult when they are infuriated by this, but it will set you free in the end.

Am I Codependent? The 5 Signs That Point To That Strong Possibility

Am I Codependent? The 5 Signs That Point To That Strong Possibility

When you think of the term codependency, you may think about someone who is relying on substance abuse. But that isn’t always the case.

What is Codependency?

Codependency is a toxic emotional and behavioral condition that makes it nearly impossible to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form and stay in relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive.

In layman’s terms, codependency is being too dependent on others to the point that they cannot function on their own. It happens often in relationships whereas two people are too invested in one another to the point that the one who is too dependent on the other struggles to be independent.

So, if you have a codependent personality, you are highly likely to end up with someone who is dominant for that obvious reason. You’ll struggle to think and do things on your own without your partner.

How to Know If You’re Codependent in a Toxic Relationship

Are you codependent? Let’s look at the 5 signs that point to that possibility.

1. You Don’t Trust Yourself

The fact of the matter is that if you are codependent, you struggle with trusting yourself. You don’t think you can make decisions without someone else backing you up. This is a sign that you have low self-esteem and confidence if you don’t believe in yourself and the actions you take to the point that you have to rely on others to do if for you.

This video offers tips on how to trust yourself again after narcissistic abuse.

2. You Need The Approval Of Others More Than Valuing Yourself

It would be devasting to you if you did a creative project and worked very hard on it, and yet you did not get the approval from others that you wanted. It is normal to want to have others acknowledge your work, but someone who is not codependent will realize that everyone’s taste will not match their style and the approval of others has no effect on what they do. That is just a common example of codependency. If you don’t value yourself but you do things for the sake of gaining the approval of others, then that is problematic. Stop being a people-pleaser and try focusing on what really makes YOU happy!

This video will help you learn how to stop being a people pleaser.

3. You Can’t Identify Your Feelings

If you are not sure how you are feeling whether you are sad, happy, excited, or bored, that can be a sign of codependency. In other words, your feelings are based on the way that your partner feels. If they are angry, you may be as well, but you will not know why and you will not be able to identify why.

Watch this video to learn how to be more self-aware.

4. You Fear Abandonment

You are terrified of being abandoned because you don’t believe you will be able to function on your own. The idea of being abandoned is no different than a part of your body disappearing which can render you not being able to function at all.

This video will teach you more about the fear of abandonment in narcissistic abuse recovery.

5. You Stay In Unhealthy Relationships

You may be in an abusive relationship but you will not think of leaving because you feel like you have to be with that partner, no matter how abusive they are. You cannot fathom the idea of being alone, and you doubt your ability to function alone.

You deserve better. Watch this video to learn how to let go and move on with your life.

You can see how being codependent is a serious problem but fortunately, there is help out there that can help you reclaim your power again.

Narcissists Are Predictable: Here’s the Playbook!

Narcissists Are Predictable: Here’s the Playbook!

Are narcissists all the same? I have had so many people read my books or articles, or watch my videos and say things like, “I can’t believe how accurate this is for my situation,” or “Have you been spying on me? This is my life!” I’ve even heard people say we must have the same parents or ex because my situation sounded identical to theirs.

I’ve been researching and writing about narcissism and narcissistic abuse recovery pretty extensively for over a decade now.

One thing that has always stood out to me is that the traits of narcissists seem to be the same across the board – regardless of their life circumstances, relationship status, culture, race, religion, financial status. It’s almost like they have a narcissist playbook or something. How is it possible that they’re all so very similar? Well, that’s exactly what we’re talking about today at QueenBeeing.com.

See the video here.

So do narcissists really have a “playbook” used to manipulate you?

Not technically, but it almost seems like they do. A client of mine recently referred to this as a “narcissist program” – noting that narcissists all seemed to be running the same “computer program.” I’ve also found myself jokingly referring to narcissists as “NPCs” or “non-player characters” – a video-game term I learned from my kids that means a programmed character that doesn’t have a human behind it.

But why is that? How could they all be so similar? Is there something specifically neurological going on? Is it a result of some sort of trauma, or is there something else going on? Well, let’s talk about it.

How are narcissists are different than the rest of us?

So, we all know that narcissists are seriously lacking in empathy, especially those who would be classified as having NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) if they’d ever give anyone the chance to diagnose them officially. (Side note – they won’t, because they don’t feel that there’s anything wrong with them).

Research Says People with NPD Have Different Brains

Let’s start with the fact that published scientific research tells us that people with narcissistic personality disorder may have less gray matter in the left anterior insula, the part of the brain linked to empathy.

Side note: You don’t have to take my word for it – I’ll link to this study and others I’m mentioning in the description below this video so you can see for yourself.

But the layman’s version of the scientific explanation is that those parts of the brain that mediate empathy (the ability to care about other people’s feelings) are lower functioning and less capable of focusing on others.

In other words, a narcissist has less gray matter in their brain than someone who is capable of empathy.

Worse, researchers say, the differences in the narcissist’s brains are actually literally causing them to turn inward and to self-focus.

Study authors defined certain traits as being shared among all narcissists, despite various other definitions and forms of the personality disorder.

In a German study, researchers found that the degree to which a person was able to exhibit empathy was directly tied to the amount of gray matter in the brain, both in the healthy individuals as well as in those with narcissistic personality disorder.

Narcissistic Abuse is Subtle

Narcissists are by nature very subtle in the way they control and manipulate their victims. In fact, so often, even the very people they’re manipulating and controlling aren’t aware of it – in fact, that’s the very nature of their favorite manipulation tactic, gaslighting.

So many people are in these situations and because they are being so heavily manipulated, they really believe that they are the ones with the “issues” – when in reality, they’ve just been horribly gaslighted by one of these toxic people.

It’s crazy-making, to say the least.

While there are various types of narcissists and they exist at various levels of toxicity, there are four basic traits that every narcissist has in common, according to a 2013 study published by Kamila Jankowiak-Siuda and Wojciech Zajkowski.

In a narcissism-focused study, the researchers were able to define the following traits as being shared among all narcissists, despite various other definitions and forms of the personality disorder. It didn’t matter if they were a covert narcissist or an overt one – or one of the many other types that we’ve currently defined.

4 Qualities Shared by All Narcissists

The qualities that are shared by all narcissists, regardless of classification, include the following.

  • Selfishness
  • Disregarding other people
  • Being self-centered
  • Lack of empathy

But there are relatively few people diagnosed with NPD. Why is that?

Typically, NPD goes undiagnosed because most narcissists see nothing wrong with their behavior. But just for the sake of discussion, let’s quickly review the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder.

Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, the official list of symptoms is as follows.

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

As you can guess from the official list of symptoms, diagnosis of NPD would typically be made by a qualified psychologist or psychiatrist when five or more of the characteristics are identified – but generally, the condition goes undiagnosed because narcissists see nothing wrong with their behavior.

Common Narcissist Behaviors

People who are involved with narcissists and those who have NPD typically report the following kinds of behaviors and characteristics – do we see a pattern?

  • The belief that he or she is “special” and the desire to only associate with people he or she perceives are on their wavelength or who will “appreciate” them.
  • The need for excessive admiration from those around him or her.
  • An expectation of especially favorable treatment and automatic agreement by people around him or her.
  • Exploitation of others around them for their own benefit or advancement.
  • Inability to empathize with others.
  • Feels envious of others, but also feels that others are envious of him or her.
  • Acts arrogant, and may try to disguise arrogance with ethics.
  • Displays an exaggerated sense of self-importance and is typically extremely judgmental.

So how do you deal with these people if you have one in your life? Well, usually it’s best to distance yourself from a person with NPD. This is especially true because they don’t generally realize that anything is wrong. Plus, there is currently no known “cure” for NPD–though if a person affected with it seeks therapy, change is possible. However, it’s very unusual for a person with NPD to seek therapy since they don’t see a problem with their behavior.

There is so much more to discuss here, but I want to open up the discussion now with the question of the day. The question of the day is have you noticed that someone in your life seems to have all the traits and qualities of a narcissist? Have you ever wondered if they all have a playbook? Share your thoughts, share your ideas, share your experiences in the comments section below the video, and let’s talk about it.

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