Even better, you can implement the strategies at home, on your own – and it’ll help your healing in ways you might not expect.
On a very basic level, NLP is just a way to manage your head – it helps with communication, processes, and procedures to help improve your life. Here’s what it is and how it works.
What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)?
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is a practical and effective way to create change by modeling successful people’s language structure and behavior. NLP can help you change your behavior, way of thinking, and communication with yourself and others. NLP has also been used to treat various problems—from phobias to schizophrenia.
The two biggest principles of NLP are that the map is not the territory and that life and mind are systemic processes. Any technique you learn in NLP is built on these principles, which allow us to understand better how the brain works—and thus change undesirable behaviors into more desirable ones.
1. The map is not the territory.
The map-territory metaphor illustrates how our mental constructs differ from the reality they attempt to describe.
For a map to be useful, it must contain enough detail that we can use it even when traveling through unfamiliar territory.
This means that, as people, we have no way to understand reality. Instead, we understand our perceptions of that reality, and those perceptions may be flawed.
We use our senses to map what we believe is there.
These maps are what determine our behavior, not reality itself.
So, if your map is skewed, you’ll behave in kind.
2. Life and mind are systemic processes.
This means that the things going on inside your mind and body, and between you and your environment, are connected and can’t be isolated. Trying to do so won’t result in success.
In other words, your mind and life are interconnected, so you can’t separate the mental from the physical, social, or emotional aspects. How people treat you and your environment influences your feelings about a situation.
How does NLP work for a survivor of narcissistic abuse?
It’s also highly effective for survivors of narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships during their healing and beyond.
NLP techniques focus on feelings and emotions, which are core aspects of narcissistic abuse. This is why NLP works so well for survivors of such relationships—its emphasis on these concepts makes dealing with trauma possible.
NLP applies to all aspects of life, from representing information and making decisions to interacting with others.
Why should you try NLP in narcissistic abuse recovery?
Sometimes it’s hard to know what’s best for us when we can’t see a way out. It may seem impossible to get away from the toxic person, but you can use NLP to change your life. (And then plan your escape!)
It can give you insight into your unconscious mind and tap into your deep-seated emotions, which can help you develop the power, confidence, and self-esteem narcissists often damage in their partners.
So, by using an anchoring technique to set off powerful feelings in yourself when you think about past experiences with your abuser, you can learn to control your reactions—and stop yourself from feeling bad about what happened.
Basic NLP Technique for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Anchoring
By applying an anchoring technique, you can learn to set off positive feelings in yourself and others at will—and eliminate negative emotions associated with past experiences.
Anchoring allows you to associate a feeling with a device, an object, a certain color, or even a specific type of music. When you experience the object again, it triggers the same feelings.
This can be helpful for survivors of narcissistic abuse because it allows them to create positive associations in their minds around the things they love and eliminate negative feelings associated with past experiences.
How to Quickly Create an NLP Anchor in 4 Easy Steps
1. Choose a goal.
Decide what problem you want to solve. For example, maybe you want to feel more confident to set better boundaries with the toxic people in your life.
Imagine how it will feel to achieve the goal you have set for yourself. (So, maybe you’ll feel stronger, happier, more sure of yourself, and more confident overall.)
Remember when you felt close to how you want to feel when you achieve that goal. It might just be an ordinary moment when you felt good about yourself or a more significant moment in your life.
3. Choose and configure your anchor device.
For instance, you can touch your thumb and forefinger together or make a fist to help keep yourself in the present.
Put yourself back in that moment. Take all the time you need to remember all the details of what you saw, heard, smelled, and felt when it happened.
Allow yourself to relive the experience as if you were there—don’t think about it objectively. You won’t feel better if you ignore your feelings.
Repeat the memory until you can vividly recall it.
4. Activate your anchor.
In this step, you link your anchor from Step 3 with the feeling created here to make a new association as strong and vivid as possible.
For example, touch your thumb and forefinger together as the confident feeling increases.
Release your thumb and forefinger when the feeling begins to subside.
If you’ve done this well, the anchor has been activated, and you’re ready for the next step.
5. Test your anchor.
For example, touch your thumb and forefinger together as you did while activating your anchor.
This time, pay attention to how you feel.
You should notice a change in your feeling.
If you don’t, repeat the process until you do.
If you’ve been successful, it should feel like the anchor has been activated and is ready to use whenever necessary.
And, if you used the example I gave, you can now trigger your confidence by touching your thumb and forefinger together anytime you like.
Researchers say that people who lie, cheat and act without empathy are more likely to get into gambling problems. And because they also tend not to use strategies that would keep them safe from such problems, those issues are made worse.
All of that makes them more likely to ruin their own lives and the lives of anyone unfortunate enough to be close to them, including their closest sources of narcissistic supply.
Apparently, not only are psychopaths and malignant narcissists the most likely people to develop a gambling problem, but they’re also more likely to take gambling to a dangerous, life-destroying level.
Study links gambling addiction to psychopathy.
In a recent study, researchers linked gambling addiction to psychopathy.
What makes psychopaths so different from other people?
The study suggests that psychopaths may process language differently from other people, likely due to both genetic factors and early exposure.
Psychopaths often have trouble understanding sarcasm and metaphors, which suggests that they may have difficulty with language processing.
The study authors point out previous research that leads them to believe this may explain why psychopaths differ from others. They also speculate that this could be a reason for the high number of psychopaths in prisons, where gambling games are common.
Psychopathic traits that lead to addiction to gambling
The traits most commonly associated with psychopathy that also lead to addiction to gambling include an inability to feel guilt or remorse and a tendency toward impulsive behavior.
The psychopath’s lack of empathy is confusing for many people since they can appear to understand how you feel.
But that’s because psychopaths experience only cognitive empathy, in which they can deduce logically what you might be feeling.
That means they can logically understand what you’re saying, but they don’t care and aren’t moved to help or stop hurting you.
How are psychopathy and gambling addiction issues connected?
While we know that psychopathy has been linked to many negative outcomes, the authors say they’ve found a new direct link between psychopathy and pathological gambling.
Researchers examined the relationship between primary psychopathy, secondary psychopathy, and problem gambling.
Primary psychopathy vs. secondary psychopathy (FYI)
Primary psychopaths tend to be more socially adept, whereas secondary ones are usually aggressive and impulsive.
Psychopaths who were high in urgency also used fewer harm-reduction strategies.
Primary psychopathy is thought to result from genetics, while secondary psychopathy—which results from trauma and their environment—can appear to manifest as high anxiety, the study authors said.
In the study, college students who gambled were asked how they would deal with situations in which their gambling might cause problems and what protective behavior strategies they used to prevent such things from happening.
They also answered questions to detect whether they might be prone to psychopathic behavior.
The assessment included questions about financial problems for the household and mental health issues such as stress or anxiety caused by gambling.
Researchers considered whether a person suffered from gambling addiction and the extent of such addiction.
Study Findings: Psychopaths are more likely to ruin their lives with gambling addiction.
Ultimately, they determined that people more likely to gamble away their money also tended to score higher on a psychopathy test and were more likely than other gamblers to have financial problems for their household and mental health issues caused by gambling.
And people with higher levels of primary psychopathy are less likely to stop or protect themselves when gambling, making their addiction worse.
The Recent Increase in Psychopathy Research Leads to New Insights
Because psychopaths are so difficult to deal with and tend not to form meaningful relationships, we’ve always been fascinated by their behavior.
This study sheds new light on the relationship between psychopathy and gambling addiction-related problems by identifying certain personality traits that may lead to addiction.
Takeaway: Psychopathy and Gambling Addiction
Simply put, people who lie, cheat and act without empathy are more likely to get into gambling problems. And because they also tend not to use strategies that would keep them safe from such problems, those issues are made worse.
All of that makes them more likely to ruin their own lives and the lives of anyone unfortunate enough to be close to them, including their closest sources of narcissistic supply.
Kramer, M. P., Peterson, R., Leary, A. V., Wilborn, D. D., Magri, T., & Dvorak, R. D. (2021). Psychopathy and Occurrence of Gambling Problems: The Role of Gambling Protective Strategies and Urgency. Psychological Reports. https://doi.org/10.1177/00332941211022998
As results from a recently published German-Danish research project show, these traits share a common ‘dark core.’ So, if you have one of these tendencies, you are also likely to have one or more of the others. Read the full study.
Resources for Psychopathic, Sociopathic & Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
Have you ever had to choose between two equally unpleasant options, or be seen as disloyal? If you were raised by a narcissist, you might have experienced parental alienation, and you might have faced such a choice.
What is parental alienation?
In its most basic form, parental alienation means one parent turning a child against the other parent. The goal may be to try to get full control over the child, using them for attention and away from other people who could give it to them; aka narcissistic supply. But in the case of a toxic, narcissistic parent, they don’t even see the child as a whole person but as an extension of themselves or an object to be owned.
In other words, a narcissist is likely to use their child as a weapon or an object to hurt the other parent. It is a form of psychological manipulation and is used to trick the child into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect, or hostility toward you and or other people in your family.
For the child involved, it’s a painful and invalidating experience that lasts long into adulthood. complicating every relationship they happen to be involved with, from romantic ones to their own children, friends, colleagues, and more.
Can narcissists be good parents?
Maybe, says Dr. Judy Rosenberg, but there’s a catch. We know that there are plenty of malignant, toxic narcissistic parents who completely neglect their kids’ needs, ignore them, control them, physically or sexually abuse them, or otherwise make them miserable.
But there are also many narcissists who appear to be great parents. They take care of their kids’ physical needs and ensure they’ve got the latest and greatest in fashion, gadgets, and everything else. They have beautiful, expensive homes that are perfectly decorated and always spotless.
But even those who do take care of the physical needs may barely even know their children, and the rest are sort of like live-in bullies until the kids move out – and even then, often continue to abuse and control their adult children.
This is the ONLY Way a Narcissist Can Be a GOOD Parent (But Not GREAT)
“A narcissist can be a good parent if they are ethical and moral and fulfill their obligations to their children,” Dr. Judy said. “But they will never be a great parent because they just don’t have the wherewithal to show empathy.”
That trademark lack of empathy would effectively leave the child feeling unseen, at the very least. If we were talking about a malignant narcissist, the effects on the child would be more profound.
But, Dr. Judy said, “If they choose an empathic partner it can buffer the effects.”
So, if a narcissist chose a good partner with decent empathy skills, any potential damage to the child’s psyche could be mitigated. However, since we know that narcissists are notorious for emotionally and psychologically abusing anyone who gets close enough to see behind their false self (the mask they show the world), we can safely assume that this abuse would also, directly or indirectly, affect the child.
What happens when you raise children with a narcissist?
When you have a narcissist who marries a codependent or someone who becomes codependent, you’ll see a strange thing happening in their family: the codependent parent tends to throw themselves under the proverbial bus more often than you might think when it comes to protecting their kids, but sadly, the kids are still affected by the tension between the parents.
Kids think toxic is normal.
They start to think that this is how a relationship works, and depending on which parent is the narcissist and how they treat the other, among other factors, they may become either a narcissist or a codependent. The only way to prevent this is for the narcissist to be self-aware enough to allow the more empathetic parent to do most of the discipline and daily dealing with the kids.
So, not only would the narcissist need to be self-aware enough to actually recognize this issue, but they’d also need to let the other parent be in control on some level.
While that seems nearly impossible given what we know about toxic parents and toxic family structure, Dr. Judy said that “if they can learn not to demean them but to value their children, and at least make an offer to put their needs first, that would be a good start.”
But could or would a narcissist ever do what would be necessary to be a “good” parent?
It’s debatable, but in my opinion and according to my research, narcissists are infamously terrible parents, whether they ignore and neglect their children or fully control them – or some uncomfortable combination of both. There are many other common behaviors among toxic parents, of course – physical abuse, psychological abuse, and more – though not every toxic parent physically abuses their children, which can make abuse difficult to prove.
This makes it even more difficult to swallow. But it’s important to understand that narcissists have no level to which they will not stoop – and often, this includes actions (or lack thereof) toward their own children. They are not afraid to use a child as a narcissistic supply – and they’re happy to use them as a tool to hurt the other parent.
Narcissists Use Loyalty Binds to Support Parental Alienation
Let’s discuss another kind of manipulation and a whole new low for narcissists: loyalty binds and how they’re used by toxic people to actively alienate their fellow parents and other family members from their children.
What are Loyalty Binds?
Loyalty binds are used against you by someone who is forcing you to choose between them and someone else – often, a parent forcing a child to choose them or the other parent (or a step-parent, in many cases).
In the process, the victim feels forced to choose against their own best interests. This can happen in any type of relationship but it has been previously identified as an issue with step-parenting.
But when you really think about it, it also applies to narcissistic abuse in relationships and families – specifically related to parental alienation.
Loyalty binds are confusing for the recipient because the abuser will say that one thing is true, but behavior shows something else. They then blame their victim for not seeing reality in the same way that they do. This can and often does lead to cognitive dissonance.
For example, a narcissistic parent may tell a child that he loves them very much but then verbally abuse them at every opportunity. The child will believe his mother’s words about her love for him even though she keeps doing things that cause him pain and harm because he believes (rightly) that if his mother does not love him, he cannot survive due to his total dependency on her. The child’s survival depends upon keeping his mother happy so she doesn’t abandon him so he accepts her words and denies how hurtful her chronic abuse is to him.
When toxic parents use loyalty binds to alienate the other parent
The children of narcissistic parents are the most vulnerable to the effects of this vicious cycle. They often feel a tremendous amount of love and loyalty for their other parent, who is trying to protect them from their abuser. However, this abuser will use their bond and affection against them.
It can be incredibly difficult for a child that has grown up with parental alienation to stand up and question what they’ve been taught. In many cases, even as adults, they will continue to have difficulty forming relationships in which there is give-and-take, healthy boundaries, or mutual respect. The bonds they had with their targeted parent have been severed (or weakened), leaving them feeling abandoned, scared, and alone.
The relationship with the child may be distorted by the narcissist in order to maintain control.
The child may also be made to feel like they have to keep a secret or that they’re not allowed to tell the truth about how they feel for fear of disappointing the toxic parent.
They may be put in the position of having to keep the happy parent happy, or they risk punishment. The child might experience guilt and be actively triangulated by the toxic parent through guilt-tripping and other forms of manipulation. In some cases, children are made to believe that they are better off with the toxic parent, regardless of how much abuse they suffer at their hands (or how much better off they would be if they lived with the non-narcissistic one).
Attachment styles are affected deeply as a result of narcissistic abuse. The child may feel obligated to the toxic parent and guilty for loving or wanting to know the other parent (or even just being curious about them). They are often made to feel that it’s betraying one or both parents somehow just for them to want love from both sides (which is their natural right as children).
A child (or adult child) may have to choose one parent over the other.
When a child (or adult child) is forced to choose between the toxic parent and the narcissistic parent, they can experience very uncomfortable emotions. Examples of these situations include having to choose which parent’s birthday party to attend or being torn between visiting a sick parent in a hospital or going on a romantic vacation with a narcissistic partner.
When the narcissist is abusive toward the other parent, they may try to discourage a relationship with that other parent by demonizing them or by creating intense situations where choosing their parent would demand courage.
A child who is loyal to a narcissist parent will often have a difficult or impossible time visiting or seeing the other parent. The narcissist may create intense situations in which the child must choose between being loyal to their parent, which requires courage and strength or choosing the other parent.
The narcissist may actively try to alienate the child from their other parent by using verbal abuse, emotional manipulation, and guilt trips to discourage contact with them. An example of this might be if a child has plans to visit their father for his birthday but the mother strongly discourages it. They do this because they know that they can use fear, guilt, and shame as powerful tools against their offspring.
The abuse can escalate when it’s time for one of the parents to move out of the home.
From a child’s point of view, the custodial parent who remains in the home may get a disproportionate amount of attention. This is because the child will only spend part of their time with the non-custodial parent.
As for the non-custodial parent, he or she will feel as if they are walking on eggshells around their children. The children may be very angry at them for leaving in the first place.
They may also have been brainwashed into thinking that the non-custodial parent has done something wrong by leaving and that they somehow deserve to be punished. For those parents who live far away from their children, weekly phone calls can become awkward and difficult.
Children may experience grief, anger, and embarrassment over how the narcissistic parent talks about their other parent when they’re not around, or when they are on Skype or Zoom or over the phone.
The child may feel ashamed of what their parent is doing and feel like they are the only one dealing with this, or they may learn that this is one way to get their needs met.
They may think that they are alone in having a parent who acts this way because no one else’s parents appear to act like this.
A narcissistic mother will often try to force her daughter into submission through guilt trips or through anger and aggression that has no reason.
When a narcissistic mother has decided it’s time to give you a guilt trip, she’ll disappear, suddenly and without warning. You might be in the middle of a conversation, but she won’t respond to your questions or calls, no matter how many times you try. She’ll ignore you until you’re so worried that you track her down and apologize for whatever offense she believes deserves your groveling.
A narcissistic mother will often threaten suicide when her daughter makes positive changes in her life that don’t involve the mother. The point is to get her daughter emotionally hooked again so the daughter will be forced to stay in the relationship and keep doing things for her mother. This can also work with threats of harming herself physically or going on “hunger strikes” when she doesn’t get what she wants from others.
Another common way of making people feel guilty is by threatening others with harm—especially if the threat includes children or pets. Mothers who are more concerned about their own needs than those of their children are always looking for ways to manipulate their daughters by using their emotions and fears as weapons against them—and there’s nothing they won’t do to ensure they have control over everyone around them.
Here’s the good news.
You can recover from being made to feel like you were stuck between two parents who were demanding your loyalty but not giving any back to you.
It wasn’t your fault.
You are not alone.
You are not responsible for the dysfunction in your family.
Have you ever been in a crowded space and still felt completely alone and separate from everyone else? Do you secretly wonder if you’re the only one who doesn’t know the joke? If you have, you’re not alone. Many narcissistic abuse survivors feel this way.
Have you ever felt disconnected from everyone and everything around you?
There’s a chance you’re dealing with “human disconnect,” a term coined by Dr. Judy Rosenberg, and it’s a bit more complex than it sounds.
As society progresses to the point that we are less and less able (or willing) to be “out there” in the world, doing normal, real-world things, the more isolated we become as individuals. and this is exactly why it so important to understand the definition of human disconnect.
We now order groceries at 3 a.m. and wake up the next morning to find them gently stacked on the front porch. We can have nearly anything we want hand-delivered and left at our door.
Since I recently had the privilege of discussing this with Dr. Judy herself, I was able to ask questions and get clarification on the meaning of “human disconnect,” and what it means in relation to narcissistic abuse. I’m sharing our conversation with Dr. Judy’s permission.
What is Human Disconnect?
Dr. Judy explained that “human disconnect” is a condition that is relatively common among humans, but it doesn’t affect only individual humans and no one else. In fact, it affects society, communities, and cultures.
“What (Human Disconnect) means is that it’s a disconnect from your own soul, self, community, and family.” Dr. Judy said, adding that, “it can mean a disconnect from your own ability to feel emotions as well as to truly connect in a healthy way with others.”
She explained that when we experience pain from abuse or neglect, it causes a disconnection from the person who is inflicting the pain.
In other words, you emotionally detach from that person – and in my experience, that makes a lot of sense. And, in so many cases, you emotionally detach from yourself somewhere along the way too.
Human Disconnect Leads to Global Disconnect
“The disconnect can take the form of fight, flight, freeze, or fawn – and it breaks trust,” Dr. Judy said. “This breaking of trust can then project on other people and communities and create more human disconnect.”
Of course, for each person who deals with human disconnect, a few more could be “broken down” and destroyed, left feeling alone, abandoned, and disconnected.
All of that, Dr, Judy told me, is the perfect storm to create Global Disconnect – which she says she’s working to help solve as part of her larger missions. It occurs to me that human disconnect is some kind of viral outbreak of loneliness and separateness. It can feel almost like it’s out of our control and we don’t have a choice.
What causes Human Disconnect?
Human disconnect starts with the original human disconnect, Dr. Judy told me, nodding when I asked if she was referring to attachment styles.
“Yes, think John Bowlby and attachment theory,” she said. “And then it becomes projected onto other people and relationships. All of this can lead to globally creating a global disconnect – we as a society are currently staring in the eyes at this right now. Bigtime.”
The original disconnect would be due to the development of attachment styles as early as birth. “When there is not healthy attachment,” Dr. Judy says, reminding me to consider Dr. Bowlby’s attachment theory.
What is attachment theory?
Attachment theory states that our relationships with our mothers can affect us and our lifelong development (and even our relationships with others) in profound ways. The theory first originated in 1958, when John Bowlby recognized the importance of a child’s relationship with their mother.
Bowlby found that our emotional, social, and cognitive development are all directly affected by our attachment to our mothers, which begins at birth and can be affected by her own attachment style, which would be affected by her mother’s, and so on.
He also noticed that children who were separated from their mothers experienced extreme distress, which he assumed led to anxiety related to the idea that their mothers fed and cared for them.
But Bowlby and his fellow researchers noticed something kind of unexpected: that the separation anxiety would not diminish even when the kids were fed and cared for by other caregivers. Even the youngest children seemed to still miss their mothers.
Bowlby was the first to propose that attachment could be an evolutionary thing – the child’s caregiver obviously is the person who provides safety, security, and food.
So, he reckoned, being attached to the mother would increase a baby’s chance of survival.
Toxicity Runs in the Family
In this video, I break down attachment theory and how it explains narcissists, codependents, and the reasons this sort of toxicity tends to “run in the family,” so to speak,.
It is an enduring pattern of maladaptive behavior and traits that can coexist with other mental health issues such as depression, bipolar, or substance abuse.
Over the years, I’ve had a few clients dealing with confusing emotions about a narcissist who had taken their own lives. That said, it’s a relatively rare occurrence. For the most part, narcissists are afraid of death.
On some level, the more grandiose types seem to believe they are immortal, especially in their youth. Most cannot imagine the possibility of their own death.
In at least a couple of the cases with which I helped my clients, it seemed that the narcissist had committed suicide almost to spite or hurt their partners.
In contrast, the narcissist had done it in one case because he’d come to the end of the road with his lies and manipulation and would be held legally accountable otherwise. In all cases, it was clear that they never once considered how this would affect their partners long-term.
Are narcissists more likely than others to commit suicide?
Research tells us that people who suffer from narcissism are no more likely to commit suicide than anyone else. But unfortunately, while they’re less likely to have a failed attempt, they’re more likely to succeed if and when they try.
“While there was no bivariate relationship of NPD on suicide attempt, in the logistic regression patients with NPD were 2.4 times less likely to make a suicide attempt, compared with non-NPD patients and controlling for possible confounding variables,” study authors said, adding that, while the topic is understudied, “The modest body of existing research suggests that NPD is protective against non-fatal suicide attempts, but is associated with high lethality attempts.”
“Another study found that depressed older adults with narcissistic personalities were at increased suicide risk (Heisel et al., 2007). It has been observed that patients with NPD can be at elevated suicide risk not only during periods when they are depressed but also during periods when they are not suffering from depression (Ronningstam & Maltsberger 1998).”
Are some narcissists at a higher risk for suicide than others?
Among the narcissistic personality disorder-affected study subjects, the researchers noted that those who attempted or succeeded in suicide were “more likely to be male, to have a substance use disorder, and to have high aggression and hostility scores…The lower impulsivity of NPD patients and less severe personality pathology relative to other personality disorders may contribute to this effect.”
So, men with NPD and a drug or alcohol addiction who are aggressive and hostile toward the people in their lives are MORE likely to commit suicide than other narcissists.
This means that narcissists can become highly vulnerable to painful feelings of shame, humiliation, and defeat when criticized or rejected.
This shame, along with the underdeveloped self-esteem that narcissists possess, can lead them to suicidal threats and even suicide attempts when they are let down or even when they are being humiliated in front of others.
However, other psychological factors are involved in this phenomenon, such as low self-esteem, history of suicide attempts, and family history of suicide.
What do you do if a narcissist threatens suicide?
Sometimes, narcissists make threats of suicide as a scare tactic. It’s a way for them to further manipulate the people around them. In this situation, it’s essential not to take the threats lightly, but it’s also crucial not to be intimidated by them.
For the sake of your well-being and safety, it is best to stay calm and disengaged when your narcissist threatens suicide. Either way, remember that even if they attempt to kill themselves, they are still actively trying to manipulate you.
Stay Calm and Assess the Situation
You have a few options when dealing with a narcissist’s suicide threat. First, if it’s clear that the person intends to take their own life and can follow through, consider contacting the police immediately.
First, take a deep breath and ask yourself how capable the narcissist is of killing themselves – do they have the means and ability to take such a significant action? Remember that narcissists are excellent at making threats but not at following through.
That said, remember that it’s entirely possible that the narcissist might actually attempt suicide and that if they succeed, you might end up (unfairly) blaming yourself.
Contact the Authorities
My suggestion is to go ahead and contact the police and let them know what the narcissist is saying. Then, they can go over and do a wellness check on the narcissist.
While this might feel extreme, it can not only prevent suicide but also remove any responsibility you may feel you have. You can also, if appropriate, tell the narcissist you’re sending the authorities – but please consider this carefully as it may cause them to expedite any efforts toward suicide.
Give the Narcissist Resources and Information
You can offer the narcissist the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.*
Say something like, “I’m sorry you’re struggling, but I am not sure I’m qualified to help you. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately at 1-800-273-8255. They’re available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and their services are free. If your life is in imminent danger, call 911 or go directly to an emergency room.”
Bear in mind that narcissists are good at manipulating others, so there’s no guarantee that they’ll listen to reason from someone else either – but you should also remember that they are no longer your responsibility and that their behavior is NOT your fault – no matter how much they try to make you take responsibility for it.
Other options include encouraging them to seek psychiatric help or getting them to agree to stay with a family member or friend until they feel better. If you know them well, you could even contact the narcissist’s friend or family member and let them take it from there.
In any case, please do NOT risk your safety (mental or physical) by going back to the narcissist to prevent their suicide.
This can not only endanger you, but it might be nearly impossible to get away from them again – especially once they know that this kind of exploitative emotional blackmail has been an effective way to manipulate YOU.
Also, remember that if the narcissist is willing to threaten suicide, they may be at “rock bottom” and might not consider the consequences of seriously injuring you – or worse. They could feel like they’ve got “nothing to lose,” and you don’t want to make it easier for them to access you.
Narcissists and Suicide: Resources & Information
*Note this recent announcement from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: The Lifeline and 988 – 988 has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. While some areas may be currently able to connect to the Lifeline by dialing 988, this dialing code will be available to everyone across the United States starting on July 16, 2022.
The QueenBeeing SPANily, Official – We consider this the best narcissistic abuse recovery support group on the web. It offers several subgroups and features a vigilant, compassionate admin team full of trained coaches and survivors, supporting more than 12k members. SPAN is an acronym created by Angie Atkinson that stands for Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships.
Other Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups– We also have separate groups for each stage in your narcissistic abuse recovery and some for those who have moved past recovery and are evolving into the next phase of their own life. Survivors have unique and individual needs, even when they’ve moved on – so we’re still here for you.
Find a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Therapist – If you’re looking for a therapist for narcissistic abuse recovery, either because you cannot afford coaching and want to use your health insurance or because you have additional issues you need to address that do not fall within the realm of coaching, you will want to find the right therapist for you – and as far as we’re concerned, that therapist must understand what you’ve been through. This page offers assistance to help you do exactly that.