Setting Boundaries with Toxic People

Setting Boundaries with Toxic People

Setting boundaries is the first step toward taking back your power after narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship. I can’t think of a quicker way to regain personal power and your own sense of self in a situation than knowing what your boundaries might be and being able to set them with others. Toxic people notoriously will try to destroy your boundaries. They will use many forms of manipulation to make sure their will is asserted over yours and push your boundaries farther and farther back until you cease setting them.

What are boundaries?

Setting boundaries can be confusing when you may have never had healthy examples of them in your life. Boundaries can be many things including physical, material, mental, emotional, sexual or spiritual.  Boundaries create a separation between yourself and others including your needs, will, wishes and actions. They are your personal choice in saying no, in setting limits, in maintaining personal belongings, in having your own thoughts and opinion, in what you will do or won’t do with your body or in your feelings about personal beliefs or faith. You can see how a narcissist with their need to control and create a delusional reality based on THEIR own wants and need for supply would not want others to have boundaries plus do all they can to break down any boundaries a person may have.

Know your boundaries: what do you need?

Do you ever struggle with knowing what it is that you want or need? Do you then feel ok about creating the boundaries necessary to make sure those needs are met? Boundaries can be difficult enough without dealing with a toxic person as well. When you place a boundary in a healthy situation it can be difficult because of the fear of the reaction of others and your perceived beliefs about how others feel about you. WIth a toxic person, this is made worse because of the abuse. Not only that but have you noticed that the longer you are around toxic people the less you even know how you feel about things or what your needs even are? Having your thoughts and actions devalued and criticized really can lead to so much self-doubt that it can be hard to even know if what you are thinking is reasonable and right. One thing that can help to ask yourself, “what do I need?” or “ what do I think about this?” before replying to things. Knowing or even just asking that “includes you” –  it shows you that you matter and allows you to begin understanding where your boundaries are.

Learn to grey rock, say no and stick to it!

A narcissist will see any boundary you place as an invitation to argue, manipulate, or criticize you.  They may also see it as an ultimatum placed by you and give you anything from heated arguing to silent treatment because of it. As with all dealing with narcissistic abuse, it is not going to get better. One key characteristic trait of narcissistic abuse is the pushing and disregard of boundaries. Grey rock when your boundaries are not being respected, do not engage, argue, defend, plead or any other reaction besides calm indifference.

Here are a few tips for setting boundaries with a narcissist:

  • Know what you will not tolerate, understand where you personally draw the line. For example,  like name-calling, devaluing, silent treatment all will be met by grey rock and disengagement. You will not argue, plead, debate, defend or give much attention to such treatment
  • Set your own time/agenda. You choose how long you will wait, do things, sleep, eat, visit friends or family, or any other time/action related thing and all abusive manipulation will not be argued with or defended. Again, grey rock!
  • Do not have expectations that this will resolve anything within the relationship with a narcissist. Generally, this boundary-setting is a one-time event. Nothing will fix the relationship with a narcissist and living a life of grey rock is not a solution, it is a technique meant to help you diffuse a situation until you can get away.
  • Focus on your worth. You are a thinking, feeling and loving person whose needs are as valuable and important as anyone else’s. You deserve a say in your own life and that should be respected. Respect yourself while you place boundaries. Focus on yourself and your needs.
  • Exit plan! Create an exit plan and get away. Ideally, you will see you have worth and value far beyond the way you are treated by this toxic person and get away from them as far as you can. Going no contact is the ultimate boundary.

 

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I’ve made a terrible mistake

I’ve made a terrible mistake


I’ve made a terrible mistake – and here’s how it can help your narcissistic relationship recovery. If you are someone who is recovering from a toxic relationship, then you know how easy it can be to fall off the wagon. I did that over the weekend, and today I’m sharing my confession of what I did wrong and what I’m doing to change it in the future.

Plus ,I’ll share a message of hope for you – and for me. Recovering from a narcissistic relationship is hard work – and overcoming toxic families is even harder. Today, we’re going to get through this together.

Our self-talk creates reality. And we know all about self-talk psychology, don’t we? But it’s easy to understand in theory. In real life, it’s a lot harder to implement – and to stick with. Even when we think we’ve got it all handled. Trust me – I know what I’m talking about here.

Invalidation is part of codependency and CPTSD. We have to validate OURSELVES.

How to Train a Narcissist: A Non-Toxic, Repeatable Two-Step Plan to Get a Narcissist to Treat You Better

How to Train a Narcissist: A Non-Toxic, Repeatable Two-Step Plan to Get a Narcissist to Treat You Better

Sometimes, when you find yourself enmeshed in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, even though you realize your best option would be to leave or go no-contact, it isn’t always a real possibility in every situation. For example, you might be co-parenting or working with a narcissist.

Sometimes, you just want things to go smoothly – you’re not in the mood for a narcissist’s usual games, gaslighting, and emotional manipulation. And you’re certainly not feeling like fending off any narcissistic rage, or narcissistic injury.

That’s right. Sometimes, you just want first aid – a quick and simple way to make life easier for a while – to make the narcissist just BE NICE TO YOU.

PLEASE NOTE: This ONLY works if you ARE NOT IN ANY DANGER OF A PHYSICALLY ABUSIVE REACTION! If you are being physically abused or you think you might be soon, visit this page.

How do you train a narcissist to be nice to you?

The process is so simple that you might not believe it. But I promise you, it works – and I’ve learned this through both experience and research. Here’s what you need to know (and exactly the steps you take) to make a narcissist be nice to you.

Step One: Do not reward “bad” behavior with the narcissist’s desired or expected reaction.

So: Your only response to negative behavior is “GRAY ROCK.”  PLEASE NOTE: Using gray rock can and may induce narcissistic rage, narcissistic injury, and extreme gaslighting. You may feel angry or upset – but DO NOT show it, no matter what. Stay positive and polite.

Step Two: Reward “good” behavior with what the narcissist needs from you: love, admiration, and a proper place on the pedestal.

When the narcissist behaves in a way that is tolerable for you, even if you recognize it as love bombing or idealization, take a deep breath, and bestow all the love and admiration you can on them. Be sure to tell them how amazing and wonderful and perfect they are – and do it as sincerely if you can.

Things to Know About How to Train a Narcissist

  • Please Note: This can even work if you’re dealing with an ex in a co-parenting situation or a boss or co-worker – just adjust to make it appropriate for the situation.
  • Be consistent. You can NEVER stop these practices if you hope to keep this thing going. The narcissist will absolutely and repeatedly try their typical abuse patterns and manipulation tactics not to mention other “bad” behaviors. This means you will need to be very in control of your emotions to make this happen. BUT you CAN do it if you choose to – and it will make life less actively painful, at least for a while.

Bottom line: Don’t expect miracles.

Based on both research and experience, I can tell you that narcissists won’t ever change for the most part. In theory, they could change – but I’ve never actually seen it in person. So make sure you understand that this will be your new way of life if you choose to stick it out. This can be dangerous for your own mental health, so please know that it’s a temporary fix and not one that you can feasibly use forever.

I still suggest that you work on planning your escape if you’re still living with a narcissist, as always. If that’s of interest to you, check out my free PLAN (Planning to Leave a Narcissist) Guide.

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Resources

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Codependent-Toxic: Portrait of a Narcissist’s Significant Other

Codependent-Toxic: Portrait of a Narcissist’s Significant Other

“Understanding how a narcissist works is the key to living or working with one. If you can understand his or her behavior, you may be able to accept it as you realize their behavior is NOT a result of anything you did or said despite them emphatically blaming you. If you can accept their behavior and not take the abuse and other actions personally, you can then emotionally distance yourself from the narcissist. If you can emotionally distance yourself, you can either cope with the narcissist or garner the strength to leave.” ~ Alexander Burgemeester, The Narcissistic Life

devastating emotional scars narcissism quoteThe beginning of a relationship with a narcissist can be very deceptive; in most cases, a narcissistic relationship begins just like any other—with the standard phases of initial attraction, infatuation and eventually falling in love.

What is a toxic narcissist?

The most commonly understood definition of a narcissist is a person who has a very inflated opinion of him/herself. In fact, most every conscious human has some level of narcissism, which at its most basic level is simple self-interest. But that’s different than the kind of narcissism we’re talking about when we are talking about toxic narcissists.

It is a toxic narcissist we find ourselves dealing with in narcissistic abuse situations. Also known as a malignant narcissist, this term refers to a toxic, verbally (and sometimes physically) abusive person who may or may not have been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.

What type of person does a narcissist go for?

What kind of person is ideal for a narcissist? There is no single “type” that a narcissist typically goes for, technically—there are no parallels to be drawn among the partners of narcissists as far as height, weight, eye color, race, or any other physical or cultural characteristic.

While there seems to be no “ideal” or “standard” mate/friend/spouse for a narcissist, there are certain similarities between the relationships. For example, the narcissist typically begins a new relationship with a “honeymoon” period, during which everything seems perfect, almost too good to be true.

Living in a relationship with a narcissist can be anything from exciting and exhilarating to soul-sucking and traumatic. And it usually is one or the other—depending on what day it happens to be. You might compare it to a type of emotional rollercoaster.

And a narcissist cannot exist without someone to adore, submit to his will, be available at his whim, and willing to disparage herself to his benefit. His whole identity really depends on it—it’s called narcissistic supply.

So what draws a person into this type of relationship and keeps her there?

Common Qualities Among the Partners of Narcissists

“The inherently dysfunctional ‘codependency dance’ requires two opposite but distinctly balanced partners: the pleaser/fixer (codependent) and the taker/controller (narcissist/addict,” writes Ross Rosenberg. “Codependents — who are giving, sacrificing, and consumed with the needs and desires of others — do not know how to emotionally disconnect or avoid romantic relationships with individuals who are narcissistic — individuals who are selfish, self-centered, controlling, and harmful to them. Codependents habitually find themselves on a “dance floor” attracted to partners who are a perfect counter-match to their uniquely passive, submissive and acquiescent dance style.”

While physically, culturally, and otherwise, the victims of narcissism aren’t the same, there are certain qualities that typically unite them. I’m going to use the “she” pronoun here, but note that there is no single sex that is a typical victim (although, to be fair, men reportedly make up the majority of narcissists).

First, she must be insecure or at least have a distorted sense of reality, if you expect her to stick around. Otherwise, she’ll be out on the first or second exhibit of narcissism, early on in the relationship.

She will likely often belittle and demean herself while glorifying the narcissist and putting him on an untouchable pedestal.

As a result, the partner becomes the victim, which works fine for her—she has a tendency to punish herself. Maybe she’s even a bit of a masochist. She probably feels like she “deserves” this life of torment.

She’s his eternal scapegoat, always put-upon and putting her own needs last.

“It is through self-denial that the partner survives,” says Sam Vaknin, a self-proclaimed narcissist. “She denies her wishes, hopes, dreams, aspirations, sexual, psychological, and material needs, choices, preferences, values, and much else besides. She perceives her needs as threatening because they might engender the wrath of the narcissist’s God-like supreme figure.”

Victims of narcissism often call themselves “people-pleasers” or “diplomats,” but the truth is, they are often so downtrodden in relationships that they just become changed, reactive versions of their former selves.

“When you are the partner of a narcissist, you are there to project the image he wants for you—that he wants his partner to project,” writes Diane England, Ph.D. “Of course, your house and lifestyle probably fall into this category, too. They are all about making statements to others he wishes to impress, not about providing you with the type of environment you might find comfortable or restful–an environment that feeds your soul.”

Can a narcissist also be codependent?

Contrary to popular belief, narcissists are not necessarily the opposite of codependents. In fact, while they appear to be completely different than their victims – polar opposites almost – they actually have often experienced very similar traumas to the very people they victimize. Often the victims of childhood abuse and/or neglect, the majority of narcissists could really identify with their victims and their own issues – if only they had the empathy to do so.

For example, both narcissists and their victims experience certain symptoms of codependency, such as the overwhelming feelings of shame, living in denial of their childhood abuse and neglect (or of their own current issues), control issues, dependency on others for their self-worth, issues with setting and overstepping boundaries and communication problems. Ultimately, while it seems counterintuitive, narcissists are definitely codependent – they just manifest it differently than their victims. The difference is that narcissists seem to turn inward, while victims seem to turn outward, with the love that they’d normally have given their parents and other family members, had they been allowed.

Do you know someone who is in a relationship with a narcissist? Perhaps you recognize yourself or someone you love in this post.

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More Helpful Resources for Overcoming a Narcissist’s Emotional and Psychological Manipulation

 

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