9 Tips To Deal With A Narcissistic Family Member

How would you break a relationship with someone if that person is your family member? Why getting away from a toxic, manipulative family member is so difficult? Does this mean that you would suffer endlessly? The answer is a NO. There is a way out of this never-ending nightmare. This article provides 9 useful tips to deal with a narcissistic family member.

Understanding Narcissism

A narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition that is clinically diagnosable to tag someone as a narcissist. Narcissists have an unreasonably higher sense of self so much so that they might not care about anything else but themselves.

Some level of narcissism can be considered normal and may also be beneficial in certain aspects of life as narcissistic traits like competitiveness but maintaining a healthy competition, the desire to be better, but not by ruining other people’s goals and achievements, promoting self-growth but not at the cost of other people’s well being and so on.

But when narcissism starts affecting your well-being, relationships, and quality of life, it may be dangerous and considered unhealthy.

What is a Narcissist?

A narcissist is someone who suffers from a mental health disorder that affects their life so much that it may hinder them and the people around them too. Narcissism is a mental health disorder in which people have an inflated sense of self, a lack of empathy, a constant need for admiration, adoration, and validation, have deep-rooted insecurities and project them onto others to feel fulfilled, resist negatively to criticism and are emotionally dependent on others.

Some Narcissistic traits include,

  • Narcissists are manipulative
  • They are extremely selfish
  • They would exploit others for personal gains
  • They lack empathy
  • They have a boosted sense of self-importance
  • They have a sense of entitlement
  • Are arrogant

Now that a little is known about narcissism and how you may identify a narcissist, let us know how to deal with a narcissist, especially a narcissistic family member.

Signs of a Narcissistic Family Member

Narcissistic family members would have unhealthy relationships with everyone around them. They may never be held accountable for their actions and may always be finding an exit from responsibilities. They may make you feel guilty and blame you for their negative actions.

They may not care how others may feel due to their actions. They may be overly involved in everyone’s life to control them. They may pull manipulative tactics like gaslighting, triangulation, blame-shifting, and self-victimization to defend their abusive actions.

They would resort to criticism and conflicts to gain an upper hand in a given situation. Their love is conditional and they are possessive. They have a shirt fuse and may lash out at everyone in the family if challenged, instigated, or provoked.

They may never respect anyone’s boundaries and walk over them. Thus you may feel uneasy and drained around them. Their presence may make you feel anxious and unlikable.

9 Tips to Deal with a Narcissistic Family Member

Dealing with a narcissist can be challenging, stressful, and draining. But you can make this easier by building boundaries, seeking support, practicing self-care, and finding creative ways to cope with the narcissistic family member.

Here are a few tips to deal with a narcissistic family member,

1. Avoid direct confrontation

Confronting a narcissist is always tempting but it usually backfires in the most unexpected ways. Your intention behind calling them a narcissist might be intended to either put an end to their abuse or change them for good in some positive ways. But all that aside, you might have to be a part of their retaliation.

The narcissistic family member might not reflect on their behavioral traits which may lead to issues. They would always be busy and obsessed with proving that you are the culprit and something is wrong with your behavior and perception of them.

So leaving out or dropping the whole plan of confronting them repeatedly, may be beneficial for you. You are not giving them insights but inviting trouble for yourself. This also makes your relationship worse and might draw you more apart. Thus avoid confronting them directly.

2. Build a support system

When you have a narcissistic family member seeking support from other family members, or someone outside your immediate family becomes necessary. If you have a powerful support system you may be able to cope with a narcissistic family member efficiently.

Your support system can include anyone reliable and you can depend on them no matter what, they can be your friends, or other family members who may not be in your immediate family context.

You may also consider seeking help from support groups or healing groups if you are unable to discuss openly with anyone within your reach.

Try sharing your experiences with them, and your stories to heal yourself. It is a natural phenomenon that once you share your trauma with anyone reliable you may start feeling lighter and burden-free. Your complex emotions may get entangled and you be able to overcome the negativity and emotional turmoil.

Therapies, coaching, support groups, or any means through which you can share your experience could be a part of your support system and worthy of a try.

3. Reduce Contact over time

If a narcissistic family member violates your limits, you may want to restrict your accessibility to them. Start considering options of limiting your access, or going no-contact from time to time.

How do you restrict your constant?

You may start setting limits on the frequency of texts, calls, or meetings. For instance, if you have a narcissistic sibling, you may avoid hanging out with them now and then. Set your limits and relieve yourself from the trauma.

When you are limiting your accessibility to the narcissist, you are taking one step toward self-care, so do not feel guilty about being a little selfish here.

4. Practice Self Compassion

You may have to show some compassion, kindness, and empathy for yourself while dealing with a narcissistic family member. Regular practice of self-compassion is the best way to cope and compensate for the traumatic, and negative energy that you might have accumulated by connecting with a narcissist.

Self-compassion and kindness can help you overcome anxiety, grief, guilt, resentment, shame, self-limiting belief, and even self-doubt. Thus taking care of your emotional health is in your hands, do not anyone ruin your self-esteem, happiness, and belief.

5. Learn to say “NO”

When you learn the art of saying no politely yet directly, you may find many ways to deal with a problematic situation with a narcissistic family member.

You may do favors for people you care about and love, but you must know your limits and try to negotiate your ways by denying to those who only know to use you and may not care about returning anything to you.

For instance,

If you have a younger narcissistic brother, who may always ask for money to misspend, then it is your responsibility as the elder sibling to say no in a way that does not hurt them. If their need is genuine then you may not want to deny it. 

6. Know your boundaries

Boundaries ensure that your physical, mental, and emotional well-being is not harmed. It is the best possible way to set a safe distance from the narcissist. Boundaries help you establish your individuality, responsibilities, and a safe space in the relationship.

Setting boundaries with your narcissistic family members can include restricting the time spent, the amount of information you share, and how much you are willing to compromise to fulfill their wishes.

Boundaries also ensure that your rights are safe and also protect you from verbal abuse, drama, and other manipulative tactics.

7. Stay firm on your Boundaries

Narcissistic family members hardly respect other people’s boundaries and often try to cross them thus it becomes crucial to mark your boundaries clearly as their behavior is ego-driven. Setting boundaries might upset them at first, but with time this would ensure your mental peace, individuality, and privacy.

You decide for yourself what behavior is acceptable and what is not. Setting boundaries would allow you to not break them thus preventing you from giving into narcissistic manipulative tactics.

Even if you set strict limits, and put up a strong barricade of boundaries, the narcissist will walk all over them. The narcissist family member may disregard your boundaries. So if they attempt to do so, do not react provocatively.

8. Do not be restricted by your self-limiting beliefs

Narcissists prey on insecure people, have low self-esteem, and are vulnerable to emotions. They may victimize such people who have lower self-esteem as they are ideal for obtaining a narcissistic supply.

So if you are bound by self-limiting beliefs, you may use affirmations, self-compassion, and positive thought processes can help you restrict and limit self-limiting beliefs. Start acknowledging your self-worth and self-importance.

9. Set realistic expectations

Accept the fact that a narcissistic family member is never going to change and thus you must not have high expectations from them. You must focus on your well-being instead rather than expecting some changes from them. Look after yourself and try to reinforce strong boundaries.

When should you consider cutting contact with a Family Member?

When the narcissistic family member’s behavior starts affecting your other relationships, and impacts your mental health and well-being then you must consider going no contact with them.

If that family member is someone you cannot break off contact like your mother, father, partner, or someone closer, then you must consider taking a break from them from time to time.

Thus you must decide for yourself when you must consider cutting off contact with a family member.

In Conclusion

Dealing with a narcissist can be challenging, stressful, and draining. But you can make this easier by building boundaries, seeking support, practicing self-care, and finding creative ways to cope with the narcissistic family member.

You must remember to ensure and prioritize your well-being, self-care, and happiness to make your life merrier.

Ella Carrillo

Ella Carrillo

Hey Reader, I am Ella, an Online and Offline Therapist holding an experience of 6 years in this field. From Relationship, Depression, and Personality Disorder to Narcissistic problems, I have helped a lot of people find their solutions. Upon gathering a number of common problems that people face, I decided to put the information on this blog so that anyone can get their answers easily.

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