Discussion Topic

How to help someone involved with a Narcissist

Posted on 10/07/12, 10:54 pm
This is a great page, I only wish my friends and family would've taken the time to read about how to help me, then maybe I would've have better support. No one really takes the time to understand what's going on. Half the time I feel crazy talking about it. Alone. Also I feel like no one believes me, that they don't take what I had gone through seriously. It's so frustrating. I often reach out for help and there is no one there.....


What to do if you suspect someone you know is involved with a narcissist


First of all let’s cover the don’t:

* Do not underestimate how dangerous, manipulative and conniving a narcissist can be.

Too many times people confuse narcissism with ordinary abusive behaviour or someone with an inflated ego. A true narcissist is cruel beyond comprehension and can cause immeasurable emotional and physical damage. They will stop at nothing to control their victim and that could include death.

* Never make the victim feel they are responsible for their own abuse.

By saying things like: I would never have stayed, I would have seen he was an asshole a mile off, he was attracted to your co-dependency, etc
No one knows what it is like to be manipulated by a narcissist unless they have been there.

-Narcissists are attracted to strong, competent, self sufficient women with a strong sense of responsibility and moral fiber. What woman wouldn’t want to be described in those terms? The last thing a narcissist wants is someone needy or someone any one could have, she has to be a “trophy” and confident enough to keep his narcissistic supply coming. Plus the more self sufficient and confident she is the more determined the narcissist will be to “break” her, if he can make her totally dependent on him it is the ultimate in NS.

* Do not withdraw your support in an effort to make them choose between you and the narcissist, or in anger because they won’t leave or went back.

Withdrawing your support is giving the narcissist exactly what they want – total control over their victim and makes the victim dependent on the narcissist and reinforces what the narcissist is telling them; that they (the narcissist) is the only one they can rely on, the only one who truly loves them and that they are flawed in some way, why else would someone they cared about turn their back on them?

* Do not expect the victim to return to their “old self” immediately after leaving the narcissist.

The longer a person is involved with a narcissist the more damage is done to the person’s self confidence, their esteem and even their perception of reality. That does not heal quickly, sometimes never. The victim has been abused at a soul level, comparable to a prisoner of war, a rape victim, a hostage; they can probably not even adequately describe what they have been through. In many cases they have blocked much of the abuse or minimized it; which is typical of a person in highly dangerous situation and was part of their attempts at survival.

- Many people leaving a relationship with a narcissist suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and should get help from a professional for that, someone who is familiar with Narcissism and the effect on the victims.

*Do not believe anything the narcissist tells you, he will try anything to discredit the victim and make them appear to be the crazy one and it is the narcissist who is the victim.

You can almost guarantee that whatever the narcissist is saying is the exact opposite of the truth. If he is saying she was unfaithful; it was him cheating. If he says she spent all the money; it was he who spent money.

Remember the narcissist is an award winning actor, he’s been doing it his whole life, if he does admit to any wrong doing it will be part of his plans to manipulate the situation in his favor.

*Do not show the narcissist any sympathy!

One of the tactics often used by a narcissist (especially when he feels he is losing ground) is to use other people as pawns in his efforts to control his victim.
The victim needs no reasons to feel sorry for the narcissist, if they see you are sympathetic to his cause they will doubt they are doing the right thing by leaving.

*Do not be overly critical of the narcissist to the point of the victim feeling they must defend him; remember the narcissist uses guilt as a means of manipulation. You don’t want the victim to feel she has done anything wrong by confiding in you.

The To-Do List:

*Research Narcissism

There are hundreds of support groups, forums, advice sites and sites giving professional opinions.

No one can understand the power a narcissist has over his victim or how
he gained that control or why a victim finds it so hard to leave. Unless you have been there it is impossible, but by reading other people’s accounts of their experiences you will come to realize it is very common and perhaps develop some compassion for the loved one you are trying to help.

*Reinforce that the victim is NOT responsible for the abuse, it is the narcissist that is sick and they can not save him.

-You will have to do this often, once out of your company and back home with the narcissist the narcissist will work over time to extinguish any confidence the victim might have acquired while with you. It is a constant roller coaster ride in emotional hell and you might be the only person who can counter the insanity of living with a narcissist.

*Document!!

When the victim tells you of abuse, infidelity or any other mistreatment by the narcissist make note of it; if there is any physical abuse try to take pictures even if she refuses to press charges. It is actually best if she doesn’t keep records herself because the narcissist IS going through her stuff whether she realizes it or not and if he finds it he will destroy it and “punish” her in some way. But this information will come in handy in the future as:
Proof there was abuse should she have to go to court or get a restraining order.
A reminder for the victim of what she had to live with when her resolve weakens.
Proof of the truth in defense of the lies the narcissist will inevitably tell anyone who will listen.

*Be There!!!

I know it is frustrating to hear the victim cry about the abuse and then they don’t leave or they leave and go back, but you need to be her voice of reason and sanity. You must understand that narcissists are experts at making someone feel crazy.

A woman in an abusive relationship leaves an average of 7 times before leaving for good. As long as he can make her feel that she has some power to change things she will go back, she needs to be reinforced that she has indeed done all she or any woman could do and no one deserves to be abused.

* Believe them!

Once they opening up and start sharing some of the things the narcissist did, believe them, no matter how bizarre it may sound and reiterate it is the narcissist that is sick, not them!

*Listen!!

If they are still with the narcissist all you can do is be there to listen and reinforce that: They are NOT crazy
They are strong
They are not alone
They CAN leave and when they do you will be there to help

* If they have left they will need to rehash the relationship trying to make sense of it, trying to find answers to why something so wonderful turned so ugly.

Quite often while in “survival mode” the victim will block or minimize a lot of the abuse because they are overwhelmed or simply can not accept how horrible the situation is. Once they are away from the narcissist and the danger emotions and memories will come flooding back and the brain needs to acknowledge and accept what happened in order to start the healing process. It might be necessary for the victim to relive some events over and over again.

*Allow the victim time to grieve the loss.

Too many times the people close to the victim get frustrated that they are so sad and “taking too long” grieving and should “just get over it”. That they should be happy they are away from the abuse.

Remember this is probably what they thought was the love of their life and not only is the relationship over but they have to accept it was all one sided; the narcissist is incapable of love; they were in love with a sham. The narcissist will never admit to any fault, and over time more and more of the lies he told will surface reopening the wounds.

Nine times out of ten the narcissist will be involved in another relationship very quickly and will be on his best behaviour and doing everything he can to rub his ex victim’s nose in it.

Either that or he will stock his victim, call incessantly, write letters, anything he can think of to get to her and weaken her resolve.

You can’t stop the victim from going back, but it is less likely to happen if they don’t feel alone. The narcissist can be very convincing especially if the victim is alone, depressed and filled with self doubt.

http://ladywithatruck.wordpress.com...
Showing 9 Replies
  • Reply #1 10/08/12  8:10am
    Excellent article. Thanks so much Kassy. I'll try to add to the articles in the Group Hugs section of our Home page.
  • Reply #2 10/08/12  1:56pm
    Now if they could just import some "support" to this neck of the woods! Thanks, KassandraDee! And PS I like your new picture ... have been thinking that for days, now.
  • Reply #3 10/08/12  5:31pm
    Thank you dadda, it's cute, I thought. It's little white paws make me awww lol
  • Reply #4 10/08/12  5:46pm
    This is excellent. Thank you. I've been trying to be of support to a friend who is up to her ass in partner narcissism right now. I keep the focus on her, not him. I think one of the best pieces of advice I have been able to give her is to ride the waves of emotions and keep the focus on herself as much as possible and do what she needs to do to take care of herself in spite of all the upset. I wish I had been able to do more of this myself.

    The last time she called me very upset, I didn't tell her what to do, but nor did I minimize what was happening to her. I have not heard from her for a few days and my sense is she spending time trying to save this relationship again. I certainly don't want to be the person she ignores because she thinks I am against it all or she is ashamed of it or anything.
  • Reply #5 10/09/12  3:08am
    The part about being attracted to strong women is so true.I was self-reliant until I became dependant on him in my life and even asked if I could take him for granted that he would never leave me. I know now that was the beginning of the end - I showed weakness and neediness.

    I've even had a friend suck me dry during an emotionally tough time in my life and come visit me to say that she thought I was stronger and she never looked me up for support again...she moved on to another willing listener. She never grew from our talks and just wanted me to tell her what to do instead of figuring out the answer herself after using me as a sounding board.
  • Reply #6 10/09/12  3:10am
    Redfern,

    Just call and leave her a message again. She must need you more than ever . . . or will soon when the N lets her down again. I understand her need to try everything to save her relationship/.marriage before actually pulling the plug. The N toften teases (I believe my N does this unintentionally) by actually getting better and being nice for short periods of time before falling back in the old hurtful behaviors. Yet, even the most well-intentioned N can not maintain a nice persona for very long . . . their sickness is all powerful and asserts its sick self-centered, maladjusted thinking and the N returns to cruelty all too willinging. As friends, we can only listen and comfort and advise when we can. I hope your friend fines comfort in your efforts and in knowing you care. Hugs.
  • Reply #7 10/09/12  3:11am
    Kassy,

    Again, thanks for posting this article. I did get it to post to Group Hugs.
  • Reply #8 10/09/12  10:56am
    Quepasa - I know that one well - teasing by getting better and then falling back into old habits. I called her last night and she is going to counseling with him. Ugh! But maybe it will be for the best.

    Part of me noticed a feeling of wanting to run because it triggers in me this sense of watching a train wreck about to happen, but I also like her and she has the ability to disengage at certain points and allow herself that has nothing to do with him to emerge.

    She is spending an awful lot of time at the Greek Orthodox church as well of which he is a member. Converting actually - going to catechism classes even.

    It is sad and interesting to me to see how far a woman will go sometimes to try to fit one man into an overall dream for her life of being partnered and not being able to stand alone. It almost seems like the more time one has put into a toxic relationship, the harder it is to let go of it. I know this, but the broader perspective is what helped me let go eventually. Maybe she will get this.

    On the other hand, maybe the therapy will help him as well. I just don't see it happening all at once though enough to turn him from a frog into prince charming.
  • Reply #9 10/09/12  11:03am
    Cyrstal - Just when I started to get strong again, I let him come back and lost it all again. I am just now getting my strength back again and I know I need to stand on my own for yet more time and enforce that strength within myself and see how it plays out in my own life and how I handle my own solitude.

    I too had a few friends who came around and energetically sucked me dry but never did anything to change anything. I still have one or two that I deal with gently because I like them, but I have begun to set up boundaries on how much time I am going to spend listening and watching them do nothing different. But who am I to say what they should do? I just know that sometimes what they do is in sharp contrast to what I am doing or are a reflection of what I do with them in a way, so I've had to let go a little. I have to make sure I stay strong. People can really drain your energy unconsciously at times when they sense your strength.

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