It is not always possible to escape a Narcopath – not immediately in any case. At the time of writing, lockdown as a result of CoronaVirus / Covid-19 is forcing a number of victims into close and constant proximity with their abuser. For those in this unenvious predicament, there are a number of things you can consider to alleviate your situation
Conventional wisdom does not help much in the case of managing a narcissist – talking things through, compromise, obeying their commands, pandering to their every whim, playing down issues etc can often be counter-productive. In the same way that you can never fill and empty bucket that has a hole in it, so satisfying a narcopath is a never-ending task that simply exhausts their partner.
If you are in a vulnerable position, please seek help from the police and/or shelters and charities for domestic abuse. If you are male, I’m sorry – you will probably find that society is going to let you down.
Sometime counter-intuitive solutions work better and this involves filly the proverbial bucket to keep it full enough to be satisfied, but doing it is such a way that it does not exhaust or deplete you.
There are no hard and fast solutions – but the following tips and tricks might be useful for consideration. Please use them only with the utmost caution.
- Don’t mention your suspicions. If they know that you are onto them as narcissists, they may well seek to silence the whistleblower before you escape.
- Learn NPD in minute detail. The narcissist has a mindset that is nigh-on incomprehensible to a normal human being, and very few people who have not suffered narcissistic abuse first hand will ever get it. Your best protection is to learn their counter-intuitive mindset like the back of your hand, so that you can instantly spot the tactics of their psychological abuse, understand why they do it, understand the intended impact on you, and know instinctively how to dodge it like water off a duck’s back.
- Meter out narcissistic supply smartly. Narcissists desperately need narcissistic supply on a regular basis and will seek it constantly. Learn the two flavours – positive and negative – and understand clearly their need for it. Recognise that you will need to give it, but do so on your terms. But very clear with yourself as to what blends of positive and negative supply you are prepared to give, what the dangers are, and where your limits lie. Control the supply you give them so as to nourish them as required, without depleting you in any way that is unsustainable.
- Don’t get framed. Narcopaths are expert at making false allegations – it’s the classic case of attack being the best form of defence. If they fear that you might call the police, they are very likely to preempt – lodging a variety of written communications with friends expressing fear and the like ahead of time, staging a fracas, maybe even causing some self-inflicted injuries – all in order that they are able to claim to be the victim and you the perpetrator. This is extremely difficult to either envisage or beat – unless you are able to spot the onset of a potential flashpoint and secretly video record developments accordingly. Don’t get caught doing so for obvious reasons.
- Get Real. Narcissists are Jekyll & Hyde characters, who put on a false façade to impress the world with their charisma and charm. Underneath this charade the reality is very difference – they are highly toxic, manipulative, Machiavellian and sadistic. Never ever forget that you are dealing with the reality of My Hyde, and never allow yourself to be fooled by the pathological lies and charm of Dr Jekyll.
- Unwind your love. In the case of child or significant other of the narc, you may well love them – dearly. If this is the case, it is important to wind down that love to a point of zero if you can. This way their ability to upset, hurt or abuse you is dramatically diminished. You will be less emotionally enmeshed in the relationship, and be able to view it more objectively.
- Let go. With you carefully regulating the narcissistic supply you provide, you may need to accept that they get top-ups elsewhere. If your relationship with the narc is that of significant other, I would encourage you to prepare yourself for the likelihood that they will have affairs, and adopt a mindset that if they do, they are at least deriving fuel elsewhere – thereby taking the pressure off you.
- Become narcissistic. Understand that you may need to fight fire with fire, and that developing a mindset that puts you first and foremost is necessary to protect yourself. Bear in mind that you will be walking an impossible line – but never do anything illegal.
- Impose boundaries. A narc will seek to psychologically abuse you on a regular basis, and having strong boundaries is essential for your mental and physical self-protection. Impose boundaries with consistency, with courage, and with robust and pre-stated consequences should the narc cross them.
- Derive self-esteem elsewhere. Maintaining high levels of self-esteem and self-confidence is vital in keeping emotionally fit and healthy. A narc won’t give you this – on the contrary they will seek to rob you of it whenever they can – so make sure that you are boosting it elsewhere. A strong base of supporters, even admirers, will help you on your journey.
- Play Dirty. You will find that many sanctimonious people will urge you for stooping to the level of the narc, and will judge you for doing so. Remember, they are not walking in your shoes, fighting your battles, and very few will even come to understand the sheer hell of living with a narcissist. So don’t get too bothered by what everyone else is trying to advise you about – you’ve got to do what is right for you. And whilst I would never recommend breaking the law, do be prepared to sail close to the wind.
- Counter-gaslight. A narc will constantly be seeking to skew your sense of reality through gaslighting. Often your best defence here is attack – doing exactly what they do to you back to them. If nothing else, just looking out for ways to do this will keep you sharp and wary, and therefore more immune from the deadly effects of this abuse.
- Stay Grounded. The constant psychological sparring with a narc is likely to leave you confused, bewildered and exhausted. It is vital that you remain very grounded at all times – not so easy when your friends and family are unlikely to understand the dynamic, your intentions or strategies, your needs and vulnerabilities. Regularly getting away and to a place of calm and normality is very helpful.
- Take Control. Narcs will try and take control over every element of your life – your finances, your circle of friends, your health, your career etc. Make sure that you retain control over those areas that you need to – especially finances.
- Plan your Escape. It is unlikely that you will want to stay trapped in this situation forever – perhaps you are running the gauntlet until you a financially able to be independent, you are still a kid and cannot yet leave home, or there is some other hold that your narc has over you. Don’t allow yourself to be imprisoned by the abuse – be very focussed on a new life after, plan and be driven by your ambition.
- Secure a Bolthole. Whilst you may be on top of the abusive relationship for most of the time, know that it could change for the worse with little warning. Remember you may see Dr Jekyll most of the time, but you may not have seen the full depravity of Mr Hyde yet – and he is never far away. Make sure that you have somewhere to run to in the case of emergency – such a friend’s house or that of family member – someone who understands your predicament, understands their role, is able to offer you a physical and emotional refuge etc. Have an overnight bag packed and pre-positioned there.
- Be Unfuckwithable. Get physically and mentally fit. Eat well. Avoid alcohol and drugs. Meditate. Stop ruminating. Avoid stress. Be badass.
- Enlist a mentor. Invaluable when it comes to protecting your mental, physical and emotional health, enlist the assistance of someone who has walked your path already – who understands NPD and narcissistic abuse in detail, who can provide moral support and wisdom, who will spot additional threats and dangers, who will validate your thoughts and feelings, who is a sounding board for your plans and strategies, who boosts your self-esteem, who gets you to stick to a plan, and who will guide you out of the dark and into the light. You may have to get a professional – regard the cost as a sound investment that may well save and secure your sanity, and very possibly even your life.
Need someone to talk to?
If you need someone to talk to, I will happily give anyone 15 mins of my time for free – please just book at slot with me here. I work with fellow survivors to validate their experience (in lieu of diagnosing the narc), strategising to clarify quick and efficient escape, provide counselling services and recovery plans, and help victims resolve the trauma and recover their lives.