How to Cope When You Love a Narcissist

How to Cope When You Love a Narcissist

While a person often feels powerless when falling romantically for another person, emotions are ultimately controllable.

We can't always choose who we love. While a person often feels powerless when falling romantically for another person, emotions are ultimately controllable. Perhaps, you have chosen to love someone with a narcissistic personality. This is a challenging proposition, but you can have a successful relationship with a person suffering from this personality disorder. Learn the coping strategies that can make your partnership work.

Become Educated About Narcissism

Learn as much as you can about narcissism. It is a complicated mental illness centering on an individual's inflated sense of self-importance accompanied by a lack of empathy for other people. While this is an intimidating definition, narcissistic individuals can and do fall in love and commit to romantic involvements. Research the complexities of the disorder, and you will discover such things as narcissists often experience doubts, become seriously depressed and feel shame. They are people, not caricatures, and this should never be forgotten. Read about the symptoms, causes, risk factors and treatments of the disorder to gain a better understanding and empathy for your lover.

Acknowledge Emotions

Relationships with narcissists are often highly emotional. Your partner will likely have many moments in which he displays strong feelings of anger, disgust, sadness and frustration. Guess what? So will you. Do not try to suppress his and your emotions, instead attempt to channel them appropriately. Encourage your partner to tell you what he is feeling without shouting, cursing or otherwise acting out. You do the same in expressing your emotions. Watch out for manipulation attempts on the part of your lover as this is a common strategy employed by narcissists. Communication is vital. If he is unwilling to have a serious discussion at a particular time, calmly inform him you will address the issue when he is able to control himself. Do not give him the emotional reaction he is likely craving.

Pick Your Battles Wisely

Don't turn every slight your partner makes against you into a war. Accept that part of this condition manifests itself in snide comments, veiled or not-so-veiled insults, thoughtless actions and other frustrating ego-centered behavior. For your own mental health, you must decide what is necessary to respond to and what to let go. Set the boundaries that work for you, remind yourself and your partner of the limits and require apologies when you need them.

Take Breathers from the Turmoil

You need time to yourself and your partner needs the same. Coping with a mental illness is often exhausting for you and him. Take time off especially during periods when your partner's symptoms are escalating. Physically remove yourself from his presence for the amount of time you need to reflect and restore your energy and perspective. Alternate rest periods with activities. Enjoy the company of friends, vent all you like and take out frustrations on a tennis court, soccer field or batting cage. Tell your partner you need these times away, and do not allow him to make you feel guilty for taking them.

Encourage Therapy

The primary treatment course for narcissism is psychotherapy. Many people with the disorder deny they need help so you might have to insist on it. If your partner refuses professional assistance, you must decide to either leave or stay in the relationship. Should you choose to remain involved, know that your lover's disorder will not likely change. Hopefully, he will be receptive to psychotherapy. In this case, you should follow his therapist's advice on how you can support his treatment.

Loving someone with a personality disorder of narcissism is challenging. You must maintain your own self-confidence, exercise emotional control and remain empathetic in the face of challenging words and actions.

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