Narcissists have become the new target for all things shitty. Sure, they aren’t the easiest people to get along with, but who among us is perfect? One of the biggest misnomers out there is that no one is capable of dating a narcissist. The reality, there is someone out there for everyone.
True, people don’t normally change, and we all revert back to our natural tendencies, but that does not doom a narcissist to their narcissistic ways eternally. One of the key elements to change is recognizing what needs to be changed. But that is true for all of us.
Little steps to changing their behavior
If you are in a relationship where you feel depressed, strung out, crazy, frustrated, and upset all the time, the answer to whether you should leave is undeniably yes. But, if you have the capacity to help someone change and the strong self-esteem it takes to shrug off the manipulation most narcissists throw their victim’s way, maybe, just maybe, you don’t have to walk away.
If you maintain your own self-identity, stand up to the narcissist you love, and help them to come out the other less-narcissistic way, dating a narcissist *while not miserable* is possible. It will take a whole lot of effort and determination to alter them enough to harmony for you. But, if you are already in love and you want to stay, take matters into your own hands and show them how to change their narcissistic ways.
1. Introduce the concept of empathy. The main reason a narcissist acts and feels the way they do is that they never learned the basic human emotion of empathy. Empathy is not something that you are born with. You are taught empathy through modeling and relationships with other people.
For some reason, the narcissist never learns how to walk in someone else’s shoes. So, to be fair, if they don’t understand how anyone feels but themselves, then it is difficult to care about anyone. They simply don’t get it. The good news is that you are never too old to learn to empathize. For the narcissist, it will not come naturally.
But, if you can get through to them and get a narcissistic personality to see someone else’s point of view, there just might be hope for them. Encourage feeling for other people whenever you can. Maybe it will start to rub off on the person you date.
2. Challenge them. The narcissist does not like to be challenged. They operate by thinking they are smarter, more cunning, and far more important than anyone else.
Not used to people challenging them, if you stop letting them get away with thinking they are queen or king bee and challenge them to examine who they really are and their importance in the world, it could bring them down a notch.
They will not like your challenge and seek to take you out and react with anger. That is why one of the determinations of whether you should stay or not is going to be whether you can deal with the wrath of trying to make a narcissist less narcissistic.
Don’t always give in or acquiesce to what they say. Do question them, but also, look out for yourself. In time, and maybe with some desensitizing to their ego, they just might stop considering themselves so much better than everyone else.
3. Disallow name calling and insults. One of the cornerstones of the narcissistic personality is to use intimidation and name calling to make themselves feel superior. It isn’t just about being out on the playground, when fighting with a narcissist, they hurl insults at you and call you names.
If you want to continue dating a narcissist, lay down some ground rules. The first being that they may not disrespect or call you names. But, if you put down an ultimatum and draw a line in the sand, be ready to walk if they cross it by saying ugly things or trying to manipulate you by being verbally abusive.
In the end, no matter how much you love a narcissist, you can’t allow them to abuse you either physically or abusively.
4. Only take responsibility for the things truly your fault. The narcissistic personality is excellent at not taking responsibility for anything. Like anything! If you want to continue dating a narcissist, only take on the responsibility of things actually your fault. Refuse to allow them to put things off on you.
If you feel like your stories don’t line up right and their version is not true, refuse to accept it. Stand your ground. Once they see you can’t be confused by lies and mistruths and guided only by what’s real, if you take responsibility for your own actions only, they just might start to see what part they play in your life. And, their actions might not always be glowing or good.
5. Don’t react to their outbursts. Walk away. When you do challenge the narcissist or try to go against their beliefs, they will not be happy. Often, they overreact by angry bursts or intimidation. If an argument with them becomes an attempt to shut you down, refuse to take it and walk away.
If you don’t stay, it becomes nothing but a hissy fit. After you walk away enough, they stop stamping their feet to get what they want. They might actually have a conversation like a real-life grown up.