How to navigate the narcissist – Mindset lessons to empower you in any difficult relationship

I’ve had a fair amount of narcissistic people around me since I was little. Sometimes our biggest challenges is our greatest teachers. What better way to tap into your power than after the people closest to you try to take your power away on a daily basis?

I don’t like to label anyone, but at the same time, there are different rules that apply when you deal with certain people, and as I think I’ve said before, there are times when you need to call a spade a spade. Or a narcissist a narcissist.

Until I learned about what a narcissist is and how they operate, I felt completely consumed and controlled by them. No matter what I did, it was never enough, never right and followed by criticism and/or personal attack or ridicule. I felt like I lived in a battle-field where I always had to watch out for the next bullet. It was exhausting, confusing and left my self-worth and self-esteem in shambles.

When you live like that, you start to think something is wrong with you, when in fact, you are dealing with a person who is emotionally unhealthy and is projecting their own unresolved issues onto you.

If you don’t know what’s going on or who you’re dealing with, you’re likely to start thinking that you’re crazy, wondering what’s wrong with you and why you feel so confused and disempowered in your relationship.

If you can’t see a person for what he or she is, it’s going to be very difficult to take your power back, because these people don’t act like other reasonable human beings and it’s important to understand that if you want to take your power back and regain your life.

The term narcissist is often thrown around lightly these days and often misunderstood. It’s certainly not a term to be thrown around lightly and there are many levels of narcissistic behavior. A person who is not a narcissist can have narcissistic tendencies. There is no black and white, but many shades of grey. This article is written based on many, many years of living with narcissists and not from an academic perspective, as I’m not a psychiatrist.

When I refer to narcissistic behavior in this article, I am referring to people who don’t have empathy for other people, who go into relationships asking themselves: What can I get from this person (versus what can I give) and who uses unreasonable and insidious ways to control and manipulate others to their own benefit, often without concern for the other person’s health and well being.

Being in a relationship with a narcissist can feel like you’re in a relationship with a bully, even though you often don’t actually realize when the bullying occurs, because it’s often done in such insidious ways that are not obvious and concealed as love. It truly is crazy-making.

I wish I would have learned about narcissists earlier in life. In my college days when I studied psychology I read about all kinds of psychology “disorders” and narcissism was not mentioned.  As a result I spend a large amount of time twisting my head trying to figure out what was going on in some of my relationships. When you don’t know what you’re dealing with, and the rules that go along with how to handle these people, it can get quite tricky and dysfunctional and you don’t know what to do to take your power back.

To me, learning about their insidious communication style helped me step into my power in ways I couldn’t have done otherwise. If you are dealing with people on the narcissistic personality spectrum I hope this article will help shed some light and help you in taking your power back. In fact, these lessons can help empower you and take your power back in any challenging relationship you are dealing with both in your personal life and in business.

You might also want to read this article: How to recognize and protect yourself from toxic relationships and How to stop toxic relationships from ruining your business.

The tricky thing with narcissists is that the nature of their ways is so hidden and obscure that it often goes undetected. Many high-powered individuals are in relationships with narcissists for years without knowing it. Narcissists are usually super charming, successful and can be admired by most – however they will show a different side to certain people only: Their target; which makes you wonder if you are the one that’s crazy when they treat you so badly. If everybody thinks this person is so great, how come I feel so awful when I’m around them?

Many narcissists are also very concerned with what other people think of them (although not all.) This means they can go to great lengths to look good, despite their often not so good intentions lurking underneath their actions.

Because narcissists get their energy from energetically sucking it out of other people through energetic cords; if they make you their target; they will suck you dry if you let them. The nature of their game is to have control over you at all costs and they will go to great lengths to gain this kind of control and often use all means necessary to reel you in, manipulate and shame you to get you to do what they want. When they can no longer control you because you’ve stepped into your true power, they will do what they want to control what other people think of you.

Bottom line: They feel powerful when you are weak and they thrive on having power over you.

They don’t have empathy, despite the fact that they can fake it in order to look good. In these kinds of relationships, it’s always about what they can gain from you, or take from you, not about what’s good for you or what’s in your best interest. It’s a one-sided relationship where one person takes and the other gives or is pressured to give, at the detriment of their health, sanity and personal power.

A narcissist will see you as an extension of themselves. For example, if one of your parents are a narcissist, that parent will want you to look and act in a way that makes them look good, and if you don’t adhere to their requests or commands, there are consequences. (Remember they are often very concerned with their own image and what other people think of them, however not all narcissists are concerned with their image.) It’s more important to them how others see you than how you feel.

Often, their ways will be concealed as them trying to be helpful or kind, but with ulterior motives and if you don’t obey with their ways, they get upset or throw a tantrum. They can insert themselves into situations that is none of their business and make your life feel like hell if you don’t watch it.

They will often go between being the nice person and the controlling person, but the thing is; when they are showing nice behavior it’s usually with an ulterior motive to control you and use the information you shared in the more intimate moments against you later.

This can cause a feeling of being on a roller coaster around these people. They will be nasty in one moment and pretend like nothing happened the next, acting like your best friend. Do you know anyone like this?

So, let’s look at what these people can teach us, because I do believe that our “enemies” are our best teachers. Every relationship we come across is a way for us to learn and grow, and one of the fastest ways to take a leap of growth is when you’re dealing with people who challenge you at the core. As horrible as it can be to be in a relationship with a narcissist, they are ultimately our spiritual teachers who can teach you how to to step into your own personal power. I do believe that those of us who have experienced these kinds of relationships are doing it for our own soul growth.

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Below are some of the mindset lessons I learned from dealing with people of a narcissistic nature. I believe these lessons can be applied successfully to almost any difficult relationship to help you step into your personal power and create sanity out of what might seem like chaos.

These mindset lessons will also help you take your power back in your business and know how to handle more difficult situations that may come up.

Listen to and trust your feelings – your body always knows best. The narcissist will usually not honor your feelings – remember they don’t have empathy. So, if you are telling them you are sad, they may dismiss it saying you have no reason to be sad or that you’re being weak or overly sensitive. They are bullies. When everything you feel is being dismissed you start to doubt yourself, feeling like maybe there is something wrong with you. For example: Why am I feeling like this when this person tells me I am overreacting, being sensitive, silly etc. Am I being overly sensitive? Listen to what your body is telling you. If you feel symptoms in your body, for example a knot in your belly, trust it. There is nothing wrong with you and your feelings are real and they are giving you an important message about the situation. Listen to it. Trust that your body is telling you everything you need to know. If you feel worse after being around them, it’s a red flag.

Set strong boundaries with clear consequences. When dealing with narcissists you have to be extra clear about boundaries, because they tend to not honor them. Boundaries are important in all areas of your life, and having someone continuously challenge and overstep your boundaries is a way to learn how to set boundaries of steel and keep them. We need boundaries in all relationships, but while most people will respect a clear boundary, a narcissist will often not. They feel entitled to do whatever they want.

Guilt and shame is manipulation and not acceptable behavior.
Period. Enough said. Trying to guilt you into doing something or not doing something or trying to shame you for certain kinds of behavior is manipulation. Don’t fall for their bait.

Honor yourself, your space and your choices. No person has the right to control you, your behavior or try to manipulate you into being a certain way or doing a certain thing. If you’re an adult, you are the master of your castle, and nobody has the right to control or manipulate you or your choices. This goes no matter whether they are parents, spouses, siblings or friends.

Be very clear about what you are willing to tolerate/not tolerate in a relationship. If a person cannot honor and respect you for who you are and treat you with respect, like a worthy human being who honors your choices, recognizes your feelings and way of being; do you want this person to continue to be a part of your life? Where will you draw the line?

Don’t make excuses for bad behavior. Bad behavior is just that, not acceptable. If something happens once, give a warning. If it happens again after you asked them to stop, it’s a pattern.

Don’t take anything personally. A narcissist who knows you well will know exactly how to push your buttons and how to use your insecurities to weaken and control you. Realize that what other people do is based on who they are, not on who you are. Their bad behavior is not a reflection of who you are, despite what they try might tell you.

Don’t buy into drama or sob stories. Narcissists love drama and will create it to get attention and to stir things up. They will likely act like a victim in a story they create if they realize they can use it to their advantage. Remember; they like to control you and will go to the most creative and insidious ways to do so, often without concern for your well being. Getting you to believe in their sob story is a perfect way for them to control you or your behavior.

Know what is yours to own and what’s none of your business. A narcissist will try to involve you in situations that don’t concern you and make their problems yours (Remember, they act as if you are an extension of themselves.) Learn to differentiate between what belongs to you and don’t engage in anything that’s not your business. If you feel like you’ve lost touch in this respect, it’s important that you seek help. Narcissists are experts at crazy-making and you might wonder if you’re crazy sometimes. It’s not you.

Keep communication short and to the point. There is no reason to explain yourself, stick to the facts. Stay away from blame or personal attack which will only escalate the situation. And to add to that, no is a complete sentence. They may challenge you when you say no, but you don’t need to give a reason why a no is a no. Period. If you can, cutting off contact completely is recommended.

Disengage. Narcissists will come up with all kinds of reasons to get to you. They can be highly creative in finding ways to engage you in their drama. The best thing you can do is to disengage. This means, don’t respond to insulting emails, texts or phone calls and block them from social media if they are bothering you. Let them deal with their problems on their own. (Remember they think you are an extension of them so in their eyes their problems are also yours.) Their problems are not yours to own. When they realize they can’t get to you they will find someone else to bother.

If your boundaries are not honored, be prepared to consult legal help. But know that narcissists tend to want to win at all costs, so unless you’re willing to fight it until the bitter end, you might want to try other ways first. (The nature of the narcissistic relationship is to have power over you, and they feel they get power over you by winning over you.) If you need to go this route, make sure to find an attorney who is familiar with the tendencies of a narcissist and who can see through their BS, as they will do their best to manipulate the attorney as well. As I mentioned earlier, the narcissist is often perceived as being a very likable person who can convince almost anyone of anything if they can’t see through their manipulation techniques. They also tend to be very intelligent and experts at getting what they want (because they will not consider the other person’s well being.)

Forgive. While it may be difficult to forgive while you’re in a relationship that continuously challenges your well being; once you’ve got a handle on the relationship and set the proper boundaries in place/left the relationship completely, it’s time to start forgiveness work. You want to release the anger and resentment you hold inside of yourself because it’s not doing you any good. Forgiveness is mostly for your own sake and forgiving doesn’t mean that you condone the other person’s behavior, it just means that you are willing to let go of the toxic emotions within yourself. This will help give you peace and freedom and maybe you can even get to a point of feeling grateful for them, because they taught you something valuable you needed to learn and wouldn’t have learned in any other situation? Forgiveness is important in any relationship, not just in the one with a narcissist.

Allow yourself to release your emotions. If you’ve been in a close relationship with a narcissist, you will have noticed that they don’t care about how you feel and will discredit them or undermine you for having a healthy way of expression of emotions. It’s important to not let feelings get bottled up inside of you and suppressed, but let them out. Whatever emotions that are not expressed stay in your energy field until they have been released and can be a huge cause of depression and illness. (To learn more about this, make sure to also read this article.)

Like I said earlier, the narcissist can be a great spiritual teacher who helps you step into your personal power. For many people, dealing with emotional abuse can help you awaken to your inner power.

Narcissists tend to be attracted to empaths. They can smell them from across the room and will latch on like a leech. I tend to think that a narcissist and an empath are two people on the opposite sides of a pole. While the empath often has problems setting boundaries and feel other people’s emotions too much, the narcissist has no problem setting boundaries and getting what he/she wants and doesn’t have the ability to feel or understand other people’s emotions. (Lack of empathy.)

While the narcissist surely has a lot to learn from the empath, the empath also has things to learn from the narcissist. The problem in a relationship is that the narcissist often has no interest in growing or taking responsibility for their actions, and likes to blame others instead. However, as hard as it may be to encounter or live in these relationships, if you can step into your true power, then the encounter with the narcissist will nonetheless have given you a gift. (This may be hard for you to hear or even see if you’re in the deep of it, but trust me, there is a way out of this chaos.)

Whether you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, a person with narcissistic tendencies or any other challenging relationship, I hope these tips will help you navigate with power and confidence. There is a way to take your power back.

Staying in these kinds of dysfunctional relationships will hold you back in all areas of your life, as well as your business, if you don’t take action to step into your own inner power. It can easily affect your health, your well being and your finances because it depletes you of life force energy necessary to manifest a great life.

If you need help navigating these relationships so you can step into your full power and take your life back in your life and business, I invite you to schedule a complimentary call with me here. So that I know you’re a good fit, I just ask you to fill out this questionnaire first.

About Vibeke

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I believe that the foundation for wealth is inner peace and that success should never sacrifice your health and well being.

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Vibeke's Bio

Vibeke's Bio

I’m Vibeke Schurch, the founder of Success-soul Living® and The 5D Business Model®.

I work with coaches, healers and change-makers to help them grow their business and live life on purpose so they can use their unique gifts to make a difference in the world while creating a lifestyle aligned with their soul blueprint.

Ever since my spiritual awakening many years ago when I healed myself from “chronic” illness in just two weeks, it’s my mission to help you wake up to your inner power and potential. I want to show you how to use your mind to manifest your wildest dreams and create your own heaven on earth while living life on purpose, and serving the people you are here to serve.

In my 20 years as a small business owner, one thing is crystal clear to me: What helps you thrive is not your not your intelligence, level of experience or skill-set, but the programming in your subconscious mind. You can be programmed for struggle and lack, or flow and abundance. In my work, I help you reprogram your mind for success and abundance so you can create a prosperous and fulfilling life living your life’s calling and doing the work you came here to do.