10 Tips For How To Deal With A Narcissist Boyfriend

Updated August 27, 2020

Developing a relationship with someone special can be a very exciting time in life.  If a relationship is healthy, it can also be an emotionally rewarding experience.  Characteristics of a healthy relationship include mutual respect and care for one another, avoiding self-serving behaviors, and nurturing healthy communication.

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Unfortunately, not all relationships are healthy.  Have you noticed your boyfriend has become more self-centered, that he doesn’t appear to have any empathy for your thoughts or feelings or feel like you are being cut off from family and friends?  These could be warning signs that you are in a relationship with a boyfriend that is narcissistic, meaning he has narcissistic personality traits or a possible Narcissistic personality disorder. A trained mental health professional can assess your loved one and diagnose your partner as having Narcissistic personality disorder. Identifying your partner with this disorder should only come after a trained professional has given that diagnosis.

What Is A Narcissistic Personality?

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is one of several types of personality disorders.  NPD is characterized by an individual having an inflated sense of self-importance, lack of empathy for others, and a need for excessive attention and/or admiration.

Because narcissists tend to have an air of superiority about them, they often have troubled relationships.  Being in a relationship with a narcissist can feel very disheartening as it is almost impossible to deal with them or make them understand your feelings.  In fact, it is not uncommon for a narcissist to dismiss his/her partner’s feelings altogether, especially if those feelings do not serve his/her own purpose.

People with a narcissistic personality disorder often exhibit some of the following character traits:

  • They Demand Excessive Admiration. The admiration a narcissist requires is usually focused on his/her fantasies of success, beauty, and/or power.
  • Narcissists Love To Be The Center Of Attention. They have no problem monopolizing conversations as they want to be seen as more special than others.
  • A Person With A Narcissistic Personality Will Be Overly Concerned With The Opinions Of Others. They pay close attention to their own self-image, and they feel a sense of entitlement.
  • Confidence Is An Understatement. Feeling confident about one’s ability to learn a skill and perform a job or to build friendships or relationships is usually a healthy thing. For the narcissist, however, arrogant behaviors begin to have negative effects on relationships, both personally and professionally.
  • Takes advantage of others for their own personal gains.
  • Lack of empathy as someone with a narcissistic personality disorder has difficulty placing themselves in others’ shoes.

Causes Of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

While it is not completely understood the specific causes of narcissistic personality disorder, NPD is believed to be linked to genetic, biological, and environmental factors.  Some researchers believe that NPD forms when infants and young children fail to experience normal bonding with caregivers, especially maternal figures.  There is also some belief that there is a breakdown in the structure and function of the brain that predisposes some people to develop a narcissistic personality disorder.  Narcissists rarely develop meaningful relationships with others that last for any significant length of time.

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Wondering How To Deal With Your Narcissistic Boyfriend?

Dealing with a narcissist can be very challenging.  Being in an intimate relationship with a narcissist can be especially difficult.  When considering different ways to deal with a narcissistic boyfriend (or significant other), it’s important to understand how a narcissist thinks.  Narcissists are generally very manipulative and cunning.  Coupled with their strong drive to have things their way, narcissists will use manipulation to make situations and relationships remain on their terms. Below are ten ways to help deal with the narcissistic boyfriend in your life.

  1. Don’t Trick Yourself Into Thinking He Genuinely Cares.

Narcissists rarely have genuine feelings for others.  It can be difficult to accept this, especially if you have strong feelings for your boyfriend.  However, acknowledging his emotional detachment is the first step in learning to live your life free of narcissistic control or abuse.

  1. Establish Boundaries That You Are Comfortable With And Stick With Them.

Narcissists tend to want things their way—every time.  If you don’t learn how to establish boundaries and be clear about what behavior you will or will not tolerate, it will be easy to feel overwhelmed by your narcissistic boyfriend’s never-ending battle for power.  Many victims of narcissistic behavior describe feelings that are emotionally being held, hostage.  This is because if a narcissist wants to take up your time or keep your mind so busy with things that are about him, it can be difficult to say no.  Nevertheless, for your own emotional well-being, learning to say no to things that take up too much of your time or that cause you to feel frustrated is an important step in gaining control over your life.

  1. If You Don’t Want Something Used Against You, Don’t Share With Your Narcissist Boyfriend.

Narcissists generally use belittling as a form of manipulation to get their way.  If you share something personal, even embarrassing, with your narcissistic boyfriend, there is a chance that he will use it against you if he thinks it can further his own agenda.

  1. Don’t Argue… You Likely Won’t Win.

Narcissists generally love to argue just to prove that they are right.  Winning an argument against you is just one way a narcissist can show his mental superiority.  The more you argue, the more a narcissist will find reasons to belittle you and make you question your own sanity and/or self-worth.  By the way, the old “agree to disagree” method is not something a narcissist is going to buy.  Remember, narcissists, see things in black and white, negatives and positives.  You either agree with him or you don’t.  Either way, arguing generally is not going to work.

  1. Accept Who You Are, Even When He Won’t.

People with narcissistic personality disorder usually have no empathy toward others.  Your boyfriend may exhibit some superficial charm or even engage in love bombing, but in reality, he may not care about your desires or any personal motives you have.  You must be able to accept yourself for who you are and to know that, whether he appreciates you need to take care of yourself and protect your own emotional health.

  1. Don’t Take Things Personally Because He Won’t.

A narcissist may make you feel like things are personal and can often leave you feeling emotionally attacked.  As frustrating as this can be, it’s important to remember that this is all part of the game for a narcissist.  If you are willing to put up with the emotional turmoil that a relationship with a narcissistic boyfriend brings, you can play the game.  However, when you decide that you don’t want to put up with this behavior anymore, he will find someone else who will.

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  1. You Don’t Need To Justify Every Action.

Narcissists tend to love to make you question your own thoughts and feelings.  If you begin to doubt the things that you perceive as right or wrong, he will likely begin to play the victim, which will cause you further frustration and doubt.  You don’t owe your narcissistic boyfriend an explanation for why you believe any of your actions or behaviors are right or within reason.

  1. Ignore His Tantrums If You Can. A narcissistic boyfriend usually thrives on getting reactions from you. By causing you to lose control, he gains control.  One of the most effective ways to deal with this behavior is to ignore him.  Don’t be fooled, though, as narcissists tend to be cunning and know how to say and do whatever it takes to frustrate you.  If you must leave the room or even go for a walk to get away and clear your head, ignore his tantrums when it is possible.
  2. Question Things That Don’t Seem Right. Because narcissists don’t feel shame or regret like other people do, they have no problem lying, manipulating, and playing on your guilt or shame. If your narcissistic boyfriend tells you something that upsets you, take the time to find out if it is true or not.  One way a person with NPD can control you is to make you question what others think about you or to sow seeds of doubt in your mind about your abilities.  Don’t fall for it!
  3. Know When It’s Time To Get Away From Your Narcissistic Boyfriend. As difficult as it may seem to think about, sometimes the best solution is to get away from your narcissistic boyfriend.  Getting away may be a short-term separation so that you can evaluate your own emotional and mental well-being, and give yourself a chance to decide if continuing to pursue the relationship is a healthy alternative for you.  On the other hand, if you know that your physical and/or emotional safety is at risk, a permanent separation and ending the relationship could be the best option for you.

13. Self Care. Begin to partake in activities that are geared towards caring for your mental, physical or emotional health. Your narcissistic partner may tell you that you are acting selfishly by tending to your own needs; however, it is crucial in maintaining relationships. Caring for yourself helps recharge you and give back to the relationship. Your self-care may include getting enough sleep, eating well, and meeting with an individual therapy weekly to help process ongoing relationship issues and finding support.

14. Reality Testing. A narcissistic partner may misguide you from time to time as they get caught up in their own personal fantasies or a strong need for admiration. The ability to reality test, an essential skill taught in therapy, can help you overcome this and avoid being side-swept by your partner emotionally. Reality testing is the ability to distinguish our inner world from the outer. It allows us to better judge situations and improves the way we react. When your partner gets upset with you because you didn’t fulfill their needs as their perception suggested, being able to challenge this by looking at the situation from different angles can help give you space to reflect. Otherwise, you might begin to think negatively of yourself or begin to blame yourself for actions that were truly created by your partner.

Deciding whether to continue a relationship with a narcissistic boyfriend has to be up to you.  As previously mentioned, setting boundaries means setting limits for what you are comfortable with and are not and expecting those boundaries to be respected, even if he doesn’t like it.  If establishing boundaries and following through with them feels frightening or makes you feel uneasy, consider talking to a friend or loved one.

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Additionally, connecting with a counselor or other mental health professional can give you a safe outlet to discuss your concerns and create a plan of action to gain control in your life.  If you think you would like to talk to someone, but you are unsure of talking in-person, there are other resources for online counseling and mental health assistance.

One example of online counseling services is provided by BetterHelp.  At BetterHelp, you can access licensed, trained, experienced mental health providers who can help you learn about NPD and how to cope with its effects.  You can connect with them from home, or anywhere else you feel comfortable, as long as you have a phone or internet access.

Your safety and well-being are important, even if you’ve been made to feel like it is not.  If you need help, reach out today.

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