In my previous post we explored the traits of a narcissist, today we learn on how we can deal with such people in our relationships. Living with a narcissistic person can be extremely trying. So, what can you do if you find yourself in a close relationship with someone with narcissistic tendencies?
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5
The number one step is to recognise the traits either in your spouse or yourself and how you have been responding to it. Perhaps you have been responding to a narcissistic individual aggressively and without patience. Perhaps you have been unloving and withdrawing. This is unlikely to help the situation. Step back and reflect on the situation
Pride is a reason people do not feel they need a savior or forgiveness. Pride tells them they are “good” people or have a “good” heart. Pride also blinds people to their own personal responsibility and accountability for sin. Narcissism (pride) masks sin, whereas the gospel reveals the truth that leads to remorse for sin. Narcissistic traits can be dangerous because, at their worst, they will lead a person to destroy others to satisfy the lust of the flesh (2 Timothy 3:2-8).
Second, stop criticizing and start encouraging solutions. Encourage them to repent and develop a strong relationship with Christ. The further we withdraw from Christ the more we tend to develop negative habits. Labeling in this situation won’t help anything, neither will criticizing them. Instead of criticizing, isolate specific issues you wish to change and enlist your mate in working with you to change them—one at a time. Keep a positive focus, pray for them and use your strengths in solving problems.
Third, attack the problem, not the person. Learn to separate the person from the problem. When we get born again, God does not see sin in us, he sees us as perfect and sin is seperate from us. So, Choose a particular aspect of the narcissistic traits and encourage him/her to work on the problem with you. For example, if you don’t feel heard, ask them to practice listening techniques with you.
Fourth, set healthy boundaries. When the narcissist in your life tries to manipulate what you say, gently stop them and speak in a calm manner. When they attempt to twist your words, gently set a boundary. Speak up so you are both heard and so there is mutuality in your marriage. Do not get angry during discussions as this will only make the situation worse.
Fifth, develop a prayerful life together. Praying together will draw you even more closer and expose the things that feeds the negative behavior. Learn to handle everything with prayer first before you can discuss it. Let the word of God reign in your hearts so as you can easily meditate on it. This will help to deal with the problem from the root. It will restore the thought pattern of the narccisist. The word of God says “as a man thinketh so is he”
Finally, seek professional help. A little bit of narcissism in a marriage can be toxic and emotionally draining. The narcissistic individual is likely to be overly sensitive, over-reacting to minor slights and becoming overly aggressive in response to these slights. Professionals can help you build a safe relationship where issues can be managed and resolved.
Try all these suggested tips and reply back if you find them helpful.