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10 Things You Should Never Do with a Narcissist

Interacting with a narcissist can feel like navigating a minefield, with every step potentially triggering manipulation, gaslighting, or emotional turmoil.

Recognizing the signs of narcissism is crucial, but knowing how to handle these personalities is equally important for maintaining your mental and emotional well-being.

Here are ten detailed and relevant actions to avoid when dealing with a narcissist, along with practical advice to empower you in these challenging situations.

1. Engage in Power Struggles

Narcissists thrive on control and dominance, often resorting to tactics like gaslighting or manipulation to maintain their perceived superiority. Engaging in power struggles only fuels their need for dominance, leaving you feeling powerless and frustrated.

Practical Advice:

Set Clear Boundaries: Establishing firm boundaries is key. Clearly communicate what behavior is unacceptable and be prepared to enforce consequences if they are crossed.

Focus on Assertiveness, Not Aggression: Instead of engaging in a battle for dominance, assert your needs calmly and confidently. Narcissists are less likely to challenge assertive behavior backed by unwavering confidence.

2. Expect Empathy or Understanding

Narcissists lack empathy and are unable to genuinely understand or care about the feelings of others. Expecting them to offer compassion or validation is setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration.

Practical Advice:

Seek Support Elsewhere: Surround yourself with supportive friends, family, or a therapist who can provide the empathy and understanding you need. Building a strong support network outside of the narcissistic relationship is crucial for your emotional well-being.

Practice Self-Validation: Validate your own feelings and experiences. Remind yourself that your emotions are valid, regardless of whether the narcissist acknowledges them.

3. Over-Explain Yourself

Narcissists often use manipulation tactics to invalidate your thoughts and feelings, leaving you feeling compelled to over-explain yourself in an attempt to justify your actions. However, this only gives them more ammunition to twist your words and manipulate the situation.

Practical Advice:

Keep It Simple: Stick to concise, straightforward communication. Avoid providing unnecessary details or justifications that can be used against you.

Trust Your Instincts: If you find yourself feeling the need to over-explain, pause and assess whether it’s truly necessary. Trust your instincts and recognize when further explanation is only feeding into the narcissist’s manipulation.

4. Take Their Behavior Personally

Narcissists are experts at deflecting blame and projecting their insecurities onto others. It’s essential to recognize that their hurtful behavior is a reflection of their own issues, not a reflection of your worth or value as a person.

Practical Advice:

Practice Self-Compassion: Remind yourself that you are not responsible for the narcissist’s behavior. Practice self-compassion and self-care to counteract the negative effects of their manipulation.

Seek Validation Internally: Instead of seeking validation from the narcissist, focus on validating yourself. Remind yourself of your worth and value, independent of their opinions or actions.

5. Apologize Unnecessarily

Narcissists are skilled at manipulating situations to make you feel responsible for their behavior or emotions. As a result, you may find yourself apologizing for things that are not your fault, perpetuating a cycle of guilt and self-blame.

Practical Advice:

Pause Before Apologizing: Before offering an apology, take a moment to assess whether you genuinely believe you have done something wrong. Don’t apologize simply to appease the narcissist.

Assert Your Boundaries: If pressured to apologize for something you didn’t do, firmly assert your boundaries and refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

6. Seek Validation from Them

Narcissists are incapable of providing genuine validation or appreciation. Seeking validation from them only reinforces their power and control over you, leading to feelings of inadequacy and dependence.

Practical Advice:

Internalize Your Self-Worth: Remind yourself that your worth is not dependent on the approval of others, especially not a narcissist. Cultivate self-esteem and self-worth from within.

Seek Validation Elsewhere: Turn to trusted friends, family members, or a therapist for validation and support. Surround yourself with people who genuinely appreciate and value you.

7. Confront Them Publicly

Confronting a narcissist in a public setting can backfire, as they are skilled at manipulating others and painting themselves as the victim. Public confrontations often escalate the situation and can lead to further manipulation and gaslighting.

Practical Advice:

Choose the Right Time and Place: If you need to address an issue with the narcissist, do so in a private setting where they are less likely to manipulate the situation or garner sympathy from others.

Stay Calm and Collected: Maintain your composure during the confrontation. Narcissists thrive on emotional reactions, so staying calm and collected deprives them of the satisfaction of seeing you upset.

8. Share Your Vulnerabilities

Narcissists often exploit personal information to manipulate and control others. Sharing your vulnerabilities with them only gives them ammunition to use against you, leaving you feeling exposed and vulnerable.

Practical Advice:

Guard Your Privacy: Be selective about what personal information you share with the narcissist. Keep sensitive topics or vulnerabilities to yourself or share them only with trusted individuals who have proven their trustworthiness.

Focus on Building Trust: Instead of sharing vulnerabilities, focus on building trust with the narcissist. Keep conversations light and surface-level until you feel confident in their trustworthiness.

9. Expect Them to Change

Hoping that a narcissist will change is a recipe for disappointment and frustration. Narcissistic traits are deeply ingrained and unlikely to change without significant introspection and professional help, which most narcissists are unwilling to seek.

Practical Advice:

Focus on Self-Improvement: Instead of waiting for the narcissist to change, focus on your own personal growth and well-being. Invest time and energy into activities that bring you fulfillment and happiness.

Set Realistic Expectations: Accept the reality that the narcissist is unlikely to change. Adjust your expectations accordingly and focus on managing the relationship in a way that minimizes harm to yourself.

10. Neglect Your Own Needs

It’s easy to get swept up in the chaos and drama of a relationship with a narcissist, often at the expense of your own needs and well-being. Neglecting your own needs only perpetuates the cycle of manipulation and control.

Practical Advice:

Practice Self-Care: Make self-care a priority in your life. Dedicate time each day to activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul, whether it’s exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones.

Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries with the narcissist to protect your own needs and well-being. Don’t be afraid to say no to requests or demands that infringe upon your boundaries.


Navigating a relationship with a narcissist requires strategic thinking and self-preservation. By avoiding these ten pitfalls and implementing practical solutions, you can protect your mental and emotional health.

Empower yourself by setting firm boundaries, seeking support from trusted sources, and prioritizing your well-being. Remember, you deserve a life free from manipulation and control. Stand strong, and reclaim your peace.