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The Golden Rules of NC When You're Dealing With A Narcissist

From my book Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl:

"A narcissist is someone who has excessive self-love, is devoid of empathy and has delusions of grandeur which means that they will pursue their own agenda to the severe detriment of others. They can be a real bully and when they’re nice to you, it can feel pretty amazing but when they ‘turn’, it’s horrendous. They’re incredibly defensive when in conflict and may become very abusive if you call them out on any of their behaviour, especially when it pierces this illusion of grandiosity. Everything is about them. They experience problems and never see themselves as a part of it - everyone else is at fault. They can also be hyper-sensitive about any perceived criticism and have fierce boundaries while completely bulldozing yours down and having a lack of any sensitivity to you".

It’s important to realise that all narcissists are emotionally unavailable but not all emotionally unavailable people are narcissists.

According to the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) group Narcissistic Personality Disorder is “An all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behaviour), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts.”

To be a narcissist, there are nine criteria of which five need to be met:

  1. Feels grandiose and self-important.
  2. Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success.
  3. Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions).
  4. Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation.
  5. Feels entitled. Expects unreasonable or special and favourable priority treatment.
  6. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her expectations. Is "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends.
  7. Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledge the feelings and needs of others.
  8. Constantly envious of others or believes that they feel the same about him or her.
  9. Arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted."

The criteria highlighted in bold are the ones most complained about by those dealing with people who are emotionally unavailable. You may be with someone who is narcissistically inclined but who isn't a narcissist but that doesn't mean that you're not dealing with someone who you have to take a very tough line with.

If you're serious about No Contact and you want it to stick and you've been dealing with a narcissist then it's really important that you put your own ego aside (ironic I know) and really heed what I'm going to say next.

1. You cannot do partial contact with a narcissist and attempt to be their mate and certainly not someone who has been abusive and/or exploitative.

Any interaction by you is just harem coins in their ever filling attention jar. They don't do nuances so while you may feel like you have a logical reason for responding or even reaching out to them, they just think "They love me."

2. The only course of action when dealing with someone who is a narcissist or you suspect them to be, is to cut off all contact.

If you've done your reading up on narcissism or even sociopaths, you'll know that NC is the only way to get your life back. You can be food in their harem cage for them to feed off of, or you can cold-turkey it and focus on addressing why you were involved with them in the first place. They won't like you cutting it off and feeling like they've lost and are not in control - tough shit - and it's important for you to not lose sight of this. You haven't liked being on the receiving end of their treatment either and the difference is, you don't have a personality disorder so you need to stop trying to fight against this and stop acting like you're coming from the same perspective.

Narcissists like to abandon you first before you have the good sense to see them for what they are and get away from them. You cutting off will get on their nerves but they will only woo you back and bait and goad you so that they can position you to abandon you.

3. Remember that even responding to say that you don't want them to contact you or reminding them of why is not only contact but it's also more harem coins in their attention jar.

They will bait and goad and bait and goad until they get the response that they want. Unless they're of the stalking / dangerous variety, they will eventually move onto a new target while likely trying to reach out to you again. Do not respond. Make it easier for you by blocking as many forms of contact as you can so that you don't even see it. Then they can get their attention rocks off on their own time.

They will not like you not giving attention as if your 'role' and goal in life is 'supposed' to be some sort of attention slave. They may very well be pissed off but just remember, the only reason why they are getting in touch is to put you back in that role. They don't do feelings and they don't do empathy so they have not changed and if you fall for this, you will find yourself in a hell of a lot of pain and will feel duped when their charm wears off.

4. Stop thinking about what their next move 'might' be.

Unless you're a narcissist or a sociopath yourself, you really will have no idea what is running through your mind. If you want to know what to expect, plot out your relationship on a chart, mark the highs, mark the lows, mark who got in touch with who, how long there has been between contacts, and how they typically respond to conflict, criticism, you saying NO, you asserting your needs, etc. That's what to expect.

5. Every time you have the urge to explain or engage or both, remember: there's no point; they cannot empathise.

Think about the logic of this - narcissist or not, you believe this person to have empathy issues so why do you keep trying to explain your position or giving you a hard time for them not understanding your position and empathising with it? That just doesn't make sense. Don't engage with them and it's one thing if you want to stress out your brain from afar trying to figure out how someone can behave in this way or be so devoid of compassion and care, but do not try to do it with them. It's like trying to recover from a broken leg while putting it under a chainsaw.

6. When you consider going back there and engaging, think of you like a puppet - everything that you do with a narcissist is about them believing that they are tugging at your strings and having you fulfill your role in The Great Narcissist at The Royal Assholery Theatre.

Why go and play your part? If you think you can go to the 'play' and come up with your own role or start saying lines that don't fit with the role and the play, think again. They will squash you with a ferocity that can take your breath away.

7. Do not tell them about themselves as some sort of parting shot.

If you tell them about themselves, aside from the fact that they'll take it as a signal of more attention and feed off it while marking your cards as a psycho or something, depending on what flavour of aggressive they are, they can become verbally or even physically violent or do stuff to diminish your reputation. If they really are a narcissist or narcissistically inclined, then you should already know that you never tell them that they are this no matter how tempting. You walk away.

8. Don't fall for the apology trick.

Next thing you know, they'll be getting you to apologise which is an attempt to press the Reset Button in exchange for you being allowed back into the harem. Do not apologise - narcissists take it to mean that you're apologising for 'everything' including theirs. You may think that if you apologise that everything will be OK, but when they sink their proverbial teeth into you again, you'll regret thinking that you could treat them like a normal person with feelings.

9.  Don't make your pain public and certainly don't let them know about it.

Another reason why they get in touch or keep track of you is to ensure that you're miserable without them - it's another source of attention. If you message them back saying "Leave me alone! I'm in so much pain!" they don't feel guilty; they collect some harem money for the attention jar. Don't posts statuses on Facebook about how much your life is crumbling, don't look like you haven't slept or eaten in a month even if you haven't, and don't let grasses in the midst chat out your business to them. Don't tell them that you can't stop thinking about them or that you're nothing without them - er, how much of a frickin ego stroke can you give one person?

Attention in the form of your misery is attention and for a narcissist, that's all that matters and they don't actually need to be with you to get that attention. These people feel just as stoked with the knowledge that you're miserable without them.

10. It may seem impossible now, but believe me - if you don't scratch the contact itch, over time, if you get on with your own life, that need to scratch it will fade.

Each time you scratch the contact itch, you will set you back, especially as being with a narcissist is pretty damn traumatic.