Caring for a narcissistic person can be a challenging and emotionally draining task. NPD – narcissistic personality disorder often means dealing with a person who needs constant attention, lacks empathy, and craves admiration. Despite these difficulties, it’s possible to maintain a relationship while preserving your well-being. In this short blog, we will explore some strategies for taking care of a narcissistic person while maintaining your own emotional balance.
Understand the disorder:
The first step in dealing with a narcissistic person is to educate yourself about NPD. Recognize that their behavior is driven by a deep-seated insecurity and fragile self-esteem. My own mother was narcissistic. By the time I became her caregiver she had managed to survive a childhood of emotional and physical abuse and married a man with a lifetime of alcohol abuse. Out of seven children I was the one to care for her because of both my experience in healthcare and my ability to look past her behaviors.
Establishing clear boundaries is crucial when dealing with narcissistic people. I admit I was not the best at this but tried to be firm. It’s important to let them know what behavior is acceptable and what isn’t. I’ve helped many families throughout my career and while to outsiders being firm with your parents may seem mean, it is a must to maintain the peace and manage a person’s quality of care. I always called it putting my foot down!
This is a powerful tool, seeing the world from their perspective and acknowledging their vulnerabilities. I always kept the fact that she had a hard life in the back of my mind to help me keep my patience and work through her more unpleasant behaviors.
I like to think I have become a better communicator because of having to learn to deal with my mother. Open and honest communication is the key to any relationship. I learned to choose my words carefully and avoid confrontations. Use “I” statements to express your feelings and needs without blaming or accusing.
Manage Your Expectations:
Older adults are unlikely to change their behavior overnight, if ever. It’s essential to manage your expectations and accept that you may never receive the emotional support you desire from them. I have to say I found relief in humor. To this day I still laugh about some of the hurtful statements she uttered, some of them have become jokes between my husband and me.
Being a caregiver can be isolating, but especially so while caring for a narcissist. Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist. Sharing your experiences and feelings with others can provide validation and guidance.
Taking care of yourself is a must! Make self-care a priority by setting aside time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation. My go to self-care has always been walking and talking with my accountability partner.
Caring for a narcissistic person can be a complex and demanding journey, but it’s not impossible. By understanding the nature of NPD you can maintain a connection with the person you are caring for while also safeguarding your own mental and emotional health. Remember that you deserve love and respect!