Protect Your Psychological Boundaries from the Narcissist

Narcissists have no respect for the needs, suffering and wishes of others. They are disinterested in other people—fascinated by every thing “me.” When they appear to be intrigued with an individual it is because they have decided that this person can do something for them. A handsome man or beautiful woman can enhance the narcissist’s image.For the narcissist, image is reality. If this chosen person is attracted strongly to the narcissist, all the better. The narcissist has found a compliant living narcissistic supply who will help to keep his ego inflated.

Children learn very early to develop personal psychological boundaries from their parents. Psychological boundaries are essential to our solid sense of self and to the integrity of the individual. Each person is entitled to be treated with respect for his feelings, thoughts and privacy. The narcissist doesn’t grow up with a sense of boundaries particularly if he or she is a golden child, the chosen one in the family who is believed to be so special that he/she doesn’t have to live by any rules. The parent(s) allow this child to have free reign in the household. There are neither rules nor limits. The golden child is permitted to be rude, cruel and intimidating to his/her siblings. From the parent’s point of you, he can do no wrong–this child viewed as perfect and impeccable, untouched by any rules. As a result these individuals are often cruel and ruthless even with parents and other adults. The parent of this child constantly makes excuses for this inappropriate out of control behavior. The parent believes that this child is the perfect replica of what he (the parent) has always wanted to be—a perfect human being.

Most spouses of narcissists have difficulty drawing clear lines of differentiation between their requirements for self respect and privacy because the narcissist is so convincing and intimidating.

You can learn to command respect from others who try to invade your personal space. First, you need to be convinced that you are worthy and have unique value and deserve to be treated with deference. Knowing and believing this about yourself, you will feel more detached from the narcissist who attempts to override your psychological boundaries. Narcissists often ask very rude and insensitive questions—You are not compelled to answer any question at any time. Don’t be thrown by the narcissist’s convincing or aggressive manner or the pressure of those inside his golden circle who try to force you to respond to an inappropriate question or demand.

Learn how to ground yourself psychologically through practices of stilling the mind through meditation, visualization or other modalities that quiet and clarify the mind. With this practice comes a valuable kind of emotional detachment combined with an ability to immediately see through what the narcissist is trying to achieve—invade your private psychological space. The narcissist believes that he/she can achieve ultimate control over you. When you know yourself intimately and are able to separate yourself from the narcissist’s many clever ruses, you will see through him very clearly.

When the narcissist knows that he cannot shake you up, react to his lies and innuendos and that you are detached, separate and individuated, the narcissist will walk away from you to find another prospective partner, devotee, acolyte or psychological slave whom he/she can use. Maintaining psychological boundaries and deciding with whom to share our deepest selves is a sacred right as human beings. We never have to give any part of ourselves away to another human being. We are born in integrity and grow with reciprocal respect, honoring ourselves and others who deserve our trust. Visit my website:

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
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