Exploitation is the narcissist’s middle name. They are always using others, especially spouses, ex-spouses, children and other family members to get their needs met not yours. Narcissists don’t care,are not interested and are closed off to your needs. They are over-entitled and have no hesitation about making demands from you constantly. This puts their spouses and children in continual emergency red button mode. Every moment is a fire drill. We become emotionally depleted and in some cases physically ill. Take care of yourself . Set boundaries with the narcissist and be consistent. He or she will step over these lines, cajole you into letting them have their way, intimidate and humiliate you. Don’t give in. Keep your emotional, psychological and physical distance(if possible) from the narcissist. Being in their presence is poisoning to you emotionally and psychologically. If you must be in touch with them, learn to detach from them by not over-reacting to their lies and the dramas that follow if they don’t get what they want. Let them put up a fuss like a baby in a high chair throwing his peas all over the floor. Don’t let their tantrums and threats overrun you. Stay steady through a practice of stillness, relaxation techniques, gentle yoga and meditation.
I have seen narcissists repeat their exploitive schemes. They are counting on wearing you down, getting you off center, making you lose your temper, on giving in. You can outlast the narcissist by remaining centered and grounded in your own values and destiny and having a support system. You have a separate life to which you are entitled. Give them no ground, no screams or snarling, no smirk and when appropriate no contact. Their goal is to engage and enrage and get you to lose control of yourself ; this spells weakness to them and the right time to pounce. You can continue to develop mastery over yourself. Work at your physical, mental and psychological health each day—it is a priority especially in counterbalancing the narcissist’s repeated exploitive attempts.
Give yourself credit for how you are handling this very difficult and at times impossible person. Take refuge within yourself, among your friends, in the solitude and beauty of nature and through your spiritual practice in the way that you define it.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.