Build clear boundaries
Narcissists choose to manipulate easy targets – people who don’t have strong personal boundaries, and who are overly willing to do things for others. Learning to build your boundaries is a vital first step in protecting yourself from a narcissist’s abuse.
- Define your limits. How have you been letting people take advantage of you? Make a list of behaviours you will no longer accept.
- Imagine the likely outcome if you continue as you are, without making any changes.
- Decide exactly what you will do and say when someone crosses your boundaries.
- Remind yourself who you are and what you stand for. What are your values, beliefs, hopes and dreams? Remember why you deserve to have your boundaries respected by others.
- Get as much support as you can from friends, family and, if necessary, from a therapist or coach.
- Spend time with people who respect you, so that you remember what it feels like to be held in high regard.
Make time for number one – YOU
Put your focus firmly back on you by caring for yourself and your needs. Write your own self-care plan. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Keep a journal of all the good things in your life and the compliments you receive from others.
- Take time out every day to get in touch with your mind and your body.
- Treat yourself to a spa day, a haircut, a luxurious bath – something that says you matter.
- Spend time with people who make you laugh.
- Have a day trip to somewhere you have never been before.
- Learn something new.
Limit your contact with the narcissist. Curb conversation time. Curtail how much information you give them about yourself. Restrict the amount of interest you show in them. The closer you get to them and the more you reveal about yourself, the more they will manipulate you. Practising being distant will go against your natural instincts, but you will protect yourself from further damage.
Read Kim’s coaching study on a narcissistic boss here.