While most people would advise you to run as far away as you can from a narcissist, sometimes that’s not something you can do. This might be for many reasons, but one is that you simply still love them and want them in your life. If you decide that’s what you want, there are some things you can do to avoid the typical narcissistic discard that eventually happens. Some of these are things you should do and some are things you want to avoid doing.
While it’s important to keep your own self-interest in mind, there are some things that can help keep the narcissist you love around. Here are 15 tips – both do’s and don’ts – that can help you do that:
- Give the Narcissist All Your Attention
- Give Them Something They Can’t Get Anywhere Else
- Keep that Narcissistic Supply Flowing
- Give and Never Take
- Detach Yourself Emotionally and Financially
- Give Yourself Permission to Get Your Needs Met Elsewhere
- Fix Situations, but Not the Narcissist
- Encourage Sexual Exploration for Somatic Narcissists
- Don’t Ever Make Accusations
- Take Care of Yourself
- Don’t Disagree With or Contradict the Narcissist
- Don’t Expect or Give Intimacy
- Don’t Show Awe to the Narcissist
- Don’t Make References to a Better Life
- Don’t Judge the Narcissist
It’s critical to use these tips in the right way since misusing or abusing them will backfire on you. To understand why these work, it’s vital to understand narcissism and how it can affect relationships. Read on to learn more about that and how to use these tips to keep your narcissist around.
Narcissism and the Romantic Relationship
Narcissists seem like they are very self-confident, but this is a facade that results from the false image they constructed long ago to interact with the world around them. Inside, their true sense of self is incompletely developed and damaged. They are full of shame and self-loathing for it, and as a result, they buried it long ago.
People need a healthy sense of self to interact with the world around them, and most importantly, to support their self-esteem and maintain their sense of self-worth. Without a healthy sense of self, the narcissist is emotionally crippled. They can’t support their own ego.
To get around this, they created a false self that they use to interact with people around them. The false self, however, cannot do the job of a healthy ego. Instead, the narcissist needs other people to take the place of a healthy sense of self by providing them with an almost constant flow of adulation known as narcissistic supply. To get other people to do that, the narcissist must constantly manipulate them.
As you might imagine, that has a powerful impact on any relationship in their life. They constantly fear being abandoned and losing their narcissistic supply. To avoid that, they avoid real intimacy since that could reveal their true, damaged self and provoke abandonment.
Moreover, their manipulation tactics are emotionally abusive and often drive the people they love away. Additionally, the narcissist is always lining up backup sources of narcissistic supply which means they are frequently unfaithful in their committed relationships.
They also often become bored with the people around them once they know how to manipulate them. They will then discard them in favor of someone more interesting to them. So how can you use this knowledge to your advantage?
What To Do
If you really want to keep a narcissist in your life, there are several things you should do to ensure they will stay interested in you. Let’s explore each of these:
1. Give the Narcissist All Your Attention
The narcissist craves attention, and without it, they will become bored with the person. They want you to hang on every word, though you shouldn’t believe it. If you do suspect they are lying or exaggerating, however, you shouldn’t let on.
Attention is the mainstay of the narcissist. They need it like they need the air they breathe because it is what props up their self-esteem. If you act as though you are uninterested in virtually everything they do, they will soon grow tired of you.
They want all the attention from everyone in their life, but the people who shower them with it are the ones they will want to be around more often and stay around for a long time. While you might be giving them attention, you have to realize they can turn on you in an instant.
If you find they are lying or exaggerating, you should never call attention to that fact. You’ll have to keep that to yourself and act as if you believe everything they say. They can’t abide confrontation, and so, calling them out on their tall tales will put you on their bad side.
2. Give Them Something They Can’t Get Anywhere Else
Another important tip is to make yourself indispensable to the narcissist by giving them something they can’t get from anyone else in their life. That really means making yourself their primary source of narcissistic supply.
What’s more, if you can procure other sources of narcissistic supply for them, that will make you someone they won’t want to get rid of, and in fact, it will make them dependent on you for that adulation. You’ll want to fawn over everything they do and continuously praise them.
You’ll also want to talk them up to other people the two of you are around so that those other people will praise them. When the narcissist sees you doing that, they will want to make sure they keep you around. It will make them feel like you are an indispensable part of their life.
3. Keep that Narcissistic Supply Flowing
By constantly praising and loving the narcissist and showing them that, you will keep the peace in your relationship. To do this, you’re going to need to be very patient since the narcissist will often try to provoke you into an argument, and they will also be obvious in their attempts to manipulate you.
If you know that’s what they’re doing, you can protect yourself, but you’ll need to bite your tongue rather than confront them about anything you don’t like or disagree with. As George Brunelli, who has a degree in sociology and psychology, rightly states, “It is exhausting, you constantly have to provide validation. When they are morally wrong, you tell them they’re right. You agree with everything they say and suppress your true feelings and opinions.”
To do this, you’re likely going to need a good support network with whom you can vent your frustrations to accomplish this. That will help you keep your own sanity and take care of your own needs.
The manipulative tactics the narcissist will employ can be very damaging to your own self-esteem, and so, to stay mentally and physically healthy, you need to take care of your own needs by finding a way to express yourself around people who love and support you.
4. Give and Never Take
This may not seem very attractive to you, but if you want to keep the narcissist around, you’ll need to be endlessly giving. You will also need to avoid requiring the narcissist to really give to you.
Narcissists lack empathy, and they can’t put themselves in your shoes to understand what you need and why. They won’t even think about the consequences of their actions on your life.
They will also expect you to give to them. Narcissists view other people as extensions of themselves given that other people act as their internal support mechanisms. They think you should want to take care of their needs at all costs, and they expect that you will find that satisfying.
5. Detach Yourself Emotionally and Financially
If you really want to keep a narcissist in your life, you really need to be emotionally and financially independent from them. This accomplishes two goals: it ensures you can take care of yourself when they discard you (which inevitably happens), and it makes you more of a challenge to the narcissist.
Narcissists will usually discard the people in their life, but they will also usually come back into your life. If they discard you, don’t despair because they will likely be back. Even years after leaving someone, a narcissist will suddenly appear back in their life.
That’s why you need to make sure you can take care of yourself when that happens, both emotionally and financially. If you’re dependent on the narcissist, it will be much harder for you to endure that inevitable separation.
The other thing it does is make you more challenging to the narcissist. They see that you have the ability to walk away from them, but you don’t. That’s attractive to them because it props up their ego – you’re choosing to stay with them – and it makes you more of a challenge.
Most of the time, this means dishing out the silent treatment instead of yelling back at them when they push your buttons. The silent treatment tells the narcissist that you really can just walk away if they are not careful about how they treat you.
6. Give Yourself Permission to Get Your Needs Met Elsewhere
A narcissist is simply not going to be interested in meeting your needs. They expect you to be focused on them even to the exclusion of yourself. Of course, you have needs, but since the narcissist won’t give them to you, you have to give yourself permission to get them met elsewhere.
Make sure you have that support network up and running so you can vent your frustrations and get the emotional support you need to keep going. You will also need to practice good self-care techniques.
Give yourself time away from the narcissist so you can recharge your batteries and have the time to think about yourself. Make sure you get plenty of exercise and that you practice techniques that will help you get rid of the stress you will experience in the relationship.
7. Fix Situations, but Not the Narcissist
You cannot fix a narcissist, and you shouldn’t be deluded into thinking you can. No matter how much you love them, no matter how much you focus on them, and no matter how much you excuse their behavior, they will not get better without psychological help.
Don’t try to fix the narcissist, but you can try to fix the problem or situation at hand. It’s best to try to engage them as assistants in helping you to fix the problem. When you approach them with a problem or situation, use inclusive ‘we language’ without any hint of judgment.
You want to make them feel as if you are genuinely in need of their help as this will boost their ego and make them feel superior. Play to their ego, and you can get them to do what you want.
8. Encourage Sexual Exploration for Somatic Narcissists
Somatic narcissists are very sexual, and if you’re involved romantically with one of these kinds of narcissists, you’ll want to encourage sexual exploration to keep them interested in you. This may mean exploring various techniques and keeping things fresh, but it may also mean being open to having other partners.
Narcissists have difficulty being faithful in any relationship regardless of the type of narcissist. That’s because someone flirting with them plays right into their need for narcissistic supply.
When the narcissist in question is a somatic narcissist, they are almost guaranteed to seek sexual partners outside of any committed relationship. These narcissists are heavily invested in their own attractiveness and their sexual prowess, and they will need new ways to express that and prove their abilities almost constantly.
That makes it very unlikely they will be satisfied with only one partner. To keep them interested and willing to stay in a long-term relationship with you, you’ll need to be willing to explore new ideas, and it will help if you’re open to having other partners. If that is not for you, you may need to seriously reconsider the relationship.
9. Don’t Ever Make Accusations
If you want to keep a narcissist interested in you, you must never accuse them of anything. They won’t ever respond well to that, and they will blame you. If you need to talk to them about something, you’ll want to bring up the subject without a hint of accusation or blame.
You’re working with someone who is really emotionally stilted, and you can’t talk to them about their problem. You have to make them believe that you genuinely need them to help you improve a situation. You also want to make them believe that there’s nothing wrong with them, but you are sensitive to whatever they are doing.
If you make them out to be the savior or ‘fixer’ of the situation at hand, they are much more likely to be willing to help out and even change. It won’t involve any lasting or deep level changes, but it may improve their behavior.
10. Take Care of Yourself
This is perhaps the most important thing you need to do if you’re going to keep a narcissist in your life. First, you will need it, and it’s important for your own mental and physical health.
It also serves another purpose, however. If the narcissist sees you as someone who is able to take care of themselves and who is emotionally and financially independent, you will be more attractive to the narcissist.
It’s vital that you take care of your own needs so that you don’t develop a low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, or any physical symptoms associated with those conditions. You will also need to stay healthy if you’re going to be able to do what you need to do to keep the narcissist around.
It takes a strong person to stay in a relationship with a narcissist. To stay strong, you absolutely must take good care of yourself.
What Not to Do
Now that you know what you should do to keep a narcissist interested in you, you also need to know what you need to avoid doing if you want to keep them around. Here are 5 tips regarding what not to do:
11. Don’t Disagree With or Contradict the Narcissist
Disagreeing with or contradicting a narcissist is a way of telling them they are wrong, and they can’t handle that. Moreover, they will never admit it, and so, if you disagree with them, they will argue with you.
If they come to see you as an enemy, they will devalue you. The narcissist believes that they must not only defeat their enemies, but they must also crush them. They will stop at nothing to make you look stupid or inept if you are working against them.
If you are able to back them into a corner in a disagreement, this can provoke a discard which is exactly what you do not want.
12. Don’t Expect or Give Intimacy
A narcissist avoids intimacy at all costs because they fear they will be exposed as the damaged person they are, and they fear that will provoke abandonment. If you try to give them intimacy, they will become suspicious that you are somehow out to get them.
If you expect intimacy from them, you will become someone they will avoid because they can’t let you get too close to them. To keep them around, you need to understand that you will not get the intimacy you might expect from a romantic relationship.
You should get those needs met elsewhere, either with close friends or loving family members. You’ll have to rely on them to give you that sense of being close to someone in that way.
13. Don’t Show Awe to the Narcissist
If you show awe to the narcissist, you become something disposable. You have to walk a fine line with a narcissist between being interesting and being a fan of theirs.
You do want to praise them and give them that necessary narcissistic supply, but if you take it too far, you’ll become someone they will abuse and discard because there’s nothing interesting about you anymore.
It’s not easy to achieve this balance, but if you want to keep them around, you’ll need to find a way to do just that. You want to stay enough of a mystery to keep them engaged.
14. Don’t Make References to a Better Life Unless It Supports the Narcissist’s Grandiosity
The narcissist needs to believe that life with them is the best life you could ever have hoped for, and if you make references to a better life, that shows you’re not completely satisfied. The one exception to this is if you tie it somehow to their grandiosity.
If you can show them that achieving that better life is what they are entitled to and will enhance their grandiosity, then you can get them to help you reach those goals. It’s another delicate balancing act, and one you’ll need to consider carefully so that you don’t seem to be criticizing the narcissist in any way.
15. Don’t Judge the Narcissist
Judging the narcissist is a big no-no, and it’s one way you can come to be seen as an enemy of the narcissist. You don’t want that to happen, because if it does, they will never be satisfied until they have completely crushed you.
The only way back from that is to become totally submissive to the narcissist, and that is not a good life for you. To avoid that, you can never make any comments that imply judgment or criticism of something they have done.
You never want to start a sentence with, “You made a mistake here,” or “You don’t know.” Even more gentle comments like, “I think you might have overlooked…” are not wise. Remember that narcissists are hypersensitive to any possible criticism, and they often turn comments that are not critical into an insult.
Keeping a narcissist interested in you is a difficult task, both because of how their personality disorder affects them and because of how it affects the relationship. You have to be willing to give them a steady flow of narcissistic supply, tamp down your own judgments and what you think is right, and also keep them from doing harm to either your physical or mental health.
You need to use the right techniques to avoid setting them off, and you need to make sure you adjust your expectations for what you will get out of the relationship. To stay healthy, you need to be prepared to get your needs met elsewhere. Most people can’t do this and most people would advise against it, but if you are insistent, these techniques can help.
To learn more about how to live with a narcissist and be happy, you need to read this post. It offers important insights into how to take care of yourself and keep them around.
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