“If someone is angry at you for setting a healthy boundary, their anger is a sign you needed the boundary.”
A narcissist is all about control, and they want to control you. One of the ways they do this is by taking you away from who you are and leaving you an empty shell of your former self. They use plenty of manipulative methods to do this, and one of those is stripping you of all your boundaries, all your values and beliefs to make you guarded, cautious, doubt yourself, defensive. Leaving you with things like anxiety and CPTSD as they are taking away your self-respect and dignity by breaking down your boundaries, leaving you vulnerable so they get their needs met and you no longer know what your own needs are. A narcissist doesn’t have respect for others or people’s beliefs or boundaries. They just seek control. They want you to ignore who you are and your needs and to fill all their needs.
The narcissists’ manipulation starts from the moment you meet the narcissist. They want to break down your boundaries to steal your self-respect, your dignity, your self-esteem, and who you are. If you dare to question them about things they say to you on those first dates, most will walk away, however, as you believe people to be honest. There’s no evidence that the narcissist is a con artist, a manipulator, and a liar when you meet them, and they’ve got their admiration face on, they like all your likes, they treat you so well, they mirror you, flatter you, and you believe you’ve met the one. They will message you, want to spend time with you, doing the things you love to do.
Once they have you even in the first few weeks of dating, they’ll start taking down your boundaries. They’ll start asking you things that most people wouldn’t even ask someone they barely knew. If you tell them the not so big secrets yet still personal, they’ll slowly push you for more. They might tell you stories about how they’ve been mistreated, making themselves look vulnerable and opening up your empathy, feeling like they understand you. You can relate to each other and connect. You open up to them, telling them yours.
Now it’s good at the beginning of any new relationship, to be honest and to be open with each other. As we know all too well, it’s not pleasant finding out things years down the line, which causes pain. Some people who are healed from past traumatic experiences can open up and share them. Kind people can connect through their vulnerabilities, whatever those vulnerabilities are. Still, you have to accept them within yourself first so people can not use them against you. We all have weaknesses. If you are not ready to open up to others about certain things don’t, you can let someone know you’ve had something happen and can relate, but you want to leave it in the past, or you just don’t want to talk about it. If they are for you, they’ll accept this, some might push you as they genuinely want to know you better, but they will back off and wait until you’re ready. A narcissist will either disappear on you or keep pushing you.
Physically a narcissist will step over the mark in the way they touch you, rushing you in when you’re not truly ready. They might touch you in ways that make you feel uncomfortable to see if they can push you into their world of control if something feels uncomfortable to you, tell them, a genuine person who’s overstepped the mark without realising will back off and wait, a narcissist will either keep pushing their luck to see if they can break your boundaries or disappear on you, now if you’re ready and genuinely feel comfortable going with the flow that’s ok, but learn to listen to yourself and how you think, if they are moving way to fast, or it feels inappropriate to you tell them. Genuine people will respect you for this.
Narcissists will feed you some subtle lies about themselves or others in the beginning to see how much you buy into them. If you question them, they might change the subject or tell you more things that you just don’t think to add up now. On first dates, most of us want to put out our best side, but genuine people don’t outright pathologically lie. Narcissists also lie to see if you’re agreeable or passive, to see if you’ll happily accept their viewpoint or challenge them. They are drip-feeding you lies to see how much they can get away with and what you will accept from others.
Narcissists often declare love and soulmate status very quickly so they can learn all your weaknesses so you open up faster. Learn anything from your past that’s given you insecurities in the present, and find those you’ve not healed from so they can use them against you in the future. They want to know what troubles you and what fears you have, what makes you angry, so they can use these against you to provoke you in the future for many manipulative reasons, and one is so they can use them against you to break down your boundaries. Only open up with new people when you’re ready. Listen to your instincts; they are right. If you don’t want to talk about things, don’t.
As the relationship progresses and they have you hooked, narcissists will up the manipulation to take down all your boundaries one by one. Narcissists want to control. They might do this by making you angry, so you back down because you feel guilty, they might threaten In obvious ways, overt. “I’ll tell,” or subtle ways, covert “what do you think your friends would think if they knew.” triangulating, using others against you, so you fear others finding out things you are not ready for them to know. Plus countless other threats, so you give in to their demands. If you have children and they know the children are your most significant weaknesses and what you’ll defend the most, they will find ways to get to you through the children, tormenting them in subtle ways, just to get reactions from you, or making the atmosphere that bad the children want to live with the other parent. The narcissist will drop obvious or subtle hints. They will provoke you to get reactions from you. They them might threaten you about your reactions or blame shift onto you, so you do what you can to make it up to them while they lap up the attention. They will disappear on you, or the present silent treatment where they stay around yet will not talk, or just sulk like a toddler not getting their own way in an adults body, which is usually, so you find a way to break the conflicts, Cheer them up, restore peace. That way is often you losing yet another boundary. More and more of who you are is slowly lost. Then they might play nice for a while to confirm in your mind the problems within the relationship was because of you. The problems are not you. They are responsible for their own actions. While being manipulated, you are not genuinely awake or accountable for yours when you can not see what you don’t know, and they’ve taken power and control of your mind.
Some narcissists will beg, or pity play, so you feel sorry for them and give in, or they’ll triangulate you, let you know how someone else would do for them or their friends, or the ones where they tell you that the crazy ex would have for them, leaving you doubting your abilities to sustain a healthy relationship. Or put fear into you that you might lose them if you don’t give in to what they want.
Slowly over time, they have you walking on eggshells and jumping to every demand, losing all your boundaries for fear of reactions from them. There might be that one boundary they try, which is your wake up call, and you just leave for good. This can be after years of being with them.
Then as you spend more time away from the narcissist, the fog lifts, and you start to see everything you’ve been through.
Everyone’s boundaries are unique to them. It’s learning your own, what behaviour you will and will not accept from others, also the other person you are dealing with, so if you’ve loaned someone money, they never pay it back, that doesn’t mean if you don’t mind lending money you never do it again, just don’t do it with those unwilling to pay you back, do it for those who are willing to help you out in times of need, it’s all about giving and taking.
If all someone is willing to do is take, it’s time to stop giving.
If you’re still dealing with a narcissist from your past, you need to set solid boundaries. Remember, they are not going to change to who they had claimed them to be. They are who they are. Accept that they are no good for your inner happiness. You can not help them, then for your own sanity, no contact is best, if this isn’t possible due to children avoiding them as much as possible. When you set boundaries, remember a narcissist is all about control and dominance, they feel entitled and are incredibly stubborn and most up their games to take back control. Setting boundaries isn’t about changing them. It’s about setting yourself free, learning now you have the knowledge of who they are and what they do, as it’s incredibly hard when you’ve not got the understanding not to be taken down by these people as most of us know all too well. When we do know what they are, and what they do, it’s all about learning to manage ourselves.
Learning who we want to be, learning our beliefs, our values, our standards, only accepting behaviour from others that we’d give to others, and no longer accepting behaviour that doesn’t match who we are, with good intentions hopefully allowed to be who we want to be, raising our standards, yet lowing our expectations of others, so we don’t get angry or frustrated when they seek to hurt us.
Setting boundaries is hard, especially if you’ve never thought about them in the past. If you’ve always put other people’s needs before your own, boundaries that are healthy and work for you will not only help you to say no to things that don’t suit you, it’ll also help stop attracting narcissistic or manipulative people into your future.
So if you’re still dealing with a narcissist or not, you need to learn your boundaries and stop letting others cross them.
Healthy boundaries are a way to show others how you expect to be treated as a person and what you’ll not accept from others.
It takes great courage and strength to start setting boundaries, and at first, you might not notice one has been crossed until someone does something. You feel hurt or angry, even if you’re more aware of what boundaries are now. With everything in life, it’s a learning curve. We are all individuals. You might fear speaking up to that person who crossed the boundaries. You might not want to upset them. You might not want to lose them, fearing confrontation when you do, just try to keep your emotions out of it, stick to the facts and don’t let people take you off-topic, remain calm if they are not accepting of you for who you are, they are not the people for you, good people might not even know they had crossed a boundary you might have a laugh together or a cry together, you will, however, sort it out with good people. You can not control how they react. You can control yourself.
Setting boundaries isn’t about winning or losing. It’s is about mutual respect for each other. If the other person crosses a boundary or keeps trying to, and takes no responsibility towards their own actions. We are all responsible for our own actions when someone can not take responsibility for their personal actions, of how they have treated you; they have no respect for you.
With the narcissist, you will encounter resistance from them. Just because you have learned your boundaries, they are not going to change who they are. Stay true to yourself, remain calm, stand your ground because you’re worth it. Leave them to it, don’t dwell on what-ifs, go back to focusing on your own life.
You have to let go of the belief, ”it could have been different.” and accept it for what it was.
You don’t need others’ approval. You only need your own, so long as your intentions are good, it doesn’t matter what others think, being a people pleaser often ends up with you surrounded by the wrong kind of people who take advantage of your kind nature, being true to who you are first, then being kind to others you’ll surround yourself with like-minded people.
We are human. Not everyone likes everyone. Find those who want you for you, respect you, and you respect and like them for them, people who can see perspectives of others’ views.
Boundaries with a narcissist.
- Don’t take the bait, do all you can to avoid communication with them. If they are coming at you, retreat, rethink and then only respond if you need to do so. Retreating means you don’t act out at the moment. A quick rethink. Do I need to respond? Is it better left unsaid? Then if you have to respond, remove emotions, make it simple and stick to logic and facts. If they’re saying, “you’re crazy.” No need to acknowledge that it’s their opinion, not yours. Don’t get drawn in. That’s what they want. Leave them to it if they’re saying. “Can not have children Friday.” Just a simple “o.k.” Or “thank you for letting me know.” They are most likely doing things to provoke you and get reactions, be warned when they see a change in you. They might up their games. As soon as you back down, their cycle starts again. Instead, don’t back down. Ride out the storm. It will pass, and you’ll learn how much easier life is this way.
- Don’t give them any bait, don’t share things about your personal life or your plans, they will try to use these against you, to bring you down, leave them out in the cold as they have done to you, there is a difference, they did it for reactions, you’re doing it for inner peace.
- Clearly, communicate primarily around children. “Parents even Wednesday at 7 p.m.” You don’t need to ask if they are going. They have the facts. Leave them to it. Whatever they send back, don’t go off-topic. They have the points if they say, ” thanks for the short notice.” And you’d only just found out or forgot to tell them. You do not need to explain this to them. As soon as you do, they will suck you in to spit you out. “I can not make it.” Again don’t respond. That’s up to them. Live your own life now. They’ve already proved they are not worthy of your time and attention, don’t give it to them.
- If you are saying no to yourself, by saying yes to someone else, you need to say no to them and yes to you, so you become happier.
- Remember their responses are purely to break your boundaries and break you down, don’t let them upset you for a moment as you’re learning it will, but learn how to quickly shift your thoughts and look for the good within your life.
- Be prepared. The narcissist might go quiet. Then they might come at you again. Use those quiet￼ times to really work on your inner self. When they come back to get to you again, you’ll be stronger and wiser, stick to your boundaries, whatever yours are.
- Your no needs to mean no, and you need to stick to your no.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach. She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.