Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition characterised by an inflated sense of self-importance, a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. Narcissists often seek out and manipulate enablers to support and validate their behaviour. Enablers are individuals who knowingly or unknowingly enable the narcissist’s destructive behaviour, allowing them to continue their harmful actions without consequences. In this article, we will explore what enablers are, how narcissists get enablers on their side, why narcissists need enablers, and ways to cope with enablers and disarm their toxic behaviour.
What are enablers?
Enablers are individuals who support and enable the narcissist’s problematic behaviour. They may do so intentionally or unwittingly, but either way, they contribute to the narcissist’s ability to continue their destructive actions. Enablers may include family members, friends, romantic partners, colleagues, or anyone who is in close contact with the narcissist. Enablers often make excuses for the narcissist’s behaviour, cover up for them, and downplay the impact of their actions on others. They may also provide the narcissist with attention, validation, and admiration, further fueling their ego.
How do narcissists get enablers on their side?
Narcissists are skilled manipulators who can easily draw in enablers to support their behaviour. They often use charm, flattery, and manipulation to win people over and create a network of willing individuals to enable them. This can include love bombing, where the narcissist showers the enabler with affection and attention, making them feel special and valued. Narcissists may also exploit the enabler’s vulnerabilities, using guilt or fear to keep them on their side. In some cases, the enabler may be unaware of the extent of the narcissist’s behavior and may genuinely believe they are helping or supporting the narcissist.
Why do narcissists need enablers?
Enablers play a crucial role in the narcissist’s life, as they provide validation and support for their behaviour. Without enablers, the narcissist’s facade of perfection and superiority would crumble, and they would have to face the consequences of their actions. Enablers help to maintain the narcissist’s inflated sense of self-importance and shield them from criticism or accountability. They also provide the narcissist with a constant source of attention and admiration, which fuels their ego and reinforces their belief that they are superior to others.
Nine things enablers say to normalise the narcissist’s behaviour
- “They’re just misunderstood.” Enablers may try to justify the narcissist’s behaviour by claiming that they are simply misunderstood or that others do not appreciate their unique qualities.
- “They didn’t mean it.” Enablers may downplay the impact of the narcissist’s hurtful actions by claiming that they did not mean to cause harm or that their behaviour was unintentional.
- “They’ve had a tough life.” Enablers may use the narcissist’s past experiences as a way to excuse their behaviour, suggesting that they deserve special treatment or allowances due to their difficult upbringing.
- “You just don’t understand them.” Enablers may dismiss criticism of the narcissist by claiming that others do not understand the complex nature of the person.
- “They’re a good person deep down.” Enablers may try to emphasise the narcissist’s positive qualities while ignoring their harmful behaviour, painting them as a victim rather than a perpetrator.
- “They’re under a lot of pressure.” Enablers may use external factors, such as work or personal stress, as a way to excuse the narcissist’s behaviour, suggesting that they are not in control of their actions.
- “It’s not that bad.” Enablers may minimise the impact of the narcissist’s behaviour, suggesting that it is not as harmful as others make it out to be.
- “They can change.” Enablers may hold onto hope that the narcissist will change their ways, despite evidence to the contrary.
- “They’re just having a bad day.” Enablers may make excuses for the narcissist’s behaviour by attributing it to temporary emotional distress or other temporary factors.
Self-help steps to cope with enablers and disarming phrases
Coping with enablers can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself from their toxic behaviour and disarm their enabling tendencies.
- Recognise the enabling behaviour. The first step in coping with enablers is to recognise their enabling behaviour and understand the impact it has on your well-being.
- Set boundaries. Establish clear boundaries with enablers to protect yourself from their toxic behaviour, such as emotional, psychological and physical distance.
- Seek support. Surround yourself with supportive individuals who understand and validate your experiences. You may also benefit from professional counselling to help you process your experiences in and develop coping strategies. (Sponsored.). https://betterhelp.com/elizabethshaw
- Practice self-care. Take care of your physical and emotional well-being by engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Focus on healthy habits that promote your overall well-being.
- Use disarming phrases. When dealing with enablers, use disarming phrases to challenge their enabling behaviour and assert your boundaries. For example, you might say, “I appreciate your perspective, but I have to disagree,” or “I need to prioritise my own well-being in this situation.”
- Educate yourself. Learn more about narcissistic behaviour and enabling dynamics to better understand the dynamics at play and develop strategies to protect yourself.
In conclusion, enablers are individuals who support and enable the destructive behaviour of narcissists. Narcissists manipulate enablers to win them over and provide validation and support for their behaviour. Enablers play a crucial role in maintaining the narcissist’s facade of superiority and shielding them from criticism. By recognizing enabling behaviors, setting boundaries, seeking support, practicing self-care, and using disarming phrases, individuals can protect themselves from enablers and disarm their toxic behavior.
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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.
The Narcissist’s Enablers. (Understanding Narcissism.)