Take Back Your Power

Sometimes you can't leave the sociopath or abusive narcissist in your life. Perhaps your father, son, husband, boss, or co-worker is the disturbed character and you are stuck with having to tolerate his bad behavior. Please remember you cannot change the abusive narcissist, and he will never learn (because of the personality disorder he has).

If you can't get away, here's how you can stay sane:

Think "Calm, cool, collected, and distant" - Make this your mantra. Keep this in mind above all else.  

Stop reacting - The sociopath feeds off of your reactions and he confirms his power and control over you by manipulating your emotions and then enjoying your reaction. Don't let him.  Remain steadfast, unchanged in the face of his bad behavior, no longer his emotional puppet. Be proactive by not being reactive.

Set boundaries - Envision a bubble around you, and you can make it as permeable or impermeable as you want. With the narcissist, keep it impermeable until you choose otherwise. Imagine his words and behaviors hitting the glass of the bubble and dripping down the outside, keeping you safe and clean inside. Just like when a bird shits on your windshield, the poop doesn't make you dirty; the narcissist's toxicity won't poison your peace of mind.

Observe - Pay attention to what he says versus what he does, and for boundary violations. Evaluate the narcissist based on actual behavior and facts, not on what he says.

Stay away - Keep a healthy distance - certainly emotionally, and perhaps physically -- and avoid engaging with the narcissist unless absolutely necessary.

Avoid being suckered - If you want to ask a narcissist to do something, expect little to nothing in return. Don't try to work things out with the narcissist, or try to make them understand their behavior. Whatever is at issue will ALWAYS be your fault. They are masters of the blame game. Expect excuses, anger, stonewalling, and a quick exit. Keep your expectations low and have an alternate plan. Do not depend on them at all. 

Don't try to change them - Stop the time-consuming conversation about what they did wrong, and don't waste your time hoping things will get better. They don't believe they are doing anything wrong, nor do they care that you think they did something wrong. In fact, your dialogue feeds their vanity from your emotional fuel pump. 

Avoid feedback - While they seek validation and admiration, negative feedback also fills their need for attention. It is better for them to be disliked (making them feel superior) than it is for them to be a nobody. Let them feel like they are a nobody because, in fact, without empathy, feelings, or the capacity to love, they are.

Know what a healthy relationship looks like - Healthy relationships include two people treating each other with respect, engaging in a two-way relationship, allowing each to express their feelings, opinions, needs and desires in a calm, adult manner. Each individual sets their own priorities, and is able to express themselves without fear of repercussions including abuse, either emotional or physical. Each person is allowed differing opinions, and these opinions may be discussed openly, calmly, and productively. The individuals mutually take care of and protect themselves, each other, and the relationship from harm. They work together as partners toward a happy and healthy life.

Know that you can't have a healthy relationship with a narcissist - Don't waste your time. That False Self, with which you fell in love, is gone. Employ the above strategies so you can preserve your sanity, boundaries, and self-esteem until you can move on to create your own happy life.