Boundaries With A Narcissist

5 Things You Need To Know

When Setting Boundaries With a Narcissist



How to Create Boundaries With A Narcissist

Potentially the most important thing to decide is,

Do you need to deal with them or can you cut ties?

If they’re a boss or family member sometimes it’s more difficult.

If they’re not avoidable, here are some things that may help.


Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD) is broken into two types of narcissist that vary slightly, but I’ll go over both.


A Grandiose Narcissist

They Actually Feel Superior

They outwardly demand attention, they are typically much less charming than a covert narcissist


I’m not insinuating that Kanye has narcissistic personality disorder. But, when a person PUBLICLY interrupts someone’s speech at the MTV awards & finds no issue in ripping a VMA right out of the winners’ hands; that would be a trait of an overt narcissist.

  • Be Gentle
  • They are usually quick to become defensive.
  • Being straight forward or “telling it how it is” will probably not go well.
  • If I need to point out something that I don’t agree with and I feel inclined to express it, I do it lightly, kindly, even jokingly sometimes.
  • Do not express it as if it’s a flaw they have, but a characteristic of them.
  • Make sure you’re not challenging them or their integrity.
  • Don’t be cutting or offensive (WHICH IS HARD)


When Setting Boundaries With a Narcissist, They’re going to try to “level” you


  • This means, either they’re going to try to inflate themselves, or deflate you, or both.  This can cause a knee jerk reaction from us & we often want to respond by challenging them.
  • Challenging them usually doesn’t go over well.
  • Sometimes it feels like they are bent on conflict and being antagonistic. When if feels that way,


When Setting Boundaries With a Narcissist, Remain as INDIFFERENT as possible.


  • If they say they actually rule the world;
  • Don’t respond with “NO YOU DON’T’
  • Respond with “hm, seems like a big job.”
  • & not even “seems like a hard job.” Because that little difference in wording could be interpreted as a challenge to their ability to handle the job.
  • I simply acknowledge where they are coming from & do not come across as if I am personally impacted by it. Even if I know I am


When Setting Boundaries With a Narcissist, Try Mirroring Them


  • Reflect what they’re expressing. It comes across as you’re in agreement, and sometimes you just have to ride their wave.



A Vulnerable Narcissist

Has Low Self-esteem & Insecurities

These are typically the ones who cut you down and control you by feeding on your weaknesses; a covert narcissist


“Isn’t this the same picture as earlier?!” Why yes, it is! Taylor creates a song which covertly depicts herself as the victim of nearly every person she has dated. I am not giving a diagnosis, but it’s certainly a thing that this type of narcissist would do.

  • Understand that they are manipulating you based on your insecurities.


When Setting Boundaries With a Narcissist, Get a Second Opinion


  • You can find yourself confused and flustered.
  • Ask a TRUSTED friend (not someone who is going to side with the narc) & get their perspective.
  • That can be helpful for a couple reasons.
    • You’ll be validated when you’re feeling exhausted and beaten down.
    • You may be provided with a different perspective.
    • If you’re hitting a wall with how to provide the narcissist peace of mind, a trusted source may suggest something you haven’t thought about.
  • The narcissist may shame you often & cut you down in front of others, so


When Setting Boundaries With a Narcissist, Keep a Poker Face


  • Don’t explain yourself, because they will likely later use this against you without you even making the connection that you gave them the ammunition.


If You Are Going To Draw A Hard Line in the Sand When Setting Boundaries With a Narcissist;


  • Say what you mean and mean what you say.
  • A narcissistic is going to find out EXACTLY how far they can push a boundary, whether they’re intentionally doing it or not.
  • If you start throwing out things you have no intention on following through with, they’re going to realize that and are more likely to cross boundaries you try to set.


When Setting Boundaries With a Narcissist, Don’t respond emotionally when they act as a victim


  • They often use victimhood to get your attention or even the attention of others.
  • If you provide additional attention when they use this technique, you are reinforcing it.
  • Often this gets worse, and worse and worse until you’re spending all of your time, attention and energy on trying to solace a growing state of victimhood (that you’re nurturing).


When Setting Boundaries With a Narcissist, One Method is “Gray Rocking”


  • This is a term used for disengaging or being indifferent, like I mentioned above.
  • It is a good strategy in my opinion, however sometimes we need or want to be more engaged with a person beyond a gray rocking method.


When Setting Boundaries With a Narcissist, Another Method is “Firewalling”


  • Instead of the firewall being your digital gatekeeper, consider it as your emotional gatekeeper.
  • The concept is that we are more selective and careful about information coming in and going out.
  • This can take trial and error, especially since each person and dynamic is a little different.


So, here is the concept


  • Instead of disengaging, you’re going to selectively protect areas where they try to damage those files within your emotional or spiritual system.
  • This can involve information COMING IN from them or information YOU disclose; just like in the tech world.


Someone vulnerable to a narcissist is very sympathetic and empathetic, this means that you’re susceptible SPECIFICALLY to the techniques they use & this can also be the glue that keeps you stuck with someone with these patterns.


  • It’s not personal.  Don’t treat the situation with a narcissist as if it’s personal.
  • Don’t overlook red flags
  • Don’t over share too early
  • Take your time and get to know this person enough to know if they are SAFE.
  • Don’t follow the depth or pace that you intuitively sense they are trying to bring you to.
  • Do not give them the power to determine YOUR self-worth
  • If they continue to escalate with your attempts at “firewalling” you can back up to “gray rocking”


When Setting Boundaries With a Narcissist

You Need To Know


  • Sometimes we feel a pull to fix the person, heal them, or our codependency impacts our actions.
  • You’re not here to fix them. As Dr. Phil says


“it’s above your pay grade”


  • They typically apologize (even very emotionally) but they seem insincere & end up falling back into old behaviors
  • Anything you do or they do, is your fault.



When Setting Boundaries With a Narcissist

Avoid self diagnosing, or diagnosing others.

Someone can have many of these traits and still not have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. 

Someone can be “narcissistic” and still not have have a personality disorder

A diagnosis of any personality disorder should not be taken lightly

If you want to learn more about A Narcissistic Personality Disorder, click below. 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder



Narcissist Quotes

“You’re too sensitive.”

“You’re being dramatic.”

“That never happened.”

“I didn’t say that.”

“That’s not how I meant it.”



Because you’re a caring person you’re going to think,

maybe I was being too sensitive”

& this phenomenon is called


Sure, we should all question ourselves occasionally. But this is when it’s a good idea to have an outside perspective. It is also important to pay attention to their trends.



What happens when you set boundaries with a narcissist?

They May

  • Resort to attempting to control the perception others have of you.
  • Reach out to your family and friends to give them their version of events.
  • They may say things about you like “I don’t know what’s gotten into her”.
  • May tell others you did them wrong; cheated, lied, spent too much money, were an addict, etc.
  • Some people may even believe those things



When Setting Boundaries With a Narcissist

It can be draining, and terrible however,

I am not one who thinks narcissists are evil.

It’s a disorder like many others.

It can be treated, but you don’t need to be part of their treatment plan.


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If You’re Into Personality Disorders

Here are All 10 Personality Disorders

Cluster A: Social withdrawal or awkwardness driven by distorted thinking

Cluster B: Dramatic, impulsive and emotional thinking/behavior

Cluster C: Driven by fear




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