How can I protect myself from a narcissistic partner?

19 Jun 2024

How can I protect myself from a narcissistic partner?

Have you ever wondered how to protect yourself from a narcissistic partner? If so, there might be a few mind shifts that you need to make.

One of the first things that a Narcissist teaches you, once the lovebombing has reached its expiration date, is how to compromise.  Needless to say, they don’t teach you by example. Narcissists are not big on making compromises. Instead, they teach you exerting as much psychological and emotional pressure as it takes to make you cave in to their wishes.

In Narc world, compromise is simply another word for “capitulation”.

You soon learn a pattern of more or less automatic compromise/capitulation to their demands that puts you forever on the defensive. Compromise/capitulation becomes a -fruitless – attempt to minimize the harm that the Narcissist can wreak in your life.

That is the reality that the question of protecting yourself from a narcissistic partner stems from.  The question implies a desire to tiptoe successfully around the Narcissist without provoking him or her. It suggests that you just want to be able to walk – successfully – on eggshells around them.

In reality, there can be no successful walking on eggshells around a Narcissist. They strew their eggshells strewn all around to ensure an endless supply of triggers for when their wrath reaches its  boiling point..

So, you face the impossible paradox that your best efforts to protect yourself from a narcissistic partner actually leave you defenceless against that partner.

Trying to protect yourself from a narcissistic partner simply means trying to protect yourself from harm while remaining in a war zone.  That never works out well.

Once you accept that truth, you can at least turn your attention to what might work better for you, starting from these pointers.

Get yourself a better plan

Since you have convincingly proved that sticking around them is unsafe, you are going to have to do something different – like working a better plan, specifically putting as much distance between them and yourself as is possible.

Get clear on what distance would look like.

Distance can be physical and geographic or emotional and psychological. Ideally, you would want to put as much of both kinds between you and an abusive loved one, but this is not always possible.

Physical distance has a lot to recommend it. However, as I found out having put 12,000 miles between my horrible mother-in-law and myself, a skilled Narcissist can bridge that gap all too easily.

Ma-in-law could work wonders at jerking her son’s heartstrings with no more than a letter steeped in pathos and covert accusations. She could use that letter to teleport herself into a home where she had never set foot for days, if not weeks, at a time.

What effective distance looks like is becoming unmoved by a Narcissist’s best efforts to hog the centre of your emotional world.

Effective distance requires you to shift your focus to rebuilding your self-worth and prioritizing your healing over paying heed the Narcissist’s propaganda.

Start thinking strategically

Your being forever on the defensive works wonderfully well for the Narcissist. When can bask in the delight of being in attack mode and unchallenged, they are at the top of their game.

It makes no sense for you to launch into verbal warfare with them. You would surely lose it. It would be like trying to destroy 21st century weaponry with nothing more than a hand-held catapult and a few pebbles.

Still less, would it make sense for you to embark on physical warfare with them.

So, you will need to do something different.

First off you will want to gather as much information as you possibly can.

As part of your compromise/capitulation training, you learned always to fall back on whatever “truth” (aka lies and disinformation) the Narcissist fed you.

Now, in order to reclaim your life, you need to establish as much objective, quantifiable truth as possible. This includes:

  • Understanding and accepting that the Narcissist is, indeed, a horrible, damaging, self-obsessed person who has inflicted massive damage on you.
  • Understanding as much as possible about your joint financial position and legal rights.
  • Rejecting the Narcissist’s narrative about you and reclaiming your sense of self, together with your self-worth.

Craft your exit strategy

You are never going to be able to live with them. Nor will any children that you might have together. At best, you will eke out a miserable existence at the periphery of your own life, while they occupy most all of it.

So, you are going to need to take yourself to another place that they can’t just overrun at will.

That will, inevitably, mean going into conflict with them, which will, inevitably, be unpleasant.

But it will be worth it.

Ejecting a Narcissist from your inner and outer world is not easy. Still, it is a whole lot easier than living your life in a prison of their making.

When you try to protect yourself from a Narcissist, you are still living in a prison of their making.  When you break down the door of that prison, they will huff and puff and do whatever they can to blow that you down.

But if you keep your eyes on the prize of your freedom, you will feel strong enough to make a stand for yourself. That sends a very different message to a Narcissist and one that is far likelier to work to your advantage.

And if you are struggling to protect yourself from a Narcissist but can’t see your way forward without them, get in touch.  Book a Breakthrough Session with me and let’s get you, too, feeling strong enough to start rebuilding your life.



Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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