Do you have a friend that is dealing with a narcissistic person in their life? learn how to help a friend or family member that you suspect is dealing with a narcissist.

Many people contact me asking how they should help a friend or family member because they are experiencing the behaviors of a narcissist. While this website is dedicated to educating people about the behaviors, red flags, terms, and solutions, you or I cannot diagnosis anyone as a narcissist or having any personality disorder. What we can do is look at behaviors and decide that despite what we call them we do not have to keep people in our lives that are harmful to us.

If your friend/family member is married to, divorcing, dating, or has a sibling or parent, co-parenting with, or horrible in-laws, they have a child they think is narcissistic has an abusive work colleague or a friend they are dealing with that is showing signs of narcissistic behavior, I am so glad you are here. Reading this is a great start to understanding this personality disorder. As you learn about how to educate them you are doing so much to help. Victims are often like the ‘a deer in the headlights’, unable to focus on learning because survival becomes a priority. Many victims of this type of abuse experience symptoms of PTSD. PTSD causes confusion, anger causes anxiety, in which fear causes their freeze reflex to kick in and it’s almost impossible to see a future, much less have the faith that they will be ok. Your friend or family member needs you to help and be the guiding light of information to help them get through this journey and recover.

What they are dealing with is not just another divorce, or another crazy relative, or another crazy co-worker. This is the crazy co-worker that goes home and gets their gun. The gun metaphor can reflect, smear campaigns, financial abuse, hiding money, stealing things and sabotaging them. If you can swing it, buy them the gift a coaching session with an expert to start them on the right track.

Before we get deeper into the behaviors, you need to first understand the DSM’s Criteria for any narcissist.

The disorder begins by early adulthood and is indicated by at least five of the following to be medically diagnosed as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder

An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
Believes he/she is “special” and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
Requires excessive admiration
Has a sense of entitlement
Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends
Lacks empathy
Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him
Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes

Prefer to learn by watching video on helping a friend or family member with a narcissistic person

Are they: in a relationship, married to, co-parenting, in-laws, parents, siblings, co-workers, friends with, church member, other?

THINGS YOU SHOULD DO TO HELP A FRIEND WITH A NARCISSIST

Educate yourself first, it’s like the ‘put your oxygen mask on first’ idea. You need to understand what they have been through and even more important what is possible. Without that deep understanding, your advice no matter how well-intentioned may cause them harm or future injury. I have read hundreds of books on learning about narcissists, their behaviors, the red flags and pretty much anything else we need to learn about, the books I have on my book list are the best of the best on whatever category you need to learn more about. This is where you start so you can bring the information to them in the best voice possible, from someone that loves them. Visit our book list, which is arranged by topic and buy them a book. Download our red flag list here, print it and give it to them.

Advise them to watch out for the ‘nice’ when it comes out, this is just a well-calculated tactic with one goal, to convince the victim that they (the narcissist) will change, or will go for therapy, or that they really don’t want to lose them. When this happens it’s like the black widow spider telling the prey they are a different kind of black widow spider. While the narcissist might not want to lose your friend, son or daughter, the reasons are not as they proclaim. Narcissists use people as ‘supply’ and they can’t deal with life without the supply they need. From attention and admiration to having someone do everything for them. When we see the ‘nice’ we know they know the gig is coming to an end and they start the hunt for the next supply while holding onto your friend until they can replace them.

HELP THEM CREATE A SAFETY PLAN

If the person you are looking for help for is in a living situation with a narcissist, you need to understand that a narcissistic injury can and will be created at the hint of the victim wanting to break free and get away. A narcissistic injury is when the abuser’s ego gets bruised and this causes the narcissist to destroy the victim. In an intimate relationship, this may create the need to get out quickly. Regardless of the possibility of things escalating to this point, help them plan for it.

NOTE: Never should they tell the abuser they are planning on leaving, this is dangerous territory and it is NEVER advised that they share this information.

Help them figure out where will they go if things become unsafe. Pack an emergency bag for them and their kids or pets. Have them stash some cash off-site at a friends or family members home. Encourage them to open a credit card in their own name and have the statements go to someone else’s house. Pull together all papers, such as passports, birth certificates and medical papers. Having a plan will help the victim feel more prepared and empowered. It is always the unknown we fear, so help them plan for this type of emergency so if they are blindsided they have a plan. Every state in the USA has domestic violence shelters, services, and free counseling. Have them call the domestic violence hotline 800-799-7233 if they feel they are in any danger.

We have created a leaving plan that lays out all the things to remember in order to get away safely, this resource costs $17, it will save them from making costly mistakes and we highly recommend it.

NO CONTACT & SOCIAL MEDIA

Ultimately your job will be to educate them and empower them with a plan to get away. They will not be able to heal or move on until they go ‘no contact’. Going no contact means just what it says. No contact of any kind, no texts, no access to Facebook, no calls. Social media is something they must address immediately by blocking the narcissist everywhere. They may have found out that the narcissist blocked them, and they then get a false sense of security. This is a huge mistake because the narcissist now holds the key to ‘open up’ that block and stalk them, if you double block them then they will never have access to see what you are doing.

From the day the narcissist meets someone they start a stealth mission of befriending their friends and family on social media. These people will later be broken down by loyalty to be used as a ‘flying monkey’ to do the bidding of the narcissist. A flying monkey may or may not know they are being used because again they have been manipulated by the narcissist. Abusers can use these people to deliver messages that seem to show they care, but they are the wolf in sheep’s clothing and they are testing to see if they can win you back by getting your friends to tell you how much they miss you, how sorry they are, how they will go to counseling to make it work.

Flying monkeys can also be used against the victim passing on the lies the narcissist has created to destroy the victim. On social media it’s good to block everyone that you are not 120% sure is on your side. Many of my clients have problems blocking friends, but if you are concerned you can always send a friend a message saying you are going off grid until you get through this time. It’s like boarding up all the windows in a storm, you wouldn’t board all the windows then open the front door would you. Protecting them from this exposure is an easy one and should be the first step after making sure they are safe.

CREATE A SAFE PLACE FOR THEM TO SHARE

Creating a safe place means you should listen to their story without judgment. They will have trust issues, and if you invalidate them they may close themselves off from potential support and become isolated. If you encourage them to stay you could be advising them to go back to an abuser that can bump up the abuse, and could potentially resort to physical abuse. Be careful not to give the standard helpful friend advice of telling them ‘its just a divorce’, ‘everyone has some issues’, ‘you just have to work it out’, these things might work for someone dealing with a normal person but not when they are dealing with a person with a personality disorder they will need more help.

AVOID VICTIM BLAMING

If someone tells you stories of confusion at the behaviors, they are experiencing please don’t question them or make excuses for the narcissist. Victims often complain about their own family members or friends saying stupid things like “I am sure he didn’t mean it”, “She is perfect, you don’t know how lucky you are, just suck it up, no one is perfect”, “everyone has crazy family members, get over it.”

Many people don’t understand the depth a narcissist will go to destroy their prey and we assume they are just dealing with a bad boss, a crazy in-law, or just another divorce. When we say things like “ why did you stay?”, you are putting the blame on them.

There are so many reasons people stay in abusive relationships, let’s look at the most common;
• Victims have been groomed with intermittent love, and they often look back waiting for that nice person to come back.
• They make excuses for the abusers’ actions, they were tired, they didn’t mean it, she gets that way, he had a bad week…
• The classic reason in relationship abuse is that they love the person and committed to better or worse.
• Financial reasons are a big one, most narcissists control the finances, so the victim sees no way out and they get trapped into staying. The victim has been so beaten down that they have lost the hope that they can take care of themselves.
• Staying for the children is common, they don’t want to break up the family, or force the kids to be with the abusive parent alone. So, they stay.

Whatever the situation, and whoever is the narcissist in their lives, there is never an excuse for abuse, so please be understanding and empathic and supportive.

BE PATIENT

Have you heard the analogy of the frog being put in a pot of boiling water and how that frog knows he is being boiled to death, but a frog that gets put into a cool pot and the temperature is heated up slowly, that frog doesn’t know he is being boiled? Most victims are unaware that they have been abused just like that second frog. Victims write off the bad behaviors because they have been trained over time by the covert and often stealth tactics of the abuser. These behaviors almost always happen behind closed doors and they have learned that if they speak up, they will endure even more abuse, again like frog number two, they endure. Most victims of abuse go back to their abusers seven times and when you understand that factoid, remember that they will need to get angry enough and hurt enough to break free. Putting pressure on them will only add additional pressure and make them feel bad for disappointing you.

If your friend or family member is sharing stories of confusion around any relationship, don’t try to diagnose the narcissist but learn the behaviors so you can compare those to your friends’ stories. Remember your friend may sound crazy as they explain what is happening because they do not have the words, terminology or the eagle eye view that you can provide them. Educate yourself and share the knowledge with your friend like a sherpa, lead them to find answers.
If they don’t know if they are being abused download this sheet shared with us by a brilliant therapist, Mary Ann Glynn, and download our Red Flag Checklist. Have them look at our PTSD checklist to see if what they are dealing with is something that can be explained by PTSD and get them to a doctor if depression, anxiety or the PTSD symptoms are occurring.

Ultimately your job will not be to convince them that they need to get away but to teach them that getting away is the only way to heal. We call this going no contact, or going gray rock if they must maintain a relationship because of children or some other reason, like being a family member or an employee at work. If they need to have limited contact, like in the situations mentioned above, we call this gray rock.

This may be the first time you’re hearing about this, or you may be familiar with their complaints. It is frustrating for friends and family to understand why they stayed, but don’t let this frustration consume you, because it can cloud your advice and support, and this is their journey of recovery. While you can lead the horse to water, you can’t get mad if they aren’t ready to drink the water yet. With your continued support, they’ll get there.

WHAT DO YOU SHOULD TELL THEM IF ‘THEIR’ PERSON SHOWS SIGNS OF THESE BEHAVIORS?

Never tell them you think they are a narcissist
This tactic never ends well. You are dealing with someone with no ability to care about you and are willing to up the game to destroy you, no matter what the cost. This is a secret you will need to keep from them. When a narcissist feels like the game is up, the mask has fallen and you are no longer going to be under their control, then the game changes and they will do everything to hurt you: the lies and the smears will reach epic proportions. Try to avoid this common mistake.

Protect themselves and listen to their intuition
There is no one that can tell them whether to keep this narcissistic ‘person’ in their life, but them. They should ask themselves what types of behaviors you are willing to allow from this ‘person’ and be honest with themselves to examine if they can tolerate these behaviors. Their intuition has always been warning them of the dangers; have them tap into that and listen to it. Your role is to educate them enough to know that this narcissistic person will NEVER change, except for getting worse. Every situation on this page will have different strategies they should be following, being married is a different exit plan than someone at work. If you can swing it, buy them the gift a coaching session to start them on the right track.

Set better boundaries
The boundaries we tried to set as children didn’t work. To set a proper boundary you need to clearly define what it is that you do not want them to do anymore. Then decide a consequence if they violate it. It is so important to set something that is possible. If you tell them if they violate your boundary again that you will…. Make sure it’s enforceable. Then communicate to them the boundary, because if you don’t tell them and you keep this only in your head then it’s not a boundary, it’s a wish. They need to hear it for it to be a proper boundary. Then, if they violate it again you must be willing to enforce the consequence or they will begin the walking all over you again game. Take our Boundaries workshop right now its only$15!

Often going no contact is your only solution
Narcissists do not like to play by a new set of rules and narcissistic siblings that have had a lifetime of using you as a punching bag will not go down without a fight. The game you are playing now (self-healing) will piss them off and they may begin to jack up the pain and smears, in which case evaluate going completely no contact. It may not be easy to never see your sibling again because of family events that you may need to skip if they are there. Understand what the price will be of this choice. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder about my sisters, but I know I am finally healing because of the drama being gone. If you cannot go no contact, then learn Grey Rock techniques to manage the exposure you will have with them going forward. Only when you are free from the narcissistic sibling are you free to heal and release the drama.

The worse cases often come true
I am not a fear monger, but I have also learned this lesson the hard way so I feel I would be not doing you a service by not letting you understand this danger. When a narcissist feels they are losing control they are capable of anything! We call this a narcissistic injury and in my case, the man I was dating for almost three years, called the police and I was arrested. As narcissists do, they make up stories (lies), play the victim and go for the victim’s throat. Understanding I have a facebook group, two local support groups and my own coming out video about my arrest, I have been contacted by thousands of others who have had this trick pulled on them. You might be thinking that you could see a ‘boyfriend’ but not a wife or husband of 20 years. Sadly this is the ultimate control tactic and a narcissistic spouse will do WHATEVER they need to do to make you look like the crazy one. Trust me, a police record goes the extra mile in a divorce case. This is a way that they show no empathy, making up any lie to get you put in jail is something they do without a single thought, regret or even feelings. This narcissistic injury turns the narcissist into seeing you in black and white, they conjure a reason to hate you and have no remorse about the inconvenience or cost to you the victim.

If your friend or family member is heading towards or in the middle of a divorce or a living situation:
Change passwords to everything, from computers to phone, accounts like Amazon, and even your supermarket rewards card, block them out of everything, or risk information being used against them. All social media passwords, all bank accounts, retirement and 401k accounts. Banking is very important to remember to update, have them apply for a credit card in their own name and close any joint accounts before the narcissist does. Check with your lawyer about taking money in a joint account, most lawyers advise you to take half, but that still leaves the account open, get legal advice on that. Close joint credit cards or get their name off the card. Once the divorce papers have been filed, everything is supposed to be frozen, but narcissists generally don’t obey the laws because they are above the law. Please make sure they protect themselves financially.
READ MORE ABOUT DIVORCING A NARCISSIST HERE

If your friend is dealing with a narcissist at work.
I don’t want to ignore the fact that narcissists have jobs and the abuse they cause in the workplace is almost as difficult to deal with as a relationship. The lack of empathy that narcissists are famous for becomes very clear in the workplace, and they tend to favor the people that suck up to them over those that question their decisions. A narcissist in the workplace could be your boss or coworker, and their expectations will be that they take all the credit for your work, but you take all responsibility for their mistakes. They will smear your name with others in the organization, tell lies about you and make your life a living hell. Read all about narcissists at work and download our free eBook.

You can advise your friend to go to HR but note that they should never go into HR accusing someone of being a narcissist. Share the behaviors of the narcissist they are experiencing. Human resource departments are rarely up on personality disorders, so if they explain what is happening and how it makes them feel that should begin an investigation. Sadly, if the boss is the narcissist and you have brought HR into the mix the repercussions could make it impossible to stay. Staying might mean changing departments and therefore bosses.
READ MORE ABOUT NARCISSISTS AT WORK

If your friend is dealing with a narcissist friend.
So much attention gets put on relationships within families or marriages that the people that have friends that are narcissists are often blindsided because of the lack of discussion on having a friend that is narcissistic. Narcissists use people as supply and that isn’t just in romantic ways. The types of things friends do are very much the same as you will find in any relationship, lying, smearing your name, and financially abusing your friendship are at the top of the common list of things they do. Friends have been groomed as to the guidelines they must obey to be in this relationship, the cycle of the friendship always follows the stages of abuse, idealization, devalue and discard. When a narcissist ends a relationship with a friend that they perceive has no additional value to them, their goal then becomes to destroy them. Turning all their friends and family against them, leaving them with no support as they begin the journey to understand what just happened and that the problem wasn’t them, it was the toxicity of the person they thought they were in a friendship with.
READ ABOUT A FRIEND AS A NARCISSIST HERE

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