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5 Not-So-Easy Ways to Navigate Around a Narcissist

By Michelle Hill January 21, 2024 Family

Most of us have encountered a true narcissist sometime in our lives. If we admit it, we have come across multiple people with this challenging personality disorder at various times in our life. First off, I am not a professional therapist and cannot diagnose NPD (narcissistic personality disorder), and I think that many people throw around that word to describe selfish people when it is not truly NPD. I have also conducted a TON of research on the topic and can talk intelligently about it.

It is a challenging journey to navigate around a narcissist, yet it is a necessary step towards reclaiming your emotional autonomy. Let’s face it: those of us in our 60s and beyond have weathered the storms of relationships, whether married or single, and many of us have broken free from the grasp of a narcissist.

Of course, not everyone chooses to escape the grips of a narcissist for assorted reasons – some choose to stay and manage themselves within the confines of a narcissistic relationship. Most of the “reasons” I have heard center around needing insurance or other monetary security, or simply because they do not want to rock the boat or because they’d rather live with a narcissist than be alone.

This article unveils five proven – yet not-so-easy – ways to successfully navigate the challenges if you find yourself entangled with a narcissist.

#1: Use Self-Reflection and Awareness

Picture yourself as a quilt master, unraveling the subtle threads of manipulation and control woven into the fabric of your relationship with the narcissist. It is essential to scrutinize the intricate details of your interactions and reactions.

Inspect the back threads of why you react to their discounting and discarding. The major key in a relationship with any narcissist is not to react at all as that is rocket fuel for their soul. As you peel back the layers, a heightened awareness will emerge, providing the clarity needed to dismantle the narcissist’s influence.

#2: Set Boundaries

Narcissists do not like boundaries. However, they do respond to “IF statements.” For example, you can say, “If you choose to continue to ogle women, you’re telling me that you’re choosing to have me exit the room.” Or “If you choose to criticize everything I cook, then I will stop cooking for you.”

Imagine boundaries as a protective fortress surrounding your emotional landscape. Erecting this fortress involves not only understanding the limits of what you will tolerate but also fortifying them with assertive communication. You must choose to deny the narcissist access to the inner sanctums of your well-being.

#3: Cultivate Your Inner Strength

Think of inner strength as a blossoming garden within you, vibrant, colorful, and beautiful. Nurture this garden through acts of self-care and personal growth. Envision yourself tending to the delicate flowers of your passions and interests and not being consumed with pleasing the narcissist.

Hey, I know they retaliate when they do not get their way, but as you cultivate the soil of your inner strength, the roots of your resilience will deepen, anchoring you against the storms unleashed by the narcissist.

#4: Seek Professional Support

There is no shame in enlisting the help of a therapist to help guide you through the treacherous emotional waters of living with a narcissist. Since they devalue you in every area they can think of, you often find yourself thinking you are the one who is in error all the time, or that you are crazy or delusional because they cause you to doubt your own reality.

In fact, a narcissist will purposely place you in situations where they know you will fail as they find a sick pleasure in watching you fall short. They must be king/queen of the hill! They believe they are superior.

With this in mind, seeking and receiving expert guidance will guide you toward a safe emotional harbor as you share your experiences. Seeking professional support is not a sign of weakness but a courageous acknowledgment of your need for a compassionate ally on your journey to healing.

#5: Gradual Disengagement

Whether you choose to stay or flee, you can disengage emotionally from a narcissist. Visualize detachment as a delicate dance, a strategic choreography of steps leading away from the narcissist. Picture yourself gracefully disentangling from the emotional web, taking measured strides towards your personal freedom, gradually reclaiming control over your emotions and destiny.

One of the most dramatic ways to detach from a narcissist is to go no contact: block them from your phone, your social media accounts, and email. However, they know where you live and can find you if they want to.

Sometimes you can choose to simply not be available. You are busy… super busy… and cannot take time to engage with them. Or you could just tell them to buzz off… like forever, but just know that a narcissist will take that as a challenge because they think they will always have power over you.

As you embark on the odyssey of either navigating around a narcissist or completely removing yourself from their world, remember that each step is a victory in reclaiming your heart, your autonomy, and rediscovering the joys that you put aside to cater to their needs, which they believe are of the utmost importance and value.

You ARE worth it, so I urge you ladies to walk in your worth!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you had a relationship with a narcissist? If so, did you learn to navigate around it or did you run for the hills? Do you think that once you know the characteristics of a narcissistic personality it is easier to spot going forward?

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Joan lamoureux

I have a brother-in-law who I know is a narcissist. My twin sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor. My brother-in-law does not want my sister to have any kind of contact with me or her friends or her neighbors for fear it will upset her. He is a very abrasive person too! She is alone with him and he is “taken care” of her alone. It’s heartbreaking for me. I want to be with her so badly.

Michelle Hill

Oh Joan, that must be so gut-wrenching for you! Is there any way to have a health care professional step in to talk to your brother-in-law? I know everyone deals with severe health challenges differently but to isolate her is downright cruel. Does she have a phone that you can communicate with her directly? I’m wondering why he thinks contact with friends and family will upset her. I’ll pray for your situation and for your sister.


my son in law is a narcissist (or so it appears). My daughter and I were so close up through the birth of their two daughters. My son in law had become increasingly demeaning and disrespectful towards me. When I pulled away he would come back and tell my husband and me how much he appreciated us, and then turns around and explodes with us with name calling and total and complete disrespect.
We are now estranged from our granddaughters and our daughter. My heart has been crushed and the depression has been palpable. I had to step away for my own health –

Allison Johnson

My son in law is the same. I felt like I was reading my own words. Twin granddaughters that I have not seen for 10 years.

Michelle Hill

I know that pain, Dianne! It is a heart crusher, especially when it comes to our relationship with our grandchildren. I’m thrilled that you had the courage to step away for your own health. It’s self-preservation and it’s the healthiest thing you can do!!

We don’t see the end of the story, only what’s happening now. As “they” say, Patience is a virtue because we do hold out hope that someday it will be different. It might take time for your daughter to see who she’s really married to and decide to take a different, better path.


My sibling. I’ve chosen no contact for the past five years. What a relief!

Michelle Hill

Mine too! I’ve gone no contact since my younger sister and my mother (before my mother died in 2014) colluded together to remove me from my father’s 6 million dollar estate. Yeah, ouch, that hurt! Forgiveness is KEY to living a full, happy, peaceful life.

Yes, it IS a relief not to have to deal with a narcissistic sibling! It’s for our safety!!


I think my mother was the initial ( but milder ) narcissist, so she trained me… which a ‘family friend’ watched for years and until just over a year ago I thought she was a friend. She managed to scam me out of a lot of money as well as subject me ( and others) to so many more hideous behaviour traits. Thankyou for this article.. it really resonates.

Michelle Hill

Thank you, Jill, your kind words mean a lot to me! We can always earn back the money but the person who scammed you has to lay their head on the pillow every night and that can be enough payback. Forgiveness is key! They will stay the same, you will grow and change and transform!

Renee Lovitz

I was in a relationship with a narcissist for years and finally disengaged completely. My life is much better without him!!

Michelle Hill

Hurray for you, Renee! It takes a LOT of strength to leave a narcissist. People say, “Well, just leave them, I don’t understand the problem.” But we know that it’s not that easy so I applaud you for having the strength to do so.

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The Author

Michelle Hill is a Relationship Deception Recovery Mentor specializing in helping women reach healing and wholeness after relationship deception. She is also the author of 5 books, including The Heart Swindler-Reclaim Your Heart and Stop Falling for Liars, Losers, and Lunatics, and two award-winning children’s books.

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