As I mentioned in the last post, my personal view of going ‘no-contact’ with personality disorder-ed family members is that unless they are literally a threat to your life (and sometimes, things really can and do get that bad), you should go the ‘least possible amount of contact’ route instead.
If you take that route, you don’t have to make any big announcements telling them why you’re stepping things down so much and not answering their calls / attending their events / responding to every Facebook post.
Narcissists can’t hear the truth anyway, so you’re wasting your breath. And worse, if you try to tell them that their behavior is affecting you in a negative way, they will (ironically…) start treating you even worse, accusing YOU of all the things you’re suggesting they’re doing to you.
That’s just how it is with NDP people.
So what can you do instead? In a nutshell, you have to learn to ‘play their game’ a little bit and simply ignore anything they say that you don’t want to respond to, or your feel is a lie. (I know, that’s usually most things.)
This will leave you with a few very superficial topics - the weather and the news are often big hits, or alternatively the latest shopping bargains or celebrity gossip, depending on what type of NPD person you’re dealing with - but these superficial topics are the ‘safe space’ where the narcissist can still show off, opiniate, put other people down etc - but it won’t be you on the receiving end of all the criticism.
Keep your true feelings and your true emotions away from the NPD people, because they can’t handle ‘real’ and they can’t deal with ‘truth’. Every time you break these rules, you will pay for it dearly even if you have the very best intention of trying to air things out in order to ‘fix’ them.
Again, take a look at this post on acceptance, because while it’s taking you a couple of minutes to read this post, it could well take a few years before you really integrate what I’m describing into your handling of NPD people, especially those who are very close family members.
The feeling of being let down, having your feelings invalidated and blamed for ‘everything’ that’s going wrong in the relationship with an NPD person can be completely overwhelming. While you’re struggling to accept that there is literally ‘no one to talk to’ on the other side of the equation, you will probably feel enormously angry, vengeful, hurt and disappointed.
The single best way of dealing with all these negative emotions, that still need to be expressed, validated and then let go of in some way, is by talking to God about it all (click HERE to download a free book I wrote about how to do this, called The How, What and Why of Talking to God).
As part of your talking to God sessions, I highly recommend incorporating a few visualisations to help acknowledge and then release all these highly distressing feelings. The part of the brain responsible for the fight / flight / freeze response doesn’t differentiate between a real experience and an imagined one. (Which is why you can scare the pants off yourself by watching a horror movie, or reading a scary novel, or even just listening to the news.)
So when you say whatever you want to say to the NPD person as part of a purely mental visualization, and take whatever actions you feel you need to defend yourself (in your head…) - the brain considers the whole experience as ‘real’. As far as your brain is concerned, you just defended yourself, validated yourself, protected yourself, asserted yourself - whatever it is you need to do to stop feeling so helpless and like a victim, vis a vis the NPD person or people in your life.
So in the next post, I’ll share one a very powerful visualization for dealing with NPD people, called ‘The River’.