No Contact

No contact is the only route for some people to take after being in a relationship with a narcissist, whether “partner, lover, family member or friend”.  When we realise that what we “loved” about the person was who they said they were and fell in love with their potential rather than their “true” selves we will probably start to move away.  A narcissist will react in anger at any sign that people are not convinced by their false persona any more, and who inevitably take steps towards distancing themselves from them.  They will try to force their sources of supply back into the positions that they have allocated them.  This can often come in the form of obsessive, invasive and threatening behaviours – which are designed to coerce and intimidate you “back into your place”.

There is absolutely no point in trying to reason with a narcissist at any time, but especially when they are trying to force you to bend to their will.  If you doubt your instinct that you should leave them ask them “Why do you love me, what makes me special to you?”  Take mental notes and pay extreme attention to the answer to this question, it might provide you with many answers (as painful as they may be) because more often than not the answer will be focused on the narcissist and not on you.  The best solution for you could be no contact.  No contact means you don’t answer phone calls, text messages, emails or little “love” notes that might be sent to you to lure you back.

It is possible that if you are living separately from the narcissist they might hang around outside your door, follow you after work or send you messages saying things like “I know where you were last night”, just to let you know that s/he is stalking you.  This is overt intimidation/abuse and designed to frighten their victim into submission or to disrupt their life as much as possible.  If a narcissist feels your fear they will consider it a win and that will make them feel better about themselves.

A narcissist’s “love” is their own fears and insecurities projected on to someone else, who will try their level best to make it “better” for the narcissist who will use lies, manipulation and faux “love” terms to keep you trying harder.  However, if you are reading this, you probably know that what they promise is never going to happen.  Like big babies, they just want you to take care of them and put a veneer on so that everything looks all right.  They will let you know that whatever you do it will never be “good enough”, the harder you try the more they like it and they will keep raising the bar until you are exhausted and feel like all of the life is being sucked out of you.

Low Contact is a phrase to describe a way that you can keep in touch with a narcissist in your life, on your terms.  This could be a family member, where you don’t want a huge bust up, but you do not want to play the role that has been “allocated” to you by the family, or it could be with an ex-partner, where you have to co-parent children together.  The terms for low contact do not have guidelines, only you can decide what works best for you.  Once you have clarified those boundaries in your own head, the challenge is to stick to them.  If, for example, the person that you are going low contact with is a family member, and they were over involved in your life prior to now, they may well behave like a thwarted lover.  You might well be subjected to histrionics, a smear campaign and them recruiting flying monkeys (real or imaginary) to attack your reputation and isolate you from other members and friends of the family.

A narcissistic mother will be very experienced at pushing your buttons, she may summons you to her house with pleas of not being able to cope and to try to make you feel guilty for not jumping through her loops, but it is important to stay strong and hold your ground.  It is hard at the start, but it gets easier as time goes on.  If an ex-partner is trying to force you in to being more reactive and involved, low contact works well. If you are parenting together or have to sell a property, avoid phone calls and text messages.  Write clear and concise emails stating exactly what you expect and what you are going to do in any given situation.  Text messages are too vague and can lead to misinterpretation, phone calls rely on memory – and can very easily be distorted.  So email, don’t get involved in the unrelated stuff.

Another way to go low contact is to withdraw emotionally.  This means:

Don’t react to his/her questions about you (they are trying to harvest information for leverage at a later date)

  • Don’t react to their probes, and there will be many
  • If they tell you sob stories about themselves, suggest that they seek professional help, that you do not feel qualified to help them. This is called grey rock and there is a section on this in this blog.

If it gets too intimidating, you can get a court order to tell them to stay away

Even if you go no contact and you move house or country, the narcissist can still try to influence the way that others perceive you through smear campaigns, lies and behaving like they were the victim.  This can be unnerving because you don’t know what they said about you.  That is something that you just have to let go of, because you cannot control what people say about you or what they believe and you might sense a shift in some of your relationships with people you know.  However, if they believe the narcissist they never really knew you in the first place.

Acquaintances who believe the narcissist who has gone on a smear campaign about you, might stop inviting you to social events or give you funny looks.  This will probably make you feel a bit paranoid for a while (understandably so), but a narcissist cannot maintain their mask indefinitely and eventually they will expose their true selves.  Narcissists use friendship as a means to an end so if they see that their smear campaign doesn’t affect you maintaining the “friendships” with others it will not be worth the effort.

Critical Thinking


Wikipedia states that:

Critical thinking, also called critical analysis, is clear, rational thinking involving critique. Its details vary amongst those who define it. According to Barry K. Beyer (1995), critical thinking means making clear, reasoned judgments. During the process of critical thinking, ideas should be reasoned, well thought out, and judged.[1] The National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking[2] defines critical thinking as the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skilfully conceptualizing, applying, analysing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.’

Narcissists are incapable of critical thinking because they are constantly shifting their point of view according to who their audience is.  Because they live in a fantasy world where they are the best, most intelligent and most beautiful, they have to be able to shrug off any data that in any way contradicts their self-image.  This means denying facts, dismissing opinions of others or distorting reality to fit their “reality”.

Being capable of critical thinking is not to be confused with criticism.  Narcissists are highly critical of others they will attack anyone who they do not idolise them for no reason other than the fact that they “need” to feel superior.  They make wild judgements and assumptions about others or situations on very little or no evidence, they will say things like “so and so looks terrible today, so they must be taking drugs/have a hangover”. They will not even consider that that person might have been awake all night with a sick child, have relationship problems, have a parent who is dying or just died.  They will immediately jump to the most negative conclusion possible.

This level of criticism from another would send a narcissist into a complete tail spin.  Even if you say something like “please don’t borrow my stuff again without asking, I find it annoying when I go to look for it and it is not there” you will meet with a number of possible responses such as:

  • “It wasn’t me/I didn’t” (denial)
  • You said I could (you are in the wrong)
  • You never complained in the past (you are being unreasonable now)
  • “Is it going to kill you if you cannot find you X for five minutes (minimising you position and feelings on having your things being taken a twill)
  • “What is wrong with you? Why are you being so possessive/cranky/demanding (you are wrong and you look a little crazy for objecting to me taking your things)
  • “Well you borrowed my X the other day”, you say “yes but I asked permission” narc says “what difference does that make, I still couldn’t use it while you had it” etc. etc.

The narcissist will file your objection as criticism and will actively set about getting back at you for daring to suggest that they are anything other than perfect.  This means that you could be subjected to the silent treatment or they could set about constantly putting you down in small and subtle ways or go on a smear campaign against you either way it is abusive behaviour.

After they have insulted you, ignored you, called you every name in the book plus a few they invented to hit on your personal vulnerabilities they will feel much better about themselves, so you should be happy about that for them.  If you stay away from them because of their abusive behaviour you are insulting them.  Their thinking is “I am feeling better after dumping my rage and insecurities in a vile, aggressive and irrational way – we should all now be happy because I am feeling better”.  If you do not present them with a false smile or neutral facade (narcissists are not interested in sincerity), they will go on the offensive again.  In this way the narcissist trains the person who s/he abuses to back down unless they want the argument to go on for longer and the punishments for not backing down to come off side when they are least expected. In other words, constantly walking on eggshells and not defending themselves for the sake of a peaceful life.

A narcissist thinks exclusively in black and white, good or bad.  Since their objective is to have a sparkling image of themselves (for themselves) anything that tarnishes their sparkle is a huge threat because if it is not perfect, then it has to be the opposite, the opposite to perfect is not imperfect it is something much worse like awful, horrible or disgusting.  To be imperfect is to be human and the narcissist finds the very things that make us human such as imperfection, emotion and connectivity completely repugnant.  They have to maintain their own image at all costs which is why they are so selective with the data that they choose to process and their readiness to rewrite history time and again depending on their agenda at any given moment.


Healthy communication


There are loads of different communication styles.  There is no right way or wrong way.   However, there are healthy ways and unhealthy or unhelpful ways to communicate.  There is a common misconception that the way that you communicate is dependent on what you say.  No matter what your communication style is, the way that you listen to the other person is far more important than what you say to them.  Listening is hard work and it takes effort because you have to move off your own perspective and try and see a situation from someone else’s point of view.  This takes empathy, imagination and determination to get to the root of what someone is saying. It also means that you have to shut up and give the other person the freedom and space to express an opinion that is different to yours and in some cases may even offend you.

It means that you have to concentrate on what the other person is saying.  If this person has very diverse opinions from yours, it will take more energy to understand their point of view.  This does not mean that you accept their point of view it means that you understand where they are coming from in a tourist kind of way.  One effective way to let the other person know that you are following their train of thought is to restate what they have said or give a synopsis of what you think they said.

The literature says that about 55% of our communication is non-verbal.  Non-verbal cues cover body language, facial expression and pheromones, most people are unaware of this sort of communication so it goes unchecked.  It is very important and it is important to educate yourself on these signals.

Narcissists are not touchy feely people, if anything they see touch as an invasion (this does not relate to sex, where they violate boundaries), in everyday stuff like meeting and greeting.  It is very important to register how non-verbal cues “make” you feel when you meet someone because they are usually indicative of how that person treats others.

Narcissists do not communicate in a healthy way because they are so self-absorbed and are so lacking in empathy that they cannot see another person’s point of view.  They also have no curiosity about other people so they do not ask questions and if they do they do not listen to the answers.  They always have “no go” areas i.e. topics that they refuse to discuss, the way that they avoid talking about “sensitive” issues is to start to talk absolute nonsense so that the conversation has to end.   In short having a conversation with a narcissist is very like trying to have an adult conversation with another adult and being constantly interrupted by a petulant toddler.

The look and feel of abuse

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How do you feel when you are around the other person?
  • Do you feel uncomfortable around this person, restless, edgy, muted?
  • After you have been open and sincere with a narcissist do you feel better or worse – do you feel vulnerable in some way and/or wish you hadn’t told them how you feel? Do you feel vulnerable because you were frank with them?
  • Are you the person you once were and knew? (If you are in an adult relationship with a narcissist). If you live with a narcissist do you have negative feelings around fear of explosive rage and a negative image of yourself.?
  • Is your dominant feeling in the relationship one of fear? Fear of doing things wrong, fear of rage, fear of being punished in some way, fear of being humiliated or sneered at?
  • Try to define how you feel around them to yourself.
  • Do they “dump” on you – make their problems your problems?
  • Do they try to provoke you in some way? Such as trying to make you feel excluded, jealous or zone in on your vulnerabilities?
  • Do you feel better or worse after you have spent time with them?
  • Do they talk about winning or losing where the narcissist is playing the role of both the hero and the victim?
  • Do they apologise if they have upset you in any way?
  • Does the apology sound sincere?
  • Do they put you down and simultaneously build themselves up?
  • Is it all about the other person?
  • Are your needs, wants and desires met (both emotional and physical)?
  • When you admit to yourself that there is a problem and that it needs to be dealt with, are they willing to listen or co-operate?
  • Do you feel physically or psychologically drained when you are around this person?
  • Does this person let you express your feelings, thoughts, dreams and emotions without trying to block your conversation with negative feedback?
  • Do you ever try to have conversations with this person and think “what is the point, this conversation isn’t going anywhere or making sense”, it feels like they are deliberately misunderstanding you or changing the subject to suit them?
  • Does this person tell you things like their job is better than yours, their family is better than yours, they have better friendships than you do? Or start a conversation with “the problem with you is…”
  • Do you find yourself playing the role of parent or guardian, even if it is with your own parents.
  • Do you feel compromised by the needs and demands of the other person and give in to them just for a quiet life?
  • How do you feel about having friends and family over to your house?
  • Do you trust this person?
  • If this person is your partner, do they participate in household jobs?
  • If something bad or unpleasant happens to the other person, do they take it out on you?
  • Do they listen to you if you are emotionally upset or are feeling physically unwell?
  • Does the other person constantly say unpleasant things about other people and always assume that they are jealous or envious of them?
  • Does the other person have fantasies about success, power, genius or beauty that doesn’t manifest itself in anything that they do or have achieved?
  • Do they tell you that they are fantastic a doing certain things, but there is little or no evidence to support their claim?
  • Do they constantly exaggerate their potential, without making any effort to realise it?
  • Does your relationship feel stable, or are you never quite sure “who is going to turn up”?


Narcissist’s actions rarely match their words, they are inconsistent and change their minds, opinions and dreams/desires on a regular basis.  For those who are involved with narcissists it can be very frustrating to try to work out where they are coming from, you keep trying to make sense of their behaviour and project “sense” onto them (even if it seems far fetched).  You are invested in making their behaviour seem “normal” so you try to “fill in the gaps”.  However, the gaps in their behaviour will become too big to fill and you will realise that everything that you do for or with a narcissist is in vain.

Their complete lack of integrity and consistency means that you realise that you cannot trust or depend on them in any way.  They make and break promises without remorse or feeling guilty and then they will turn around and blame you for the fact that they broke their promises.  So, you lose trust in them, but we feel guilty about that because that is not how you “should” view your family members, partner or friend, so there must be something wrong with you.  It is frustrating, self-depreciating, exhausting and you have been emotionally abused, it is not your fault, you just didn’t think that anyone could be this way.  Not knowing that some people can behave this way leads to further abuse, such as.

  • You feel responsible for cleaning up their mess
  • You will clean up their mess without complaining or pointing out the error of their ways.
  • You try to show what the problem is by setting an example.

The narcissist is preying on you at this stage, they will try to make you feel that it is you who is crazy and is being irrational

  • The narcissist does not want to be accountable or cooperative as they see it as a loss of power and control and that which sets them apart as being special and more entitled than the rest of the human race. They will very often tell you that they deserve special treatment due to their wonderful talents, beauty and intelligence.   Because what they say is so exaggerated and extreme, you might think that they are joking, they are not, they are very serious.
  • If you expect a narcissist to do something they will be twice as elusive because they see “being expected to” as being taken “advantage of”, so helping with house work or working as part of a team (unless they are the leader) is completely beneath them as they see that they deserve special treatment and mundane tasks are for lesser mortals to execute.

The word integrity means being whole, entire and undiminished.  This is the antithesis of what a narcissist is.  They are confused, fractured, have different sets of rules for themselves and everyone else and different behaviour depending on who they are talking to.  This means that they have very little self-awareness of their thinking and behaviour so they can do anything they want without feeling bad about it.

  • If you come from a narcissistic family of origin this type of behaviour can feel “normal” because you have kept making excuses for those who are supposed to love you and we all have a deeply ingrained desire for love and intimacy.
  • You are a bit innocent and you cannot believe that someone would treat another person in this way. You feel like there must be a more complex dynamic that you are just missing it.
  • You try to justify their behaviour to yourself with self-talk such as “there must have been some reason for them to behave that way”, “if they feel that strongly about it” they don’t feel that strongly about “it”, they feel strongly about getting their own way.
  • The narcissist has massive gaps in their psyche so they cannot understand the effect that their behaviour has on an integral level, they judge everything on their own limited emotional landscape which is anger, envy, hurt and self -righteous indignation. Any expression of emotion that they manage to evoke in someone else is a win for them.


Morality to a narcissist is a code of ethics that they want others to employ when dealing with them.  It is not the same code that they employ when they are dealing with others.  Narcissists believe that they do not have to abide by the same rules as everyone else because they are “superior and above all that”.

Narcissists know that they are amoral and when they get caught committing a minor misdemeanour they will giggle about it like a naughty child who just got caught stealing a biscuit, they think that they are being quite cute/clever.  If they get caught committing adultery, they will flip the blame back on to their partner by implying that it was somehow the partner’s fault that they “needed” to be unfaithful.   If the same thing was done to them they would automatically react with a visceral narcissistic rage.

Narcissists don’t care that they are morally bankrupt because like in all aspects of a narcissists life, they think that they do not need to conform to the ethics that they expect others to adhere to, and especially when they are personally directly involved.  It is their ridiculous sense of entitlement that “permits” them to commit outrageous immoral acts and since they do not have a conscience they do not take responsibility for their own actions or feel any remorse what so ever.  The only “remorse” that they might feel is if they have damaged their public image it will not be because they have treated another person in an abusive and immoral way.

At the same time, they will be outraged by those who do defraud the system for personal gain in the same way that they do. They might be vocally horrified that someone is putting family holidays on their expenses account but they might be committing some far greater crime, but because it is the narcissist, it is perfectly acceptable to them.

The nature of their immoral acts covers the complete range from murder, financial fraud or theft, lying, cheating to abusing their own children and other people.  Frequently they will not react in any way when they get caught and they may even get furious for having their game ruined and try to punish anyone who dares to expose them.