How to Understand Your Relationship with a Narcissist

Below are quotes from seven different authors regarding how to understand and deal with your relationship with a narcissist.

Narcissists constantly dump – or project – unwanted parts of themselves onto other people. They then begin to behave as if others possess these unwanted pieces of themselves, and they may even succeed in getting others to feel as if they actually have those traits or feelings. This is an unconscious process for both the dumper and the dumpee, but what it means is that you end up being treated like the dirt they’ve brushed off their own psyches, or feeling the humiliation, the anger, the vulnerability, and worthlessness that they cannot tolerate themselves.
Sandy Hotchkiss, Why Is It Always About You?: The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism (2002)

There’s a reason narcissists don’t learn from mistakes and that’s because they never get past the first step which is admitting that they made one. It’s always an assistant’s fault, an adviser’s fault, a lawyer’s fault. Ask them to account for a mistake any other way and they’ll say, ‘what mistake’?
Jeffrey Kluger, The Narcissist Next Door: Understanding the Monster in Your Family, in Your Office, in Your Bed–in Your World (2014)

This limits, or even eliminates, their capacity to be empathic and remorseful. You may have heard the term “narcissistic injury.” This refers to the dynamic wherein, for a narcissist, saying a simple “I’m sorry” is like saying, “I am the worst human being on earth.
Wendy T. Behary, Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed (2013)

The narcissist is like a bucket with a hole in the bottom: No matter how much you put in, you can never fill it up. The phrase “I never feel like I am enough” is the mantra of the person in the narcissistic relationship. That’s because to your narcissistic partner, you are not. No one is. Nothing is.
Ramani Durvasula, Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Surviving a Relationship with a Narcissist (2015)

Because the narcissist can only understand others by absorbing them into his own experience of self, he determines that others should behave and act the way that HE behaves and acts. Again, to use the analogy of the arm and leg, he unconsciously expects you to conform to his will, just as his own arm or leg would do. When your behavior deviates from his expectations, he often becomes as upset with you as he would be if his arm or leg were no longer under his control.
Eleanor Payson, The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family (2003)

Here lies the partner’s salvation: if you, as his intimate, wish to sever your relationship with the narcissist, stop providing him with what he needs. Do not adore, admire, approve, applaud, or confirm anything he does or says. Disagree with his views belittle him, reduce him to size, compare him to others, tell him he is not unique, criticize him, give unsolicited advice, and offer him help. In short, deprive him of the grandiose and fantastic illusions, which holds his personality together.
The narcissist is a delicately attuned piece of equipment. At the first sign of danger to his inflated False Self, he will quit and disappear on you.
Sam Vaknin, Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited (2001)

Dealing with a narcissist in a divorce is like dealing with a bully. The wear and tear you will experience when you try to protect your child’s emotional welfare will be significant. Even though you are mentally healthier than the narcissist, you can look unstable to the professionals involved in your case due to your reactions to the bully’s abusive behavior.
Karyl McBride, Will I Ever Be Free of You?: How to Navigate a High-Conflict Divorce from a Narcissist and Heal Your Family (2015)

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