Establishing healthy boundaries

Q. What is something a narcissist won’t see coming?

answered by Julie Warren, Passive aggressive narcissistic mother and husband

I think there are three essential things that a narcissist won’t see coming but that can help you so incredibly. Whether they’re narcissistic or just selfish or passive aggressive, it applies equally I’d say.

1. No more anger: Narcissistic and passive aggressive people tend to thrive on your anger, so STOP giving it to them. Passive aggressive people actually WANT you to get angry because it’s a displacement of their own anger. So do yourself a favor and stop taking the bait. I put a little paper up on my mirror that says “don’t take the bait” and it’s a GOOD reminder. Life is filling with little things and big things alike to make you angry, to get you to react, to make you lose it. Don’t let the baiters win, don’t give them what they need and want because it only ever hurts you. It hurts you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. So #1 is NO MORE ANGER.

2. Forgiveness: I think deep down a narcissist or passive aggressive knows they’re not treating you well, despite the level of denial and delusion, and since they also tend to thrive on your anger, the last thing they expect and perhaps care to have, is your forgiveness. But here’s the thing, when you forgive them it just sets YOU free, makes YOU more whole, and brings YOU health. For them, they don’t expect it, and they might not care to have it for a long long time, but it matters, and they’ll never expect it.

3. Healthy boundaries: When you’ve found the answers to less anger and forgiveness, this one comes naturally. And one thing a narcissist or passive aggressive will never expect (and will never like) is you establishing healthy boundaries. When you learn to deal with your anger and you learn to forgive you inherently grow as a person and you start to realize your fundamental value, and when you understand your value you realize that you don’t need to allow people to treat you horribly. You establish basic healthy boundaries, and this takes all of a narcissist’s power away if you can keep those boundaries up. It’s not about building walls to shut out the world or other people, it’s just about recognizing that there’s a line you will no longer allow people to cross in their treatment of you. It also doesn’t require aggression or a mean spirited nature on your part, but simply a calm resolve to protect your sanity, physical health, spirituality, and so on.

I saw when I started taking control of these things in my life, it took control away from the narcissistic and passive aggressive people. It put them on confusing ground while I grew to understand more about myself that I really needed to know. I think sometimes we deal with these people so long that we get into the mindset that they’re the problems in our lives, but would those problems exist if we didn’t have our own problems which allowed us time and again to accept their horrible behavior? The only one I can change is me, so I might as well give up the ghost of changing him or her, getting revenge on them, making some big poignant statement or point, because those things really don’t work. What works is helping myself, caring about myself, and THAT will always shock a narcissist, because they expect you to always and only care about them.

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