An inflated sense of self-importance characterizes a narcissistic personality disorder, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. Narcissists are often manipulative and can be very difficult to deal with. If you have a narcissist, you may wonder how to stop enabling them.
Enabling narcissistic behavior is often done unknowingly out of love or care for the narcissist. However, by continuing to enable the narcissist, you are only perpetuating the problem. It is important to understand enabling behavior and how it contributes to the narcissist’s disorder. Once you are aware of the signs of enabling behavior, you can stop doing it.
What is enabling behavior?
Enabling behavior is any action that supports or allows someone to continue engaging in harmful or self-destructive behavior. In the case of narcissistic personality disorder, enabling behavior might involve:
Tolerating or making excuses for bad behavior
Attempting to control or change the narcissist’s behavior
Doing things for the narcissist that they should be able to do for themselves
Taking on responsibility for the narcissist’s happiness
Missing work or neglecting important commitments to cater to the narcissist’s needs
Allowing yourself to be verbally or emotionally abused
Making excuses for the narcissist’s manipulative or hurtful actions
The definition of enabling from above applies specifically to narcissistic personality disorder, but enablement can also apply to other areas of life, such as addiction, abuse, and codependency. Recognizing enablement in these other areas might help you understand how it manifests in your relationship with a narcissist.
What is a narcissist?
A narcissist is someone who requires constant attention and admiration. They are often charming and charismatic but can also be manipulative and controlling. Narcissists usually have an inflated sense of self-importance and a deep need for validation.
If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you may constantly give them compliments, support, and validation. This can be damaging to your self-esteem and may leave you feeling depleted. It is important to remember that you have a right to your own needs and feelings. You should not feel responsible for making a narcissist happy or fulfilled.
If you are enabling a narcissist, you may do so out of fear, guilt, or love. It is important to recognize your motivations for enabling the behavior. This will help you decide whether you want to continue in the relationship.
There are many ways that you can stop enabling a narcissist. You could start by setting boundaries with them. For example, you could say no when they ask for help or support. You could also stop giving them compliments or positive attention. Instead, focus on yourself and compliment yourself more often. Finally, you could assert yourself more in the relationship by speaking up about your needs and opinions.
It is important to remember that it is okay to put yourself first. If you are in a toxic or harmful relationship, it may be necessary to leave the situation entirely. This can be a difficult decision, but it may be the best thing for your well-being in the long run.
How do you enable a narcissist?
If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, you may find yourself constantly walking on eggshells, feeling like you’re never good enough, and apologizing for things you didn’t even do. You may feel like you’re crazy and like everything is your fault. Narcissists are often very charming and persuasive, and they can be very good at making you feel like you’re the one who is always doing something wrong.
One of the most insidious ways that narcissists gain control over their partners is by Gaslighting them. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where the narcissist repeatedly denies ever having said or done certain things, or they twist your words and actions around to make it seem like YOU are the one who is doing something wrong. They make you question your reality and doubt yourself – which is exactly what they want.
If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, it’s important to learn how to identify Gaslighting to protect yourself from further emotional damage. It’s also important to know how to stop enabling a narcissist because as long as you enable their bad behavior, they will never change.
Here are some common ways that people enable narcissists:
- Making excuses for their bad behavior
- If your partner is constantly putting you down, making demeaning comments, or behaving badly, do not make excuses for them by saying things like “they’re just having a bad day” or “they didn’t mean it.” Excusing away their bad behavior only enables it – if they know they can get away with it, they will continue to do it.
- Comparing them favorably to other people
- Suppose you find yourself constantly comparing your partner favorably to other people (e.g., “At least he doesn’t drink as much as my ex”) or making excuses for their behavior (“I know he’s been under a lot of stress at work”). In that case, you are enabling them by giving them a pass for their bad behavior. If your partner knows that you will always make excuses for them no matter what they do, they will never feel the need to change.
- Taking responsibility for their feelings
- It’s not your responsibility to make sure your partner feels happy all the time – that’s their responsibility (and frankly, it’s not possible). However, many people mistakenly take on this responsibility and feel resentful when their partner is unhappy. Taking responsibility for someone else’s feelings only sets you up for failure and resentment. If your partner is unhappy, let them figure out how to fix it – don’t try it yourself.
- We are doing everything for them.
- Narcissists often expect others to do everything for them – including taking care of their basic needs (e.g., cooking, cleaning), running errands, etc.). If you find yourself constantly doing things for your partner that they could easily do themselves (and vice versa), then you are enabling their laziness and entitlement mentality. Instead of doing things for them, teach them how to do things for themselves – it will be better for both of you in the long run.
How can you stop enabling a narcissist?
While it’s often difficult to break away from someone who seems to have such a hold on you, it’s important to remember that you are not responsible for their happiness or well-being. A narcissist will never change; the longer you stay in the relationship, the more damage you will suffer.
There are many ways you can stop enabling a narcissist, but it will require strength and resolve. It’s important to make sure you have a solid support system before you take steps to break away from the relationship. Here are some things to keep in mind as you begin the process:
-Set boundaries with the narcissist and stick to them. This may mean saying no when they ask for favors or not engaging with them when they start arguments.
-Make your happiness a priority. This means taking care of yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically.
-Don’t give in to demands or threats. Narcissists will often try to control you with threats or ultimatums, but it’s important not to give in.
-Rely on your support system. Friends and family can help you through this tough time, so lean on them for help and advice.
- Seek professional help if necessary. If you find yourself struggling to break away from the narcissist, or if they are causing you serious harm, it may be necessary to seek professional help.
After reading this article, we hope you understand what it means to enable a narcissist. Enabling behavior can be difficult to change, but it is possible. If you find yourself in a relationship with a narcissist, remember that you are not responsible for their happiness or well-being. You deserve to be treated with respect and love. If you are not receiving this from your partner, it may be time to reassess the relationship.