How to Stop Contact with Narcissistic Relatives

Family relationships are supposed to bring joy, love and support in our lives. However, there are times when family can be the source of pain, stress and disappointment, especially when it comes to dealing with narcissistic relatives.

Narcissistic traits include a sense of superiority, lack of empathy, manipulativeness, and a constant need for admiration. Narcissistic relatives can cause emotional distress and may lead to feelings of anxiety, guilt, and low self-esteem. Therefore, it is essential to learn how to stop contact with narcissistic relatives to protect your mental health and overall well-being.

Identifying Narcissistic Behaviors in Relatives

The first step in stopping contact with narcissistic relatives is to identify narcissistic behaviors. Narcissistic relatives may present a range of behaviors, such as unreasonable demands, self-centredness, and emotional abuse. Here are some common narcissistic behaviors:

  • They always dominate the conversation and do not let others speak.
  • They do not consider other people’s feelings or needs and only think of themselves.
  • They demand attention and admiration constantly.
  • They resort to manipulation or emotional blackmail to get what they want.
  • They blame others for their mistakes instead of taking accountability.
  • They are critical of others and have unrealistic expectations.

Identifying such behaviors within narcissistic relatives can be difficult. They often project a charming and attractive persona, making it hard to see their real motives. However, by paying attention to their actions and words, it is possible to identify narcissistic behaviors in your relatives.

The Consequences of Maintaining Contact with Narcissistic Relatives

Maintaining a relationship with narcissistic relatives can be harmful to your mental and physical health. Here are some consequences of maintaining contact with narcissistic relatives:

  • Stress and anxiety: Narcissists can be unpredictable and can create an environment of constant stress and anxiety.
  • The feeling of groundlessness: Narcissists can be abusive and control your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, leaving you feeling disoriented and lost.
  • Low self-esteem: Narcissists can attack your self-esteem, make you feel inadequate, and undermine your value as a person.
  • Guilt and shame: Narcissistic relatives can guilt-trip and manipulate to get what they want, making you feel guilty and ashamed for not being able to fulfil their demands.

Intense, long-term exposure to these negative emotional states can become chronic and lead to severe mental and physical health issues. Therefore, it is essential to set boundaries and reduce contact with narcissistic relatives.

Setting Boundaries

The first step in stopping contact with narcissistic relatives is to set boundaries. Boundaries are guidelines that you create to protect yourself from negative influences. Here are some effective ways to set boundaries:

  • Limiting contact: You can limit contact with narcissistic relatives by reducing the frequency of visits or phone calls. This can help you gain control over your emotional and mental health.
  • Be assertive: Assertiveness is a powerful tool in setting boundaries. Be firm, calm and clear in communicating your boundaries with your narcissistic relative. For example, “I’m not comfortable with the way you speak to me, and I’d like you to stop.”
  • Do not engage: Narcissistic relatives can be the best at using gaslighting to challenge your reality. Do not engage in arguments, refuse to participate, and avoid becoming defensive or emotional.
  • Get support: You can seek help from friends, family, or a therapist who can offer emotional support and help you create healthier relationships.

Setting boundaries requires determination and courage but is essential in stopping contact with narcissistic relatives.

No Contact or Low Contact: Which is Best?

Once you’ve set boundaries, the next step is to decide whether to have no contact or low contact with your narcissistic relative. No contact means that you cease communication entirely, and your narcissistic relative is no longer a part of your life. The low contact means that you maintain minimal communication, which may include phone calls, texts or meetings in a strictly controlled environment. Deciding which is best for you depends on your unique circumstances.

  • No contact is suitable when the abuse is severe and continuing the relationship is detrimental to your mental and physical health. This is the best option when your narcissistic relative refuses to respect your boundaries, and reconciliation is not possible.
  • Low contact works when your narcissistic relative can respect your boundaries, and you can maintain a relationship without compromising your mental or physical health.

Choose the option that is best for you and best protection of your mental and physical health.

The Benefits of Stopping Contact with Narcissistic Relatives

Stopping contact with narcissistic relatives can be difficult, but the benefits of doing so are enormous. Here are some benefits:

  • Improved mental health: Reducing contact with narcissistic relatives can lead to a significant improvement in your mental health. You can avoid the stress and anxiety associated with the dysfunction, and improve your overall well-being.
  • Increased self-esteem: Narcissistic relatives can manipulate and attack your self-esteem. By stopping contact, you can focus on your recovery, and work on more positive relationships that support your self-worth.
  • Reduced guilt and shame: Narcissistic relatives can use guilt and shame as a means of control making you experience the same, as a result of leaving. However, reducing contact can help you recover from this manipulation of mind, and self-love.
  • Enabling a more empowered future: Stopping contact with narcissistic relatives allows you to reclaim ownership over your life and make choices that help you build a more empowered future, free from abuse and manipulation.

In conclusion, managing narcissistic relatives is a tough but necessary task. Stopping contact with narcissistic relatives is an effective solution to protect your mental and physical health. By identifying narcissistic behaviors, setting boundaries, and deciding on whether to have no or low contact, you can break free from the negative impact of having narcissistic relatives in your life.

FAQs

FAQs about How to Stop Contact with Narcissistic Relatives

What is a narcissistic relative?

A narcissistic relative is someone who has a personality disorder called narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). They have an inflated sense of self-importance and a deep need for admiration and attention. They lack empathy and can be manipulative, controlling, and emotionally abusive towards those around them.

Why is it important to stop contact with narcissistic relatives?

Stopping contact with narcissistic relatives is important because they can have a negative impact on your mental health and well-being. Narcissists can be emotionally draining and manipulative. They can make you feel guilty or ashamed for not meeting their expectations, and they may use emotional blackmail to control you. Cutting off contact can give you the space and freedom you need to heal and move on.

How can I stop contact with narcissistic relatives?

There are several ways to stop contact with narcissistic relatives. You can set boundaries and limit your interactions with them. You can also seek support from a therapist or counselor who can help you navigate the situation. In extreme cases, you may need to cut off contact completely. This can be difficult, but it may be necessary to protect your mental health and well-being. Remember, you have the right to prioritize your own needs and set healthy boundaries.


References

1. Taitz, J. (2019). How to deal with narcissistic family members. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/talking-apes/201908/how-deal-narcissistic-family-members

2. Malkin, C. (2015). How to deal with a narcissist in your family. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/romance-redux/201502/how-deal-narcissist-in-your-family

3. Golomb, E. (2012). Trapped in the mirror: Adult children of narcissists in their struggle for self. Harper Collins.