This is a question I get asked a lot. The short answer is Yes. You can set boundaries with a narcissist. But it’s not so much about them as it is about you.
Here are a few things we know about narcissists:
They have no empathy.
When you set a boundary with a “regular” person and you let them know something they did hurt you, they will feel at least a twinge of empathy. But a narcissist will not. They don’t care about your feelings at all.
They seek to control and get their own way.
Every time. It’s always about them winning and getting whatever they want. So when you share a boundary that’s important to you, they don’t care.
They use our vulnerabilities.
They use the things that are most important to us as leverage and fuel to continue to hurt, harm, control, and abuse us and our kids. I’ve heard many moms say that if they lay down a boundary, they will be giving him fuel and he will exploit it. The truth is, he’s going to do that anyway, whether you lay down a boundary or not.
This is all frustrating and it feels impossible but every time you set a boundary with your ex you become stronger.
You’re developing boundary-setting skills.
Maybe you put a boundary in place and the ex obliterates it and you feel like it was pointless. But it wasn’t.
Every time you say no, every time you decide to say he can’t treat you like that, you are flexing that boundary-setting muscle. You’re evolving, you’re growing, and you’re becoming more centered in your power.
There’s a trickle-down effect that happens as you do this.
Sometimes you get some help setting boundaries because you have the support of a court order or the police. But often times, many of the things that happen on a daily basis with co-parenting, exchanges, visitation, phone calls are more about you needing to say no.
Whenever there was a FaceTime call, whether my daughter was with me or with him, the ex was notorious for getting on and talking to me, essentially taking over the call. I let this go on for some time even though this was a violation of the court order.
I finally decided to say NO MORE. I sent him an email saying something like, “Please refrain from hopping on FaceTime. It’s inappropriate as this is your time/my time with our daughter.”
Did he stop? No. I had to say it again and again.
I finally got to a point where he would get on Facetime and I would just hang up. Then I’d remind him of the boundary via another email. I would explain to my daughter that this wasn’t time for Mommy and Daddy to talk, so she would understand. The trickle-down effect was that my daughter became empowered to stand up to bullies and set boundaries herself!
Yes, you can set boundaries with a narcissist. If they violate them, they violate them. But you get stronger and you stand in your power. You show your kids what to do. Things can only get better from there.
And if you'd like some help in this area, enroll in The Co-Parenting Course today. It's an online course of 8 modules and group coaching. After taking the course, you will become stronger in your boundaries, more effective in your communication, and will feel calm and confident anytime you interact with your kid's toxic father!
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Trust me, if I can go from a doormat to a boundary boss, YOU CAN TOO, SISTER!
God made you for this!
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