Beyond The Mirror: How To Cope With A Narcissistic Ex

Most exes are burdensome, otherwise, they probably wouldn’t be exes. However, there is one specific type of ex that puts others to shame with their exasperating nature: the narcissist. If you have to deal with a narcissistic ex of your own, you surely know how frustrating, and even demeaning, it can be.

Not to worry, though, we are here to help you learn to deal with your difficult ex. But first, let’s make sure we know who we are really up against.

How To Tell If Your Ex Is A Narcissist

The word narcissist gets thrown around a lot in popular media. Sure, they are full of themselves, and sometimes vain, but being a narcissist isn’t all about taking one too many selfies. True narcissists have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), which is defined as:

A pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. They are also likely to exhibit some of the following qualities:

  • Feels superior to others
  • Lies about his achievements
  • Demands recognition
  • Is obsessed with success (financial/fame/money/power/beauty)
  • Believes they are special and can only associate with other gifted people
  • Feels entitled, expects unrealistic demands to be met
  • Exploits others for self-serving interests
  • Full of rage, especially when contradicted
  • Devoid of empathy
  • Unable to take criticism
  • Perpetually envious of others, believes others are envious of them

Does this sound familiar to you? If so, you are likely dealing with a narcissistic ex, which is not an easy ship to be sailing. The key feature of a narcissist is their lack of empathy, which makes it impossible for them to understand what anyone else is going through. But, believe it or not, what drives this infuriating behavior isn’t a real belief that they are better than you. In fact, deep down, narcissists are often severely flawed. At an unconscious level, they know this, which is why they do everything in their power to keep up the appearance of being bigger, badder, and better than they really are.

Unfortunately, people with NPD rarely recover. Usually, this is because they don’t feel that there is anything wrong with them to begin with. They seldom seek treatment, and even when they do, they are likely to blame everyone else for their problems.

So, How Can You Cope With A Narcissistic Ex?

The best thing you can do to cope with your ex’s narcissistic behavior is to avoid them as much as you can. Obviously, this may be difficult – especially if you have children together – but by creating strict boundaries between you two, you can limit the toxic impact they have on your life.

It is impossible to win an argument with a narcissist. In fact, being around this type of person is likely to make you angry, even if you aren’t sure why. What’s actually happening is that you are picking up on their internal rage, and since they aren’t able to own it themselves, you are unconsciously taking it on. When you stop letting your ex drag you down with their negativity, you will realize how much better off you are without them.

If you must communicate with your ex, keep it brief and to the point. They will likely try to engage you in arguments or put you down. Narcissists use a variety of manipulative techniques, like changing the subject, selective memory, and lying, to make you feel like the crazy one. Just know, it isn’t you! They have had a lifetime to perfect these methods, which they use to avoid the devastating fact that they are unhappy with themselves.

There are some helpful support groups online, which remind you that you are not alone and offer tips for how to cope with a narcissist. In addition, there are many great books like, “The Wizard Of Oz And Other Narcissists,” and “Why Is It Always About You,” both of which offer wonderful tips for dealing with one-way relationships.

In the end, the best thing you can do is be grateful that you are no longer romantically involved with your ex. If they are a true narcissist, the relationship never stood a chance. Still, you learned what you needed to learn, and you now know to avoid people like this in the future. As. C.S. Lewis said, “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

Looking for more ideas on how to cope with your difficult ex? Learn more about how we can help.

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