Dealing With Narcissists – Boundaries and Consequences, Not Rebukes

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Proverbs 9:7-8

7 He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, And he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself.
8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you, Reprove a wise man and he will love you.

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Proverbs 19:29

29 Judgments are prepared for scoffers, And blows for the back of fools.

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As we saw in a previous blog, if you rebuke a scoffer (aka narcissist) he will simply try to “trash” you in order to totally discount your validity and therefore the validity of what you’re saying.    They do this to make sure that they can stay on the pedestal which they have created for themselves.

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So what can you do?  Even though they may not respect you, they may respect (or rather, try to avoid) enforceable boundaries.   “Preparing Judgments” implies setting up consequences for violations of some clear standard.  So, rather than reproving a narcissist / scoffer, try the following:

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  1. Define a clear standard or boundary for the narcissist
  2. Explain to the narcissist a clear consequence (“judgment”) if the standard or boundary is violated
  3. Clearly and consistently execute the consequence if or when the standard is violated

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The narcissist will likely test this a few times to see if you’re serious.  But if you consistently apply it, and if the consequence or “judgment” is painful enough, the narcissist will learn over time to avoid triggering the consequence.  While we always hope that changed behavior

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While we always hope that changed behavior is Outward compliance with boundaries does not mean that

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Please see Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective for an overview of what this blog is all about