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Dealing with convert narcissists

Community Member
I am interested in other peoples experience in dealing with convert narcissist and coping strategies .I have been surrounded by family and friends who I now realise have been disastrous for my mental health.My first mistake was choosing female friends that were like my mother.I suffer from repetition compulsion and suffer from low self esteem.It has been a huge learning curve .Should I just starve them out with no contact ?Any experience or advice in dealing with narcissists would be appreciated Cheers Clownartist
19 Replies 19

Champion Alumni
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HI Clownartist,

I worked for a woman, for two years, whom I think is quite the narcissist. It took me a long time to realise it, but in order for me to 'cope' with her, or even survive her antics, I needed as LITTLE engagement with her as possible. She was absolutely HORRIBLE to me; calling me names in front of customers, treating me as though I was 'new' to the business the whole time I worked there, never signing off on any of my training that I completed (and therefore denying me the pay rise and the recognition I had actually studied for), using my short term memory issues against me ...... ad infinitum. She was so horrible. And I've said many times that if I had've known her a bit better, I never would have worked for her.

Thankfully the lady who was the 2IC at the time, and this horrible boss had a falling out, and the horrible boss lady actually lost the battle, and I now have the lady that was the 2IC as my boss, and she is amazing!

I did have an anxiety attack a few months ago when the old boss came into work and I bolted out to the warehouse. I wish I could say I was stronger than that and could 'face up' to her without having anxiety, but that's not the case.

The best advice I can offer is to give any and all narcissistic people a very wide berth, family or not. I know that may seem harsh, and certainly easier said than done, but in my experience, it's a very hard battle to fight. The only reason my then 2IC won the battle with the horrible boss is because she left for a brief period, and then while she was gone, she dropped the (then) boss in a bucket of poo by dobbing her into the bigger bosses on how she'd been treating me, and how she'd been behaving when she thought nobody knew. Once upper management knew about what had been going on, they called the then 2IC and asked her to come back as boss!! So it's one to S..... (former 2IC, now boss lady) and none to N....... (horrible boss).

As a good and wise friend once said to me: "The best revenge is to live well."

So live well, and let them go, is my advice and experience. xo

Hi, welcome

Afyer dealing with narcissists in my family for 54 years (including my mum) in 2011 my sister and I cut ties with 3 of them. This resulted in us losing several more from their lies and manipulation of our relatives.

It was worth it for the peace, stability and love we have now.


Beyondblue Topic narcissism


Community Member

The word 'narcissist' is overused. Just because someone is vain, self centred or simply an a'hole doesn't make them a narcissist. I had the misfortune of meeting a real narcissist - in fact I hired one. Id thought he'd be great but even in his first week I couldn't shake the feeling that something wasn't right. He was polite enough but insensitive, missed social cues and expected a level of 'service' from others that was out of step with a modern workplace - like directing co-workers to fill the photocopier or buy him coffee. Despite his arrogance he was incompetent - partially due to the fact he wouldn't listen to instructions or take on feedback. I never once heard him admit an error or apologise for a stuff up even though he made them all the time. When I tried to manage his performance it was like I'd cracked the top off a volcano. He turned on me in such a way I genuinely feared for my safety if not my sanity. And yet his actions were so insidious I wondered if I was imagining the threat. Real narcissists are good at playing the game. By the time his employment was terminated my workplace had put security in place to protect me and I felt validated - but wounded it took them so long. Even now, years later, that experience still haunts me.

Community Member

Greetings Clownartist,

I could relate to your situation. In my experience I learnt to let it go and focus on my well being. I found worrying over it was not worth it and in the case of my brother-in-law it was to keep the peace for family gatherings. At family dinners I would start with the welcome pleasantaries then try and avoid him the rest of the time. He would ask about my job and hobby? Making small talks, however I would give him a maximum of 3 words answers. Even though I knew he wasn't genuinely interested and it was all for show. He is the most selfish, self-centred, lazy, arrogant and narcaccist human being I've ever met. If we met through friends I would have cut him out of my life.

At work a colleague who is also lazy, selfish etc etc makes me uncomfortable. I only speak to him about work and even walking pass him I don't bother with the pleasantries. I used to feel sick if I have to speak to him about work and another colleague told me to focus on, I'm doing this for work and I'm good at my job therefore I will deliver my Manager the most accurate report. Since then I pump myself beforehand and I have been able to move forward. Lately I've noticed that I've forgotten to pump myself, definitely a major improvement. When he sometimes delays, I let my Manager know and I won't be seen as incompetent.

They are the only two people that I have to deal with, not because I want to however it is so I can thrive in family and work environment. I believe in surrounding myself with good and loving people. The good things in my life outweighs the inconvenience of dealing with such awful people. They will never change, it's who they chose to become. My aim not to be like them, embrace each day as it comes, smile more and let it go.

Take care, Jb.

Hi Soberlicious,

thanks for your reply sounds like you have done time as well.They really damage your self esteem.She has isolated me from friends and family,she gaslighted me.There was this constant need to control and I felt beholden to her.I felt like I was walking on eggshells and then the constant criticism.Only when I concluded the conversation I felt drained and anxious.I realised she was much like my mother.I am attracted to narcissist perhaps from my childhood.Friends should make you feel good about yourself.She entered my life at a vulnerable stage separation and property settlement.I felt perpetual appreciation for her assistance.She took control of my affairs and I was stupid enough to let it happen.I am a type A personality,tough on myself and empathetic and self love deficient.The final straw came when she helped herself to my posessions and where was my will .I was devastated but it made me reflect on her behaviour.It was a lightbulb moment it made me reflect on her behaviour and it scared the hellout of me .It was her character disorder that ended our relationship.I am recovering slowly she sabotaged my friends family and work..I have decided zero contact and need to forgive myself .My innocence is a good thing open and trusting .I have to heal myself and dont give them a reaction and walk away. Cheers Clownartist

Hi grl123,

i did not use the term lightly narcissist.Your description of your colleague sounds exactly like my experience.She had an inability to work on a team, even volunteer work.I was constantly amazed at her calculated schemes involving exploitation,entitlement and the empathy impairment.She was a complete know it all and control freak.One huge red flag she was never at fault or to blame for anything it was always me ,never her.I t has been a massive learning curve good in some ways .They are predators,while they see themselves as white knights (apologies White Knight).They are so good at lying ,they love to slander and gossip especially about you.They are emotional vampires.I am so glad that I have seen the light,but I too am haunted by the pure evil and bizarrely feel guilty, the projection again Cheers Clownartist

Hi White Knight,

Just re read your older post on narcissistic mothers.I felt I was reading my story.Wow the similarities were striking.She sabotaged my wedding ,her actions made no sense.She was an embarrassment with her manipulation in order to win.I endured lengthy separations from my mother ,the last 6 years before she died .One good friend said why do you keep going back?As with you I was excluded from the family will and from good relatives.The damage is so destructive I am still dealing with the venom!!The manipulation was palpable the penny dropped when my mother was being cruel to my son who was only 5 years old .He asked why is granny being mean to me!!WOW only children could see that Thanks mate Clownartist

I'm sorry Clownartist - it's just that nothing prepares you for a real narcissist. I can relate to the lies. The way he salted in some truth to make it plausible but it was actually 90% fiction. And outrageous as if he had no fear at all of being found out. Also the blame and the excuses - nothing was ever his responsibility and to try to convince him otherwise just exhausted me and enraged him. Unlike you I don't see any positives from the experience. I lost some love for my fellow man and to this day I'll walk a mile to avoid a confrontation.

No need to be sorry grl123. I too cannot believe the salting process ,slight amount of truth thrown in to confound you.I dont know how they sleep at night well I do they have no morals.My positive is knowledge is power ,i myself have lost a lot of respect for fellow man .I am on guard the whole time and have few friends .It is a sad state of affairs but I am tired of being damaged.Incidentally most of my narcissists encounters were females .What i have learnt is some warning signs.First trust your gut instincts and first impressions,dont confuse kindness with weakness,always a power struggle they often wrong never in doubt,emotionally illiterate,free loaders ,gossipers,passive aggressive and liars.My greatest fear is getting involved with another narcissist which is probably why I will remain single the rest of my life.So much for religion /fellow man Good luck everybody Clownartist