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Stop Compromising With The Narcissist

Updated on February 14, 2018
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The Little Shaman is a spiritual counselor, hypnotherapist, and a specialist in Cluster B personality disorders.

It's not uncommon for people in relationships with narcissistic people to find themselves compromising. That is a normal thing in relationships, but in regular relationships, the compromise is not usually repeated situations where someone is saying, "I'll do this for you if you just stop abusing me" or "You can have this if you'll just act decently." This is how relationships with narcissists work. They push and push and push until the person either breaks or leaves. People in these relationships make compromises to keep the narcissist in their lives, rather than leaving because the behavior is intolerable.

This is one of the reasons boundaries are so important. Compromising in these situations is not real compromise. It's a weakening of boundaries. A real compromise is a fair situation where everybody gets what they want. "Compromise" with narcissists is not fair in anyway. They will not agree to any situation where they have to give. It's more like a hostage situation where they create an abusive environment and then only stop when they get what they want. In this way, a situation evolves where the other person is tricked into believing they're getting something out of it. In reality, they're getting nothing. They're being forced into giving the narcissist what they want simply to avoid abuse. Some of them will even straight say, "Just give me what I want and I'll stop." This is a purposeful thing. The narcissist is angry that they are not getting what they want. They will punish the withholding person until it is given to them. Once they get it, the abuse usually stops - but only until the next time they want something they can't have.

Compromising with a narcissist is not a compromise. It's a dysfunctional, selfish person using abuse to get what they want, regardless of the circumstances. It's a person bargaining and trading their morals, values and self-respect away in the hopes of just being treated like a human being for a little while. It's not worth it, because even if in the moment they agree to give or go without or whatever the situation calls for, it will not last. They can only see the short-term reward they are after and often will agree to anything to get what they want, especially if it's something in the future.

For example, if you say to the narcissist, "I will give you this money now, but you have to make it last and not ask me for more next week," the narcissist will readily agree. Their mind is on the bird in the hand, so to speak. They only care about right now and the money you are offering right now. It is not a real agreement. When they are actually called upon to keep their side of the agreement, they will not do so. They will spend that money all in one day and be back harassing and abusing and berating and punishing you for daring to withhold anything from them when they are in need. And it doesn't matter what it is. It could be food or drugs or stuffed animals or collectible plates. They need it and you're forcing them to suffer by denying them something they need.

Narcissists cannot see a difference between want and need. Everything is need to them and they suffer extreme distress when forced to wait or go without something. Not being allowed to have what they want is seen as cruelly withholding vital necessities from them, no matter what it is. Their mindset is, "You have this or you control this and you could give it to me and ease my suffering but you won't. Therefore, you are harming me and wronging me and you deserve punishment for that." It doesn't matter why they can't have it. It could be something that is completely out of your control, but you will still be punished for not giving it to them. This is totally unfair and horribly abusive, but they don't care. All they care about is what they want.

Living with pathologically narcissistic people is a miserable existence where you do nothing but give pieces of yourself away in exchange for the promise of being treated like a human being for a little while - a promise that never comes to fruition. You compromise more and more, bargain your self-respect away over and over again and the narcissist just keeps getting what they want while you never do. Your boundaries are eventually totally destroyed and you end up simply resigning yourself to a life where you will never be treated decently or be allowed to be a human being. Don't settle for that. As long as you keep bargaining and compromising and giving in to the narcissist, they are not going to be in a hurry to end this abusive cycle because they have too much to lose by changing it. It's up to you to realize that there is so much more to life than catering to an emotionally crippled child who doesn't care about you at all.

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