Unfortunately, not everyone can leave the narcissist in their life and never look back.

Many people experiencing narcissistic abuse have to continue to live with the narcissist because leaving isn’t an option for them.

Under these circumstances, there are generally five things that a person should do to ensure that they are staying as safe as possible.

  1. Educate yourself on narcissism and narcissistic abuse.
  2. Learn how to set boundaries with a narcissist.
  3. Develop a safety and exit plan.
  4. Practice self-care regularly.
  5. Build a healthy support system.

In this article, I will explain how taking these steps can keep you safe from narcissistic abuse and give you resources that you can use to learn how to take them.

Educate Yourself on Narcissism and Narcissistic Abuse

The first thing you should do if you are living with a narcissist because leaving isn’t an option is educate yourself on narcissism and narcissistic abuse.

When you take the time to grasp a comprehensive understanding of the narcissist’s condition and the patterns of abuse that often accompany it, you will:

1.) Be able to recognize when you’re being subjected to narcissistic behavior and avoid internalizing the negative messages that often come with it.

2.) Learn effective communication techniques such as the J.A.D.E. Technique and Yellow Rock Method to de-escalate situations and minimize harm.

A person learning about using the J.A.D.E. technique on a narcissist.

3.) Develop healthy coping mechanisms to manage the painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions that narcissistic abuse creates.

4.) Identify your triggers and learn how to manage your reactions. This can help you prevent yourself from getting drawn into destructive patterns of interaction.

I can’t stress enough how important education under these circumstances is.

A clear understanding of narcissism and narcissistic abuse lays the foundation for you to protect yourself and heal.

Learn How to Set Boundaries with a Narcissist

The second thing you should do if you are living with a narcissist because leaving isn’t an option is to learn how to set boundaries with them.

The term “boundaries” refers to limits you can set on what you will accept from another person’s words or actions. 

In their simplest forms, boundaries are supposed to be easy to set and maintain because they are verbal rules that you can set with someone else.

For example:

  1. “Please, no interruptions from 7 pm to 8 pm. That’s my quiet time.”
  2. “If the insults continue, I’m stepping away from the conversation.”
  3. “Let’s not discuss my personal relationships, okay?”
A person trying to set healthy boundaries with the narcissist in their life.

In their most complex form, boundaries are more difficult to set and maintain because they are a nonverbal set of rules often tailored to who you are.

For example: 

  1. Moving away when abusive behavior begins, showing intolerance.
  2. Responding minimally to provocations, indicating non-participation.
  3. Maintaining neutral expressions, signaling resistance to emotional manipulation.

Learning to set boundaries with the narcissist you’re living with because leaving isn’t an option is vital for your well-being.

Suggested Reading: How to Set Boundaries With a Narcissist

However, unfortunately, it is much easier said than done. 

This is because narcissists typically expect and demand that the people around them prioritize the narcissist’s well-being over their own. 

When you set boundaries with the narcissist in your life, you should be prepared for an escalation of abuse, which leads us to our next topic, having a safety and exit plan.

Develop a Safety and Exit Plan

The third thing you should do if you are living with a narcissist because leaving isn’t an option is develop a safety and exit plan.

Right now, you might be wondering, “What is a safety and exit plan?”

A person trying to learn about what a safety and exit plan are.

If so, it is a prepared strategy that someone living in a potentially harmful situation, such as in a household with a narcissist, creates to protect themselves. 

This plan should provide an organized and immediate response if the need to leave your living situation quickly becomes necessary due to escalating abuse.

Suggested Reading: How to Know if a Narcissist Will Kill You

The primary purpose of a safety and exit plan is to ensure your physical safety and to provide a strategy to help manage a crisis. 

It is essential to have one of these in place if you are living with a narcissist because leaving isn’t an option, and you should set time aside to review and update your safety and exit plan regularly. 

Practice Self-Care

The fourth thing you should do if you are living with a narcissist because leaving isn’t an option is practice self-care.

Self-care is the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s well-being and happiness, particularly during periods of stress.

This is so important because living with a narcissist can be emotionally draining and stressful.

It is common for there to be a seemingly endless wave of belittlement, invalidation, gaslighting, selfishness, etc., within households where narcissists are present.

Over time, being in this type of environment will chip away at your well-being, so it is imperative to prioritize physical and mental self-care.

Someone speaking about their experiences with narcissistic abuse.

This could include regular exercise, a healthy diet, enough sleep, meditation, or activities that you enjoy and that help you unwind. 

By caring for your own needs, you preserve your energy, making it easier to cope with the challenges that living with a narcissist creates. 

Build a Healthy Support System

The fifth thing you should do if you are living with a narcissist because leaving isn’t an option is build a healthy support system.

The term “support system” refers to a network of people – friends, family, and peers – that we can turn to for emotional and practical support.

While this is the last thing I will mention in this article, it is also one of the most important because of how isolating narcissistic abuse can be.

You see, because of a narcissist’s ability to maintain a charming, charismatic, and relatively pleasant public persona, it is very common for those being abused behind closed doors to be the only ones who know just how abusive the narcissist really is.

Suggested Reading: How Do Narcissists Act in Public?

Being isolated like this can be devastating so having a support system who can validate your experiences and provide you with a safe space to express your thoughts, feelings, and emotions is important.

Why Should You Take Away from This Article?

If you are living with a narcissist because leaving isn’t an option, you should:

  1. Educate yourself on narcissism and narcissistic abuse.
  2. Learn how to set boundaries with a narcissist.
  3. Develop a safety and exit plan.
  4. Practice self-care regularly.
  5. Build a healthy support system.

Doing these things will put you in a position from which you can better protect yourself from narcissistic abuse.

Thank you so much for reading this article, I hope that you found the content helpful!

About the Author

Hey, I’m Elijah.

I experienced narcissistic abuse for three years. 

I create these articles to help you understand and validate your experiences.

Thank you for reading, and remember, healing is possible even when it feels impossible.

If you’re ready to heal, visit The Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse to get started.
Share this post to help others trust their experiences.

About This Article

We used Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create parts of this article to enhance its accuracy and readability. It underwent a strict human editorial process before being published. See additional information.

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