When dealing with narcissists, often there is no right answer. They are masters at creating no win situations, & even when they aren’t actively creating one, they seem to come up anyway. For example, think about no contact. In a sense, it’s the right solution. It’ll protect you from further abuse & give you the space you need in order to heal from all you have endured. While those are certainly great things, no contact also means a close relationship ended & on a bad note. Clearly this isn’t a really good thing, even though the good outweighs the bad. The only other alternative is to continue in an abusive relationship, so a person is limited to two choices, neither of which is particularly great.
Many things with narcissists are like that. Setting boundaries is another example. Yes, setting boundaries is a good thing & it is necessary, but at the same time, it starts a lot of problems with narcissists. Since they don’t respect anyone’s boundaries, when someone tries to set them, they get angry & even more abusive. The only choices are begin to set boundaries & deal with more abuse at least temporarily, or do nothing & suffer anyway. Neither answer is really a right one.
Often, the best you can do with a narcissist is choose the least wrong answer.
While I know this sounds depressing & hopeless, I don’t mean it to. Once you accept this, you can feel less stress & anxiety in your dealings with the narcissist.
Accepting that there really isn’t any right answer helps you to understand that no matter what you do, there won’t be a good, healthy or functional solution. There is nothing you can do to make that happen. It’s beyond your control. This can be very freeing! It helps you not to beat yourself up because things haven’t worked out perfectly. You accept that sometimes a person’s best just isn’t good enough, & that’s ok.
It also helps you because you learn to keep your expectations realistic with the narcissist. You know that the narcissist is going to be angry or upset no matter what you do. You will have a good idea what to expect rather than thinking that this time will be better. You also can prepare yourself for whatever is going to happen.
Accepting this truth that there are only less wrong answers with narcissist also helps you not to drive yourself crazy trying to figure out exactly what you need to do & how to do it. You feel much less pressure to make everything right when you know that no matter what you do, you’ll be wrong anyway.
When you know that the narcissist will say you’re wrong in whatever you do, it’s also much easier to think of yourself instead of only him or her. You develop a mindset something like, “Well, if I’m going to be wrong anyway I might as well get something out of this too.”
In all honesty, sometimes the fact there often isn’t any right answer also will make you sad. That is totally normal. It isn’t exactly the most cheerful fact of life, after all. But, if you can look at it in ways that benefit you, it really can help you.
I also found that a quote from Captain Picard from the old tv show “Star Trek The Next Generation” to be comforting. “It is possible to commit no mistakes & still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.” I know, I’m a nerd quoting this show, but the words are very wise & very comforting. Definitely worth remembering, in particular when dealing with a narcissist.