Years ago, I stumbled across an interesting way to help me maintain calm when dealing with narcissists- props. A prop can be anything that comforts you or even makes you smile. They are a wonderfully simple way to keep you grounded & keep your perspective about the difficult situation. I tend to dissociate pretty easily, & having something to physically touch helps me to stay in the moment.
When I had to deal with my mother in-law, I used things that made me laugh. My personal favorite was a tiny vial for holy water a Catholic charity once sent me. Remember the movie “The Exorcist”? When the possessed girl was sprayed with holy water, she screamed “it burns!!” I imagined my mother in-law doing the same thing if I sprayed her with holy water. (I know – I have a warped sense of humor) When she got nasty with me, I’d reach into my pocket & touch the vial. She never knew why sometimes I’d smile when she was so wicked..
A friend of mine also had a mother in-law who disliked her. We started joking saying, “pass the flask- I have to see the mother in-law today.” One day, a flask arrived in the mail! She bought her & I matching flasks! The flask became a prop too, making me smile when I thought of my friend’s & my inside joke.
On a less silly note, I was very close to my granddad. Butterflies are something we share (see the story in this post), & because of that, I have a small butterfly tattoo on my right ankle. I also have a pretty yellow butterfly key chain, butterfly earrings & other various butterfly things. Often when I’m around my mother, I look at or touch my butterfly items for comfort.
When you have to deal with the narcissist in your life, what prop can you keep handy to help you get through? The item you carry doesn’t have to be anything fancy- just something that inspires you or makes you smile. Preferably something small that can fit in your pocket, so you can touch it easily.
Most importantly though, never forget to pray before you must deal with the narcissist. God will give you whatever you need- strength, courage, wisdom, etc.