Navigating Relationships with Narcissistic Individuals in Your Blended Family


Dealing with narcissistic individuals, whether in a marriage, blended family, co-parenting, or parenting, can be mentally, spiritually, and emotionally draining.  You can often feel alone and rejected in narcissistic relationships, and you may wonder whose perspective of reality is the correct one. However, with valuable education and strategies to help navigate these complex relationships, you can set boundaries, overcome communication challenges, and protect your spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health.

Symptoms of Narcissism

As human beings, we all have a sin nature and can display selfish behaviors at times. However, there is a distinction between occasional self-centeredness and clinical narcissism. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a rare condition characterized by several behaviors, including the following:

  1. Excessive need for admiration
  2. Consistent lack of empathy
  3. Sense of entitlement
  4. Inability to handle any criticism.
  5. Preoccupation with beauty, power, or success
  6. Using or exploiting people for their own gain

Narcissists often make a great first impression, coming across as charming and charismatic. They may engage in “love bombing,” in which they shower you with attention, compliments, affection, and grand gestures of “love” very early in the relationship, all to become exclusive in the relationship.

This phase can be intoxicating because these gestures are a self-esteem boost. They make you feel important and pursued, but it’s crucial to recognize that healthy relationships develop gradually over time. This affection often morphs into jealousy when you spend time with family members or friends or repeated attempts to control you.

When you confront a narcissist’s behavior, they may gaslight you. This is an attempt to make you question your perception of reality and undermine your recall of events. They may dismiss any evidence you present and try to create self-doubt within you. They may claim to be the real victim, and they may manipulate the situation so that their view of reality is true.  You may feel confused, uncertain, insecure, and unsure of your perspective.

Dealing with a Narcissist

Being in a relationship with a narcissist can be challenging for many reasons. They may belittle you to inflate their ego, become demanding of your time, and intimidate you. They may even resort to physical violence. However, you can take steps to protect yourself and your wellbeing as well as your children or stepchildren.

The first step in dealing with narcissistic individuals is to educate yourself about the disorder and its impact on relationships. Understanding the characteristics of narcissism can help you identify patterns and set appropriate boundaries.

Narcissists do not believe rules apply to them because they think they are entitled. That is why establishing and communicating clear boundaries is essential when dealing with narcissistic behavior. It’s important to set boundaries that are concrete and specific and to create consequences when those boundaries are crossed. When they cross a boundary, enforce the consequence or they will see it as an idle threat. Be calm and respectful but also firm and insistent, especially in the context of marriage or parenting. Remember, you have the right to say no and limit contact when necessary.

Relationships with narcissists can be emotionally draining, so prioritize self-care for your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. Focus on your own needs and goals and remember that your worth and happiness are not defined by the narcissist. Engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment and seek support from a Christ-centered supportive community.

If you are married to or co-parenting with a narcissistic individual, it is important to approach the relationship with love, grace, and understanding, while still being firm in your boundaries. Seek the guidance of a therapist or coach who specializes in narcissistic relationships. They can help you navigate the challenges and develop effective coping strategies.

Parenting a child with narcissistic tendencies can be particularly challenging. It is essential to set clear boundaries, provide consistent discipline, and model healthy behaviors. Seeking the support of a mental health professional can be beneficial in developing a tailored approach to parenting a narcissistic child.

Above all, seek the Lord through His Word, prayer, and the support of other believers. The Holy Spirit can give you wisdom and discernment as you navigate these confusing relationships, and He can provide the strength, energy, and resilience you need.

Dealing with a narcissistic person is not easy, but with the right tools and strategies, it is possible to navigate these relationships in a healthy way. Educate yourself, set boundaries, practice self-care, and seek support. Remember, you cannot change someone else. You can only control your behavior and how you choose to interact with a person. You can create and maintain the necessary boundaries, prioritize your well-being, and create a safe and nurturing environment for yourself and your loved ones.

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