How to Deal with a Narcissist While Stuck Together in Quarantine

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You scroll through your newsfeed.

You see your friends sharing photos of fresh homemade bread, woodworking projects, and happy families spending quarantine together.

As you scroll, you can’t help but feel a little resentment when you see them complaining about boredom because you’re trying to figure out how to deal with a narcissist during quarantine.

Work gave you a little break, but now it’s you and the narcissist 24/7.

There’s no escape.

The narcissist in your home could be a partner, parent, roommate, or adult child. Regardless, it’s a nightmare that seems never-ending.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. However, in the meantime, you need to do what’s best for your own physical and mental health.

Disclaimer: This is a Temporary Solution on How to Deal with a Narcissist During Quarantine – Not a Permanent or Long-term Living Arrangement

While it might not feel that way right now, the situation you’re dealing with is temporary.

It’s critical to remember that the narcissist will not change. If they could, they would have already.

These tips on how to deal with a narcissist during quarantine are a temporary solution to help you stay physically safe and mentally well – as much as you can while living with a narcissist.

Being stuck at home with an emotionally and/or physically abusive partner or family member is nothing to take lightly. Case in point, since Michigan’s shelter-in-place order began, domestic violence hotlines saw calls double, and prosecutors saw cases skyrocket. UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres urged governments to consider domestic violence as part of their COVID-19 response.

While it’s imperative to find a way out, you also must survive the quarantine.

If you’re one of the millions of Americans laid off right now, that might seem like a pipedream not even worth pursuing.

Stay focused on yourself and optimistic. Focus on what matters: your health and safety.

How to Deal with a Narcissist During Quarantine: Understand That You Can’t Control Them

Before anything else, it’s critical to understand that you cannot control the narcissist’s behavior.

You cannot expect them to follow the rules or compromise on their toxic behaviors, even during a dangerous global pandemic.  

Appealing to their sense of compassion or humanity won’t work because they don’t have anything like that – narcissists only experience cognitive empathy for their own manipulation tactics.

You can’t convince them to wash their hands, wear a mask, or stay indoors if they’re hell-bent on doing their own thing.

In fact, trying to reason with them about the virus may make them act out just to spite you.

You can only control your own actions and response.

Stock up on cleaning supplies. Follow them around, wiping down doorknobs and light switches to stay safe.

How to Deal with a Narcissist During Quarantine: Prepare for Increased Offensive Attacks from the Narcissist

Narcissists thrive on control.

They need control over themselves and everyone around them.

Shelter-in-place orders have thrown off their entire routine and snatched control away from them.

If they’re not working, that means the narcissist has less supply to stroke their ego.

You can expect the narcissist will push your buttons even more than usual. Their goal here is to start an endless fight so they can solidify your attention indefinitely.

Again, you can’t control this, but you can control how you respond and refuse to indulge in their baseless attacks.

How to Deal with a Narcissist During Quarantine: Plan a Tactical Retreat via Social Distancing

Social distancing really equates to physical distancing.

With a narcissist, however, it should mean both (as much as you can). If you’re living in a studio or one-bedroom apartment, this is easier said than done, of course.

Otherwise, do your best to avoid interacting with the narcissist as much as possible.

  • Carve out a space for yourself in the furthest room you can find.
  • Go on long walks to video chat and build connections with your friends.
  • Set up camp in the backyard or on the patio with a book.
  • Avoid being in the kitchen or shared areas when they’re there.

How to Deal with a Narcissist During Quarantine: Grey Rock Like You’ve Never Grey Rocked Before

Under normal circumstances, grey rocking isn’t effective because it’s not a long-term solution. The only solution is to go No Contact and remove the narcissist from your life.

However, we’re not living in normal circumstances right now.

Purchasing a new home, crashing with friends, or applying for apartments isn’t an option – especially if you’re not working.

Until you can get out, try to make yourself invisible to the narcissist.

Give them short one-word responses. Don’t engage in conversations with them – not even casual ones about the weather. Avoid spending time in the same room. Don’t ask them any questions.

Act as if they don’t exist.

Prepare for The Narcissist to See Grey Rocking as a Challenge

As you start to grey rock, the narcissist will likely see this as a challenge.

They might assume you’re trying to “prove” something or intentionally pushing their buttons.

You can expect them to laugh at you or provoke a response. When they get really frustrated over the grey rocking, they will probably start hurling insults or acting out just to get your attention.

Don’t give in. Prepare for this.

Keep in mind they might even get violent. If that happens, call the police.

Resist the Urge to Expose the Narcissist

Exposing the narcissist poses a challenge all its own.

Narcissists do not react well when you react assertively and let them know you’re onto them.

In fact, they could attempt to respond by destroying your reputation or damaging anything that means something to you.

Exposing the narcissist and confronting them during quarantine could quickly turn violent. Even during the best circumstances, a narcissist could react with violence when you call them out or attempt to expose them to friends or family.

You have to do what’s best for your own physical and mental health. Right now, that means grey rocking and keeping the peace.

Stay Connected to Your Support System to Avoid Gaslighting

Narcissists do everything they can to isolate you and cut off your support system.

You can guarantee a narcissist will use the quarantine to their advantage to further isolate, brainwash, and gaslight you.

As you socially distance yourself from the narcissist, use that time to reconnect with friends and family or form new (healthy) connections with people you trust.

Don’t downplay the situation at home or make excuses for the narcissist.

You need these connections as a support system. They’re vital for fending off gaslighting and validating the abuse. Plus, they’ll be there for you on the other side when this is all said and done.

Use the Time to Plan Your Exit Strategy

It can feel impossible trying to care for kids and work from home right now.

However, it’s smart to use this isolation time to plan your exit strategy.

Life will go on after the pandemic subsides. Will you continue living in a home with an abusive and manipulative narcissist? Or will you begin a new liberated life free from the chains of narcissistic abuse?

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2 comments
Candace says May 1, 2020

He’s already changed my physical appearance and chopped my hair I think I’m going crazy but I’m not he’s going to really hurt me or make it out like I’m crazy what I’m thinking about him

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Monika says April 26, 2020

My punishing, cheap, selfish, non-caring ex-narc has not done ANY of those 10 hoovering techniques, which would require some interest and some effort. He prefers the “Silent Treatment”. I had asked him re hand sanitizer long ago, and he ignored my call. Later, when I suggested I stop over and say hello in his front yard, using social distancing, he replied angrily with, “If I can’t f….k you, why bother?” Later, when I asked him to please not watch porn when speaking to me on the phone, as it showed a lack of respect, he phoned the next night, and simply said, “I don’t wanna!!” and quickly hung up immediately. His sources of supply include naked chat rooms, nude, teenage cam girls, crossdresser sites, naked online dating sites and regular online dating sites, and now, his new fave, a chat room of 20 and 30 something transsexuals: males who have become women, and f…….k their fathers! It is special group. There are photos, videos, texts, and other graphic stuff. I was sent pics of two of these “people”. And, all the while, he always tells me with great enthusiasm, lust, and loudly how much he wants to f….k them, or touch sexy teenage girls he has seen in person in stores. So, with all this tremendous, varied, available, free online sources of supply, why should he hoover me???

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