Living with a narcissist is never an easy task. While things can start great, over time, they infringe on your personal space, cause drama, steal, or even make false accusations against you. In this article, I’ll share my experience of overcoming a narcissistic roommate.
When you live with a narcissistic roommate, you must be very clear about establishing personal boundaries. Use tactics to minimize yourself as a target for narcissistic abuse. And be ready to leave if you have to.
Not sure how to pull this off? Here are three detailed tips on how to live with a narcissist roommate.
Secure Your Personal Belongings
Narcissists believe that what is yours is also theirs and have no qualms violating your personal space if they want something from you. Because of the psychology of the narcissistic condition, you can’t expect to convince or threaten a narcissist into respecting your personal belongings.
For more info on the narcissistic obsession with possessions, see: “Narcissistic Obsession with Money: Greed and Power”.
Instead, you must take active steps to protect your most valued belongings.
Firstly, make sure you have a locked room or storage container at your disposal. If you share a house with a narcissist, consider replacing your bedroom door handle with an externally lockable variety.
Move anything that you value into this secure location that you lock when you are not at home. If something important won’t fit, consider moving it to a storage unit or keeping it with friends or family that you can trust.
Shared items such as furniture, kitchen equipment, and other appliances are probably not something you can lock away without starting a fight. Instead of risking your valuable or sentimental items, furnish shared areas with second hand or cheaper items. Preferably, ones that you share the cost of so that the narcissist has some incentive to preserve them.
Make Yourself a Small Target
Living with a narcissist makes you a potential target for narcissistic manipulation and abuse. The best thing you can do in these situations is limit your exposure by keeping your relationship impersonal and bland.
Narcissists are always on the lookout for the next drama or excitement and are repulsed by “bland” or “boring” individuals. Make yourself seem uninteresting by —
- Refusing to share details of your interests or hobbies with them
- Maintaining a level composure around them
- Not taking definite positions on anything
- Avoiding unnecessary conversation
More details on how to fend off a narcissist in, the “Gray Rock Method & What To Do When It Doesn’t Work”
Be Ready to Leave If You Have To
Life with a narcissist is volatile and apt to spin into drama at any moment. While things might seem calm now, you never know when something might get nasty with a narcissist.
A prudent move is to have a plan on how you could leave the situation quickly if necessary. Find places that you could stay in an emergency. Or keep a stash of extra money that you could use if you need to get out quickly.
In the long term, the best option is to distance yourself from the narcissist and either move out or find a way to have them move out. Living with a narcissist is generally not worth the trouble.
When you make a move, be careful to leave things on a happy note. Accusing a narcissist, telling them off, or any other form of dramatics as you go, no matter how warranted, will only inflame the situation without proving your or the narcissist any benefit.
How do I deal with a narcissistic housemate?
When you live with a narcissist housemate, be very clear about your boundaries and take proactive steps to protect your personal belongings. Use Grey Rock or other methods to minimize your exposure. And have a plan to get out should the situation deteriorate unexpectedly.