Controllers and Narcissists


Can anyone offer resources and articles about how to improve relationships with difficult people, especially controlling and narcissistic personalities?


Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s possible to have better relationships with people who are controlling or narcissistic. If you want to try and put up boundaries (which is entirely within your right), your relationship will get worse because you are no longer putting them first.

If it’s difficult people in general, I suggest calling them out on their behaviour and telling them you will no longer tolerate it. Put up boundaries and stick to them.


Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.

And yes, there are tons of articles on the internet, just do a google search


I agree 100% with Lou and Scarlet. You CAN’T improve your relationship with a narcissist or a very controlling person. They are completely in control of the emotional state of things no matter what you do.

You can have a more peaceful life though! It involves healthy distance and letting go. You have received good recommendations so far. Praying for you!


You can control how you respond, and recover your peace of mind, but you cannot expect the relationship to improve.


What are you looking to get exactly?

There are no words that can make someone see what they don’t want to see. Believe me, I have tried. Some of the forum members can attest to my struggles dealing with one.

You can learn to be less of a target. Boundaries are good. I’ve also had luck just being…sort of boring. It depends on your relationship and goals.


I can tell you how to improve such a relationship: Tell the person “Bye”, cut off all contact and don’t look back.


What everyone has said. It’s like dealing with an alcoholic—you can only control your own behavior and response. Boundaries!


Its not possible. Look at Trump. He is the ultimate example of a narcissist. He is only looking at self interest and does not care about relationships with other people. He will and often has stabbed people in the back at the drop of a hat!


I know people have much to say about controllers and narcissists. Sadly, this board is filled, has always been filled with, questions from people who, sadly, have already entered into serious relationships, or even marriages, with such persons. Then, it is not so easily to set and keep boundaries, especially when children are involved.
My own observation is that they often have already allowed these controllers allow them to feel isolated. They often feel that they have already have cut themselves, or allow their controllers,
to cut them off from, the community at large. If anyone who fits this description is reading this now, please know that this is not so, especially within the church. Any Christian will be quick to understand, forgive anything that needs forgiving, and help where they can. You have no reason, no right, to consider yourself and your children abandoned. Please,if you have this problem, reach out, and keep reaching out, to those in the community. Don’t let anyone make you feel that you have no options!


Thank you @guanophore for offering a resource as requested in the original post. :slight_smile:


The advice here is good. But when it comes to boundaries, I don’t know. In my experience, selfish people or possible narcissists do not respect boundaries. No matter how good or how good your keep to your word, they do not. It is a king of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Then there is the difficulty of wanti g to escape the toxicity and abuse but cannot, so everyone except the narcissist is simply enduring the suffering.


For anyone who is looking for a resource. This is one of a series.


Thank you everyone for your responses. I can sense the frustration of many people who responded by saying " I don’t think it’s possible to have better relationships with people who are controlling or narcissistic" or “You CAN’T improve your relationship with a narcissist or a very controlling person. They are completely in control of the emotional state of things no matter what you do,” “you cannot expect the relationship to improve,” or other responses along the lines of saying that a narcissist can never change.

We are supposed to be at peace with everyone to the best of our ability (See Romans 12:18), and I understand @Dacinom @Tis_Bearself @fin that often the most peaceful thing to do in a situation is to remove yourself from it. But I disagree that narcissists are a type of people that can never change or be changed. That would mean these people are in a special category that is beyond the healing power of God. I refuse to believe that God cannot reach them. Maybe they will always have some handicap in that area, but to say there is no possibility for improvement @Lou2U @guanophore @thistle -no matter what- puts a limit on what God can do, and thinking this way can discourage a person from continuing to look for answers.

@Darklight I agree, a narcissist will only see what they want to see. We are all plagued with this condition to one degree or another, and personal change only comes after an act of the will to do so. And we all need boundaries @JulianN @legend @0Scarlett_nidiyilii when dealing with everyone, even when dealing with people without ‘personality disorders.’ I get the point you are all making, that is, that narcissists are more blind to their own faults, and that others need stronger boundaries when dealing with narcissists. So it is a matter of controlling one’s own behavior, I agree.

@legend thanks for your kind encouragement.

I wrote this lengthy post to thank everyone for answering and to say I did not take your advice and give up or walk out on anyone (and I get it that in some comments there was artistic exaggeration to drive home a point). I am still looking for answers. Here is a woman who talks about her own journey OUT of narcissism. It is worth a look.


There is nothing that is beyond the healing power of God, so there is always possibility for change, even in an entrenched personality disorder.

The issue here is expectation. When we focus on the other person changing, rather than ourselves, we are putting the focus in the wrong place. If a person who is looking for answers becomes discouraged because they focus is on changing themselves, rather than the other person, they will be discouraged.

However, the focus on changing the other person (whether it is addiction or personality disorder) will eventually bear little or not fruit, become exhausting, and has robbed many of years from their lives.

I think this is a very accurate distinction. We are naturally self centered beings, and narcissism is just an extreme of this condition.

I think this is also astute. But this is also the reason I say one must not focus on the other, or set expectations upon them changing. It is the nature of narcissism to resist change. Change also happens best in a state of humility, which is very difficult for a narcissist.


I would say even if you don’t give up, what you do is more making sure you’re not giving them material to hurt or control you with. Think of it like training an aggressive dog; you care about them, but you’re not going to expose yourself to get bitten.


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