One of the most frustrating things about living, loving or working with a person with the signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be their lack of accountability.

Everything that goes wrong is always someone else’s fault and no matter how logical you are, they will continue to twist and turn their way out of the argument, even if they have to swear the sky is green.

This can be extremely frustrating and took me a long time to learn how to deal with and I want to share what I have learned about dealing with this today.

When you want to hold sway with someone (not only a person with narcissistic tendencies) the equation works something like this …

The more positive the connection between you = the more likely they will be to listen.

Please consider: Narcissistic people hate it when anyone tries to hold them accountable and so attempting to make them admit their shortcomings or mistakes will only break rapport. Because of this it’s probably best to not even try!

That doesn’t mean you need to give in to their bad behaviour; instead of trying to hold them accountable (which won’t work anyway), consider making them face the consequences of their mistakes.

Get on the Same Level

Talking down to people is rarely persuasive no matter how superior you feel your position to be.

Rather than playing teacher, judge and jury – or mother superior – instead try some grit with a dash of humility while setting boundaries . . .

Example 1:

I don’t know how to sort out our finances and I can’t see where our money is going and so I have opened a separate bank account and hired an accountant to come in and see if they can sort out the mess.”

Example 2:

I am worried about you, but I don’t know how to help you (with your porn addiction) and I am scared that it is hurting our sex life and putting our marriage at risk. So unless you’ve got some ideas – I don’t know what to do except to talk to our doctor and see if they have any ideas that might help.”

Example 3:

I can’t be late for work again and so I am sorry I can’t drop you off today.”

Example 4:

I don’t know how to handle you when you get so angry at me, and so from now on I am going to need to get someone who knows know how to handle angry people (the police?) here to come and talk to you when you get angry. I don’t want to get you in trouble, it just scares me and I don’t know what else to do.”

Or there may be situations where there is nothing to say – you simply need to stop protecting them.

Sure they will probably still get angry when you use these kind of scripts, so you will need to play this carefully and use your own judgement. These type of conversations are usually safer in a public place – like a park or restaurant, and you need to make sure you are not bluffing!

They won’t like what you are saying, but if you show genuine concern for them and let somebody else play the bad guy, you can keep your connection at the same time as setting a boundary.

Then if your warning has no effect, step out of the way and let life teach them the lesson they have coming.

Work on Better Scripts for ‘Next Time’

If you are trying to hold people accountable for what has happened in the past – I would suggest that instead you make the decision to forget it.

If you didn’t know how to set the boundary back then, rubbing a person’s face in it now is not going to do anything but make them resent you.

If they owe you money, hire a debt collector (if you need to) and step away from the adversarial role – and let someone else do the dirty work. Otherwise be kind to yourself by forgiving them, but make sure you are prepared – with better scripts – next time.

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Kim Cooper

Author of seven books on the topic of relationships and positive mental health.

A prolific multi-media content innovator, Kim has created and shared a library of articles and multi-media educational tools including radio shows, movies and poetry on 'The NC Marriage', 'End The Blame Game' and 'The Love Safety Net'.

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