22nd May 2020

Lockdown – Living With A Narcissist?

By Vanessa Sampaio

Living in Lockdown with a Narcissist – How Can I Deal with their Behaviour?Associate Vanessa Asante examines the difficulties of living with narcissistic behaviour during lockdown.

Living in lockdown with your partner or other half can be testing. However, if your partner or other half is showing traits of narcissistic behaviour, then living together in lockdown could be unbearable.

The signs of a narcissistic personality disorder/narcissistic traits often include being:

  • self-centred and liable to believe they are better than others;
  • being attention seeking, manipulative and deceitful;
  • blaming others;
  • not taking responsibility for ones own actions (gaslighting);
  • being hypersensitive to criticism;
  • being jealous, envious, sadistic, spiteful, vindictive coupled with a lack of empathy.

If you are feeling trapped and helpless within a relationship with someone showing signs of these traits, here are some things that you might want to do to help manage the situation during lockdown:

  1. If appropriate, call the police. We can advise on when this might be sensible and when not. The police will probably take action where there is any domestic abuse which includes controlling and coercive behaviour (see our website page Abuse in Relationships for more information);
  2. If you can, go and stay with a relative or friend if you or your children are in danger. The Government has confirmed that this is permissible under the Covid-19 regulations;
  3. Apply to the Court for an injunction. However, you should be aware that in most cases this may be too expensive or difficult – again our experienced family lawyers can advise you.

If this is all too dramatic and you need to stay put for the period of lockdown consider the following:

  1. Mentally prepare yourself for the narcissist’s behaviour and what is ahead – keep your expectations of them realistic.
  2. It is often difficult to avoid each other at home, so it will be important to try not to get drawn into lengthy conversation or debate. It may be helpful to be firm and direct, to keep your responses as short, bland and generic as possible. Avoid using emotive language and try to stick to the facts. It may help to try to be as devoid of emotion in your dealings as possible, and to refrain from escalating issues between you.
  3. Set clear and firm boundaries over the things that you feel you can control and be consistent with them.

Wherever possible, seek emotional and therapeutic support to enable you to think about your situation and what choices you want to make within it. At Family Law in Partnership we have a dedicated in-house counselling team. Appointments can be made by contacting Wendy Hoare at Family Law in Partnership on: E: hello@flip.co.uk or T: 020 7420 5000.

You might also be interested to read our other blogs on narcissistic behaviour:

Are they Gaslighting You – How to Cope with a Narcissist in the Family Justice System

How to Divorce a Narcissist

If you need advice on any of the matters covered in this blog, in particular in relation to taking measures to protect you or your children, please contact any of our top London divorce and family lawyers on E: hello@flip.co.uk or T: 020 7420 5000.