(Read time: 1-2 mins)
The toxic dynamic that evolves between the narcissist and his/her partner is the natural result of psychological and emotional abuse so pernicious and severe that the inevitable outcome is a trauma bond, and a trauma bond is what constitutes a “relationship” with a narcissist. It will never be anything but this.
The total collapse of personal boundaries sets the stage for the narcissist’s devaluing, dis-integration, and dehumanization of the partner, and this lays the foundation of the trauma bond.
Effective strategies to prevent a trauma bond are based on the maxim: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and the best way to prevent a trauma bond is to never let a narcissist in your life.
However, this is much easier said than done, because narcissists so expertly manipulate and love bomb partners into believing, and clinging to the soul-mate narrative they weave during the first days, weeks, and months of the relationship.
The best course of action is to educate yourself about boundaries, the red flags, and the signs of a toxic partner. Knowledge is power.
Make a list of relationship non-negotiables – and stick to it; the list could include:
- I will leave the relationship at the first violation of my boundaries
- I will listen to my gut and red flags
- I will not tolerate…and make your list of specific boundary violations:
- Disrespecting my time
- Anger when I want to spend time alone
- Pressing for a commitment, especially early in the relationship
- Invading my personal space
- Dismissing my needs
- Invalidating my feelings
- Inflicting guilt trips
The partner needs to firmly establish what defines a healthy relationship for her, set her standards – and maintain them at all costs.
The most effective way to safeguard yourself against a narcissist, and/or preventing a trauma bond is by maintaining strong personal boundaries. Narcissists move on quickly from people who defend their boundaries.