How to Get a Narcissist to Respect You

Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Read Time: 5 Minutes
Written by:Meaghan Rice PsyD., LPC

Published On: September 27, 2023

Medically reviewed by: Famous Erwin, LMHC, LPC, CAM 2

Reviewed On: September 27, 2023

Updated On: September 27, 2023


Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) affects an estimated 6% of the population. NPD involvesgrandiose thought patterns, an intense need for admiration, and an inability to empathize with others. While creating a healthy relationship can be challenging, in some instances, it is possible. Some people with NPD are incapable of respect due to their narcissistic behavior, but with the right tools and information, you can learn how to live with a narcissist and reach a healthier place in the relationship.

Knowing how to set healthy boundaries is essential, and understanding how to communicate with this personality type is critical to maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship. Keep reading to learn more about navigating relationships with someone who has NPD — we’ll share how to make a narcissist respect you and what to do if the relationship feels too toxic.

Be Aware That They Lack the Ability to Respect

It’s important to understand that people with NPD display an exaggerated sense of self-importance and entitlement. These traits make it difficult for them to respect others around them. Interactions with a narcissistic person can become more manageable when you understand this limitation, as you’ll have a healthy and realistic expectation about how you might be treated.

It’s easier to understand how challenging respect is for people with narcissism if you know the following:

  • The root cause of their disrespectful behavior often stems from a constant craving for respect from others.
  • They can have grandiose thought and behavior patterns.
  • They feel superior to others.
  • They believe they’re special.
  • It can be difficult to distinguish between genuine respect and manipulation.

iconExpert Insight

“Develop a mantra that says, ‘this person has never acquired the skill of respect rather than this person is actively choosing not to respect me.”
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD.), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) Meaghan Rice

Demonstrate Confidence & Assertiveness

To avoid being manipulated by somebody living with NPD, you must be confident and assertive. Knowing how to make a narcissist respect you means learning to stand up for yourself. You also must be able to remain composed during disagreements and confrontations. Behaviors like this will make you less likely to be targeted as someone who can be easily controlled or taken advantage of.

You can present yourself as confident and assertive by:

  • Maintaining eye contact
  • Speaking clearly and calmly in interactions
  • Avoiding excessive praise or flattery
  • Being direct

iconExpert Insight

““Say reinforcing statements that don’t have personal feelings wrapped in them. For example, ‘that’s interesting you feel that way. I need to take some time to process that and I’ll loop back around later.”
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD.), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) Meaghan Rice

Set Boundaries

Knowing how to set boundaries with a narcissist is crucial. People like this will disregard the feelings and needs of others around them. You can reduce confrontations when you clearly communicate your limits and stand firm in enforcing your boundaries. Part of understanding how to make a narcissist respect you involves being willing to cut ties if behavior toward you becomes harmful or toxic.

Setting boundaries can be challenging for most of us, especially when dealing with somebody who has NPD.

You can practice setting boundaries by:

  • Making your expectations crystal clear and known
  • Communicating your boundaries calmly and firmly
  • Expressing consequences if your boundaries aren’t respected
  • Being consistent about not allowing your boundaries to be crossed

Put Yourself First

Prioritizing your own mental, emotional, and physical well-being is crucial in a narcissistic relationship. To create a healthy relationship, you can still treat someone with NPD with empathy and respect. Just remember that you deserve the same care and consideration. Never hesitate to make decisions you feel are necessary to protect your emotional health.

Putting yourself first can be easy if you do the following:

  • Create and use a self care routine
  • Put energy into healthy relationships outside of this one
  • Know and express your worth

Treat Them with Empathy & Respect

Though it can be incredibly challenging, treating somebody with NPD with empathy and respect is essential. To achieve this, you must learn how to respond to a narcissist. By not feeding into toxic behaviors like narcissistic rage, you can actually preserve your self-respect, which models the behavior you expect to receive in return.

Part of this can involve showing that you understand their struggles and insecurities. For example, when you acknowledge how they feel, you can disarm them and make it more likely for them to listen and respect your feelings and needs.

The following actions can help you display empathy and respect for somebody with NPD:

  • Show that you understand their struggles
  • Maintain a sense of dignity when you interact with them by staying calm and avoiding personal attacks
  • Educate yourself about narcissistic personality disorder
  • Seek help if you need it

Respect Yourself

If you hope to gain respect from somebody with NPD, you must respect yourself first. Be sure to maintain your sense of self-worth, which can help you set boundaries and protect yourself. By focusing on your self-respect, you become better equipped to navigate behaviors typical in narcissistic relationships.

Respecting yourself can be difficult, but it’s critical if you’re trying to learn how to get a narcissist to respect you.

Focus on:

  • Prioritizing your self care.
  • Cultivating and exploring your interests and passions outside of the relationship
  • Acknowledging your accomplishments and strengths
  • Learning to say no
  • Standing up for yourself

iconExpert Insight

““Pay attention to bodily cues that tell us whether we are in the right headspace to deal with someone with narcissism. If we are already struggling, we need to put more distance in between us and the individual with narcissism.”
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD.), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) Meaghan Rice

Communicate with Clarity

A clear and effective communicator can be a game-changer in a narcissistic relationship. When you communicate and engage with somebody with narcissistic traits and tendencies, you can avoid misinterpretations and manipulation.

Communicating clearly also reduces the chance that somebody with NPD will twist and use your words against them.

To communicate in an NPD relationship, be sure to:

  • Be direct and concise in how you speak
  • Avoid emotionally charged language
  • Maintain eye contact in conversations
  • Use “I statements” — for example, “I feel hurt when you dismiss my feelings”
  • Practice active listening

Don’t Feed into Their Toxic Behaviors

While engaging in toxic behavior can be tempting, maintaining an even approach to the relationship is vital. Recognize manipulative strategies so you can disengage and protect your self-worth. Learning to spot damaging or unhealthy habits and refusing to engage in them will be key to keeping an upper hand in the relationship.

Avoid feeding into toxic behaviors by:

  • Recognizing narcissistic abuse and manipulation tactics like narcissistic gaslighting
  • Maintaining emotional distance when you need to
  • Avoiding arguments or trying to prove your point
  • Establishing consequences for unhealthy behaviors and boundary-crossing

Stand Your Ground

Standing your ground is essential when dealing with somebody with narcissistic tendencies. Establish and maintain boundaries, and don’t allow them to manipulate or control your thoughts or behaviors. The more you stand firm in your beliefs and values, the more you’ll prove to them that their tactics won’t work for you.

You can stand your ground by:

  • Maintaining family or friendship boundaries
  • Identifying and avoiding their manipulative tactics and traps
  • Preparing for resistance

iconExpert Insight

““Determine early on what you are willing to tolerate and not tolerate from other people. We teach people how to treat us, so if someone violates those boundaries we need to take further action to protect ourselves.”
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD.), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) Meaghan Rice

Gain Respect in a Narcissistic Relationship with Talkspace

Learning how to make a narcissist respect you and navigating the narcissistic relationship can be incredibly daunting. However, you can set healthy expectations for the relationship by following the rules we’ve given you here — in doing so, you might be able to gain respect, or at least develop a healthy relationship that offers value.

If you’re struggling with how to manage a narcissistic relationship, Talkspace can help with online therapy. Reach out today to learn how to get somebody with NPD to respect you and your relationship — or learn when it might be time to walk away. Either way, Talkspace can be a resource that helps you manage the challenges of gaining respect from someone with NPD.

See References

Meaghan Rice

Meaghan Rice is a mental health consultant specializing in professionals who are looking to close the gap between where they are and where they envision themselves being. With a decade of experience in the mental health field, working in a variety of different capacities, Dr. Rice has found her niche amidst the therapist, consultant, and trainer roles.

Effective and affordable mental health treatment

Get Started

Related Articles About Narcissistic Personality Disorder

View all articles
Featured Image
Narcissistic Personality Disorder September 28, 2023

How to Respond to a Narcissist

Featured Image
Narcissistic Personality Disorder September 28, 2023

How to Leave & End a Relationship With a Narcissist

Featured Image
Narcissistic Personality Disorder September 27, 2023

How to Get a Narcissist to Respect You

Featured Image
Narcissistic Personality Disorder September 27, 2023

Narcissistic Rage: Identifying & Protecting Yourself From It

Featured Image
Narcissistic Personality Disorder February 21, 2023

How to Diagnose Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Featured Image
Narcissistic Personality Disorder September 29, 2022

Narcissistic Abuse: Examples, Signs, and Effects

Featured Image
Narcissistic Personality Disorder August 30, 2022

Sociopathy vs Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Similarities & Differences

Featured Image
Histrionic Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder August 24, 2022

Histrionic vs Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Featured Image
Narcissistic Personality Disorder August 17, 2022

Covert Narcissism: Signs, Causes & How to Deal

Featured Image
Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder August 17, 2022

Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Effective and affordable mental health treatment

Get Started