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Cheating, Triangulation in Sick Relationships: Power Play, Revenge, Entitlement

Uploaded 11/25/2022, approx. 33 minute read

Okay, Shoshanim, let's start with the most important part of the video.

This is a mug I have received in the cold therapy seminar in Touno Severin in Romania. And it says Shalom Shoshanim and my ugly face, my ugly mug on the mug.

Okay. Enough with the nonsense, Wachnin.

Onward Jewish soldiers. I'm Jewish.

So my name is Zabachnin. I'm the author of Malignant Surf Lab, Narcissism Revisited, the groundbreaking bible of narcissism in the book that coined the phrase narcissistic abuse. I'm also a professor of psychology in several universities.

Yes, that's me.

And today we are going to discuss cheating and triangulation.

Cheating as in adultery.

The polite term in clinical psychology is extra dyadic, extra dyadic sexor extra marital affairs or extra marital sex.

But actuallywe're talking about a good old fashioned cheating and its second cousin triangulation.

Why do people do that? Why do they cheat? Why do they triangulate?

We're going to discuss two cases. We're going to discuss cheating and triangulation in an obsessive sick relationship. And we are going to discuss cheating and triangulation by the narcissists.

These are two case studies put together. They cover a big portion of these behaviors.

They explain, they provide an etiology for these behaviors.


We start with an abusive couple, a sick couple, a couple founded on mutual obsession and compulsive acts. This is a couple where both members of the couple hurt each other, abuse each other. Both members of the couple seek to inflict pain on the other because this is the only surviving mode of communication.

I recommend that you watch the amazing movie Who is Afraid of Virginia Woolf? It's about such a couple.

Now in this couple, power dynamics are mediated via pain. So the members of the couple use hurt, use betrayal to actually communicate to each other their places in the hierarchyand it's ever shifting. The partner who inflicts pain is on top and the injured party, the party who is in pain is at the bottom and then it reverses via revenge dynamic.

So we're going to discuss this kind of couple right now. You all know such couples. There's a lot of verbal abuse, physical violence, actually nothing but verbal abuse and physical violenceand yet the members of such couples are unable to walk away. They can't find within themselves the resources to break up, to put an end to it, to somehow move on.

There is something in this dynamic that proves to be addictive. There is an inability to regard the couplehood, regard the togetherness as toxic and perniciousor even when the members of the couple realize how bad it is in the couple, they just can't say goodbye. They can't separate, something sinister and dark and nefarious is binding them together, usually their pasts, wounds inflicted on them in the past, early childhood traumas.

And so today we are going to discuss all this in the context of cheating and triangulation because cheating and triangulation are relationship management tools in such couples.

They use these tools, they use these behaviors to actually signal to each other, establish hierarchyto win the power play, at least intermittentlyand then the cycle starts all over again.

So some people stray, some people have sex with other people outside the couple, outside the dyad, actually in order to preserve the couple, in order to preserve the partnership, in order to persevere in a long-term obsessed, utterly sick and abusive relationship, they don't cheat to exit the relationship, they cheat to cement the relationship, to get a rise out of the partner, to re-evoke and re-invoke and revive and resuscitate emotions to somehow signal distress to the partneror on the very contraryto tell the partner, I don't need you, I have alternatives.

This is all about the other member of the couple.

The cheating and the triangulation are not about other people, they are not about the casual and external sex partners, they are about the primary partner in the primary relationship.

Extradiatic sexcheatingin such couples usually happens in the wake of drinking, excessive drinking or substance abuseand it serves four functions.

Go on, do exact revenge.

You cheat, I cheat, you ignore me, I cheator I triangulate, you hurt me, I'm going to hurt youor it hurts, I'm going to cheat on you, I'm going to triangulate with other people and I'm going to make it ostentatious and visibleand if you miss the point, I'm going to communicate to you what I'm doing and what I've done in order to witness your agonyand so revenge is a major motivation in such couples.

But it is not the kind of revenge that leads to the dissolution of the couple, it's a kind of revenge that leads to a strengthening of the bonding and the attachment between the members of the couple.

The revenge signals love, the revenge is perceived as you've hurt me, you hurt me and I'm going to hurt you backbut you have the power to hurt me because I love you.

So in some sicktwisted way, revenge cheating is actually proof of love.

Same as abuse in these couples, abusive behaviours and excessive romantic jealousyfor examplewhich leads to abusive behaviours, they are all perceived as affirmations of deep, profound, everlasting love.

In other couples such behaviours would lead to the instant disintegration of the togetherness to both members walking away from each otherbut not in these couples.

In these couplesthe worse it gets, the better it gets.

These couples feel good only when they feel bad, they feel alive only when they are in painand so in this sense, cheating and triangulations in this obsessive compulsivesick, abusive pain-oriented couples, cheating and triangulation in these couples is a form of self-harming.

Self-harming that reminds them that they are alive, that drowns the pain inside them. Self-harming that is intended to somehow revive dynamics that had been more abundant or stale for too longto forestall actually abandonment and rejection.

I have cheated on you, you have to reclaim me sexually and otherwise reclaim sex.

So revenge is the first motivation.

The second motivation in such sick couples is to restore a power symmetry within the couple.

Acts of cheating and triangulation, acts of betrayal are perceived as one upmanship.

The party who betrays is on top because he has the power to inflict pain.

So the other party, the injured party, the damaged party, the broken party, the suffering and writhing party, the agonizing party, that party has to restore the balance somehow.

Somehow it has to reestablish, this party has to reestablish some symmetry within the relationship, a power distribution, a power matrix that is equitable.

And so the only way to do this is to cheat and to triangulate.

That's the second motivation.

The third motivation is of course to cater, to unmet emotional and sexual needs.

In such couples usually there is a deprivation of needs. There is a deficiency in fulfilling needs.

And so the cheating and the triangulation are short-term fixes. It's like self-medication with the bodies of other people.

And once self-esteem had been boosted, attention had been given, compassion and affection had been afforded, there's no need for the external partners anymore. They are used and discarded.

Now the party, the cheating party is ready to revert, to return to the primary sick relationship.

And finally, and perhaps most importantly, the fourth reason people in such relationships cheat, such dysfunctional relationships, why people cheat and why people triangulate is to affirm, to confirm, to buttress an internalized bad object.

The bad object actually is the disparaging partner's point of view in such relationships where mutual sickness is self-reinforcing and other reinforcing, where archaic wounds resonateto use the phraseology of Sigmund Freud and Johann Lachkara, the v-spot, the vulnerability spot.

In these couples where the main activity is to wound each other where it most hurts, the main activity is to re-traumatize the other partner, to remind the other partner of early childhood traumas.

The main activity in these couples is to destroy each other, to gratify each other's self-destructiveness and self-defeat.

So in these couples, the partners give each other drugs or they cheat on each other ostentatiously and visibly. They do things to destroy the other partner.

And so the message given to each other in such couples isyou're a bad object, you're unlovable, you're deserving only of pain.

And it reaffirms early childhood traumas where pain was connected to love, pain inflicted by parents who were supposed to love.

Children who grow up in such families learn to identify love with pain.

And when pain is absent, they believe that they are not being loved.

So such children when they grow up and become adults, they would try to provoke the partner to hurt them so that they feel loved.

They misidentify pain with love and where pain is missing, they go seeking for it.

They go hunting for it. They go provoking it.

And so these dynamics are seriously, seriously sick.

And one of the reasons for cheating and triangulation is to confirm to the other partner, yes, I am a bad object.

I am corrupt. I am a whore. I am unreliable. I am untrustworthy. I am a liar. I am deceitful and hurtful and hateful and bad for you.

Exactly as you said, you are right. I'm confirming your point of view, dear partner.

So cheating and triangulation is a form of sexual self-trashing. It's a form of self-destruction. It's a form of self-punishment for being a bad object.

Such promiscuous, unboundaried and sexually self-trashing behaviors typically follow a period of loyal faithfulness.

All relationships, all of these six relationships start actually with a period of love bombing and extreme faithfulness. All other men and all other women cease to exist.

The focus is intense, laser-like. There's only one person in the world. He is my life. She is my world.

So there's an exclusion of all others in every meaningful way.

And so initially these relationships, which are essentially destructive shared fantasies or shared fantasies of destruction, in these relationships they start with extreme loyalty, sexual loyalty, romantic loyalty and emotional loyalty to the partner.

Total faithfulness, no strain, no cheating, no triangulation, not even contemplating another person.

But then this is met with traumatizing rejection, with abandonment, with ostentatious cheating and infidelity by the partner.

And all hell breaks loose.

Once the initial phase of faithfulness and loyalty is disrupted by one of the partners, both of them descend into dysfunctional, sick, hurtful behaviors, behaviors which are intended to damage both the other partner and oneself.

And whenever such people are offered intimacy by their partners in crime, so they cheat with other people, and when these other people offer them intimacy, this shocks them.

For example, if they cheat with someone and then someone would say, "Stay longer. Sleep over. Let's meet again." This is an offer of connection. This is an offer of intimacy. This is potential for a new relationship.

So when these external partners actually try to capitalize on the cheating or the triangulation, to start a relationship or somehow to render the whole interaction more human, an intimate, the cheater reacts aggressively. She or he, they recoil. They hurry back to the primary partner to reaffirm the dysfunctional bond.

So the dynamic is this.

In destructive, in shared fantasies which revolve around destruction, self-destruction and other destruction, in these shared fantasies, both partners cheat and triangulate.

They cheat and triangulate, of course, with external partners, with others, extra-diadic partners.

When these external partners, when these other people outside the couple want to push the relationship further, they want to move from a one-night stand to a potential relationship. They want the cheater to sleep over. They want to meet again, etc.

The cheater panics. She recoils. She becomes aggressive. She runs away. She blocks the external partners. She hurries back to her primary partner because her primary partner is her only partner.

The external partners, the men and women who she uses or he uses to cheat with, these are mere instruments. These are objects. In sick relationships, when either of the two partners cheat, they cheat with others by instrumentalizing them, by objectifying them. They use bodies of other people. It's like they cheat with someone in order to regain the primary partner, in order to regain the love and affection that they have had at the beginning of the relationship.

They don't care about the people they cheat with. The people which they cheat with are instruments. They're objects. They're nobodies. They're nothing. They're meaningless.

And even if these people are actually good, they try to start a relationship or go further, this will never happen because the cheating and triangulation are not about the primary partner. The cheating and triangulation are for the sake of the primary partner. The cheating and triangulation are a message to the primary partner.

Very oftenI cry for help, signal of distress. "Look, look at me. You caused me so much pain that I now have to trash myself sexually with someone I don't even like. And I'm doing it and it makes me feel guilty and ashamed. And I regret it and I hate it, but I have to do it. I have to do it because I have to take revenge or because I have to rebalance the power matrix, the power grid in our relationship, or because you caused me so much pain and I want to cause you pain in return, or because I just need you. I just need you to love me again."

So this is all about the primary partner.


And so the people who serve as instruments or objects in the cheating process and in the triangulation process, not always, but often feel used and abused, they feel bad about what's happening. They feel that they somehow were co-opted into a theater play, which is not their own. They feel that there were tools in every possible sense of the word. They feel that they were kind of unwilling participants in someone else's script. They realize that they've been somehow used to reestablish and resuscitate another person's relationship and they feel really, really bad about it.

Such a relationship dynamic in these couples is also conducive to an inversion of traditional stereotypical gender roles.

Women in such relationships become sexually predatory as they keep hunting for men to cheat with.

And they cheat with these men not because they're looking for a relationship. They cheat with these men, usually one time, to signal something to the partner so they become heartless. They become hard and cold and predatory and hateful of men. They become very men-like in their psychosexuality. They become goal-oriented. They are focused on the sex and eliminate any hint of motion or connection. They become very masculine in the traditional stereotypical sense of the word.

Men in such sick relationships similarly become more feminine. They become more dysregulated, emotionally dysregulated, for example, by the cheating and the triangulation of the other partner.

So the partners in these sick, dysfunctional relationships induce in each other a gender role reversion or inversion.

The female side becomes more masculine, the male side becomes more feminine, but not in the good sense of the word.

They become more psychopathically masculine and more dysregulated feminine.

The sicknesses or the pathologies of both genders permeate, pervade and invade such relationships via the acts of cheating, hurting each other, causing pain, triangulation and so on.

And this is especially with the case when both parties have mommy or daddy issues.

Unconsciously they are actually trying to emulate and imitate the abuser.

A woman who had been abused by her father, a woman who had witnessed her father abusing women, she would want to become her father. She would want to have sex with men the same way her father had sex with women. She would vow to herself.

I would never be abused. I would become the abuser.

If someone hurts me, I'm going to hurt back. If someone causes me pain, I'm going to cause ten times the pain. I'm going to do it ostentatiously, visibly and cruelly.

She becomes an abusive man.

Similarly, a man who has been exposed to a dead mother, an absent, selfish, instrumentalizing, parentifying, depressive mother, for example, absent mother, such a man would have mommy issues and he would tend to react with extreme dysregulation to the pain inflicted on him by a female, a mother figure.

So mommy and daddy issues are provoked in such couples by the cheating and the dysregulation.


Okay, let's talk now about the narcissists.

Why do narcissists cheat on their spouses? Why do they commit adultery? Why do they have extramarital affairs and liaisons?

The answer is not as simple as it sounds.

As opposed to, let's say, typical people, normal people, healthy people, who are presented with opportunities to cheat and succumb to temptation.

It's a normal process.

With narcissists, as usual, the picture is much more complex.

Some narcissists cheat or triangulate because they're simply looking for narcissistic supply.

The somatic narcissist, for example, he resorts to serial sexual conquest because this is his narcissistic supply.

Second reason is that exactly like psychopaths, narcissists are easily bored. They have a low boredom threshold. They're novelty seekers. They need new things all the time. They have a low tolerance for boredom.

Sexual dalliances alleviate this nagging and frustrating and weak.

The quest for novelty, for diversions and thrills, the kind of having a vacation for one's own life, is combined with a journey of self-exploration and discovery that involves filling in the gaps, self-actualization, self-realization and fulfillment in the narcissist's biography.

The narcissist has a kind of missed childhood and delayed or arrested adolescence. They tend to recycle old flames and so on and so forth in order to discover new aspects of their personality.

To cut a long story short, cheating in the narcissist's case is often an attempt at separation and individuation from the primary partner.


Number three, narcissists maintain an island of stability and a focus of stability in their lives but all the other dimensions of their existence are chaotic, unstable and unpredictable. This is what I call the twister formation and it serves many emotional needs and I discuss all this in other videos.

A narcissist, for example, may be a model employee. He may climb through the corporate ladder and after 40 years become the chief executive officer of a company, stable in the same company, Desi's Island of Stability, the pursuit of a career path over decades.

But at the same time, he would cheat on his wife like a hundred times and he would fritter the savings away and he would have dalliances and liaisons and affairs and just wonder his hands and so on, almost like a sex addict.

So the narcissist is an island of stability surrounded by a roiling ocean of instability.

It could be the reverseof course.

There are many narcissists who are actually faithful, faithful to a fault, faithful even in the face of abuse, extreme abuse, faithful even in the face of sex denial and sex withholding by a partner.

And so this is their island of stability.


The fourth reason narcissists cheat and triangulate is that they feel superior, important, unique and therefore they're entitled. They're entitled to special treatment but they're also entitled to be above the law, above social conventions. They have a right to engage in behaviors that are frowned upon by society and considered socially unacceptable to others. Others are lower level humans.

The narcissist is superhuman and he has the right to behave in any way he wishes.

Narcissists reject, vehemently resent all limitations and conditions placed upon them but their partners.

He will not tell me what to do. I'm a free man or woman. I will do whatever I want.

Narcissists act on their impulses and on their desires, unencumbered by social conventions and strictions.

In Freudian terms we would say that narcissists and psychopaths are 100% id, 0% ego, not superego.


The fifth reason for cheating by narcissists and triangulation by narcissists, the fifth reason is a bit more complex and a bit deeper.

It has to do with social trends, social dynamics and social structures.

Marriage, monogamy and childbearing and rearing are common activities. They characterize the average person. Everyone and his dog gets married and have children sometimes.

So this is like a common act.

The narcissist feels robbed of his uniqueness by these pursuits. He feels that he's coerced into a relationship. He feels that by having, by being loyal or by being faithful, he's actually succumbing, is giving up his rights. He feels that he's being reduced to the lowest common denominator, is becoming just an average Joe when actually he's godlike. So husband, father, loyal partner, that's for other people. That's for the voipaloi. That's for the great unwashed. That's for the common sheep or sheeple.

The narcissist is above all that. He should never be subjected to these demands. They reduce him. They minimize him, these requirements, these social conventions. It's not okay.

Narcissistic injury.

To tell the narcissist you shouldn't cheat, it's not okay. No one does this. It's narcissistic injury because no one does this. No one because they're average. They're stupid. They're common.

The narcissist is almost perfect. So it leads him to rebel and reassert his superiority and specialness by maintaining extra dyadic sex.

The sex reason is that narcissists are control freaks. Having a relationship implies a give and take. It involves negotiation. It involves compromise and honest communication. A train of compromises which the narcissist acutely interprets to mean a loss of control over his life.

When you compromise with someone, when you negotiate with someone, when you're forced to listen to someone, you're giving up control to some extent. You're kind of at the mercy of your interlocutor or partner.

Narcissist would have none of this. To reassert control, the narcissist initiates other relationships, other encounters, sexual and emotional in which he dictates the terms of engagement, love affairs, one night stands, whichever the case may be. It's a sense of liberation. It's a sense of self-control. I'm doing exactly what I want. No one will ever tell me what to do.


And finally, narcissist is of course a terrified of intimacy. They have an insecure attachment style. Their behavior is best characterized by what Freud called approach avoidance repetition compulsion, Diathesis in Adlerian terms.

Adultery is an excellent tool in the attempt to retard intimacy, to inhibit intimacy, to destroy intimacy.

When you cheat, when you triangulate, it's very difficult to rebuild and reconstruct the ruined intimacy.

And so as far as the narcissist is concerned, cheating, adultery, triangulation are less threatening modes of interaction. They are fuzzy, they're open-ended.

There's always an exit strategy. It can always run away.

Narcissism is about running away, running away from your internal reality and running away from any external reality that reminds you of your internal reality.

Narcissists typically claim that they have cheated in order to put the spark back into the relation with the spouse or the primary intimate partner.

Say, I did this to put some spice into the relationship, to reignite it somehow.

Of course, they leave it unclear. They don't clarify how an act of betrayal and faithlessness can rekindle the ambience of a relationship founded initially on trust and sexual and emotional exclusivity.

This is left conveniently unsaid.

In the wake of an affair, the narcissist possesses the perfect alibi.

If he does try to revive his sex life with his spouse and he fails, he can proudly claim, I left no stone unturned. I even went as far as cheating on my partner, all in order to resurrect our bond.

And if he doesn't try to reanimate his sex life with his spouse, he turns it around and he says, this is proof that the relationship was doomed and dead to start with.

And what I did was therefore not cheating. I was actually forced to seek sexual and emotional alternatives by the dead weight of this relationship.


There are two types of triangulation using a festival to define triangulation.

Triangulation is when you use a third party to manage the emotional intimacy and transactional aspects of a primary relationship.

You can use a third party in any way. You can flirt with third party. You can even have sex with a third party.

These are all forms of triangulation.

If the third party is merely an instrument and an object, if there are no emotions or attachment or bonding or connection involved.

So this is triangulation.

There are two types of triangulation, breakup triangulation and restorative triangulation.

Breakup triangulation involves overt and ostentatious cheating one way or another with a third party in conjunction with other egregious misbehavior.

For example, humiliating your primary partner in public.

The aim of breakup triangulation is to irrevocably break up with your current partner. It's like escalating misbehavior to the point that your primary partner will initiate a breakup and you will feel blameless.

So why triangulaterather than outright terminate?

There are many reasons.

Myriad.

Revenge, rage, community property, inability to let go, codependency, restoring the cheaters' self-esteem, feeling desirable and alive again, obtaining saccord and results intimacy or uncertainty about one's true wishes.

All these are reasons for triangulating.

But usually it is simply the desire to cast one's mate as the villain who ended the relationship.

Because it's very difficult to take responsibility for ending a relationship. More difficult than you think.

About 69% of all divorces in the United States are initiated by women.

And yet most of these women claim to have been traumatized by the breakup itself.

Many people, especially dysfunctional people, abusive people, mentally, they want the partner to do it. They want to push the partner to the point of no return. The partner would say, "Well, we can't be together anymore. It's a deal breaker. What you have done, there's no going back. I cannot forget it or forgive it.

They want to say, "My partner was insanely jealous. It was a slip- up and he made a mountain out of a molehill. He is not magnanimous, not empathic enough to forgive me and to understand what had happened in my motivations.

This is the breakup triangulation.

Restorative triangulation has the exact opposite goal, to revive the relationship by provoking an emotional response in the jilted partner, in the injured partner, in the partner you deceive and you betray.

Such triangulation involves the mere favorable mention of another person, hence it's possible misconduct or compromising circumstances, or at the maximum aggressive flirting and maybe non-penetrative sex acts such as kissing, petting, making out, hugging, or oral sex.

Triangulation is a lost resort. It's a risky strategy. It often escalates counter-productively into sexual assault by the recruited third party. It sometimes results in extreme reaction by the offended partner who chooses to discard an unfaithful, disrespectful, narcissistic, and disempathic counterparty.

Soit's a Russian roulette. It's a game that can end badly.

Triangulation using a third party to provoke jealousy in, garner attention from, or punish one's intimate partner very often goes awry and ends badly.

The third party, as I mentioned, can sexually assault the triangulator or the targeted intimate partner, can walk away from the whole manipulative scene, etc.

These are outcomes, these are adverse outcomes that few triangulators consider because most of them have problems with impulse control.

Many of them are borderlines and they act out. It's a kind of psychopathic state.

I don't care about the consequences. I'm not thinking about my partner. I have my needs. I want it now. There's only a tunnel vision. There's no future and no past and no attachment and no bonding and no memory and no credit.

It's all about the here and now. It's malignant mindfulness.

Most triangulators are impulsive. Most triangulators are defiant.

Actuallyit's good reason to believe that cheaters and serial cheaters, habitual cheaters and triangulators, habitual triangulators are probably subclinical psychopaths.

Many of them have unrestricted social sexuality. They have no problem to sleep with strangers. They externalize their own dysregulated negative emotions which often overwhelm them.

Their thinking is short term. Their empathy is gone.

And so they're often shocked by the consequences of their own misbehavior.

I don't know, being raped by a nice guy, break up with a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend, pain they had inflicted which went way beyond what they had intended.

Things especially cascade and escalate out of controlif all the parties involved are immature and narcissistic, callous and exploitative.

What starts as a mere flirtation ends up being a deleterious power play to the point of no return for everyone involved.

Don't think you can control this dynamic. It's out of your hands the minute you misbehave.

When it comes to sexual assault, for example, there are no safe men. On the contrary, most sexual transgressions are committed by male friends or brothers or colleagues or acquaintances.

This is because men misinterpret all female behavior as sexually inviting. This is called the sexual overperception bias.

All men respond aggressively to teasing, overt flirting and signaling with no continuation. All men use sex to communicate, to comfort, to console, to protect, to commiserate, to hold. All men are preoccupied with possessing the woman and competing with other men, often poaching her from her boyfriend or husband.

These are all dynamics that can go awry.

But coming back full circle, when one or both parties are mentally ill, none of these matters. None of these matters.

They just go about hurting each other, damaging and injuring each other, trying to provoke the other to love dysfunctionally by causing pain, because love is pain and pain is control. And control is guaranteed against abandonment.

And so these men and women go around, cheat, multiply, triangulate with many other people, treating them as instruments and objects, end up in hairy situations, end up destroying each other, and yet can't let gotrauma bonding. Just can't let go.

And in their wake, there is a trail of people who have been equally hurt by these mini affairs and flings and one-night stands. People who are instruments and tools in the game of chess between the cheater and his or her primary per.

your poems.

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The text discusses the aftermath of narcissistic abuse and provides a four-stage process for self-parenting and healing. It emphasizes the importance of seeing oneself, creating boundaries with the internal parental figure, being one's own secure base, and reintegrating with reality. It also highlights the significance of self-love based on self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-trust, and self-efficacy. The overall focus is on reclaiming one's identity and well-being after narcissistic abuse.


Impersonal Triangulation

Triangulation is not limited to romantic relationships and can involve any introduction of a third party into what should have been a dyadic relationship. Triangulating partners choose any third party who is perceived as available, and when there is no specific third party, they resort to generalized triangulation statements. Triangulation can occur with an imaginary third party in a fantasy or can be based solely on speech acts, verbal triangulation. Triangulation is usually short-lived and involves a form of gaslighting because it's not real or truthful.


Love Your Narcissist? Make Him Stay, Depend on You (Tips, Resolutions)

In a relationship with a narcissist, it is important to know what not to do and what to do to maintain the relationship. Avoid disagreeing, contradicting, or criticizing the narcissist, and never offer intimacy or challenge their self-image. To make the narcissist dependent on you, listen attentively, agree with everything they say, offer something unique, be patient, and be emotionally and financially independent. It is also crucial to know yourself and set personal boundaries, treating yourself with dignity and demanding respect from others. If the relationship becomes abusive, consider going no-contact and ending the relationship for your own well-being.

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