I need some help recalibrating how I interact with someone who is profoundly self-centered (ranging from insensitivity to my feelings to arguably deliberately "using" me). Assuming that I must keep this person in my life, what are some things I can do to feel more empowered and more at peace with the balance between us?
For better or worse, I am naturally a very empathetic, giving person. "Joe" is just plain not. I'm loath to armchair diagnose, but if it helps as shorthand, he demonstrates many behaviors associated with Narcissistic Personality Disorder
. I've known him for years and I understand that Who He Is will not change... but I realize that the time has come for ME to change: how I think of him, react to him, compartmentalize what he says/does, get more value for ME out of him, and otherwise approach our interactions.
I really just want to be more calm, feel more in control, not let him get to me so freaking much, and better look out for myself since I know that he will not.
Can you suggest any tactics, rules of thumb, proactive boundary-setting statements, measured responses, internal mantras, etc. that might help?