How to Deal with a “Kind” Narcissist


how to deal with a kind narcissist

There are various types of narcissists that exists, but did you know about the “kind” narcissist? Here’s how to deal with a kind narcissist and avoid them at all costs.

At first, the kind narcissist seems like a generous, attentive person. Trouble arises once more is asked of them than they want to give. It’s the same insidious selfishness and entitlement as regular narcissism, tucked inside a nice guy façade.


At first, the kind narcissist seems like a generous, attentive person.
Trouble arises once more is asked of them than they want to give.
It’s the same insidious selfishness and entitlement as regular narcissism, tucked inside a nice guy façade.

The kind narcissist sees themselves as good person. Often, they appear steady and good-natured. They are popular and well thought of. The trouble arises once more is asked of them than they want to give.

This instinct to preserve their time, autonomy, or affections is not based on what’s fair or necessary but instead on their feelings of entitlement about how much (or little) should be asked of them. This sense of entitlement differs from healthy boundaries and self-esteem because they both refuse to take anyone else into account and believe they are entitled to love, respect, and goodwill, no matter the pain and frustration caused to those around them. It’s the same insidious selfishness and entitlement as regular narcissism, tucked inside a nice guy façade.

What Is A “Kind Narcissist”?

Kind narcissistic behavior often looks like the following: not doing one’s share of housework, insisting that their work responsibilities always take precedence over yours, resistance to spending time with people or activities that are more important to you than to them, and reluctance to spend money on things important to you while insisting on big-ticket items that they value.

One glaring example of this was a friend of mine, who before her divorce had a kitchen with no working appliances and cabinet doors falling off their hinges. Her husband insisted there was no money for repairs and then spent over $100,000 on a new truck just because he wanted to.

How To Deal With A Kind Narcissist

In a work environment, this might be someone who never steps up their output or productivity, no matter how dire the need to do so, and happily allows their colleagues to take up the slack. They might be the sibling who acts concerned about the welfare of an elderly parent while resisting any real contribution to that parent’s care. If you push back on this behavior, you’ll be met with wounded eyes, defensiveness, and an accusation that “No matter what I do, you’re never happy.”

But where a kind narcissist is really exposed, unsurprisingly, is during long-term romantic partnerships. Especially after children. It’s hard to imagine a life experience better designed to put pressure on the system than having a baby. While the kind narcissist’s self-centeredness can often be masked in the beginning phases of a relationship or before there are any heavy responsibilities or tough times, eventually, the wheels come off.

Related: 7 Subtle Signs You Are Dealing With A Dangerous Person

Kind Narcissists In Relationships

How to Deal with a Kind Narcissist

Consider Jack and Meredith, who came to me after Meredith told Jack she wanted to divorce. When they came to my office, Jack looked shaken and fearful—like he’d just emerged from a car wreck. Meredith was calm and poised and radiated a cool detachment. They’d been together for eight years and had two young children.

They’d met in graduate school, and Meredith had immediately been taken by Jack’s sunny, generous demeanor. “He always seemed like the first guy to jump in and help out. I thought he’d be an amazing partner. All everyone says about Jack is how nice he is, what a great dad, that I’m so lucky to have him. But it’s for show. He does exactly what he wants to do and doesn’t lift a finger otherwise. I’m exhausted, and I’m done.”

Two weeks earlier, Jack came home after spending the day playing baseball with friends. Meredith was in the kitchen making dinner, both kids at her feet. She asked Jack to take the kids while she finished up. Jack agreed but said he wanted to change his clothes first. Fifteen minutes later, he still hadn’t emerged.

Related: 40 Red Flags That Point Towards A Toxic Relationship

In the kitchen, Meredith was draining pasta, holding their toddlers out of the way of the boiling water, putting her body between the kids and the sink. When she turned back around, both kids were covered in marinara sauce. “I cleaned up the kids, and I knew that Jack was just in the bedroom, laying on the bed, looking at his phone, ignoring the chaos in the kitchen. And suddenly, I knew that this was never going to change. I don’t want to be in this marriage anymore.”

Jack admitted he had been lying on the bed, scrolling through his phone. “I needed a minute to unwind from my day.” He also admitted that this was a pattern. “I know I leave most everything to Meredith, and I don’t really know why. It just seems like she’s fine.” He felt it was deeply unfair how quickly Meredith turned cold: “It’s like a light switch was flipped.” He knew she’d been upset, knew she wanted him to be a better partner. And yet, now that she was prepared to leave, he was genuinely shocked.

In the many, many earlier iterations of conversations, discussions, arguments, and finally fights where Meredith would state her unhappiness and ask for change, Jack wasn’t listening—he was “turtling.” Turtling is a term that video gamers use to describe players who defend themselves by going into a fixed position to avoid conflict.

In their relationship, when Meredith was upset, Jack would “turtle,” retracting into his shell until the storm had passed. Then he’d stick his head back out and resume operating as usual. In truth, Jack didn’t really understand how upset Meredith was. Because he hadn’t been paying much attention to her at all. Jack focused on Jack.

Now that he was paying attention, he was panicking at the thought of Meredith leaving him. He turned to her and said, “I love you. I want to stay together. I’ll do anything not to lose you.”

We started to talk about how Jack could regain her trust. Meredith began to lay out what she needed to see from him. Jack started to bristle almost immediately. “I’ll do that, but what do I get in return?” he asked. “I can’t feel like you’re judging me all the time and like you get to call all the shots.” He turned to me, “A good marriage is supposed to be 50/50, right?”

This is classic kind narcissist behavior. He says all the right things and seems contrite and ready to make a change. But he can’t stop thinking about his end of the deal. Meredith realized that to get Jack to step up, she’d basically have to constantly be threatening to leave, and that’s not the partnership she wanted. She had to accept that Jack looked great from a distance but not up close.

Did you find this interesting? Share your thoughts and experiences on how to deal with a kind narcissist in the comments below.

Written by: Tonya Lester
Originally appeared on: Psychology Today
Republished with permission
Want more? Check out Tonya's Instagram: @tonyalesterpsychotherapy 
how to deal with a kind narcissist pinex
how to deal with a kind narcissist pin

— Share —

— About the Author —

Up Next

The Narcissistic Stare: How A Narcissist Uses Stare To Control You and 5 Ways To Protect Yourself

Narcissistic Stare | Why Do Narcissists Stare? Coping Tips

The human gaze holds immense power, capable of expressing emotions, desires, and even hidden intentions. Among the many intriguing forms of eye contact, the narcissistic stare stands out as an enigmatic phenomenon that both fascinates and perplexes. 

But what is the narcissistic stare? Well, have you ever encountered someone whose gaze seemed to penetrate your very soul, leaving you feeling exposed and uncomfortable? 

Let us delve into this fascinating concept, exploring what is the narcissistic stare, why do narcissists stare and the different variations it takes on, including the malignant narcissist stare and the female narcissistic stare.

What is the Narcissistic Stare?

Up Next

Sociopathy Vs Narcissism: 10 Critical Differences You Need To Know

Sociopathy Vs Narcissism: Critical Differences

When we toss around the terms “sociopath” and “narcissist,” it’s usually to describe a villain in a movie or that one ex we’d rather forget. But in reality, these are complex personality disorders that go beyond just being the bad guy, which is why it’s vital to understand the differences between sociopathy vs narcissism.

Sociopaths and narcissists can be charming, intelligent, and the life of the party, which makes it tricky to spot the deeper issues. While they share some overlapping traits, like a disregard for others’ feelings, there are key differences that set them apart.

Let’s unravel these d

Up Next

5 Stages Of A Narcissistic Relationship (And How To Escape Their Trap)

Stages Of A Narcissistic Relationship: Toxic Cycle

From euphoria to despair, the toxic relationship cycle leaves lasting scars. Learn the stages of a narcissistic relationship to protect yourself from the emotional rollercoaster and avoid lasting trauma.

Narcissistic relationships often go through a painful cycle that is a predictable outgrowth of narcissistic personality disorder. Central to understanding a narcissist’s behavior is that their relationships are transactional.

Their impaired boundaries and lack of empathy prevent them from seeing other people as separate three-dimensional beings with needs and feelings of their own.

Up Next

Disenchanted Childhood: The Effects Of Self Centered Parenting on Children

The Harmful Effects Of Self Centered Parenting on Children

When you are on the opposite side of self centered parenting, it can have far-reaching effects on you and your psyche. Growing up with selfish parents can take a heavy toll on your mental and emotional health, and these effects can be felt even when you are an adult.


Self absorbed parents create role-reversed relationships with their children in which the child psychologically caters to the parent.

Children show psychological responses to selfish parents depending upon the child’s personality.

Some children acquiesce to self-focused parents’ demands, while ot

Up Next

Why Are We Attracted to Self Absorbed People? Unpacking the Appeal

Why We Are Attracted To Self Absorbed People: Insights

Being attracted to self absorbed people happens more often than you would believe. What is it about them that attracts us? Being attracted to self centered people is bad for us but still we find it hard to resist them. Let’s find out why.


Self centered people can immediately attract others with visual and auditory cues.

Initial positive attractions to self focused people do not hold up over time.

People attracted to narcissistic people possess their own distinctive traits.


Up Next

Dealing With A Narcissistic Parent: 5 Steps That Can Help Children Cope With One

Dealing With A Narcissistic Parent: Things Children Can Do

How to deal with a narcissistic parent? Communicating with a narcissistic parent or living with a narcissistic parent is without a doubt, one of the hardest and emotionally draining things a person can do, and even more so, when it’s their child. This post is going to talk about what it entails when it comes to dealing with a narcissistic parent.


Non-narcissistic parents can take specific steps to help children attain emotional health and coping skills.

Goals are to decrease role-reversal, increase assertiveness, and decrease enmeshment.

A new coping skill inc

Up Next

8 Signs Of A Toxic Sister In Law And The Best Ways To Handle Her

Signs Of A Toxic Sister In Law And How To Handle Her

Navigating family relationships can be as tranquil as a serene lake on a calm day or as tumultuous as the ocean during a storm. When it comes to in-laws, the waters can get particularly choppy, especially if you identify the signs of a toxic sister in law.

This relationship is peculiar; it’s not one you chose, like a friendship, nor is it one you’re born into, like a sibling. Instead, it’s a bond formed by marriage, which sometimes means the rules of engagement can be confusing and the boundary lines blurry.

At the heart of the family dynamic, sisters-in-law can be a source of great joy and camaraderie, or, u