One of the best ways to handle the narcissist is to not engage at all. But sometimes it is impossible. In such situations, I recommend practicing ‘deflection.’
Remember that the narcissist is after supply. It can take a variety of forms, such as attention, flattery, money, sex, etc. Often, it doesn’t even matter to them what quality that supply is as long as they feel important. They’ll relish your anger, your fear, your sadness, your frustration all the same. It means to them that they are making an impact and rattling your cage.
The narcissist wants to provoke you.
The narcissist doesn’t understand what it means to have a quality conversation that is solutions-oriented, sincere and open. Communicating with them is like walking a rocky mountain trail. One slip and you plunge into the gorge.
One of the best ways to arm yourself is to anticipate how the interaction will likely proceed. Remember, they always have to claim victory and be right. No matter the cost. If things go awry, you will be blamed. If there is a disagreement, it will likely escalate into a fight. If you manage to go as far as prove your point, get ready to be punished by a silent treatment. These are some of the paltry but nevertheless effective tools of trade in the narcissist’s bag of tricks. And they sting.
Deflection is a way to turn the poison arrows back at the narc when she attacks. And attack she will! It’s like a default setting. This form of communication will work only if it is non-defensive. I repeat: non-defensive! If they smell defence on you, they will make it seem like you’re hiding something. So you must be guilty. This is one way to skew reality.
Besides, trying to argue with a narcissist is like drinking acid and expecting to get high. Or wresting in the mud and expecting to come out sparkling clean. It will only lead to your suffering and their elation, as they gobble up the emotional grub you dish out.
So, if they accuse you of something, you don’t need to counter argue. All you can say is: ‘It’s interesting you see it this way,’ and walk away. If they rage back at you with ‘Yes! This is exactly how I see it, and I’m pissed that you don’t!’ You can calmly reply: ‘That’s your choice,’ and keep chewing your gum.
Avoid saying things like: I didn’t do/say this! I’m not what you think I am. That’s crazy! (they hate this one in particular!). I didn’t mean to… How can you think this? I only tried to help/remedy/soothe… Can’t you be fair for once? Such responses are like pouring jet fuel over the narc’s engine. It only revs them up.
Instead, try deflection statements such as these: You’re entitled to your opinion. I’m sorry you’re upset. Let’s pick this up when you calm down. If things get really heated and they try to provoke you throwing insults your way, you can simply say, ‘I don’t accept your definition of me.’
If you have any doubts whether this person giving you stomach cramps and head spins is a narcissist, try saying ‘no’ to them. This will act as the kryptonite to their measly power games and drop the mask for all to see.
Narcissists view other people as means to achieve their goals. They treat them as they’d treat a pair of running shoes. Once they’re used up, it’s no big deal to just throw them in the trash.
This is why when they finally discard a partner/friend/family member, they do it without having a second thought, let alone a sense of remorse. Typically, they have another source already lined up to take your place. Flaunting pictures of them in the company of their new supply is a form of entertainment to them. Knowing your stomach is all in knots as you see their happiness gives them immense pleasure.
This is why it is best not to stalk the narc. Once you cut contact, keep it that way. You know how hard it is to break the trauma bond. Remember that each time you look at them, reminisce or read old emails, etc. you are tearing the scab off that wound, preventing it from properly healing.
Only by consciously overwriting the positive memories that our brain forces upon us that we can break this toxic bond. The brain does this to protect you from negativity. But in this case, it is doing you a disfavor.
It will take time and a lot of repeated effort to break the trauma bond. But once the cords snap, you will feel lighter and freer than ever. Not to mention more aware and stronger from the work your put into retraining your brain. Once you cross that threshold, new landscapes will become accessible to you and new doors will crack open. You will also gave gained a momentum that can launch you into your new life.
So say ‘no’ often and with heart. Remember, no is a full sentence. If it lands on healthy ground, you will get respect. If it lands on a narc territory, you are in for a show.
The strongest and by far most effective boundary you can have with the narcissist is to limit or completely eliminate engagement. This is not always possible because some narcissists, especially the convert, charming types, can be difficult to identify right off the bat.
But take heart. Deep within you dwells a golden spring of power. Few ever fully tap it, as it requires constant vigilance and practice. But those who do, yield immense rewards. It is your intuition. Or what I like to call, your Soul GPS.
One of the easiest and fastest ways to begin to utilize it immediately, is to get in the habit of asking yourself: ‘how do I feel right now?’
In order to hone it faster, I split my meditation practice in half. First, I concentrate on one thing very intensely, such as my breath or a phrase. It’s pure mind training. In the second half, I relax my focus and scan my body decoding its messages. If my stomach feels queasy, I probe to see what kind of message it is holding for me. What am I anxious about?
If you happen to be in the vicinity of a narcissist, your body will tell you. Their underhanded criticisms concealed as jokes, concern or advice will just not sit with you well. If the feeling persists, you can be sure you are dealing with a self-absorbed, toxic person. In those moments, you can choose to pull out our shield or your sword and watch what happens.
Or you can simply walk away.
One of the greatest gifts of sharpening your intuition is that it helps you rebuild your self-trust that got damaged while you were in the throes of narcissistic abuse. Toxic people have a way of making us doubt ourselves. We enable this abuse by asking them for their opinion. Soon, we no longer consider our own feelings about things. It’s all about what they think. That’s when the trap door locks down on us.
So, don’t let an insecure, demeaning, lying, manipulative person destroy your sense of self. Armour yourself up and obliterate the artillery before it enters your sphere of influence.
The steps above are simple, but I realize they are not easy to implement for people who have been trained to ignore their hunches, tolerate pain and bend over backwards in order to please. They’ll take some practice. But once you try once and then again and see the effect, you will feel great and shift the lever of self-respect in your favor.
Time to take your life into your hands. Trust your intuition. It will guide you to recovering your tranquility after what likely was a horribly stormy season.
Wishing you empowering ninja moments out there!
I hope this post was helpful to you and look forward to meeting you in the comments. Your 👏🏻 are the rocket fuel that inspires me to keep up this work.
Feel free to share this article and spread the love.
If you are suffering from the shock of being subjected to narcissistic abuse, have a look into my FREE three-step SOS program available on my website.
Click below for a video companion to this article.