Q & A: How Do I Shut the Narcissist Down on the Spot?

Q: I divorced my abusive narcissist five years ago. If I show up anywhere he is (stores, gas etc.) He loudly tries to talk to me like i’m a child. I do ignore him. Each time he is bolder. How do I shut him down on the spot. Can you help me.

A: Is this new behavior or has he been doing it for 5 years? Sometimes it is trial and error finding the right behavior to get him to leave you alone. For most narcissists, if you truly ignore them they do eventually go away. Sometimes it is a long wait. Up to several years in some rare cases. To truly ignore him means not replying in any way back to him, not making faces, not getting visibly annoyed, etc. If you are doing any of those types of things then you are still giving him feedback which he interprets as narcissistic supply (supply can be negative attention as well as positive). If that is the case, then you need to begin to truly ignore him-give him Nothing. Act as if he were invisible. If this is new behavior- wait it out with true ignoring and he will find his supply elsewhere. If this has been going on for 5 years, I would venture to guess that you are giving him some kind of attention perhaps through a show of embarrassment or annoyance. However, if you are truly ignoring him and have been ignoring him for 5 years…it is time to try a different tactic. Some people have found success in humiliating their ex (you have to know a real,strong insecurity of his for this to work); it has to be something that causes him to feel shame. He may react with anger initially but will avoid you in the future. Occasionally using humor to laugh AT them will work. I would love to hear other successful strategies from my readers–please write and I will post them. Note: do not try these last 2 strategies if he has ever been physically aggressive with you in the past.

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13 Responses to “Q & A: How Do I Shut the Narcissist Down on the Spot?”

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  1. sarah says:

    I just came across your website and it will probably save my sanity, so thank you!

    One question though – you mentioned in this article to either ignore or bring shame to a narcissist. Does bringing shame include calling the narcissist out on a lie and proving that they have lied?

    To be more specific – a lie proving they have tried to make it seem to others that you are trying to trick others into taking their money while im fact it is them who has stolen. Can be proven but is it worth it and will it work?

    • Alexander Burgemeester says:

      Hi Sarah, The narcissist is NEVER wrong. Even if you can prove to him that he lied, he will never admit it. Normally the Narc will find pleasure in ANY attention he will get from you; negative and positive attention. If the feeling of shame and embarrassment is strong enough, he might not get the pleasure he will normally get. I would not recommend this tactic unless the No Contact rule is really not working and if he has never been physically violent.

      • Sarah says:

        Thanks for the reply Alexander.

        I have been persuaded not to seek revenge to humiliate her, but going a bit further, I am wondering if it be advised to ask the Narcissist why they did what they did? Not to blame them, or make them hurt, but rather to ‘help’ them. The person I am referring to is my ex and she previously lied to me about a lot of things but this one is a new low and I am worried for her – she will end up alone and lonely. I mean, she currently already loves and is dating someone else but still after me…she is lying to herself and others which will catch up to her.

        I know it is bad that I care but I feel like it is my moral responsibility to ask her why and to let her know what she did was wrong. I dont want her to be alone or hurt in the end.

        To give context of the situation: Her friend owes me money, seeing that I do not have contact with her friend, my ex offered to pay me back (this was while we were dating). I recently messaged her friend telling her that I was not paid back and am being ignored in my attempts to retrieve the debt from my ex. Her friend told my ex that she already sent it and I am in fact actually trying to turn her friend against her. She knew this kind of thing would drive me nuts, and it did haha but I am over it. I am now more worried for her. The friend she lied to is her best friend. PS. I did not retaliate or contact her at all, kept the no-contact rule.

        Previous lies include – fake baby, followed by a fake abortion. I found this fact out alone, 7 months after the lie.

        I just want to know why she is doing what she is doing, and does she realize what will happen if her best friend finds out the truth. I mean, she is happy already with her current relationship and we broke up 6 months ago.

        Looking forward to your response. Thanks for your time.

    • Jan says:

      I wouldn’t recommend this tactic. As a narcissist, I know that we can be very sly, very smart, and very sneaky – we will point out every single inconsistency in the evidence that you have, and we will do so convincingly. Enough to make even /you/ doubt the validity of it. And then we will try to turn the blame around on you – we didn’t lie, you took it wrong, you misunderstood, you aren’t smart enough to get what we were saying, and so on. If you want to try this tactic, bring your A game – we can be VERY convincing, and it’s likely that we’ll try to pull you into a public forum so we can not only refute your proof, but in the process make you look like a fool in front of as many people as possible. Be careful.

      • Kay cooper says:

        Dear Jan please could you help me understand my mother’s behaviour. How is it that she can do such terrible things to her family without any conscience? Thank you.

    • Tempe says:

      Sarah — realizing that my N. is an N. was the most empowering thing that has happened in my life. Even though you may not be able to “prove” to HIM that he is wrong, know in your heart that he is wrong and you are right. You can prove nothing to him. The sooner you realize that and accept it, the happier you will be. You will always be bigger and better than he is, and you need to be COMPLETELY happy with that.

      • Audrey says:

        As a soon-to-be ex-wife of my N. or 23 years, I have spent too many years trying to convince him that he is wrong, that I have needs, that our children have needs. Guess what? Without emotion or empathy, the N. will say that he is absolutely right–in such a way that you will actually begin to doubt your own mind and believe him. All this is good N.Supply for him, but a waste of a life for me.

  2. Relieved 2 b Free says:

    This is a great article – and very important to discuss. I repeatedly told my ex narc bf to leave me alone (he split up with me but wouldn’t stop calling, texting, picking arguments and raging at me). It got so bad that I was vomiting after being subjected to a tirade of abuse.

    The cycle went on for months. I completely stopped responding to his calls, texts and emails after a particularly awful tirade and he went silent for 3 weeks – a record!!

    But then I get 1.5 hours non stop accusations and personal attacks via text.

    He is a very ‘private’ person (an artist who is very successful and loves the sychopants that surround him) and I told one of his many female admirers that we were on a break and getting married later in the year. Weird and specific but…

    HE FLIPPED… and I have heard nothing since!!! Long may it continue

    Hit them where it hurts – you have to find this out and do it.

    • Esther says:

      What a scumbag he is, honey. I’ve known one very similar, just juvenile, worthless game players whose life dreams revolve around trying to destroy others. They should all do prison time.

  3. Not her victim says:

    I have not seen the “NPD” for 10 years. I moved away. I have not initiated any form of contact with this person since a no-contact letter sent seven years ago on the advice of a lawyer, when her harassment escalated to the point where it could not be ignored. I moved again. She is still posting malicious lies about me online. I do not believe she will ever stop. I do believe the “NPD” does not diminish over time, and never will. She is a senior citizen, and she is every bit as nasty as ever. She may even have escalated her behavior. This will continue for the rest of her life. She is the product of generations of dysfunctional family dynamics, her own addictions, child abuse (to her and by her) and probable fetal alcohol spectrum. This is not cause to feel sorry for her. She is far too abusive for that. Who could ever feel sorry for someone who smirks when she’s abusing people? This is, however, an explanation of why she will never change, and why it is important to remove one’s self from the life of such a person.

    • Kay cooper says:

      Would agree totally. Whilst carrying my second baby I requested that my NPD mum allow me to open the car window as I was feeling sick (due to two people in the car smoking. She was very annoyed and made a point of smoking even more for the rest of the car trip .

  4. "R" says:

    I’m married to a Narcissist for 30 years. Two years ago, I finally hit my bottom, after an incident where I begged him to tell me WHY, and he couldn’t. And then he left on a 2 week trip we’d planned to go on together – the best thing he could have done, a gift really, because even though when he first left I was actually suicidal – I got through it and took the time to finally educate myself about what he is. Imagine yourself STILL doing what you’re doing and begging him for answers and trying to make things better … for 28 YEARS!! I finally came to the conclusion that he’d had more than enough time and was never going to change, and that I had to be the one to make changes, and so I did. Good luck to everyone on this journey.

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