How to “Beat” a Narcissist?

Are there effective strategies for beating a narcissist at his (or her) games? Yes! You need to be able to distance emotionally (don’t let your emotions get to you), anticipate his next move and then strike back. You can do this by using the narcissist’s own narcissism against them to achieve your own goals.

To get what you want from them:

There are many ways to use a narcissist’s traits/behaviors to achieve your own goals if you are creative and don’t mind manipulating them back. To name a few:

1. Play to his ego– Get him to want to play act being a loving husband or father or etc. by laying the compliments on thick (without any sarcasm in your voice).

2. Play to his sense of entitlement and feeling that he is “special”– Don’t demand or ask if you want a better school for your children or a new set of luggage. Instead, casually ‘happen to mention’ things like, “Wow. It looks like the most intelligent people are sending their children to such and such school” or “Gee, the best looking travelers all have [name brand] luggage”.

3. Play to his jealousy (be careful using this one- don’t use this to make him jealous, but to have others jealous of him)–“Boy, would everyone be jealous if we had [name brand] luggage”. Or the car you want or the shirt and tie you want him to wear.

4. Admiration and praise will get you everywhere. They are like a drug to him- he craves it. ALWAYS apply flattery before you suggest something you’d like him to do for you.

5. Convince him that giving you what you want reflects well on him. Narcissists are infamous for their concern with outward appearances. For example, telling him that having a certain car (that you want) in the driveway makes him look really successful to the neighbors or etc.

To put them down/seek retribution:

If you know a narcissist well enough, you will know his weakest spot. It is some aspect of himself that he hides from the world. It could be something about his looks, some trophy he has never managed to win, a fear of being average or not intelligent enough, etc. Publicly expose his weak spot. For example, if you calmly state that his proudest achievement or characteristic is really common/ordinary, it will cause a narcissistic injury and threat to his grandiose self perception. Lowering his status in the eyes of people he is trying to impress is one of the greatest acts of revenge you can exact on a narcissist.

But be forewarned: it could be dangerous to distress them like that. Narcissists can have an astonishing degree of rage and it is often not under their control. They may turn their narcissistic rage against you. You should always be careful when exposing or confronting them in any way. They could retort with verbal, emotional or even physical abuse.

What if it is your boss?

You can’t beat a narcissistic boss if you want to continue working for him. However, you can learn to be a better player in his games:

  • Be clear about what the rules are.
  • Define your limits and boundaries
  • Never assume anything
  • Put everything in writing and get everything from the boss in writing
  • If you want to initiate something new, make them think it’s their idea
  • Offer sincere flattery- frequently
  • If you don’t agree with something and want it changed, you need to show them that it will have negative consequences for them – not that it is something wrong or unethical — but that it will actually be bad for them
  • Never give criticism, even if it is constructive (see below under Never Criticize a Narcissist). For example, if a narcissistic boss has what you perceive as a really lame suggestion, don’t tell him you think it’s a dumb idea or correct him with a better idea. Sometimes if you repeat the idea back to him-using a neutral tone with no sarcasm- he will tell you it’s a bad idea. “Oh, okay (agree with him first).You want me to take the blueprint down the street to The Copy Store and wait for a copy to be made.” (You are the General Manager and have several other meetings you need to go to and there are several assistants in the office).

How to cope with a narcissist:

If you have to work with a narcissist or are in a relationship where you cannot, or choose not, to break free, then understanding and accepting the following will be essential to your survival:

Narcissists promise the world but give you only a plot of dirt.  Despite their extravagant promises, it is crucial to have low expectations for what they will actually deliver or you will end up perpetually disappointed. Narcissists give just the minimum necessary to sustain your association with them. The promises and even low level delivery will end abruptly as soon as you no longer serve a purpose for them. Keep in mind that anything they DO deliver you will pay dearly for—in some shape or form.

Narcissists Don’t Like You, Care About You, or Are Your Friend. When a narcissist wants to be friends with you- watch out- he is really engaged in obtaining Narcissistic Supply or you have something he values and he wants to have it remain available to him. He is simply waiting to use you. Never delude yourself into believing the narcissist enjoys your company. He wants you to feel “special” so that he can use you at his discretion.

Never Criticize A Narcissist. Never, ever criticize a narcissist that you intend to keep around. If you must give constructive criticism, present it as mild praise. When you criticize a narcissist –despite it being the truth or constructive— you inflict a narcissistic injury and could easily become the object of his narcissistic rage.

Never Ignore A Narcissist. If you are involved with a narcissist, either at home or at work, you will be expected to respond immediately to his or her demands or you will incur their wrath (think Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada). Learn to work around the narcissist’s demands without stirring his anger. Give vague responses such as, “Sounds good to me” which sound as if you are going to act immediately but don’t put you in the spot of committing to immediacy.

Don’t Defend a Put-Down
When someone puts you down or makes a condescending comment, the normal response is to defend yourself or strike back. That response just fuels the fire for a narcissist. They have become masters at making others look inferior so that they can feel superior. If you can’t ignore the comment, put the focus back on them by labeling what they are doing.  For example in that situation you could respond with, “That sounded like a put-down” and then wait for them to respond back. The key here is they don’t want to” look bad” so this will create an uncomfortable situation they will try to squirm out of. You may have to repeat your response, but they will eventually change their comment to something more socially acceptable. To continue that example, they might reply, “I wasn’t putting you down… I was just making a suggestion”. At that point you politely thank them for the suggestion.

In general, don’t react to what the person is saying, but comment on how they are saying it and how they are coming across.

References

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenberglas/2012/05/21/5-ways-to-thwart-a-narcissists-most-pernicious-propensity-setting-you-up-then-shooting-you-down/2/

http://www.ivanhoe.com/channels/p_channelstory.cfm?storyid=15472

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About Alexander Burgemeester

12 Responses to “How to “Beat” a Narcissist?”

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  1. Morbid Jealousy Help says:

    I am currently in a very abusive relationship. My husband which I have self diagnosed him through internet research, is a classic morbid jealousy/delusional jealousy with other schizophrenic and obsessive tendencies. I am at the point where I am literally fearful of my life to leave him, and I don’t want my leaving to affect the children as they are very attached to him. He is a wonderful father, but horrible husband. My children are small and will eventually be able to realize that daddy is being mean to mommy. I don’t want this. And I want to be able to live my life in peace. I’m tired of being interrogated everyday, I’m tired of being estranged from my family and friends, not being able to watch movies or TV because I’m watching because I want to look at other men, I’m tired of keeping useless receipts so I can prove where I have been, and I am tired of laying awake at night wondering what he might do to me if I fall asleep before him.

    Lately I have tried to convince him that he has a mental illness, but the only response I get is, “if you have time to be looking stuff up on the internet, then you should have left the office and came home, what else are you looking up? this is cheating talk”

    When he was in his last episode I tried to be very loving and nurturing to him, even though I wanted to really choke him, and then he gets suspicious and to why am I so lovey-dovey, who have I been around today.

    So then I try the when you act this way I ignore you routine. This was a big failure, only escalating is violent rage.

    I feel I have tried all venues, and at a lost as to what I should do.

    Please advise.

    • sal says:

      Save money. Document. Everything. And send it to safe people. Notes from work such as daily diary whatever,…. Have secret safety plans. Inform your family, his family, and your friends of what’s happening. And let your coworkers know you are to be expected at work. Use safety code words when calling in. You are and your children are in danger. You need to leave. Not just leave but prepare for being potentially stalked after you do. This guy will not stop once you leave. I wish you the best. Please. Be safe.

      • mitzi says:

        ABSOLUTELY, and gain all the strength and support you can master around you, people that are not intimated by him, others that actually believe his lies and manipulation, they might even turn against you out of support for this poor Narc. YOU ARE IN DANGER, and there are kids involved, luckily there arent in my situation. The violent rage will only escalate over time, what is first a full beating up will become broken noses, bones, legs, body….and he will stalk you, I live in a compound and during the times his rages are completely out of control, I leave and stay a few days with friends, staying is unbearable and unsafe……being loving and nurturing doesn’t get you anywhere, the love we all feel for those loved ones around us is met with aggression, manipulation, intimidation etc, I always found that the more I was loving the more respect – if any – he’d loose for me, it would be a sign of weakness….BE STRONG AND SAFE!!!

  2. aimee kat says:

    Geat post! I do have legal evidence to use against my NMother. Evidence that she abused children and allowed others to abuse her children…except not her perfect golden child- she abuses her in their own special way.My mother hits all points on the npd scale and she rages underneath her cool exterior. I am considering exposing my mother to the small community we are from. I have a file and I know the DA will pick up felony child abuse charges on her.I have only held off until I could move away to a safe pace because I know ripping off her nmask will make her rage. I just feel like I have put up with enough abuse from her. I feel someeone should stop her from abusing children! The truth is on my side…but I know the stakes messing around with someone who thinks they are a God. I have noticed dropping the hints about it has already made her go into ignore mode. I know there is a great chance she will commit perjury on the stand…as she never tells the truth. Thankfully I have outside agencies backing me. NMothers are horrible because while your simply loving them-they are messing up their childrens heads,hearts,and minds.No one is above the law…even if they think they are! Thanks for this website!

  3. Altair says:

    May god bless the work you have shown and worked for, so the people that fall under this catagory will be exposed and that justice will finally be shown to those in these sitituations with people like these narcissit.

  4. GOTTHETSHIRT says:

    Narcisists are a breed of their own, the irony being they think they are unique but there is a large band of them living secret destructive lives. The key is to break the secrecy.Their lies and shenanigans, the gas lighting and other methods of compartmentalizing their activities is all done so no one person knows the full picture.
    Break the secrecy, talk to our friends ( if the narc hasnt already isolated you from them ), realise that the rollercoater they keep you on is NOT NORMAL. You are feeding them and filling THEIR void.
    If you have children, you MUST put them first.Children of narcissists can grow into deeply damaged dysfunctional adults who cannot trust, cannot relate and can often end up in similar relationships. BREAK THE CYCLE, GET AWAY FROM THE NARC, TAKE YOUR CHILDREN!!
    Narcissism is the most insidious of personality diosorders as it takes along time to realise, if you are lucky enough to realise, that your partner is a narcissist. Its like putting a jigsaw together and when the realisation comes, its like a thunderbolt. It takes time to get away, time to rebuild but when you are physically then emotionally distanced from the narcisist, you will feel stronger, and at peace.
    The key things are TALK TO OTHERS, KEEP EVIDENCE: TEXT/DOCUMENTS/DIARIES that reflect his or her behaviours.SEEK ADVICE: from childrens agencies, refuge/ support groups, friends and family.
    AND REMEMBER: It is not your fault, they will behave like this with every partner they have, it is only a matter of time before their personality and behaviour reverts to their type, i.e that of a narcissist, everyone there to serve their needs.
    On a personal note: I was emotionally, sexually and financially abused and exploited by a narcissist. I have just taken my narcissist to court and won.The exposure is their nightmare and i dreaded gointgto court, but i am so glad i did.

    • razzleBdazzleMe says:

      GOTTHESHIRT,

      You are absolutely right. I finally jumped off of the emotional rollercoaster that was my narcissist and looking back, I realized that they are REALLY good at getting into your head and assuming whatever role you want them to play. This guy was a chef by trade, but seriously should be an actor…His performances were flawless. They draw you in, make you comfy and very slowly begin to flip the script so that their behaviors are undetectable.

      Towards the end of our relationship as the pieces began to fall together and I started the exit plan, his act got really sloppy-which was great because I got to see him fall apart. The rage thing was shocking because he was always even-tempered with me.

      Exposing the secrets, mirroring his behavior was like watching a shock therapy reality show because he had to constantly scramble to get a new game plan while trying to keep his composure, because in his world, he was perfect. I never knew how disrespectful he is to others, especially women.

      But it’s cool-I’m free, totally at peace. He attempts to contact me, but I never respond. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  5. nitro says:

    I never imagined I would ever find myself locked in w/someone afflicted mentally w/any type of disorder ever. But, looking back on past family relationships and lovers I realize that its more likely than not that I have been involved w/ppl depicting some of the behaviors mentioned above. Fast forward to present times and I’m totally convinced that my boss is a narcissit. Not just a narcissist, but a covert one. Its likely that my current love interest is on too, but in a more mild form if there’s any such thing. She’s variable and does try to accommodate me at times if I start to feel her bite too much. She is a Leo Sun w/a Leo moon and pure Leo. So some of that is likely to just be her nature. The boss though, she’s an angry and mean Scorpio. Seems to me that most Scorpios (male or female) seem to have that spoiled, selfish, false sense of seniority – its sickening. She’s the one I visit this website about. All the stuff mentioned above to beat her at her own game, did become a part of my daily run through w/her. I realized I had to lay on the compliments and flirts but shut down when she flipped the script. One minute she’d be adoring me and as soon as certain ppl come around she wants to impress or she see’s me talking to someone, she seems to get angry and begin to try and embarrass me or put me down. The mistake I make is getting angry and telling her she’s wrong for yelling & cursing at me. That’s when she goes into that speech about how she’s the boss and I’m GONNA LISTEN TO HER! After that I find myself sent home early from work and losing hours. Hey, I can be real and say she’s sexy, sassy, funny (at times) and has a nice round rump and tight thighs that make me drewl. She and I have flirted a lot in the past and apart from her flip flops, I really do like her actually. I don’t like power and control and never really cared much that I was involved w/ppl who did. I could let her have all the control she wants BUT, she has to realize that I will shaft her a!s back if she strikes the wrong nerve. I’m very patient and loyal, but there is a line and my vicious temper when its crossed. Recently we had a big argument. She assaulted me at work, the cops got called, the head office was there… it was crazy. I’m not gonna quit the job, but worry how I can sort of repair the r’ship w/her. I mean, I know the type of person she is and many people have tucked and ran. I though, have been working for her a year and learned a lot about her triggers through some of the conflicts we’ve had. I like my boss and she’s a narc. Lol! Now I just have to get us back to our flirty fun r’ship. How do I do that?

  6. orchid says:

    I tried these tips this weekend and they worked amazingly well. This has made a big difference to my life, and I thank you. I am no longer a helpless victim of narcissists. I can actually steer the conversation, and see the difference it makes. I am still learning and experimenting of course, and these are people I have low contact with usually, but they are relatives and I really do need to see them. This short column topic is one of the most useful pieces I have ever read on the internet. Keep it up. Five stars to you. And please, more like it!

  7. Rachel Cosgrove says:

    I’m a survivor of loving madly a narcissistic man, a person I loved more than anything else on earth. I survived this many years ago by moving several states away, educating myself in depth on this type of person and time.
    Imagine my shock yesterday when I realized my husband, who is the exact behavioral opposite of my Narcissistic, of eight years has turned out to ALSO be a narcissist. How is this possible? Lol. Beware of the seemingly sensitive highly emotional ‘Maladaptive Covert Narcissist.’ Horrifically destructive, but you never see that it’s them destroying you. It’s the LAST thing you would ever think. Heads up everyone! Much love. ….♡

  8. Danica Gale says:

    Great article! I’m still working on this. I get frustrated. I don’t feel narcissists are worth all this effort. I’m trying for our daughter’s sake but it’s hard!

  9. Peter says:

    I work with a vicious narcissist. She initially gained my trust when she started started talking to me. I am a very shy person and she exploited my weaknesses. I’ve known her for two years now and it been such a roller coaster. I used to think it was always my fault, that I had done something wrong for her to do the things she did. It was always about her, even when she was acting like she was showing compassion towards others including me, it was to make HER look good. If ever I tried to RETURN the favor of compassion I was DENIED, leaving me to question was I wrong to return a favor? AM I THAT dumb when it comes to relationships? It was always about seducing me—not sexually, but simply by breaking promises, however small. Indeed I was infatuated for the longest time and how foolish and naive I was. I took the bait over and over. Finally though, I started to wake up when “comparing notes” with others and things weren’t adding up. It’s almost as if she lived many different lives that she kept secret from the only one I knew. And the life she had with me was kept secret from the other lives, and so on. It’s extremely difficult to explain the type of things these people do, these malignant narcissists. Third parties can’t comprehend the victim’s point-of-views because they can’t grasp the whole picture without experiencing EVERYTHING themselves. All the hurtful lies and dishonesty, however subtle; all the emotional manipulations, the attempts to get inside my head and control me—perhaps the most hurtful of it all. The AUDACITY of this girl to think she was ENTITLED to control my emotions! As I got to know her more and more her true self became more apparent. Now I can see right through her. Every single interaction is a competition of status. It is SO draining working with her. Even if I give in and act submissive her persona becomes elitist and condescending, but ever so subtlety, the little b***!! I hope others can understand my pain but it need be experienced first hand to really know. I know that a few people at work are waking up to her ways but I feel they don’t understand near as much as I do.

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