Narcissists are a resilient bunch who are less likely to feel stressed or depressed than the rest of us.
It hardly seems fair. Their actions and behavior have such a negative impact on those around them! This resilience means it can be challenging to make a narcissist feel bad.
No matter what you say, they bounce back, protected by their heightened sense of self-importance.
If you really want a narcissist to feel bad, you must understand exactly what makes them tick. You need to get under that thick skin and know which buttons to press when you get there.
In this article, I’m going to help you do just that. While explaining how a narcissist’s mind works, I’m going to give you some examples of things that will make a narcissist feel bad, penetrating them to the heart.
6 Things to Say to Make a Narcissist Feel Bad
Silence often speaks louder than words, especially with a narcissist. Saying nothing speaks volumes – it tells the narcissist you’ve had enough and that you can no longer find the words to express your feelings.
Psychologists like myself often refer to this approach as the gray rock technique. It involves becoming emotionally neutral and unresponsive – making yourself as interesting to the narcissist as a gray rock. The aim is to deprive the narcissist of the emotional reactions they seek, leaving them feeling uncomfortable and unsettled.
Let’s imagine you’ve had numerous lengthy conversations with a narcissistic colleague, but every time you open your mouth, they belittle you and undermine your achievements.
The next time you meet, you employ the gray rock technique, responding to their boastful stories with a simple nod or a non-committal response like, “I see.”
At first, the narcissist might not notice the change, but over time, they’ll likely become frustrated by your lack of emotional engagement. They might feel ignored and unimportant without the validation and attention they’re seeking.
#2 Hold them to Account
Rather than letting the narcissist get away with their manipulative behavior, hold them accountable for it.
Narcissists often rely on manipulation to exploit others and maintain their self-image, so when their tactics are exposed or challenged, it can be a blow to their ego.
Let’s say you’ve noticed your narcissistic partner constantly belittling your accomplishments in front of others. One day, you decide to address this, saying, “I’ve noticed that you sometimes undermine my achievements when we’re with friends. This makes me feel disrespected and hurt.”
By addressing the issue and setting clear boundaries, you are holding the narcissist accountable for their manipulative behavior.
In response, the narcissist feels bad because their attempts to control and manipulate you have been thwarted, and you’ve challenged their self-image as all-knowing and faultless.
#3 Just say No
Narcissists believe their needs and desires are more important than anyone else’s so saying no can challenge their sense of entitlement and control, potentially leading them to feel frustrated, angered, or even offended.
If you want to bruise a narcissist’s ego, reject their requests. Instead of giving in to pressure, put yourself first and refuse to entertain their demands.
Imagine you have a narcissistic friend who consistently asks for favors but never reciprocates or acknowledges your needs.
One day, when they ask for another favor, you assert your boundaries, saying, “I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to help you this time. I have some important commitments to attend to.”
By asserting your boundaries and saying “no,” you’re sending the message that you won’t be manipulated or taken advantage of. The narcissist might feel bad because their attempt to control and exploit you has been thwarted.
#4 Set Boundaries and Stick to Them
Set hard boundaries regarding what behavior you’ll tolerate and what you feel is unacceptable. Make it clear that there will be consequences if the narcissist breaks those boundaries, and follow through with them if necessary.
For instance, let’s say your narcissistic partner keeps invading your privacy by going through your personal belongings and messages without your consent.
One day, you decide that enough is enough and address the issue by saying, “I value my privacy, and it’s important for me to have personal space and boundaries. I need you to respect that.”
Make it clear to the narcissist that you won’t tolerate such behavior and will end the relationship if it continues.
Setting boundaries enables you to assert your autonomy and self-respect, which can be threatening to a narcissist who is used to dominating others. They may feel bad because their attempts to infringe upon your boundaries have been rejected.
Your willingness to stand up for yourself can highlight their manipulative behavior and make them confront their actions, leading to feelings of guilt or frustration.
#5 Use Facts, Not Feelings
If you’re contemplating, “How do you make a narcissist feel sorry?” you must start thinking outside the box. Telling them how you feel just isn’t going to cut it. Instead, you need cold, hard evidence.
Using facts instead of feelings to communicate your point can make a narcissist feel bad because it deprives them of the emotional reaction they seek. Narcissists thrive on manipulating emotions, so when you present your argument with logical and factual information, it disarms them.
Imagine you work with a narcissistic colleague who frequently takes credit for your ideas during team meetings. Instead of reacting emotionally, you decide to address the situation using facts.
During the next meeting, when your colleague tries to present your idea as their own, you calmly interject, saying, “Actually, I’d like to clarify that this idea originated from my research and efforts. I have the data and timestamps to support that.”
Your composed response might take aback the narcissistic colleague. They might have anticipated you getting upset or defensive, which would have given them a sense of control.
However, your use of concrete evidence shifts the focus away from emotional manipulation and onto the facts. This can leave the narcissist feeling frustrated and unable to maintain their power over the situation.
Using facts can make a narcissist feel bad because it exposes their attempts to distort reality and manipulate situations.
#6 Talk about Yourself
Narcissists want to be the center of attention and feel threatened if anyone else takes the spotlight. If you want to make a narcissist feel bad, start talking about yourself. This will shift the spotlight onto you and challenge their sense of superiority.
Let’s say you’re at a social gathering with a narcissistic acquaintance who tends to dominate conversations. Instead of passively listening to their self-aggrandizing stories, you decide to share a recent achievement of your own, telling the assembled group about your recent promotion at work.
By talking confidently about yourself, you’re asserting your presence and accomplishments, which can challenge the narcissist’s need to be the sole focus. They may feel threatened by your self-assuredness, leading them to feel bad about their inability to maintain control over the conversation.
What Else Makes a Narcissist Feel Bad?
Narcissists want to look good and feel good, so anything you can do that stops them from feeling special will make them feel bad. Ignore them, talk over the top of them, or disregard their needs, and you’ll make the narcissist feel bad, if not awful.
How Can You Make a Narcissist Feel Guilty?
Making narcissists aware of the fact that their actions have consequences is a good way to make them feel guilty.
Make sure they understand that, if their behavior continues, you will walk away from the relationship. This might make a narcissist feel guilty and even show some remorse for their actions, but I wouldn’t count on it.
As I explain in my article Do Narcissists Feel Guilt? “Narcissists don’t experience guilt like everyone else does,” so be patient, consistent, and hope for the best.
How Do You Make a Narcissist Feel Hurt?
Beneath their confident exterior, the narcissist hides a fragile ego that’s easily hurt. To the narcissist, the smallest criticism feels like a dagger to the heart. Their deep-seated insecurities make them hypersensitive to any perceived slight or negative feedback.
Criticize their hair or clothes, and it will be quickly magnified in the narcissist’s mind, triggering intense feelings of inadequacy and vulnerability.
How Do You Make a Narcissist Feel Worthless?
The best way to make narcissists feel worthless is to stop boosting their ego. Withdraw your attention and affection, and focus on yourself for a change.
Spend time with friends, focus on things that make you feel good, and be assertive. The more time and energy you put into yourself, the more you take away from the narcissist, leaving them feeling unloved and worthless.
How to Destroy a Narcissist With Words?
Silence speaks louder than words when you’re dealing with a narcissist. They will twist anything you say to fit their own narrative, making your own words into your worst enemies.
Staying silent denies them all the ammunition they need to manipulate and distort your words. It’s a powerful tactic that can leave the narcissist feeling frustrated and off-balance.