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

  1. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. Hi Sarah, I understand your good intentions but the problem is that if you start telling your friend (The Narcissist) that she is wrong…..she will not understand that she is wrong. A true Narc won’t seek help and you will not be able to help him or her.

          Find more here: https://thenarcissisticlife.com/do-narcissists-understand-their-behavior/

          Here: https://thenarcissisticlife.com/why-do-narcissists-lie/

          And here https://thenarcissisticlife.com/the-narcissist-is-never-wrong/

          Good luck with your decisions

      2. I agree, they are never wrong, in fact they will try and turn it around at times, accusing us ,to make them feel in control.

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

    3. 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.

      1. 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.

    4. I am so glad i found this site. It is nice to know i am not alone with this problem. My husband is a N and It is horrible life. moving on very soon!!!

  2. 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.

    1. 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. 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.

    1. 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 .

      1. You need to get away from your NPD mother, that’s actually reckless child endangerment (even though the baby isn’t born yet). You need to get away from your mother and stay awake from her. If she is this brazen, she’s a danger to your child.

        She should not be a part of your child’s life nor yours, not even for birthdays or holidays.

        Don’t take this lightly!

  4. 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.

    1. I feel your emotions!!! I have been in this relationship for 13 years. I am soooo glad i have been able to find this site. I know i am not alone. I finally realize there is no help for him. He is also and alcoholic. which is double trouble. I kept thinIking is it me? I know it was not me,but being with him he makes me feel like everything is my fought. I am trying at the present to get out for good. He controls everything down to the penny ,s o getting out takes a long time.

  5. OMG! I married a N about 3 years ago. It is an emotional roller coaster until I decided to get off. I have realized that if I am going to stay married to this man, I must do something different. I have to block him from my cell phone when he is in that “some kind of way” so I do not have to be bothered with the harassment. He can be so sweet and loving (master manipulator). He is a liar, no empathy for his family but to the outside world, will bend over backward. His temper is ridiculous. Unfortunately, I realized that he will never be a friend to me because he will hold anything I say to him about anything and throw it back in my face. I remember giving him a compliment about how smart he was and this N got mad and vehemently blurted out, “What you thought you married a dumb #&*&(I##..?”!!! I love something about him….I don’t know, I am trying to figure it out….probably the pretend person he puts on display to friends. But here is the thing, I am stronger than he is. He is weak. He WILL NOT steal my joy! I am going to start laughing at his foolishness.

    1. oh my gosh!!! you described my husband to a T. One sick turkey. Except mine is and alcoholic as well. Working on getting out.

  6. i pre-empt every move with mine. i laugh straight to his face when he tried to project his behaviours on to me.

    everytime he does something after 2 years of divorce and still going, i thank my lucky stars that his demons are still his, they are no longer mine.

    i’m SO aware of narcisssim and the things he does (because they never change) that its hilarious to me now. It’s that old saying…..doing the same s**t but never learning from it.

    So glad I’m me and not him. What a sad life they lead. I think if you have that attitude its VERY easy to move on from.

    I keep my nose SUPER clean, so anything he says to anyone any fake stuff he makes up, people instantly know it’s crap. Works for me.

    1. What if you watch everything you do and say and keep your nose clean but people still believe the lies? My sister in law did this (told lies about me calling step daughter’s mother names) with my step daughter (step daughter is 17). Step daughter believed it. And I was told this happened by someone who swore my step daughter they would never tell me so I can’t tell her it’s a lie or even defend myself!

  7. My mother is a narcissist and my stepfather is the enabling father. I do not live at home anymore and I see a counselor but my poor little brother still lives at home and it kills me to leave him every time I leave him with his mother. I am in constant anguish because it is so difficult to prove verbal or emotional abuse and my brother refuses to talk about anything with my mom. He has a low self esteem and is very shut down. I have tried to talk with him but he does not know that his world is an unhealthy one. I cannot wait until he graduates and moves away from her. I go home because I want to be a positive person in his life and to show him what healthy looks like. I grieve that I do not have a loving mother when so many others have loving mothers that are their best friends. My father has been emotionally unavailable also. I feel like an orphan. I have so much trouble relating to people and making friends/romantic relationships because I feel so different and so broken somehow. I am awkward in social situations. I feel lonely but have trouble making friends. My sisters and brothers are my closest friends and 3 of the four are at least 3000 miles away.

    Being the daughter of a malignant narcissistic mother and an enabling father really, really sucks.

    1. You are speaking about my life. I hear you. My parents have now passed on….My “dear” brothers turned out to be just like mom. The elder brother stole the inheritance (I never saw that coming) and my younger brother now uses me as his supply. I am also married to a cerebral narc. Coping as best I can. I feel your pain, I truly do.

  8. I have been involved with a narcissist for over 5 years.its the worst pain i have ever endured and my heart bleeds for anyone involved with one.My partner would not stop his ex from ringing.She stalked me,harassed me,humiliated me and he just got his rocks off by feeding his ego.There is a lot of things i could mention that are horrendous,just like the stories above.I strongly suggest counselling to get you to manage.My ex made me feel like as ashen old withered up lady,even though im only 47.He was ridiculous in his attitude,if i got complimented he would stand in front of me and say,”what about me,how do i look,look at me!’.That would occur all the time that anyone commented on any issues.He was hopeless with being happy for people.If someone ever got a new house or car he would live in fantasy land and say his was better.Even though he lived in a housing commission home.I do not judge what people have,it was him that was delusional.He cheated and lied all the way through,and was addicted to the attention of women.Possibly the cruelest creature ive ever encountered,sorry earths creatures are loving,narcissists are definitely not capable of love.I wish everyone much love,safety,security and hoping all victims realize that the best action with a N is to ignore them and remove yourself from their life as soon as possible.Mine was 65 years old and in those years he acted more and more like a toddler.They get much worse with age in my experience.For those of you out there with an optimistic view that Narcissists will tell you the truth,stop cheating,balance their finances,and love their children,may need to write to Santa Clause and believe this wish will be granted.Much love and hoping the people still involved with them are supported and loved by their friends and family.Its the Ns that are in big trouble emotionally,and will end up alone,while we will eventually heal and journey onto greater and brighter goals.xx

  9. Best thing to do is ignore them. They are emotional vampires that use you and feed off any attention, even negative attention. Take away their food source, i.e. you, and they will go somewhere else. Shut them out completely. No joke, it’s the only thing that works, and in my case, took years.

  10. I shot down my narcissist easily. One way i have found to be very effective is to know their behaviors. He started by attempting to use my deepest pains, key points he knows will get to me and exploiting them. I responded by stating his behavior, what its purpose was and reminding him that he was a Narc. He then tried to gaslight me, i pointed this out as well, what he was doing how he was doing it and what its purpose was. I continued to do this while constantly reminding him “You do not have power over me anymore.” “Knowledge is power, your manipulation will not work on me.”
    Once they see you are aware of their games and it has no effect on you, you take the fun out of it for them and they quit.

  11. Reading these posts are therapeutic. I too dated an N for just under a year. His incredible charm, good looks and generosity swept me off of my feet. He displayed all of the traits and characteristics that I NOW know are NPD.
    I remember the first time he lashed out at me in a restaurant because every time I started to speak he’d interrupt me and I asked if I could finish my sentence please? That must have humiliated him because he angrily shouted “don’t talk to me like I’m a 2 year old!!” I kept thinking that perhaps I was wrong somehow and apologized.

    Thinking back over the course of our relationship I could not recall a time when he ever asked me how I was feeling or how my day at work went etc. Every conversation was about his issues and there were times when he would talk NON STOP for over and hour. I could never get a word in. It was always about him.

    The final straw was when I didn’t hear from him for 3 weeks. Wouldn’t respond to texts or return my messages. I went to his place unannounced and asked him what was up. He yelled in my face that I should already know and then told me to leave. I calmly walked into the bathroom, gathered up the few toiletries that I still had there and walked out the door. As I drove away I could literally feel the stress and anxiety drain from my body. I wasn’t angry, I felt relieved, empowered and felt sad for him as I realized he is a very tormented person whose narcissism, insecurities and fears will continue to be his downfall. He lives a lie trying to convince himself that he is more important than he is. Unfortunately, it was that self confidence that attracted me to him in the first place. I feel like I was duped and its taking time to get over that. But the crazy ride is over and I know in time I will be OK. Life goes on….

  12. oh my gosh i am so glad i found this website. I have been with a narcissist for 13 years. He fits all of these traits. I have been abused and beaten. He controls everything where i can not leave. Money where i have no rights to any . down to the tires on the car so i can not travel. I think i just kept looking for the good, and over looking the bad. No more!!!! I have a medical doctor who told me my stress levels were out of the roof. I am planning my get away and never to look back. I document as much as i can and building my case. This is so scary but I am worthy of a normal life with a normal someone. I believe in hope and I love myself not to be pushed or emotionally brought down anymore. I realize he is sick and on top of that a severe alcoholic.

  13. Hi,

    I’m male 55 yo divorced male 2boys ages 15 and 18. How I have dealt with ex since divorce. I gave forgone some legal stuff because my kids think she’s the queen and I have anxiety and depression. I was admitted to hospital after her yelling at me before marriage. I’ve had 2 suicide attempts and she’s cold. She’s into renovation and plastic surgery. She and kids show no emotions except anger. My older son at college, he’s slowly coming out of her spell. This is important, I asked her for copy of her life insurance I am entitled to. She responded you get insurance first. I don’t have to get it. Her and my kids act like they are their own gods. I’m an artists and draw pictures with her and kids showing how mean and abusive she is. Don’t get tricked, they still look innocent until confronted, every curse, think you have done come up. I have so much crazy stuff on her, but a narscicist manages to have kids back her and I’m no good. I’m a Christian and see her sort of like Satan, she told kids they didn’t have to believe in God, a lot of trickery has been used, the kids to like her. You ask a simple question, then they flip the question to put you on the hot seat.

    My advice is to ignore, use legal words. Or per document lawyer, notice when they turn the conversation, they manage to get back at you so think before attacking. Today I stopped texting to her because I was getting angry that she stayed stuck on an irrelevant topic. I got her good last week telling her it was illegal to let my son drive car and he could be killed. She could be charged with murder, read 3kids dead.

    Stay calm, again text or speak with caution, you usually won’t win, they are sick. She poisoned my relationship with my kids. Find a passion in your life, hobbies, keep yourself busy, go to church, draw, write.
    Finding meaning in your life will help, I almost died. I’m still here. Road is not easy put God in charge pray and do what you can. I am a creativity coach. If you have any questions on anything I spoke of I will try to help.



    1. Hi Gary,

      My husband is a cerebral narc. My kids have always believed him. They are 26 and 19, respectively. Now, as they grow older, they have started to become wiser. They found his p**n on line. They know he is an alcoholic (although my 26 year old now is drinking and I am concerned). The 19 year old is joining the marines (to find family). I allowed my husband to control many of my actions while they were growing up and I was not as close with them as I wanted to be. I am trying to make up for lost time now. Too little too late apparently.

      As a Christian, we are called to persevere and to have forebearance. It is so hard, I know. I work on it every day. Although not discussed here, I also believe in generational curses as narc behavior runs very strongly in my family for many generations. I am the enabler (like my dad). I am working to break these generational curses and suggest you take a look into that as well. With God all things are possible.

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