How to avoid being provoked by a narcissist?

You don’t have to physically be poked in order to be provoked. You expect that from little kids though, right? Poking you to get your attention because they want to show you something.

Narcissists are like big babies, and the way they poke is by continuing to try to elicit a response from you. 

You want to scream, “what do you want from me?!” – I get it. In doing that, you give them exactly what they want.

Having your buttons pushed by a narcissist is both relentless and frustrating. 

How can you avoid it?

I’ve got you covered!

The Key Thing About Narcissists…

If you didn’t already know by now – narcissists don’t care about you.

They have this way of acting as though you don’t matter, and they continue to make you feel that way until you break, or leave (or both!)

They’re so lost in their own ego that they don’t see anything they do as a problem. 

Criticize you? No worries!

Ignore you? Yup, that’s okay too.

Provoke you? That’s definitely on their list.

It’s how they get by, from day to day, knowing they are causing some kind of stirred commotion. Life would be really boring for them if they didn’t grab their big wooden spoon and mix things up a bit.

Narcissists don’t operate the way you or I do. Because of that, they’re happy to project all of their self-loathing on the innocent party. You don’t even have to do anything wrong for them to still do this. 

How They Love To Get a Reaction

When I say “get a reaction,” I mean the narcissist is going to do whatever it takes to see you rise to the bait. 

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Examples can include: 

Laughing at you if you get a new haircut, or a new item of clothing. 

Watching you struggle with something, like carrying a heavy piece of furniture, instead of offering to help you. 

Talking about you to somebody, only to have them tell you that you were talked about.

Teasing you for a meal you cooked, saying it didn’t taste nice at all. 

Doing something they know you hate, like leaving the toilet seat up, or leaving their dishes beside the sink rather than in it.         

Even reading those is going to make some of you mad. I also know some will be sadly familiar to you. 

Narcissists want to provoke you into a reaction because they know they can point at you and tell everybody how dramatic you are. 

What a deflection!

Of course, it wasn’t all the times you were provoked – it was the one time you reacted that’s the problem.                                                                                 

Why You Staying Calm Wins

Staying calm, I cannot stress enough, is so hard to do

I don’t just mean it’s a little tricky – I mean it takes practice and composure to be able to keep in that headspace. When a narcissist is goading you into a fight or conflict, it’s going to take effort and time to get to a point where you refuse to engage. 

Staying calm cuts the energy off that’s trying to be extracted from you. The narcissist will of course try very hard because that’s their aim. They want to show you that you’re not perfect, just like them. Even though you already know, if you could just feel a little terrible about yourself, then that’s a win for them.

  • You get to keep the control. If you’re usually sucked into an argument, or used to throwing them a reaction, staying calm will change everything. Being provoked is how you stoop to their level – which is what they want. 
  • This means they lose control. Something a narcissist always wants is control. Without it, they don’t really know how to function. 
  • Staying calm means you can’t be manipulated any more. No matter how hard the narcissist tries, they’re not going to be provided with putting you into a box and watching you squirm in it. Their power will officially have been taken from them. 
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Want to Avoid Being Provoked? Listen Up!

There are things you can do to avoid being provoked. I want you to try and be there for as many as you can.

#1 Ignore Them

I know how straightforward this can come across as, but it has some weight behind it. Controlling your response to them will be well worth it when you see that their need for your reaction basically shrivels up and dies. 

Ignoring them doesn’t have to mean giving them the silent treatment, it can look like you don’t even see their provoking attempt. It’s like it goes over your head and you carry on like nothing happened. 

The narcissist will feel confused like what they’re doing has no impact on you.

Well, it’s possible that it doesn’t have to.

#2 Boundaries!

Boundaries protect you from what you won’t tolerate. They also let others know your limits, so if they try to get close, you can warn them away. 

I know it sounds like something that may involve a bit of practice, and that’s okay. Boundaries need a strong person, sure of themselves, behind them. 

Figure out what’s important to you, and live your life alongside those ideas. 

Yes, the narcissist will try to step over them and manipulate them. This is where you need to really dig your heels in. Decide that you are more important than their need to gain control. 

#3 Don’t Give Them What They Want

If a narcissist wants something, you can guarantee that ‘thing’ isn’t going to be good. Essentially then, if you’re not giving them what they want, then you’re doing positive things, right?

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Narcissists want you to be angry so they can tell the world you’re the type of person that ‘gets angry.’ It’s another way for themselves to look perfect and that leaves your entire issue with them in doubt.

Who would believe you over the narcissist if trouble ever occurred?

The narcissist lines you up in advance to be doubted by creating opportunities to provoke you and get that magical reaction. 

Falling for it is how you assist them in setting you up.

#4 Avoid Narcissists as Much as Possible

I know this last one may not be that easy to do, depending on your situation. It’s truly life-altering to step away from narcissists though. The less contact you have with them as a whole, the happier you will be. The provoking you lose your mind over will quickly become a thing of the past. 

Avoiding narcissists will not only help you steer clear of any chance they get to provoke you, it’ll also create a healthier, happier you all-round!

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