Last Updated on September 7, 2022 by Alexander Burgemeester
Let’s be honest. If the narcissist is good at one thing, it’s making you feel terrible about yourself.
And while revenge might not be the best look, giving them a taste of their own medicine feels empowering. After all, why should they get to call all the shots when it comes to establishing power and control?
Let’s get into everything you need to know about how to make a narcissist miserable.
So how do you make a Narcissist miserable?
You’re tired of the emotional abuse. You’re sick of questioning your own emotions and feeling like your relationship is entirely one-sided. You want a semblance of your own life back, and you don’t want to feel like a victim anymore.
Narcissists go to great lengths to make life difficult for the people around them. Here are some proven ways you can get back at them.
#1 Enlighten Yourself
Here’s the unfortunate truth- the narcissist wants to keep you in the dark. They don’t want you to recognize the depths of their cruel behavior. Instead, they expect you to condone their treatment without questioning it.
That’s why learning all about narcissism is one of the easiest ways to make a narcissist miserable. Once you become aware of their tactics- and can label them for what they are- you start recognizing problematic patterns in your relationship.
Developing this insight, of course, can be painful. But it’s better than being naive and letting the narcissist stomp all over your well-being. You have to know what you’re working with if you want to change things.
#2 Ignore Their Narcissistic Behavior
As you know, narcissists thrive when they’re in the center of attention. This rule applies even with negative attention.
Therefore, ignoring their bad behavior is detrimental to their already low self-esteem.
In many cases, they will act even more obnoxious to gain your attention. But they continue losing their traction if you can remain strong in maintaining a sense of silent treatment.
#3 Stick to the Facts
Think about how narcissists speak and tell stories to others. They often embellish their experiences, use heightened language, and emphasize their emotions and successes. It’s like every scene is a Hollywood movie where they are undoubtedly the star.
And so, it makes a narcissist miserable when you do exactly the opposite. They have fewer opportunities to argue with you if you only use facts.
For example, let’s say your partner comes home from the grocery store. You peek into the bags only to notice several items are missing. You might be tempted to lash out and say,You didn’t buy most of the things I put down on the grocery store list. You only bought what you needed. It’s so selfish!
Instead of using such emotionally-charged language, you might consider saying, You didn’t buy apples, potatoes, eggs, or bread, and they are right on the top of the list.
Don’t expect the narcissist to suddenly apologize or acknowledge their wrongdoings. If anything, they will probably become even more flustered or reactive.
But the more you disengage with their emotions and stick to logic and legitimate evidence, the more miserable you’ll make them feel.
#4 Say No
It’s astounding how two letters can shatter a narcissist’s fragile ego. Narcissists hate when people stand up to them and when their loved ones set boundaries. Therefore, no represents a form of personal rejection.
So, if you want to make a narcissist miserable, stop giving in to all their relentless demands. Don’t say yes just because it feels better.
#5 Uphold Your Stated Consequences
If you’ve started articulating boundaries, you need to enforce the consequences. It’s not enough to say, don’t criticize me. Instead, you need to say, If you criticize me, I will leave the house and return to the conversation when I feel ready.
Then, to really drive the point home, you need to follow through with your intentions. Narcissists generally lack empathy for other people’s feelings, so they won’t understand where you’re coming from. That’s why it’s so important to be consistent!
The more consistent you are, the more miserable it will make the narcissist. They hate feeling like they can’t get away with whatever they want. Your partner’s inflated ego has convinced them that they can engage in whatever spontaneous behavior they want to meet their needs.
But your boundaries prove otherwise. The more you stand for what is and isn’t appropriate, the less you give in to the narcissist’s ridiculous demands.
#6 Being Better at Something Than Them
Let’s say you two decide to try a new hobby together. You pick up playing tennis or crocheting or running. And let’s say that you thrive in this new activity. You’re far better than they are!
In a healthy relationship, the other person wouldn’t care about this much. Even if they felt somewhat insecure, that feeling wouldn’t stop them from loving their partner or engaging in this new hobby.
But many narcissists simply cannot handle someone else winning. And so, they will either try to sabotage your success (actively trying to thwart you), downplay their desire to engage in the hobby (It’s stupid, and I don’t like it, anyway), or disengage from it altogether.
#7 Demand Their Commitment
Want to know how to make a narcissist miserable? Just ask them to commit to your rules.
Whether that’s moving forward with buying a house together or getting married or even adopting a dog, many narcissists struggle when they don’t get to define their life timelines.
Of course, your motives should be crystal clear before asking for their commitment. If you’re experiencing sadness and misery now, those feelings will only intensify with time.
And what’s the point of furthering your relationship when you don’t want to be with them anymore?
#8 Enjoy Your Other Relationships
A narcissist wants to be the most important person in your life. They don’t want anyone else to have the ability to make you feel happy or even make you feel miserable. In their minds, they fulfill everything you ever needed.
This mindset explains why narcissists tend to badmouth the other people in your life.
For example, they’ll criticize a loving family member for being too overbearing. They’ll demean your favorite coworker for being too obsessed with work.
Narcissists will work hard to try to convince you that other people are also out to harm you.
Unfortunately, their efforts can work. If you’ve already begun isolating yourself from loved ones, it’s time to reflect on how the narcissist might be influencing you.
#9 Build Your Own Confidence
In healthy relationships, partners inspire one another to embrace their best and true selves. You want the other person to succeed and feel happy with themselves!
But a narcissist operates under a different set of rules. In fact, if you want to make a narcissist miserable, you can do so by embracing your own self-esteem.
Narcissists feel threatened when someone in their life becomes confident and self-assured.
They worry they will lose some of the power they desperately covet, and they may drive themselves crazy trying to bring your good spirits down.
So, if you want to make a narcissist miserable, focus less on them and more on yourself.
#10 Get Professional Support
Narcissists love when you talk about them- to a point. They want you to brag about their successes and share about their greatness.
But the moment you openly question their motives or express doubt about their personality, they become unhinged. This is why you seeking therapy is one of the fastest ways to make a narcissist miserable.
Deep down, they know a good therapist will help you recognize the full magnitude of their obnoxious selves. They also know that therapy can help you better understand the emotional needs you value in a partner.
And so, you can expect them to lash out at you if you even mention therapy. Likewise, they’ll probably badmouth the therapist and insist they’re incompetent or stupid. That’s how you know the narcissist feels scared!
#11 Avoid Dramatic Reactions
Most people try to be civil when conflict arises. But, as you know, a narcissist loves chaos and arguments. They get such a rise out of making a minor issue downright miserable.
And, as mentioned, narcissists love negative attention. Sometimes, they will do things just to purposely trigger other people.
This is common when you deal with a malignant narcissist, but all narcissists do it to some degree.
So, if you want to make a narcissist miserable, avoid giving them this satisfaction.
Instead, they act completely bored or disinterested when they use manipulative tactics. Pretend as if nothing whatsoever is happening.
#12 Gray Rock as Often as Possible
If you have to maintain some relationship with the narcissist, pay close attention to how and what information you share with them.
Remember that narcissists track nearly everything you say- they collect these details to use them against you later.
So, if you don’t want to make a narcissist empowered, you need to shift away from sharing anything that could be contorted. The Gray rock method helps you deal with this.
Keep your interactions brief and boring. Answer with a single word or phrase if possible. Try not to reveal too much emotion.
Basically, you deal with them the way you’d deal with a toddler throwing a tantrum.
Instead of engaging with the drama, you step away and keep your cool. In a sense, you’re showing the narcissist that you don’t care at all about their drama.
#13 Embrace When Others Embrace You
Just like narcissists don’t like losing, they especially hate when others celebrate your virtues and successes in front of them. It jeopardizes their ego and makes them feel miserable.
You can start by spending more time telling other people about your accomplishments.
There’s no need to brag. But if you’re engaging in a casual conversation and people ask what you’re up to, don’t feel the need to lie or downplay successes!
Keep in mind this will make a narcissist angry! They will probably react by trying to one-up you (even if they have nothing to offer) or by talking you down in other ways.
#14 Outsmart Their Flying Monkeys
In the realm of narcissism, flying monkeys represent the people who basically act on behalf of the narcissist to accomplish their goals.
In the simplest terms, they want to prove the narcissist right. To achieve that, they don’t mind doing the narcissist’s dirty work or even making themselves look bad.
Try to think about the flying monkeys in your narcissist’s life (and, yes, you may be one). These people tend to be empathic and quick to rescue the narcissist.
They often lack a sense of self or enjoy the drama associated with the narcissistic relationship. In many cases, they also have narcissistic traits themselves.
Once you’ve identified these people, take proactive steps to disengage with them.
Do not tell them anything bad about the relationship (your words will go right back to the narcissist). And do not try to befriend them (they’ll only feign closeness to get dirt on you).
#15 Cut All Contact
If you really want to know how to make a narcissist miserable, avoiding any communication with them is the best strategy.
Here’s why it works. Most narcissists depend on certain people to fuel their narcissistic supply.
They need a constant stream of validation and adoration to feel important. But, of course, as you know, it’s never enough, and that’s why they frequently rotate between intense love bombing and hateful devaluing.
Cutting contact means stepping away from their manipulative games. With this approach, they instantly lose a valuable source of their narcissistic supply.
#16 Treat Them Similarly
You can really make a narcissist miserable if you start acting like them.
Of course, you probably don’t want to resort to emotional abuse just to hurt someone else But you might consider ways you can give them a taste of their own medicine.
For example, you might start gaslighting them a bit just to drive them crazy.
Oh, I didn’t know you wanted the laundry done. Why didn’t you tell me?
Or, you might start bragging openly about your own accomplishments instead of highlighting theirs.
Did I tell you I was voted employee of the month? They’re throwing me this huge luncheon for it next week. It’s a big deal!
With that in mind, you should be cautious when using this approach. Yes, you’ll make the narcissist miserable, but their misery can quickly transform into a red-hot rage. And you might be in the emotional mindset to cope with this anger.
#17 Embrace Living Happily
Narcissists want you to feel miserable. This is part of their narcissistic projection. Because they can’t truly feel love, happiness, or fulfillment, they don’t want others to experience those benefits either.
In a sense, they feel best when everyone around them is vulnerable, scared, or unhappy.
So, if you want to make a narcissist angry, you can easily do so by living an authentic life that brings you joy.
This means pursuing your own passions and relationships. It also means eliminating the people or things that bring you down.
#18 Check Your Own Empathy
Narcissists want you to feel sorry for them. Just as much as they like being the hero in everyone else’s story, they revel in being the victim of their own.
There’s a good chance that you have tremendous empathy for the narcissist (or for narcissism in general).
While there’s nothing wrong with how you feel, it’s essential that you are mindful of how your empathy might impact your behaviors.
For example, do you excuse how the narcissist makes you feel miserable? Do you tell yourself that narcissism is a mental disorder and, therefore, you can’t hold them accountable?
If you want to make a narcissist miserable, you need to be aware of your own empathy limits and reevaluate how you extend that in your relationship.
The idea is that, even if you can understand where their behavior comes from, you don’t need to condone it.
Below are some answers to some commonly asked questions about narcissistic people and how to deal with them.
How Do You Shut Down a Narcissist?
If you want to make a narcissist miserable, don’t play the game at all. It’s rigged from the start, and narcissists hate when you realize that. Here are some other strategies to consider.
Increase your silent treatment: Every time the narcissist does something irrational, avoid speaking to them. Disengage as much as possible. Not only will this make the narcissist miserable, but it will also make them feel like they can’t win when they argue with you.
Walk away: Physically walking away will make a narcissist miserable. They lose power when they can’t argue with you directly. So, if you want to make a narcissist feel shut down, you can do so by simply leaving the room.
Tell them they’re right: Sometimes, you just want to move on. Paradoxically, you can still make a narcissist miserable by giving them what they want.
The idea here is to remove any emotion or praise. Simply tell them, You’re right. They’ll keep driving themselves crazy trying to prove just how right they are!
What Is the Best Way to Outsmart a Narcissist?
Knowing a narcissist’s next move is usually the best way to outsmart them. This means paying attention to their patterns and knowing how they usually respond when they feel stressed.
For example, how does the narcissist react when they get jealous? Do they become particularly controlling and aggressive? If so, anticipate those reactions and plan for them accordingly.
Or, how does the narcissist respond to feeling embarrassed? They often double down on making ridiculous efforts to prove why they’re so special and worthy of love.
If you can anticipate this reaction, you can focus on how to change your behavior to outsmart their tactics.
Ignore their love bombing: A narcissist will tell you anything you want to hear to make you feel swooned. Many times, this strategy works!
That’s why falling in love with a narcissist is so easy. So, if you want to make a narcissist miserable, you should act as if this pattern doesn’t affect you at all.
Ignore their devaluing: A narcissist might become more aggressive and angry when the compliments don’t work.
You’ll become their enemy. But you can make a narcissist miserable by continuing to act unimpressed or unaware.
Leave them before they leave you: You can outsmart a narcissist by ending the relationship before they have the chance to do so.
This will enrage them, but it will also temporarily cause them to lose their sense of control and power. They’ll be floundering around trying to find a new supply or win you back.
How Do You Get Revenge on a Narcissist?
If you can make a narcissist feel unimportant, you’ve met the goal of getting revenge on them. Nothing, after all, feels more threatening than feeling like nothing at all. Here are some other strategies.
Public humiliation: It’s no secret that public humiliation feels detrimental to a narcissist’s self-image. It erodes their power and triggers immense narcissistic rage.
Pit their friends against them: Narcissists also maintain their supply by spending time with friends who enable their toxic world.
If they start to lose friends (especially if it’s a best friend), they will feel inherently threatened.
Remove admiration: Stop praising the narcissist. Don’t worship them or act like they’re the best person in your life.
Avoid opportunities where they can brag or one-up you. The more “boring” you make them, the angrier they will feel.
Live your best life: Living your best is one of the easiest ways to seek revenge on a narcissist.
Doing so means you’re working hard to release your trauma bond and embrace your true self. The narcissist will seethe with jealousy and continue feeling miserable watching you thrive.
Keep ignoring them: The best way to stay firm in your efforts to make a narcissist miserable is by staying true to your goals. Don’t back down.
The narcissist can and will try to “hoover you” back into their worlds. Pretend as if you don’t even notice their efforts.
They’ll likely keep trying until they finally realize you aren’t changing. At that critical point, they become truly miserable with themselves.
What Makes a Narcissist Uncomfortable?
As you’ve probably noticed, narcissists feel uncomfortable with many things.
They are so preoccupied with themselves that even relationships with family members or friends can feel awkward. Even when others seem happy or having a good time, they often appear angry or uptight. Here are some other examples.
Your emotions: Even if a narcissist pretends to care about how you feel, most of these efforts are rooted in cognitive empathy.
They don’t like when someone else holds the spotlight, so they often feel uncomfortable when someone else is extremely happy or sad.
Other people’s successes: A narcissist thinks they must be better than everyone else. They constantly feel like they’re in a competition and talk a big talk about their successes. So, if someone else is outperforming, they feel uncomfortable and vulnerable.
Intimacy: Narcissists often feel hollow inside, and even though a narcissist may value relationships and want a partner, they often struggle to experience true intimacy.
The idea of actually letting their guard down and letting someone in feels strange and disempowering.
Starting something new: If they don’t know they’re going to succeed, most narcissists avoid trying new activities. But if they don’t have a choice, they often feel miserable during this experience. They’re so worried about their performance that they can’t just enjoy the novelty of something new.
Any moment where they don’t feel special: Although it sounds so childish, narcissists feel bad when they aren’t “on top.” They worry about losing status and power. Sometimes, they start feeling “crazy” and believe they must prove their worth all over again.
Other narcissists: You’d think a narcissist might connect with others. But the opposite is also true.
This is why a narcissist often hates their narcissistic parent or ex-partner. In their minds, only one person can be on top. If it’s not them, the other person becomes the enemy.
Knowing how to make a narcissist miserable can help you feel more confident and in control of your relationship.
But keep in mind that this work can also be exhausting. You don’t want to be in a vicious cycle of trying to outsmart someone else.
The most important part of this work is knowing when to step out of it.
A narcissist lives in a strange fantasy world where they yield all the power, love, and attention. But that doesn’t mean you must live in that world with them!