Narcissists love attention, validation, and power. So what drives a narcissist crazy? Simply put, anything that jeopardizes their basic needs for superiority can quickly irritate them. If you want to know how to infuriate a narcissist, you can look no further than by giving them nothing at all.
But you can also stand up for yourself, set boundaries, and refuse their gaslighting strategies. Let’s dive into how to piss off a narcissist.
1. Praising Someone Else Or Something Else
Did you see the way he performed last night? He was incredible!
She’s such a good wife. He’s lucky to have her.
They did a great job decorating their home. I love it.
What pisses off a narcissist? Feeling like someone else is better than them. Very few things make them feel more miserable than that insecurity.
Their egos cannot comprehend that other people deserve recognition and attention in the same ways they do. Instead of feeling happy for someone else’s success, they tend to experience confusion, jealousy, and even contempt.
When they hear you praising someone else, they will usually respond by:
- Criticizing you or your taste (making it seem like you’re acting crazy).
- Trying to take credit for that person’s success.
- Shrugging off the praise, as if it doesn’t matter to them.
- Attempting to one-up their success.
- Getting angry and telling you that you should be with that person instead.
- Discrediting the praise and blaming the person for lying, stealing, or manipulating.
In other words, a narcissist doesn’t really know how to be happy for someone else. Instead, they will search to find a narrative that suits their personal success story.
2. Pursuing Your Own Interests
Narcissists assume they know the best way to live life. For instance, if they love golfing, you’re an idiot if you don’t enjoy the game. If they enjoy a particular restaurant, you lack good taste if you prefer somewhere else.
Pursuing your own interests can easily piss off a narcissist, especially when your preferences clash with theirs. Some major conflicts of interest can include:
- Voting differently from them.
- Being more or less religious than they are.
- Spending time with friends they don’t like.
- Following a different diet.
- Consuming media (certain movies or music) they don’t enjoy.
To retaliate, they may tease or criticize you for your choices. Or, they may try to sabotage you altogether. Their efforts to belittle you often come from a place of insecurity and fear. Deep down, narcissists feel afraid of losing power- and they worry about losing you to someone or something else.
3. Disregarding Material Goods
Many narcissists are obsessed with earning and flaunting money. Big houses, fancy cars, designer clothes- they want it all, and they want to show it off to everyone in the world.
Many times, they substitute love for money. They also may inflate their worth by trying to prove their love by how much stuff they give you.
If you don’t show much interest, they may feel oscillate between feeling embarrassed, confused, and irritated. What do you mean you don’t want this? What’s wrong with you? Anyone would kill to be in your shoes! You don’t even realize how lucky you are.
How to Piss off a Narcissist #4. Helping Someone Else
It’s no secret that narcissists tend to be extremely selfish. Their large egos leave little room for caring about other people. Subsequently, they perceive others as either pawns or challenges- not as entire people with complex thoughts and feelings.
If you choose to be generous or compassionate towards someone else, it will likely result in them feeling angry.
They may demean you with mean comments like, why are you being such a martyr? Or they might try to stop you altogether with expressions like we don’t have the money for you to just donate to charity right now. You need to focus your attention on our family.
#5 Succeeding (And Outperforming Them)
It’s a misconception that narcissists only want weak-minded people in their lives. Many narcissists do enjoy the company of intelligent and thoughtful people. There’s just one caveat. They still need to be the best. And if they’re not the very best, they need to be pretty close to it.
How to piss off a Narcissist? By becoming better than them. If you start succeeding, it becomes extremely threatening. They don’t quite know how to cope with this new reality. Instead of celebrating and feeling happy for you, they may respond by:
- Dismissing your success: It’s not that big of a deal. Anyone could have done that!
- One-upping your success: It’s great you did that. By the way, did you hear about my new promotion at work…?
- Accusing you of cheating, lying, stealing, or having some kind of external advantage: You only got that opportunity because your boss wants to sleep with you.
- Attributing your success to their actions: I’m glad I told you to go after that! If I hadn’t said anything, you wouldn’t have even tried.
- Blaming you for hurting them: You’re just trying to make me look bad, aren’t you?
You deserve every ounce of your success. Choosing to embrace (and even revel!) in it will continue to enrage them.
#6 Validating and Loving The Scapegoat
Narcissists see the world in a strict black-or-white sphere. These extremes allow them to either love or hate other people- there is no in-between.
As a result, narcissists use scapegoats to project blame and frustration onto other people. These scapegoats are singled out for their real or perceived flaws. They become the victim of emotional (and sometimes physical) abuse.
But it’s not just the narcissist who wants to blame the scapegoat. They want other people to rally against them as well. They want the entire world to see how messed up the scapegoat really is.
When you defy this narrative and stand up for the scapegoat, you shatter part of their master plan. You create friction within the dynamic, and that enrages the narcissist. They aren’t interested in seeing your perspective, but they also don’t like knowing that you aren’t on their team.
#7 Being Stoic
Stoicism refers to withstanding pain or discomfort without exhibiting an outward emotional response. In other words, it’s taking things as they come without complaining or reacting.
Let’s be real. Narcissists love to create drama– they live for stirring the pot and causing problems. They expect you to react and even retaliate. Even though you think that your emotions might irritate them, the opposite holds true. Having no emotional response tends to be the most threatening response of all.
That’s because narcissists need to know they control the room. In a way, your anger or sadness shows they have power over you. It shows they can contort your emotions. So when you don’t give them that pleasure, they are forced to examine their hollow selves.
#8 Respecting Authority
Have you ever noticed how often narcissists have issues in the workplace? It’s because they don’t play very well with others, and they certainly don’t know how to follow the rules.
Narcissists tend to detest authoritative figures, whether it’s their boss, law enforcement, politicians, or even their parents. They don’t like someone calling the shots unless that someone is them.
Moreover, they expect you to agree with their ideology. They will spend a great deal of time trying to prove to you why the other person is incompetent, unfair, or otherwise idiotic.
The best way to piss them off? Keep following the rules. Respect the authority figures appropriately. Consider thanking the authority for their hard work and good efforts.
If you do this, you can watch the narcissist unravel. It will happen very quickly.
#9 Consistently Maintaining Your Boundaries
Narcissists aren’t stupid. They understand the concept of boundaries, and they recognize that everyone has personal limits.
But they also believe that they are entitled to what they want. Therefore, even though they logically comprehend boundaries, they see themselves as exempt from the rule. To them, boundaries are simply a suggestion or even a challenge. They will do what they can to try to convince you that your boundaries are silly or inappropriate.
The solution to this insanity? Implement your firm boundaries. Every single time. No ifs, ands, or buts. No one-time exceptions.
The more you stand firm with your limits, the less power they have over you and your actions. And yes, this will piss them off endlessly. You will see the rage in real-time by the way they call you stupid or crazy or mean. You will see it in the way they try to smear you to others or gaslight your reality altogether.
#10 Going To Therapy
Just like narcissists dislike authority figures, they also tend to resent healthcare professionals. Narcissists don’t want anyone poking and prodding about their lives. They want to act in their usual ways without any real accountability for their appalling behavior.
If you choose to pursue therapy, the narcissist will feel threatened. They will undoubtedly worry about what you talk about in your sessions. They may fear the therapist siding with you or discrediting them.
More than that, narcissists don’t like thinking that someone or something may empower you to think differently. They want you complacent and complicit with their behavior. They know that therapists may try to explore alternative ways of coping with your emotions.
This anger comes out in several different forms, including:
- Bargaining: You don’t need therapy. You can talk to me. I’ll always listen.
- Scapegoating the therapist: They’re just after your money. They don’t care about you!
- Stalkerish, controlling behaviors: I want to go to the next session with you. If you’re going to blab about your personal feelings with someone, I want to know who they are.
- Complete refusal of support: I am not going to pay for these sessions. You’re on your own.
#11 Spending Time With New Friends
Narcissists want to know the people in your life. Mostly, it’s because they want to vet them. Are they someone who will align with the narcissist’s values? Or, are they someone who may pose a serious threat?
When you hang out with new people, it activates their insecurity, jealousy, and confusion. They can’t exactly understand why they wouldn’t be enough for you.
They may respond in several, dysfunctional ways, including:
- Criticizing the other people before they have even met them: I’ve heard she’s crazy.
- Acting like the victim: Do you not like spending time with me anymore? Am I really so boring?
- Praising your old friends: What about so-and-so? They’ve always been so supportive of you. I think you should try to reconnect more with them right now.
- Trying to charm you all over again: I know you were planning on having dinner with so-and-so tonight, but I’m cooking you something special, and I have a great surprise afterward.
- Responding with passive-aggressive comments: I guess you’re too busy for me now. I’m happy for you, though. You obviously need a change.
#12 Ending Your Relationship Entirely
A narcissist believes that you’re fortunate to have them in your life. You should be thanking them for their wonderful existence!
If you choose to cut ties with them, prepare for the tumultuous rollercoaster of shock, rage, and terror. They are so used to the status quo of them dictating everyone’s behavior that they don’t know how to cope when someone stops playing by their rules.
To retaliate, they will usually try many different tricks to manipulate you back into their lives.
- I miss you! I promise to change. I’m going to start going to therapy.
- I didn’t mean what I said. Can you give me another chance?
- You need me! Who else would put up with you?
- What would the kids think if you left? Is that the kind of parent you want to be?
- What about all the good times we had? Do you really want to throw them all away?
- Just wait until I tell everyone what kind of person you really are.
These all represent different scenarios where a narcissist may attempt to gaslight you. Because they are crafted to tug at your emotions, they often work. So when you take the opposite approach and continue to take the high road, it’s absolutely infuriating. Did you try any of these things? Please share them with us in the comments.