Q: Thank you for this fantastic resource! My ex-partner displays many characteristics associated with NPD. He seeks adulation and sympathy by shifting between having an inflated sense of self and playing the role of victim. We have been separated for two years now and for the first six months I found myself responding to his manipulation in different ways. I soon realized that the only way to get him out of my life was to have no contact.
Since then I have not initiated contact with him and completely ignored his attempts to contact me, even when he has made defamatory comments about me on public websites. My query is in regards to a narcissist’s reaction to authority. I have the right to protect myself physically/emotionally, but also to protect my reputation. I am happy with the no contact policy (because it does work for the most part), though of course I would contact the police if he ever physically threatened me. I am, however, unsure what to do in the case of defamation. I should note that defamatory comments were not provoked, though I believe he believes there is provocation. It seems that he’s looking for any excuse to punish me and I think this is likely to continue anytime he sees fit. I have considered taking various forms of legal action against him, but I am concerned this will only incense him. As someone who always sees himself as the victim, I think he is likely to see any legal action as unwarranted persecution, which will increase his retaliation (like a red rag to a bull). I have seen this happen when someone has interceded on my behalf and he was incredibly offended. This is hardly surprising, given that he can’t see his own behavior as wrong or take any real responsibility for it. In your experience is there any reason to think this behavior will stop and, if not, are there any effective ways to handle public defamation? Thank you. Please do not publish my name or email address.
A: Good for you for using the No Contact rule; as you stated, it DOES work for the most part. I would highly recommend continuing the No Contact rule as a response to his defamation. Admittedly, I don’t have all the facts here…where is he publicly commenting? Is it in a social media context, in person, or in a business context? If it is social media- let it go. Remove him from your list so that you don’t see the comments. In my experience, eventually he WILL move on if, and only if, you give him NO response whatsoever. No defending yourself on these sites, no interceding by third parties, no response–NO RESPONSE- whatsoever. The same goes if it happens in person- do not show any reaction on your face or in your body language- at all. Pretend and act like it was never said. Difficult to do, but gets easier with practice. If it is in a business context, you might want to consult with an attorney/solicitor. If he is doing actual harm to your business reputation and you can prove it, it may be worth pursuing legal action. But your comments above (which I put in italics) is spot on. You have good insight into the thoughts and behaviors of the narcissist.