What Not to Do When You Want to Shut Down a Narcissist


Probably something you have wanted for a while, right? What makes that peace impossible?

The narcissist!

There is no greater pleasure than shutting down a narcissist. When you’ve had weeks, months – even years of tolerating their noise – you know you’re ready to take firm action.

Wanting to shut down a narcissist can go from a pipe dream to reality, but you have to know what not to do in the process. Believe me when I say, the narcissist will look for any reason to have you cornered, so how can you avoid getting stuck?

Don’t Fight For Your Innocence

You know that you’re innocent, but they won’t pay any attention to that. All they care about is saving their own face, so if you’re trying to shut them down, they will want to see your reaction.

This gives them permission to point at you and say, “See? I told you they are crazy!” 

You’re not crazy – so don’t fight for what you already have. What you really want is for people to believe you but over time, that need becomes less and less as you replace it with the need for pure peace. 

Don’t Match Their Childish Approach

They yell.

You yell.

They stomp.

You stomp.

What happens? 

Nobody takes either of you seriously. The best way to avoid this when trying to shut down a narcissist is to remember that you don’t have to match their childish approach to your conversation.

They can laugh and joke all they want, and they can even make you the subject—but do you have to bite and tell them how unfair they are?

You do not. 

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It’s much more effective to pity them from afar and make it known that you feel sorry for them. They only get attention when bringing others down – this is a sad, almost pathetic way to live. 

Never Explain

Do you have to justify yourself to a narcissist?


They’re only attacking you so that you respond and defend yourself. They love to see you squirm and almost use your protests as a way to show others how you are wiggling your way out of a hard time. 

You don’t have to tell anybody anything. 

Shut down that narcissist right now by keeping and remaining dignified and silent. If people are your true friends or support systems, they won’t entertain the bait game the narcissist is trying to play. 

Never Expect Them to Own Their Mistakes

Shutting down a narcissist can look to them as though you are trying to get them to admit their mistakes or wrongdoing. Maybe you are trying to call them out for something they’ve done, but they won’t want to admit to anything.

Expect a narcissist to never own up to their mistakes if you get into conflict with one. If you are ever in a position where you need to shut one down, do so with the knowledge that you will never get them to align with what they’ve done wrong. 

Holding their hands up simply isn’t a game they’re willing to play, because they know they will lose.

Don’t Absorb Their Energy

Not all energy is good, and  the energy of a narcissist is no different at all. If you are trying to shut down somebody with these toxic traits, you are going to get nowhere if you allow their responsive energy to flood you.

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This energy is going to be potent. It will destroy you, make you question yourself, and cause you to doubt your feelings.

The attention the narcissist craves when looking to shut you down cannot be matched with anything you have to offer until you are ready to offer more. How you do that is by retaining your own healthy energy supply, and making sure you don’t give any of it away.

Don’t Take it Personally 

Personalizing the way a narcissist treats you is a dangerous game – for you, not for them. They slide into your conscience with ease and will stay there to ensure you feel everything as terribly as they want you to. 

They want you to feel guilty for trying to shut them down. They want everybody to know how controlling you try to be, and they won’t stop pushing their agenda onto anybody who will listen to build an army of supporters. 

Shut them down anyway, and fail to take any of their tactics personally. Remember how this is about them and not you. Without you, there is no supply coming to them. This is like a car running on empty – it won’t get very far. 

You need the fuel for yourself.

Never – EVER Apologize

Sorry is the worst word you can use when trying to shut a narcissist down. 

“I’m sorry, but…”

This just does not work. Why? Shutting down a narcissist has to have some power behind it, otherwise they are just empty words or gestures. 

To get to the point where you feel you need to shut anybody down, you should be owning your decision. This rarely comes with apologies, but instead by holding your head up high and insisting to yourself that you are doing the right thing, and that you deserve some kind of justice. 

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The More You Fight, The More You Lose

This is key to remember when putting yourself in the line of fire (which is what happens every time you try to shut down a narcissist), is that no matter how much you try to prove yourself right, the more they will punish you by smearing your name. 

Trying to beat them with a war or words will fail miserably. They know exactly how to manipulate every situation to make you appear worse off.

Walk away with your dignity intact. 

Boundaries Work!

  • Keep to what you know and believe to be true, but never feel the need to express it all at once. You won’t get anywhere, but what you know in your heart matters. 
  • Know when to walk away before the fireworks start because it will be the narcissist who lights the fuse and points their finger at you as the guilty party.  You can avoid this by asserting boundaries, knowing when enough is enough. 
  • Believe in yourself. The narcissist doesn’t care about you, and wants to see you fall on your face. Shutting them down can be done with a strong mind and a will to not have  to have the last word.
  • Understand that your self-esteem is low, and you may think you haven’t got what it takes to win, but you can win. Silence is like water to the narcissist’s flames. 

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