Asking a narcissist a question.
With most people, you can ask a simple question and enjoy a two-way conversation with mutual respect and understanding, with a narcissist who claims to hate “drama.” You can expect a whole world of drama and more besides if you were to ask them something that they just don’t agree with.
So why is it so hard to ask a narcissist a question and receive a straightforward answer?
A narcissist does not like it when you question them. As part of their disorder means they believe they are entitled, that they are special, they think they are the superior, they think they’re the boss of you.
They think no questions are needed from you about what they have or haven’t done, where they have and haven’t been, who they’ve been with, as they will never be accountable. It will most often be twisted straight back around onto what you did or did not do, where you’ve been and who with.
To a narcissist, unless they want us to know where they’ve been and who with them, it is none of our business. They’ll often take questions from us as criticism. If we ask a question just to make a conversation with them, if we ask wanting to know something, or if we ask because we need answers. These can all trigger a reaction from them. They do not wish us to question them, and if we’ve questioned them deliberately or not, as part of their disorder is an entitlement, they believe they are entitled to do what they want whenever they want, and they can feel criticism of their rights to do as they please and their power over us slipping away, even if we only asked. “Did you have a good day?” Depending on the mood they are in, they have to react to your question.
Even if we just ask to make conversation, nothing more, nothing less, “Where have you been? Did you have fun this evening?”
It’s not only the question we ask. It can also be the tone in which we ask it, that can cause negative reactions from a narcissist.
To a Narcissist, if our question is in a calm, none, emotional manner, they take it that we are not giving them the attention they believe they are entitled to, that inner rage they have will surface. They lash out at us. To them, this is our fault. Not only have we criticised them within their mind, but we also didn’t provide them with the correct attention.
They do class any form of questioning as them being held accountable to us, which in their eyes, they are only accountable to themselves. No one else matters. They take questions as them not being entitled to do as they please. This often angers them, their inner rage rises, and they have to hit back. They have to get their authority back and control back of us, and they also need our emotional reactions to heal the criticism they believe they have received from us, even though all we may have done is ask a simple question.
Yet as, sometimes, they can control this and have a conversation when they do react, and they can react badly. It leaves us confused. It leaves us hurt and wondering what we did. As they can be ok sometimes, their reactions over time can then leave us with all the self-doubts, anxiety around them and walking on eggshells so as not to set them off.
When we know where we stand with people, we know to stand with them or away from them, when people can treat us so well one minute, them so badly the next, often then punishing us with word salad, triangulation, the silent treatment, and then blaming it all on us, it becomes a terrifying and confusing place to live.
If you ask a narcissist a question in an angry or irritated way, usually as they’ve not done something they promised they would or done someone they promised they wouldn’t. As we care for others and stick to our word, we then expect that behaviour in return from those who claim to love and care for us, yet they’ll often Gaslight with responses such as. “I love you.” to then act like they don’t.” a narcissist can love you with words, yet confuse us with actions. Or you get the classic. ”I never said that.” Or “That never happened.” When we know they did say that, or it did happen, it leaves us hurt and confused by their responses. Often our emotions then become heightened. We can become angry through the hurt or resentment. They then enjoy that they have gotten to us and are receiving attention from us. They will then downplay and deny any wrongdoing on their part and exaggerate our normal reactions to their toxic behaviour with ”You’re too sensitive.” or the ”You’re crazy.”
If we ask why they’ve not washed the pots or cut the grass in an irritated manner, their inner rage isn’t always triggered as they know they’ve gotten to us, and they can use us against ourselves. They are enjoying the emotional reactions. As we’ve challenged them, criticised them, they don’t like us questioning their authority. Yet, because of how we did it, they see an excellent opportunity to gain more attention from us. They will provoke our emotions to gain a bigger reaction, then they’ll blame it all on us, so we are the ones left with self-doubt and believing we are at fault. When all we did was ask a simple question, whereas, in a healthy relationship, you’d get a simple answer, or even when one is just feeling in a mood that day. You wouldn’t walk away feeling hurt, confused or anxious.
A Trait of the disorder is arrogance and dominance. They also lack Empathy, which is another trait to care for how we feel on a genuine level. A narcissist will never admit they are in the wrong, as they believe we are the ones in the wrong, they will never let us settle a disagreement as to them we shouldn’t have questioned them or their authority in the first place, they believe they are superior and don’t need to answer to us.
They will reject any questions we may ask that challenges their behaviour. They will not explain any truth to what has happened and not admit any fault, as they feel no need to do this. What they must do now is not resolve the situation. They must regain their power and control over us.
If we are to continue to question them in a calm none, emotional manner, that inner rage they have could surface. They lash out to them. This again is our fault. Not only have we criticised their superiority, but we also didn’t provide the correct emotional attention.
They will evade any questions we ask.
We can never be able to have a normal conversation with a narcissist about anything within the relationship that concerns us. Their response is often scary, puzzling, or plain old strange and confusing.
“The truth sounds like hate to those who hate the truth.”
They will refuse to answer the question, to make us annoyed, angry and confused that we can not just have a straightforward conversation or answer with them. They just have an instinctive response to any form of questioning, and some have a more calculated response. These are some ways you may have found they respond.
A few examples of how they may respond.
1. They might try the “How dare you, after everything I do for you?” which we can then question what they actually do for us.
2. It could be the “ Why can you not leave me alone? Can we not just have a normal, simple, quiet life?” Even though we only asked if they’d had a good day, it’s just to leave us hurting and confused.
3. They may completely change the conversation, the topic switch, to something like. “I think we need to buy a new car.” Or to something happening at work or some gossip they’ve overheard. Which is usually a lie anyway. We will try to get it back to the original conversation while they carry on deflecting.
4. To deflect by Triangulation. They will shift the topic of conversation onto other people, away from them. To make the change in conversation onto talking about other people. Things like. “My ex never questioned me, why are you?” which leaves us with more questions and doubts as they said their ex was crazy, or things like their friend never get questioned from their partner, leaving us with the self-doubts again questioning who we are.
5. Repeatedly interrupting us, telling us that, In fact, we are the ones not allowing them to get a word in, which leaves us stunned and confused as it’s the other way around. They are always looking at Twisting it around onto us, again leaving you confused as it’s actually us that cannot get our point of view across. They will tell us that we’re raising our voice, we need to calm down, we need to think about how we’re speaking to them, completely winding us up all the more, again not actually engaging in the conversation that we started. So we have to start defending ourselves from them. Furthermore, they will twist it straight back at us.
6. They might just demand that the conversation is over, they’ve had enough of talking, to have the final say, they might spit in our face or push us. Then walk away from us, and give us the silent treatment, to train us never to dare question their authority again.
7. After they’ve walked away, we may then receive the Silent treatment for as long as the narcissist wishes to do so.
8. They will raise their voice above ours, as we can not be heard. They feel we can not challenge them, leaving us in disappear because we can not get our point of view across. They no longer listen to what we say. Instead, they see our frustration and anger. They then lap up the attention.
9. They might start questioning us about things we’ve done, that’s far worse, even if it is all their mind. So we end up defending ourselves to their questioning.
Yet, we may continue with them when they do these things because of our empathy, and we want the reality of what’s happened. We want to be heard and the narcissist to understand your point of view and our feelings. We like things to be settled and sorted mutually.
Narcissists do these things and many more if you question them. To gaslight us, so we don’t know what happened, and it’s not sorted. To them, it’s that you criticised them. They are in charge of us. They instinctively do it to protect themselves and regain control. Ride out the storm of the waves when they come at you. Give no reactions. You’ll not get the answers. Look to yourself for the answers. Break free forever with no contact or grey rock, and live a happy life for yourself.
You can, and you will.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.
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Video for how not to argue if you can not go no contact.