Having a conversation with a narcissist can leave us with so many emotions to work through, from guilt to anger, self doubts to frustration. A conversation with a narcissist can leave us with no idea as to what just happened, whose memory is right, and whose is wrong. Those conversations can leave us dumbfounded or screaming to be understood, left in tears and completely drained, stunned into silence that they had no clue as to what we were talking about, and it ended up being about something we did wrong. Or that we felt like we were talking and nobody was home.
Conversations with a narcissist are crazy-making; narcissists are exhausting to be around or to try and communicate with. The thought of a conversation with a narcissist can be utterly nerve-racking, one wrong word and they blow, and we don’t even know what that wrong word was. Usually, we end up walking on Eggshells after so many times when the conversations in the past ended badly, which they’ve always blamed us for. When we do decide to brave it and to start that dreaded conversation, we’re left wishing we had never started the conversation, doubting our very own instincts and wondering what on earth just happened. Often leaving us feeling like we are the crazy ones, we often end up questioning our own sanity, our own reality, blaming ourselves for things that perhaps never even happened.
The problem is some of us are born into narcissism, having narcissistic parents, even on the low end of the spectrum, so we don’t always truly learn what true love is when we have someone hurt us, that we look up to, to take care of us, shouting ”don’t you know I love you.” we accept that treatment of us as normal, that we should never have, we believe that’s how people show love, even though it’s not how we love. As we grow and make friendships and get into a relationship, we accept their behaviour as normal, that we should have never accepted, making excuses, reasoning, and those excuses are extremely valid within our minds, then with all the manipulation of self doubt they plant into our minds it makes us all the more susceptible to further psychological abuse. We trust the words and actions of others as we don’t go around manipulating others.
Narcissistic people don’t feel, think, act or do like we do. We give them our good qualities, we expect them to be reasonable and rational and work together, and then when they don’t respond as we would. As kind, empathetic people would, we become confused, hurt, disappointed, angry and frustrated with our lives. With the narcissists carefully chosen Gaslighting words, or The Narcissist’s Silent Treatment, we blame ourselves and work harder to please them. Just when we think we’ve had enough, the narcissist will then Act nice, which then reinforces our self-doubt that it’s us that are at fault. Nothing you or anyone ever does deserves this kind of manipulation or abuse in any way, shape or form. They are the ones with the issue. You were never to blame for their toxic, hurtful, negative behaviour or actions towards you. They are responsible for their behaviour as we are ours. We might have done things we are not proud of around these people. Narcissistic people know how to push the right buttons to bring the worst out in those around them. Then they will exaggerate any mistakes of ours while denying any mistakes of theirs or blaming us for their mistake. While we try to look for the best in them, they’ll point out all our flaws in us, leaving us with even more self-doubts.
Seven examples of the tactics narcissists use for crazy-making conversations. If you still need to communicate with one, you can recognise the manipulative game they are playing, not get drawn into it, and begin to see just how predictable they genuinely are.
Some are dangerous, so no contact is a must.
Possibly one of their favourite and most commonly used manipulation tactics, as we often don’t see it while living it. Gaslighting will often psychologically distort our reality. It is an insidious form of mental abuse. A narcissist will purposefully not share information. They will rewrite history on us to escape accountability, either by saying something that did happen, they’ll tell you it never happened, or something that didn’t happen, they will say it did. They accuse us of ” Being insecure, being sensitive, losing our mind.” This is all used, so we doubt our own feelings and our thoughts, question ourselves and our reality, doubting our judgement and often going to them for a reality check. They might even hide or rearrange belongings. They say things that hurt us and then come at us with, “I’m only joking.” So we are left overthinking, questioning ourselves, full of doubts and becoming emotionally and physically drained.
How to disarm. Always keep things via messages and email. If it’s in-person, keep a diary, take notes and go to those notes for your own reality check. Pay attention to the wording someone uses. If they hurt your feelings, say they were joking and try to understand you, they made a mistake. If they repeat that behaviour, it’s no longer a mistake. It’s who they are.
2. Blame shifting.
As they exploit others and lack the empathy to care for others’ feelings, they feel superior and are never to be held accountable for their own actions. They will shift the blame for everything and anything they’ve done that’s perceived by others as hurtful, immoral or wrong onto those around them. They will justify themselves cheating on you by twisting the blame onto you. Bosses will justify using you because they pay you. A parent will justify ignoring you because you wouldn’t break your boundaries or beliefs and wait on them hand and foot. Or they’ll take the credit for things they’ve not even done.
When we ask them a question, and they take it as criticism in some way. They change the conversation or interrupt us, or silent treatment us. They will use any of our weaknesses, vulnerabilities or our insecurities and any extra they’ve drilled into us against us, so we go into the defensive. They’ll use the things that matter to us the most, as they understand these are the things that we will most passionately defend. They will guilt trip us or use something we fear, as our fear helps with their control. They use each and every one of our emotions against us. They take our attention away from the original question, the original point of the conversation. When we become frustrated, angry, emotional, and we react, they blame it ALL on us. They have to escape accountability, so their toxic behaviour disappears like magic, and we’re tricked into defending ourselves, then questioning ourselves and taking on all the blame.
How to disarm. Don’t play, Don’t ask them a question. They’ll never give you an answer if they do. It’s a lie or somehow your fault. Instead, find the answers from within yourself. Remember, they don’t want compromise or your opinions. They want to win at all costs to you. Remind yourself asking them something is most often going to be pointless and will often just end up sending you around the twist. Leave them to it.
3. Interrupting you.
As they are often preoccupied with power or success, real or imagined, huge success or small, those successful in life will brag, and those not successful will blame those around them. In the beginning, it might be all about you, and this is just another of their manipulation tactics to get to know our likes, our dislikes so they can Mirror us, get to know our insecurities so further down the line, they can use all theses against us. After The Idealisation Stage, suddenly, the conversations will most often be all about them; they often require excessive attention. They just love to be the centre of attention and talk all about themselves. They will have no interest in holding a two-way conversation, and if we try to get a word in and it contradicts or criticises the narcissist, they will ignore us, talk over us, raise their voice, or dismiss us. While people with ADHD and other mental health can find conversations interesting and interrupt people. The narcissist will intentionally interrupt us to bring the conversation straight back onto all about them. They believe they are correct, they are superior, and you should accept trust and believe in all that they say.
Part of the disorder is they feel like they are superior and have to remain in control. So they do this by dominating conversations. They have no interest in Compromise, other people’s thoughts, feelings or views are invalid to them. To a narcissist, it’s my way, or I’ll make it my way. They will monopolise most conversations. They will interrupt and bring it back onto them. They will discredit anything you do say and use it as evidence against you. They will take control, avoid talking about any genuine issues and avoid any accountability.
How to disarm, if they keep taking you off-topic, bring it straight back to the original point, observe if they blame shift, provoke, talk over you or rage. Stop the conversation when they do, never react, only respond, and you only need to respond once. If they don’t want to listen, they’ll not. You do not need to respond if they take you off-topic as they’ve not responded to the situation at hand.
4. The silent treatment.
This is another one of the narcissist’s most common methods for emotional manipulation of those around them. They believe they are special and have a sense of entitlement within themselves that all others should do as they say, or they will sulk until they get their own way. When they feel criticism or they are losing power and control over you, most go for the silent treatment. They will do the present silent treatment for hours, days or weeks when we are at the home, so we’re walking on eggshells. They will do it when with friends on purpose, entirely leaving us out of the conversation, or the disappearing act, where they up and leave for days or weeks, all to keep dominance and control over us they will demand a perfect apology for things we don’t even know we’re apologising for. They would do this if you didn’t accept their point of view, to avoid discussing important issues. To avoid taking or accepting and accountability for things they have done. To get us to do as they ask, and when we do, they’ll reinforce your self-doubts by playing nice with us again, just to bring us crashing down again.
The silent treatment is used against us, so we feel insignificant, Invalidated, insecure, vulnerable, and unloved, to make us question and doubt ourselves. They usually make it so we can not get hold of them with the disappearing act, or so we are walking on eggshells for the present silent treatment.
How to disarm. There’s no better way to recover from narcissistic abuse than taking the first step of No Contact, as they use the silent treatment to hurt us. We use no contact to heal us. Don’t try to reason with them, don’t try to work out what’s wrong, write down and focus on your reality, no longer beg, pled or apologised, just leave them be. They can not play if you’re not playing with them. They can not fight if you’re not fighting, and they can not control if they have lost the control of your mind.
5. Turning up the volume.
When they overtalk us when they get angry and feel as though they are losing control of the conversation, they will turn up the volume. They do this to shock, confuse, intimated and basically bully us into submission. This is because when we feel intimidated, our rational thinking, our best defence, is weak. They are using more physiological warfare against us. This is when they lack intelligence over the conversation. So they have to talk louder and over us to dominate the conversation and take back control.
How to disarm. Stop talking. They are not interested in your point of view, and they want to scare you into taking on their opinions and turn your ears off. Go into your own mind and focus on your own opinions and thoughts.
Another they love to use on others is Projecting what they have done, think or feel onto us. The things they do and the things they say to one person when no one is watching are entirely different to when others are watching, and there could be consequences to their actions. If you listen to their character assassinations of others, this is actually, most often, the real truth of who they indeed are. They will discredit credible people, accuse people of cheating who are not cheating, accuse others of lying who are no liars, accuse people of being insecure who are trying to listen to their instincts, accuse people of being crazy who they actually drove that way, accuse people of keeping their children from them, when most of the time they don’t even pick up the children.
Narcissists do this when they are defensive, and they project all their faults onto others. They annihilate and destroy people. Most people don’t project, and people’s comments often resemble the truth of the other person. They are not outright lies.
How to disarm, if they are Smearing your name, leave them to it, rise above, not easy. Yet possible, if they are doing it directly to you, observe those words, don’t take them on as your own, take them as a verbal confession of who they indeed are.
This is when they will talk about what someone else has done, to get us to break down our boundaries and do it for them, they will lie about what others have said about us to dived and conquer and get us isolated from all support.
How to disarm. Know your worth and your boundaries. Just because someone else would do something doesn’t matter. You are not them. Any lies try to get the third person and the narcissist together, then ask them about it.
8. The topic switch.
When you’re happily discussing something, then we either don’t agree with their point of view, or they feel criticised, or we’ve asked them about something they didn’t want us to know about. To gain control and win, as that’s what narcissists wish to win and be in control. They’ll suddenly switch the conversation onto something else. Usually, something we’ve done wrong in their eyes, or something we haven’t done for them, or they will chip away at one of our insecurities. They project out loads of word salad to provoke us, confuse us, hurt and upset us. Suddenly we’re in defensive mode, and the original conversation had disappeared, and then we get blamed for everything for defending ourselves. Or we are reduced to tears, and they’ll sit back almost looking pleased and watch you cry while still blaming it all on you.
How to disarm. Again observe what they do and what they switch it onto, bringing it back to the original conversation. If they don’t want to, then leave them to word spew on themselves and take no part in the conversation.
9. Playing the victim.
When they’re not playing the hero, they will pity play into the role of the victim. They will never be the villain. They do this to avoid taking responsibility to avoid being held accountable and to avoid their actual abusive behaviours and cover them up. They know others are kind, caring and compassionate, and they play on that to further their advantage over people, gain flying monkeys and control others’ opinions, all while hiding their true selves. When we’re upset over a broken promise, or something they have done, they will play victim and project something we’ve done that hurt them more, how we don’t give them the attention they believe they deserve or sympathy, how we are insecure or selfish. When in reality, it’s us that needs it, not them, yet we ended up lowering our boundaries, feeling sorry for them, forgiving them. Whatever happens to us, they’ve always had worse happen to them.
How to disarm. Remember why the conversation started, stop listening to them and focus on the original discussion, the original problem, don’t look to them to emphasise or help. Look to yourself and what you need to do to stop the situation. Look to good people who will reassure and help you.
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