How to disarm a toxic person.
So you met someone, got sucked in, you’re left with no idea of why it happened or even how it happened. You are, or you have been through all the I could have, would have, should have sort of stuff in your head. You didn’t think at the moment what you could do. You didn’t have the tools to cope with this kind of person. You might realise a person like this raised you. Hence, you accepted behaviour as normal that you should never have. Learning no contact is the best way to go. However, this might mean cutting off a healthy parent who needs you, who would be stuck with the narcissist, or you have children with your ex. You might have begun to realise a work colleague is narcissistic. In this case, no contact isn’t always possible, and it needs to become limited contact and grey rock.
So just how do you disarm a narcissist’s covert-aggressive manipulative tactics? What can you say so you don’t get drawn in, don’t go on the attack and don’t feel horrible afterwards?
Remember, many things are a game to a narcissist, one of their games is to provoke you into feelings such as anger, and once they get you there, they want to push you into a reaction. Once they have your reaction, they want to play the victim and pass blame over to you, so you feel ashamed, guilty, so the narcissist escapes consequences while gaining further control over you.
How to handle yourself around a narcissist?
When they are coming at you, the first thing you do is breathe. Take a few deep breaths before you respond. Focus on your breathing and becoming mindful. You might notice they are hitting on that same thing within you, using your weaknesses against you. Your heart might be racing. They are just trying to make you feel uncomfortable and unworthy, so be aware of this within yourself, don’t take their words personally, recognise the games they are playing.
Set boundaries and stick with them. The boundaries might be as simple as saying no, say they want to pick children up later and do it regularly to disrupt your life, and they don’t even show up just say, “ no, it’s nine as Pre-arranged or not at all” you do not need to respond to any comeback. You stood up for yourself and said no. It’s up to them to either arrive when Pre-arranged or not bother. What they do with that is not your problem.
So set boundaries, say no and make sure you enforce them. You must always enforce it. Give a narcissist an inch. They will go after the mile.
Observe what’s going on like a third person. Listen and watch them like you’re watching yourself on tv. Read the message like it was sent to someone else. Then you’re not as caught up in the drama, and it gives you time to think and respond. Emotionally detach yourself from the situation, no upset, no anger from you towards them as that’s how they win getting those emotional responses. Stick to facts only state it once. You’ve said what needs to be said. Do not engage in an argument. Don’t act happy either, as they will find a way to twist and manipulate that onto you. When you observe what is going on, like you’re a third person, you can detach yourself from the situation. See what happens from a different perspective. Giving you the power to respond non emotionally and to the point. (You can let your emotions out afterwards when they are not around if you need to do so.)
Guard your focus.
Guard your attention like your life depends on it. Where you focus your attention is where you focus your mind, which is your best asset when talking to a narcissist or toxic person. Focus on the topic at hand and keep your attention on the initial point, as these narcissists love to divert off the original topic and provoke you in any way they can. They want to listen to your emotional response. They want to control the topic, control how they make you act, control your mind, So keep your attention on the original topic only. You control your attention. You will see them taking you off-topic, trying to draw you in and pull you down. Recognise their game for what it is—their game of manipulation, distraction and control. When you keep your attention in your own head, you are then like.
No, thank you, I’m not going down that route. Let’s stick to what we’re actually discussing. Cancel and delete in your mind what they’re trying to draw you into and stick with the first point. They like to plant seeds of doubt in your mind by deflecting you off-topic. Focus on you. Your strengths, your positives, your routine, boundaries and goals. They might try to entice you to go against your integrity, then you feel guilty, and they manipulate. Stick with your own opinions and your own integrity. Choose your integrity and do not fall into their trap. Remember being aware will help you to achieve this.
Remember, what they say and do is on them.
Deflect whatever covert manipulation they are trying to use. Let it float past you, don’t accept it, don’t respond to it. Just leave it right there in mid-air and within your mind, return it to the rightful owner.
If you ever start to get upset, go back to breathing and regain your focus.
Never ever give any kind of emotional reaction to a narcissistic person. When you do, they’ve got you right where they want you. They love it and feed off it. So no emotions are to be given. When you get away from them and back home, then you can process that emotion. Go home and let them out. It’s vital you release any emotion they caused when they are not around. You need to let all those emotions out.
Phrases that you could say to them, always stay safe.
When they twist the story so they can escape responsibility. “We remember things differently.”
When they try to put you down. “How you think isn’t my responsibility.”
When your opinion isn’t the same as the narcissists. “ I see you feel strongly about that, as do I, so I’m not changing my mind. You’re not changing yours. So we’ll have to agree to disagree.”
If you’ve set a new boundary and then you get from the narcissist “ you’re selfish” or “ you’re only doing this for your own weird kicks.” or “you’re stopping me from seeing the children for your own strange games “ or “ I didn’t think you were this cruel.”
If you really want to respond, especially if it’s a face to face conversation, go with “That’s interesting.” if you want to go more. “That’s interesting. I wonder what makes you think that.” this is also a good response when they are calling you names. Or “How you think of me isn’t my responsibility.” Just remember to stay calm and don’t show emotions. Another good response when they are calling you names is “That’s possible.” no more, no less just “That’s possible.” don’t engage in it. Just deflect it as they do to you.
When they are playing the victim and doing the whole woe is me. Say, “ I see you’re upset about this. You should go work on that”, or ask them “, How can I help you.” If they want to exploit you, let them know. “I don’t guilt-trip you into doing things you don’t want to do.” Just put the responsibility back onto the rightful owner.
Suppose they’re throwing one of their toddler tantrums. Just say, “ I hope you feel better”, then walk away.
Suppose they’re just been plain old rude to you. If it gets tense and they start getting angry and threats, “ let’s talk when you are calm, so we can keep a mutual respect “, then leave it alone.
Eventually, without the attention they believe they are entitled to, most will back down and walk away as they don’t know what to do when you’re not engaging or giving any emotions away. Also, when you’re firing back at them, things they say to you.
Remember, if you don’t need to talk to the narcissist, don’t. No contact is simply the best method. No response and not reaction.
Another is retreat, rethink and then respond only if you have to, and only respond once.
Suppose you have to because of children: messages or email. Save them print them to keep everything documented. This is to help you if the narcissist catches you off guard in person, which they’ll probably try to do if they’re not getting an emotional response or any response/ reaction from you.
Remember, with good intentions. There’s no wrong way or right way to live your life, only your way.
The narcissist’s conversation manipulation.
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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.