To call someone out on their behaviour is to let someone know for whatever reason that you disagree with their behaviour. Genuine people can just as easily be offended and become defensive when they get called out on a mistake, a failed promise, error in judgment, they’ll usually reflect then have effective communication, narcissistic people lie, deny, deflect, shift the blame, get you all up in your feelings, hurt you all the more, then expects you to apologise to them, for what they did to you.
Why do people call others out?
There are various factors depending on intentions as to why people call others out. Often it’s down to our own personal beliefs and attitudes not aligning with another’s.
We can want people to know that we know they lied to us, In the hopes they’ll recognise they lied to us, be remorseful and not do it again.
With genuine people, this can work. Someone who’s got caught up in a lie would feel guilty and remorseful, you asking them might pave the way for them to clear their conscience, just as if you’d got caught out in a lie, often these lies are told to protect another’s feelings not realising not only are we hurting theirs, we are hurting our own by lying to those we care for. With narcissistic people, they don’t see things the way in which we do. They don’t lie to protect our feelings they lie to protect themselves, they don’t want to admit fault, they want to escape taking any form of responsibility for their behaviour.
We can be looking for communication to gain a better understanding of a situation and what’s happening.
With genuine people on a whole communication works great, miss understandings can be resolved, with narcissistic people they’re looking for control and one of the most powerful ways for them to do this is only to let you know what they want you to know, they will lie their way into situations just to lie themselves back out.
Our instincts can be telling us something, but we need evidence to prove it.
When we just know, but we don’t know, it can be very confusing. You often know things that a narcissist will deny that you later find out were true. With a narcissist, it’s not their instincts. It’s their paranoia that you’re capable of doing to them what they are doing to you a narcissist’s accusations are often confessions.
We want to resolve any difference of opinion, come to some form of resolution, agree to disagree.
While we want to understand someone else’s point of view, in the hopes they’ll understand ours, to learn, grow, gain a wider perspective, see it from their point of view even if we stick to our own, learn more about a situation as we don’t have all the information or explain more about a situation as we believe the other person not to have all the relevant information. A Narcissist wants you to agree with them and with them only, they’ll do their research based on the side they want to tell, and they’ll put up very convincing arguments, or they’ll turn into the victim and accuse you of never taking their side.
Let someone know how their actions made us feel in the hopes they’ll not hurt us in that way again.
When we unintentionally hurt another’s feelings, we want to know because we feel bad and wish to learn not to do that again, or when someone hurts ours, we would like open communication to lessen the pain in the hopes it’ll not happen again. Narcissistic people hurt people’s feelings either because they feel entitled to do as they please with a lack of empathy to care or because they’re seeking revenge on another. Communicating how they hurt us only give a narcissist the information about how they can hurt us more, narcissists don’t see a problem with their actions. To them, we should just deal with it, those “you know what I’m like, or they’ll claim “if you hadn’t, I wouldn’t to shift the blame.
So how can a narcissist react when you call them out.
1. Baiting. Where the narcissist will intentionally go all out to make you angry by saying or doing something to annoy or taunt or hurt you all the more deliberately, to emotionally hook trap or entice you into reacting out towards them, shouting to be heard, throwing things out of sheer frustration, to which a narcissist will stand back act all calm and ask. “What’s wrong with you? Are you having a bad day?” Or claim, “you’re going crazy. You need help.” as they walk off to provoke you all the more.
This is done to deflect attention away from the narcissist’s actions by focusing on your reactions, to make you feel bad and apologise to the narcissist for the bad feelings they provoked within in.
2. Blame shifting. Where the narcissist switches the crazy-making onto you, when you confront the narcissist or even try to set boundaries, the narcissist will change the whole focus onto you being the problem. The narcissists “I don’t want to argue with you,” So they can escape accountability and not take responsibility for their actions. Putting all the attention and blame onto you, “if only you hadn’t, what about when you.” To get you to defend yourself to them for the things they’re doing to you.
3. Divide and conquer. To assert control over others. To create diversions among people, to dominate, and to isolate people, making it easier for the narcissist to manipulate people, a narcissist will look to blaming someone else for their unreasonable behaviour to justify their behaviour. Hence, you feel bad for the narcissist show compassion and understanding as to why the narcissist doesn’t like someone as the narcissist is usually telling you everything the other person has done to the narcissist, which most often is what the narcissist did to the other person, a narcissist’s accusations are often confessions. They’ll divide so you can not speak to the other parties involved so the narcissist can influence you into believing the narcissists lies, and the narcissist will find a way to justify why they’d be so hurt if you spoke to the third person who they’ve told you about in the strictest of confidence.
4. Insincere Apology. The narcissist’s false apology, as a narcissist never feels responsible for their hurtful behaviour, always finding a scapegoat to blame, and believes they are always right. You’ll not get a genuine apology, only a false apology if the narcissist thinks it will meet a need of their own. To remove any shame they feel, things like. “I’m sorry if you hadn’t, I wouldn’t.” ” I’m sorry, but you couldn’t handle the truth.” “I’m sorry you’re too sensitive to understand.” So the narcissist can reel you back into their manipulative games. They expect you to forgive and forget instantly, and as they get away with their behaviour, their behaviour will often become worse.
5. Gaslighting. This is an insidious form of psychological abuse where they sow seeds of self-doubt into others. Claiming what you heard, saw, feel, felt, you didn’t, or what they didn’t tell you they did. “I told you I was going there. How can you of all people not remember.” Hence, you lose your own sense of reality, your sanity. With that, you end up questioning your memories and your perceptions. The narcissist undermines your reality. They lie and give false information by projection, blame-shifting, triangulation. Saying, “that never happened.” “I told you last week.” “You’re sensitive.” Or the “you’re crazy.” They brainwash you into believing their reality.
6. Projection. Where a narcissist will push their own feelings, thoughts, actions, beliefs, opinions, behaviours and traits onto someone else, the narcissist will blame others to escape accountability. When you ask them what they’re doing, They will accuse you of what they are actually doing. From “you’re a liar.” “You’re cheating.” “You’re insecure.” To get you to defend and explain yourself to them, so they don’t have to for you.
7. Silent treatments. Another form of psychological manipulation, where the narcissist fails to take responsibility by failing to communicate while punishing you in the hopes of making you feel guilt, to encourage you to beg, plead, apologies and make up to the narcissist for things you didn’t even do, to ease the psychological pain their silence is causing you. The present silent treatment in the home where you’re left walking on eggshells or where they just disappear on you.
8. Narcissist rage. If the narcissist feels criticism, isn’t getting things their own way, or feels entitled to something they are not getting, it hurts their inflated ego setting off wild and sometimes dangerous rage, far beyond healthy anger. It’s traumatising to you and can also stop you from questioning the narcissist in the future due to the bad experience of the past.
9. Triangulation. Where narcissists use others to justify the behaviour, “Your ex did, my parents were.” Through making lies up and informing one of something another said. To divide and conquer. To do all they can to justify their behaviour to get away with their behaviour, no matter how much you respect a narcissist’s confidential information, they’ll not respect yours, call them out, and they’ll threaten with, “what if Sam knew about you.” Or they’ll play the victim. “I thought you, of all people, got me, but you’re just like my ex.” To leave you feeling bad, so the narcissist doesn’t have to.
10. Word Salad, A mixture of words and phrases that lack any meaning to the original topic, where the narcissist will go all out to confuse you, so whatever you called them out on never gets discussed and often gets turned around onto something that you’ve done wrong, that you might not have even done, again so your the one explaining while the narcissist keeps on draining you.
11. Hoover. Named after the hoover, as they try to suck you back in, to treat you like dirt, to discard you all over again, if you call a narcissist out, they might beg for forgiveness, come with those false promises of change, claim they can’t live without you, this is because they still want something from you, or they want to reel you back in just long enough to punish and hurt you for breaking their trust in you, all because you found out what they did to you. Narcissists make those around them miserable, often eventually driving others away. If people pull away from the narcissist, they might try to hoover the target back in. Narcissists use lots of manipulative tactics to do this.
What can you do?
Sometimes we need to call people out, just like at times, we ourselves might need to be called out to reflect, learn and grow however, with a narcissist calling them out is only going to criticise their self-importance. They’ll often seek to punish you, stick with those you can communicate with, walk away from those who seek to hurt you.
We have to learn to recognise the narcissist’s behaviour for what it is and stop going to those for closure who enjoy opening our wounds, stop explaining ourselves to those who enjoy using our explanations against us, stop showing facts and evidence to those who will outright deny it, and stop trying to prove ourselves to those who don’t want us to recognise our worth. We have to learn to validate ourselves and our own experiences so other people can no longer drag us along to suit theirs.
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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.