In the intricate world of human interactions, understanding and dealing with different personalities is essential for harmonious relationships. One such personality type that can often leave others feeling bewildered is the narcissist. Narcissists manifest a strong sense of self-importance and an insatiable need for admiration and validation. They always strive to be at the centre of attention, manipulating situations to cater to their ego. However, there are several strategies that can be employed to effectively confuse a narcissist and maintain your own sense of well-being.
- Remain Calm: One of the most effective weapons against narcissists is maintaining a calm and composed demeanour. When they try to provoke and stir up emotions, staying calm and collected can frustrate them. By refusing to engage in heated exchanges or display visible reactions, you deny them the satisfaction of exerting their control over your emotions.
- Avoid Feeding Their Ego: To effectively handle narcissists, it is imperative that we refrain from feeding their egos. These individuals derive immense satisfaction from admiration and attention, which further fuel their inflated sense of self-importance. To disorient them, it becomes essential to consciously refrain from bolstering their already engorged ego.
- Listening Strategically: Narcissists often believe that their every word should be attended to with captivated attention. However, by selectively choosing when to truly listen to them and when to give only partial attention, you can disorient their sense of importance. This confusion arises either through no longer hanging on to their every word or by changing the dynamic and asking fewer questions about their opinions or experiences.
- No Longer Engaging in Power Struggles: Narcissists constantly seek power and control in their relationships. However, refusing to engage in their power struggles can leave them utterly confused. By detaching yourself from their manipulative tactics and calmly asserting your own perspective, you disrupt the dynamic and cause them to question their strategy.
- Respond to their silence with Silence: Narcissists crave attention and responses. By intentionally responding to their silent treatment with your own silence, you disrupt their expectations and create confusion. This approach may prompt them to reconsider their actions or behaviour, and many narcissists will double down on their behaviour, which is why it’s vital to keep yourself safe and ride out the storm.
- Setting Boundaries: Establishing clear boundaries is essential when interacting with narcissistic individuals. Expressing your own needs and limits can be confusing for a narcissist who lacks the empathy, therefore, has an inability to understand your thoughts and feelings yet expects complete compliance and obedience. By asserting yourself and refusing to be treated as a mere extension of their desires, you create a sense of doubt and unpredictability, be careful some narcissists see this as a challenge, therefore when dealing with narcissists, one of the best boundaries is distance, psychological, emotional and physical distance.
- Keep Your Distance: Limiting your exposure to a narcissist can also be an effective tactic. By keeping a healthy distance and not being readily available for their manipulative games, you create space for clarity and self-reflection. Narcissists rely on constant attention, and when they are denied that, confusion and frustration can ensue.
- Focus on Self-Care: Prioritising self-care is essential when dealing with narcissists. Engaging in activities that nurture your physical, emotional, and mental well-being allows you to maintain a strong sense of self amid the chaos. By investing in your own happiness and growth, you further confuse the narcissist who expects your world to revolve around them. Always be cautious around a narcissist, as when they see you doing well, suddenly they want you back, or they seek to destroy your happiness for you.
Always stay vigilant when breaking free from narcissists, as many feel entitled to have you, while lacking the empathy to care about you and will find ways to get you back or punish you.
Understanding the Games Narcissists Play When Losing Control:
- Love Bombing:
When narcissists sense their control slipping away, they may resort to love bombing. This involves showering the other person with excessive affection, compliments, and gifts to confuse and manipulate them into feeling desired and needed.
- False Apology:
A narcissist’s version of an apology often comes loaded with insincerity. It includes empty words and false promises, without genuine remorse for their actions. They might apologise just enough to maintain control but seldom take responsibility for their behaviour.
To avoid holding themselves accountable, narcissists employ the tactic of blame-shifting. When they realise they are losing control, they try to shift the blame onto others, making excuses or minimising their own actions.
- Acting Like Nothing Happened:
Narcissists may try to downplay or completely ignore their previous acts or behaviour when they feel their control slipping away. This is a way for them to regain their dominance in the relationship by sidestepping any confrontation.
- Smear Campaigns:
When narcissists feel threatened or exposed, they may resort to launching smear campaigns against the person challenging their control. These campaigns aim to discredit the other person and damage their reputation by spreading rumours or lies.
In extreme cases, when all else fails, narcissists may resort to making threats, both overt and covert, to regain control. Such threats might include emotional manipulation, blackmail, or even physical harm, leaving the target feeling trapped or fearful.
- Fake Illness:
Narcissists may also use health-related issues as a means to regain control. By feigning or exaggerating illnesses, they draw attention back to themselves while redirecting others’ care and concern away from the original issue or conflict.
- Contacting Your Family Out of Fake Concern:
As a way to regain control or gain sympathy, narcissists may attempt to reach out to your loved ones under the guise of showing concern for your well-being. Their real intention, however, is often to manipulate and gather information to use against you.
- Showing Up Where You Are:
Narcissists can resort to invading personal boundaries when they feel they have lost control. They may appear uninvited at your workplace, social events, or even your home, attempting to assert their dominance and intimidate you.
- Guilt Trips and Pity Plays:
Narcissists excel at guilt trips, and pity plays as emotional manipulation tactics. When they feel their control slipping away, they may use these strategies to evoke sympathy, making others feel responsible for their emotional well-being.
Dealing with narcissistic individuals can be demanding, but employing these techniques can aid in confusing them. Remaining calm, setting boundaries, and avoiding direct power struggles enables you to regain control of your emotions and responses, potentially undermining their manipulative behaviour. While these strategies will not change a narcissist, they can offer practical methods to navigate interactions with greater ease.
Understanding the games narcissists play helps us identify manipulation tactics and protect ourselves from falling victim to their control. By being aware of their strategies, we can clearly respond and set healthy boundaries. Remember, it is crucial to prioritise self-care and seek support from trusted individuals or professionals when navigating relationships with narcissistic individuals.
Conclusion: Seek Support: Interacting with a narcissist can be exhausting and emotionally draining. Seeking support from trusted friends, family, or professionals can provide you with the strength and guidance needed to navigate these complex relationships. Having a supportive network reminds you that you are not alone and can bolster your resilience in distancing yourself from them.
Click on the links below to join, Elizabeth Shaw – Life Coach on social media, for more information on Overcoming Narcissistic Abuse.
The online courses are available by Elizabeth Shaw.
For the full course.
For the free course.
To help with overcoming the trauma bond and anxiety course.
All about the narcissist Online course.
The narcissists counter-parenting.
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.