Have you ever tried to confront your narcissistic parent on their abuse? If so, you know the frustration. Nothing changes & you walk away feeling completely confused. You even may have ended up apologizing too, when the fact is you didn’t do anything that warranted an apology!
Confronting narcissists is never an easy thing. They employ so many tactics to avoid the attention being on their bad behaviors. It often gets so frustrating, you prefer just to let the offense go rather than deal with the games & gaslighting.
Some narcissists will accuse their chilld/adult child of various things to deflect the attention off of them. They may say their child is ungrateful, a smart mouth, mean, cold, spoiled, a brat, or other awful things. They also may claim to be doing things for the child’s benefit. My mother used to claim since I was such an awful child, she had to use tough love on me.
My mother in-law likes to pretend to be the victim when she is confronted. My father too. This is a very common tool of the covert narcissist, since they so love the “poor me” or martyr role. When my father was due to come by my home a few weeks ago, alone, my mother came with him. He made it to the door first. Without even saying “hi,” he immediately went into explaining how he had no control over her coming along- it wasn’t his fault. Really? She was driving- he voluntarily got into her car!
Overt narcissists may not play the victim so quietly, but they will play the victim. They will accuse you of being SOOO mean to them! “After all I do for you, this is the thanks I get?” “You don’t appreciate all I do for you!”
Some more overt narcissists will meet your confrontation with rage. When I was a kid, my mother would meet my confrontations with screams &/or accusations &/or trying to hurt me. When I was probably about 12, she & I were coming home from her mother’s home. She was mad at her mother & yelling as she was talking about other things in the car so loud, there was a slight echo. It made my ears ring. I asked her if she could talk a little quieter, & she screamed even louder & mocked me for complaining about my ringing ears until I was in tears.
Many narcissists refuse to apologize at all, but the ones who do often employ the passive/aggressive type of apology. “I’m sorry you got upset.” “I’m sorry if your feelings got hurt.” “I’m sorry you feel that way.” While the words “I’m sorry” are said, the fact they believe you’re at fault is clearly implied. If you mention that, you will be on the receiving end of either tears or rage, because they did say they were sorry after all! Nothing they do is good enough for you!
Still other narcissists will talk non stop, making excuses for their outlandish behavior or talking in circles until you are completely confused. They also may use gaslighting at this point- “That isn’t how that happened!” “That never happened!” “I never said that!”
Until you are very accustomed to these tactics, chances are you’ll be confused, angry & unsure exactly why or even apologetic to the narcissist for their bad behavior. Being aware of such tactics will help you when you have to confront your narcissist. You will be aware of what they are doing, & can deal with it accordingly.
The best way I know to deal with these things is to avoid them as much as possible. Not always a good solution because narcissists are already allowed to get away with too much. Most people instinctively placate them rather than deal with these kinds of situations.
Unfortunately though, there will be times when avoiding a confrontation isn’t wise. Before confronting her, pray. Pray a lot, asking God for wisdom & the right words to say. During those times, remember these tactics. When the narcissist begins to talk in circles, bring the focus back to the original topic. Same for if she plays the victim or gets angry. You can say things like “I understand, but the fact is, I won’t put up with that behavior. If you do it again….” Keep firm boundaries in place, primarily staying on topic. Stay calm- any sign of you being upset will only serve to fuel the narcissist. She’ll see she can upset you & push to do it more.
Most importantly though, besides prayer of course, is to work on your own emotional healing. The healthier you are, the stronger you are & the more self-confident you are. When you are self-confident, narcissists know they don’t have much of a chance at winning with you & either give up easily or fight so hard, they look ridiculous, realize it & then give up.