Talking to narcissists is incredibly frustrating at best. They think they know best on every topic, & aren’t open to hearing other people’s views. Even more frustrating is when they are abusive, because when confronted on that behavior, narcissists turn things around to where the victim is to blame, over sensitive or overreacting. They may even deny the incident happened altogether. So often it’s easier to avoid confrontation & provide no reaction whatsoever, thus depriving the narcissist of their coveted narcissistic supply.
There is one other way to handle abusive behavior by narcissists I have discovered in my personal experience that can work pretty well. And, I’ve learned it’s also Biblical!
When a narcissist says or does something abusive, rather than react, responding is always best. Reactions are immediate & without thought, which means they can be overly emotional. Seeing victims overly emotional feeds narcissists, so it’s best to deprive them of that. Instead, take a moment to inhale deeply & exhale. This short task helps to calm both the mind & the body, which will help you to formulate a good response. The best response in these situations I have found is one that is completely logical & void of emotions while asking questions.
As an example, let’s say a narcissist tells their victim they’re stupid. Rather than the victim reacting & making a bad situation worse, a victim would do best by staying calm & asking logical questions. “You say I’m stupid? I don’t understand why you think that let alone say it. I have a degree in engineering. You know that. I just don’t understand why you think that, let alone think it’s an acceptable to say. Why do you think these things?” Another example could be something my ex husband used to say often, as many narcissists do. A narcissist tells their victim they are the only person in the world who would be upset by the narcissist’s behavior. A great way to respond would be, “Really? So you’ve really talked to every other person? I had no idea! Thanks for telling me! I guess I should change my beliefs then so I’m not the only person in the entire world who believes this way, shouldn’t I?”
Responses like this show the narcissist that you recognize what he or she said is foolish, but without calling the narcissist a fool. It also shows them that you are on to what they are doing, whether that is trying to manipulate you or tear you down. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, & as I said, it’s even Biblical. Proverbs 26:5 in the Good News Translation says “Give a silly answer to a silly question, and the one who asked it will realize that he’s not as smart as he thinks.”
As long as you stay calm & logical in the situation, without showing any sign of anger or hurt, the narcissist may get angry about what you say, but they also know they can only get so angry without looking completely foolish. Since they are so focused on appearances, they want to avoid looking foolish at all costs, even if no one is around but you.
As an added bonus, responses like this do make them back off in this one particular area. I’ve seen it happen first hand. I used this tactic with my mother several times. A close friend of mine mentioned using it with narcissists she knew as well, also with excellent results.
The next time you’re in a challenging situation with a narcissist, try this! I think you’ll be quite pleased with the results too.