You know it’s best to be as emotionally neutral as possible around narcissists because they use your emotions against you. As hard as you try though, there still may be times when you can’t keep your emotions in check around a narcissist. You try your best, but no one is perfect. You may be having a bad day or their cruelty hits you especially hard because you’re fed up. So what can you expect during those times?
Narcissists have various reactions to their victims being upset in their presence, but all of their reactions are designed to let victims know their problem isn’t important. They may mock you by saying things like, “Awww… the poor baby is upset! WAHH!”
Or, they may be invalidating, saying you have nothing to be upset about, get over it, or they don’t see what the big deal is.
They may be blatantly insulting, telling you how stupid you are for being upset. They may even go from insulting to downright shaming, telling you something is wrong with you for feeling the way you do. If you’re upset at the narcissist, chances are good they not only don’t want to hear what you have to say, but will be very shaming to you for feeling that way. You have no right to feel that way, they may say. After all, you made them do whatever it is they did.
Another reaction they have is to be ice cold, clearly showing you they don’t care you’re upset. They may even act bored as you cry. I once watched my narcissistic maternal grandmother act completely bored as one of my cousins cried to her, hurt over things she had done. My own narcissistic mother has done the same with me- act completely bored with me when I’m clearly suffering.
Some narcissists also try to say what they think they should say when you’re upset. For example, many years ago I was upset with my mother in my narcissistic mother in-law’s presence. Since my husband was with me, I’m sure she wanted to give him a good impression, so she hugged me tightly & said, “Don’t be upset! I’m your mother now!!” Maybe that sounds nice, but truthfully, it didn’t feel nice. It felt creepy! She always seemed to want me to pretend I had no family & morph into hers. Remember the Borg from “Star Trek”? That’s how it came across to me- I was to Borg into her family & this gave her an excuse to verbalize her wishes. Resistance was futile- I would be assimilated. lol
These scenes are incredibly frustrating. Normally, you might want to scream or cry louder, trying to get the narcissist to understand you. That isn’t a good move though. If you can remember it, try to remember to simply disengage. Walk away. Hang up the phone. The more you try to convince the narcissist you have a right to feel as you do, the more they will try to hurt you or even make you look like you’re crazy. This only hurts you more. When you feel things starting to elevate, try your best to stop for a second & take a deep breath. Ask God for help during that moment. Ask Him to help you to remember to disengage before you get to this point.