There are plenty of people in life who will judge & criticize you harshly for no good reason & often with no valid reason for their negative opinions. If you’re naturally rather quiet, for example, chances are someone has thought you were a snob. They assumed you being quiet meant you thought you were better than them, when the truth is you simply aren’t the chatty type. When this happens, their words might sting a bit, but it’s easy to see their opinions are totally unfounded, even foolish, & not worth paying attention to.
Then there are judgments & criticisms from narcissists.
While their criticisms are equally inane, they don’t come from a place of sheer ignorance & foolish assumptions. They project, in other words, they accuse others of doing the same things they do even knowing that other person never does such things. This is a way they try to deflect attention off of their abusive & horrible behavior. However, at the time it is happening, it can be extremely painful & hard to remember that.
Narcissists also criticize as a way to destroy their victims’ self esteem. To control & manipulate, they must first obliterate their chosen victim’s self esteem as a way to make their victim pliable. To do this, they get to know their victim & figure out what makes that person tick, what they love, what their fears are & more. Then, they say the most insulting, scathing criticisms they can come up with that are designed to cut that victim to the quick. Over time, that person’s self esteem is going to be severely damaged, if not totally annihilated. As this is happening, most victims don’t realize the motivation behind the words. In all fairness, it’s very hard to focus on such things when someone is speaking things to you that hurt so deeply.
Narcissists also are notorious for creating smear campaigns after their victim ends the relationship with them. In other words, they tell anyone who will listen terrible things about their victim. Those things are often at the very least exaggerated negative things but even more often, they’re bold lies created to paint the victim in the worst possible light. Sadly, many victims lose most if not all of their friends & family at this point, because those people believe the narcissist’s lies over the truth.
Proverbs 12:16 in the Good News Translation of the Bible says, “When a fool is annoyed, he quickly lets it be known. Smart people will ignore an insult.” These are such wise words!! They also can & should be applied to narcissists.
It always helps to keep in mind what the motives behind the narcissist’s criticisms are. They want to project their abusive ways onto you, control you or make you look so bad people you love will abandon you. This doesn’t mean what they say is true. Quite the opposite, really. Their negative words are all about them & what they can get out of hurting you. In all reality, they have absolutely nothing to do with you & absolutely everything to do with the narcissist. Nothing you can say will make this situation any less dysfunctional.
There’s also the fact that narcissists use any sign of emotion, good or bad, to cause further pain in victims. If you speak up to the narcissist to tell them that their words have hurt you, this will provide them with narcissistic supply. They will get a high of sorts from causing you pain. This means they will do it over & over.
Also, if you’re experiencing or have experienced a smear campaign, you know that saying the narcissist is lying about you only causes others to believe the narcissist even more. Why speaking the truth proves their case is beyond me, but it happens.
Keeping these factors in mind, doesn’t it seem the only smart thing to do is say nothing? Speaking up only causes a person in any of the above scenarios frustration. It’s in your best interest to ignore the insult. I’m not saying you can’t feel hurt or anger, because naturally you will feel it to some degree even when you know the narcissist’s selfish motives behind the words. Deal with your feelings however works best for you of course! However, ignore the insult as in don’t show the narcissist you are upset & don’t try to defend yourself. It simply isn’t worth it. And, as a bonus – when narcissists believe a particular insult doesn’t affect a victim, they abandon using it since it doesn’t get them what they want. So ignore the insults & go enjoy your life!