How to Shut the Narcissist Down

Updated on November 23, 2017
SinDelle profile image

The Little Shaman is a spiritual counselor, hypnotherapist, and a specialist in Cluster B personality disorders.

Here is a strategy that can help you in your interactions with narcissists: responding vs reacting. Now, of course, we will preface these remarks by saying that it is always best not to interact with narcissists if that is possible. For the times when it isn't possible, there is a strategy you can practice that can help the interaction be less stressful.

Before implementing any strategies, it should be clear up front that the goal of these types of strategies isn't to control the narcissist's behavior. People often say things like, "Well, I tried the grey rock method, but the narcissist kept on." or "I went no contact, but the narcissist keeps bothering me." You cannot control the narcissist's behavior—or anyone else's—and you cannot do anything about the way somebody else acts. The only reaction and behavior you have control over is your own, and that's where your focus should be. Using these types of techniques will help keep you from getting stressed out and upset. Let the narcissist worry about their own feelings for once. It's their problem, not yours. This can be hard for some people to internalize, especially since the narcissist has made you responsible for their feelings since day one using guilt, manipulation, abuse, gaslighting, and a host of other nasty little tactics.

So write it down, if you have to, or repeat it to yourself until it sinks in: The narcissist's feelings are not my responsibility.

One of the most difficult things about interacting with narcissists is keeping your feelings out of it. They are hot-button pushers. They love to press those hot buttons and get people worked up and upset. And although understanding that the way narcissists behave toward others is really not personal can help in retrospect when someone is looking at the big picture and trying to understand so they can let go of their hatred and move on, it can be hard to remember in the moment.

That's what the narcissist wants. They want you to become upset. They want you to think it's personal, that it really is about you and how bad you are. This takes the focus off of them and how bad they are. It doesn't matter that you weren't saying that, weren't thinking it and don't feel that way. They feel that way, and if they do, you do. That's why it isn't personal. It's not even about you or your feelings at all. Knowing that goes a long way toward being able to deal with your feelings during your interactions with narcissists. On some level, they don't really believe you did these things, that you feel that way, or that you said those things. They are simply projecting their own feelings on to you so that those feelings are easier for them to deal with.

It's all subconscious, and by now, is an automatic reaction for the narcissist. Self-hatred is very hard to deny or defend against. Hatred from other people is much easier to deal with because the narcissist can claim it's unfair, unjust, they can deny it, they can attack back—it changes their position from defense to offense, which makes them feel less vulnerable. This is the crux of what they are trying to do. You are simply getting caught in the crossfire of a very old war that has nothing to do with you. It's within the narcissist completely.

Understandably, your reaction to this is confusion, outrage, anger, hurt, betrayal... the whole shebang. Why wouldn't it be? You've just been blindsided by an attack for no reason. That's what they want. They want you to become emotional and angry. They want to fight about how awful you are so they don't have to think about how awful they are. Well, that isn't fair. And you can stop them from forcing you to carry all of the emotions they can't deal with, like some emotional pack mule. You do that by not reacting.

This doesn't mean do not respond. Reacting and responding are two different things. Responding is talking. Reacting is emoting. If you are interacting with the narcissist, chances are it's because you have to for some reason, which means that not responding may not be an option. But not reacting is always an option. You don't have to get emotionally involved to have a conversation, and just because someone lays the bait out, it doesn't mean you have to take it. The narcissist is not going to change. These behaviors are so ingrained in them that they have become second nature, so you have to change your behavior.

Before the interaction starts, remind yourself again that the narcissist's feelings are not your responsibility. This is the truth. Everyone in the world is responsible for experiencing, carrying, processing and dealing with their own feelings. If the narcissist can't do that, that's their problem. They have no right to force you to do that for them, and to be perfectly honest, you have no right to do it. It's wrong and it isn't helping them. It's hurting them, and it's hurting you. It needs to stop, so repeat that to yourself until you understand. Once the interaction begins, the narcissist will likely try to bait you with insults, sarcasm, nasty remarks—all the things they do to get a rise out of people. They are trying to cause an argument so they can force you to be their emotional pack mule. Don't let them. Just don't react.

No matter what they say, no matter how crazy and insulting and disrespectful it is, just don't react emotionally. Don't yell, don't deny, don't explain, don't excuse. Just ignore it totally. Remind yourself that this person is only doing this because they cannot deal with the fact that they hate themselves and let it go. It's the truth. Count to 10 and take a deep breath, or try to distract yourself while you are talking to them. It isn't as hard as you'd think, especially once you interrupt your own automatic reaction of jumping to the defense and explaining or getting angry.

Once you start doing this, the narcissist is going to be confused and off-balance. More than likely, they will try to up the ante to try and get you to react. If they cannot get you to carry their emotional weight, they will have to deal with it themselves. This is very frightening and stressful for them, and they will react to that. Just keep ignoring their emotional bait. If the interaction becomes too intense or you don't think you can keep your cool, walk away or otherwise end it. Try not to let them see they've gotten to you if you can help it.

Once you start to see this behavior for what it really is, it starts to become much easier not to take it personally. These are miserable, immature and disordered people who cannot handle their own feelings and want someone else to take the weight. It doesn't have to be you.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Norma Jean Lemley 2 months ago

      These are good / I just read a few / I am in process of getting out yes he's tried to take everything / he's had me stuck here in this house 3-4 yrs / I've been injured / that's how he began getting his control / I have one more operation to go thru / I'm watching him closely

    • biomechanics2018 profile image

      biomechanics2018 5 months ago

      I agree, except in the workplace, the Narcissist bully abuses power, brings misery to his/her target and endeavors to steal the target's self-confidence. Bullies often involve others using many tactics such as blaming for errors, unreasonable work demands, insults, putdowns, stealing credit, threatening job loss, and discounting accomplishments. They are noticed by higher ups; promotions depend on willingness to aggress. Bullying is rewarded at the workplace. If the target does not comply with them, they threat to terminate them. The Narcissist boss can cause you stress, induce depression and anxiety or even trigger the onset of serious illnesses.

      40% of the targets of bulling never told their employers, and of those that did, 62% reported that they were ignored.

      There is a whole new field of litigation in the U.S. is developing-"lawsuits against 'bad bosses' and the organizations that negligently allow them to supervise.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, healdove.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://healdove.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)