How to Short-Circuit a Narcissist

It’s one more step to getting them out of your life.

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Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash

Let them know they’re not popular.

Many narcissists have worked hard on their personalities to appear charming, charismatic, and likable, so when you let them know that people don’t like or trust them, it can be a shattering blow to their self-esteem.

Give them the silent treatment or answer in monosyllabic words.

The silent treatment is one of the narcissist’s go-to weapons. If it’s useful for them, it may work for you too.

Point out how their mistakes.

Narcissists believe that they’re rarely wrong and that they hardly ever make a mistake. They’re geniuses at spin and will take a past mistake and turn it into a win — even if it’s in their own mind.

When they get emotional, stay rational.

If you have a heated argument with a narcissist, keep your cool. Narcissists don’t know how to react if you refuse to match their intensity level. It makes them feel self-conscious and out-of-control.

If they make a wild claim or promise, ask for evidence.

Narcissists are gifted at the art of Future Faking. Future Faking is when the narcissist promises you the things you want most in the world. They promise to take you to Hawaii, move in with you, or finalize their divorce but rarely do those things ever come to pass.

When they run, don’t chase after them.

Narcissists love the feeling of a good chase, but if no one chases after them, their good feelings fizzle out.

Give them constructive criticism.

Narcissists do not like being criticized ever. They think they’re perfect and they do everything right, so when someone has notes for them or suggestions on how they can do better, it bothers them big time.

When you go out, you only have enough to pay for yourself.

Narcissists believe that they shouldn’t ever have to pay for themselves. The fact that the narcissist is spending time with you at all should be payment enough.

Don’t engage with them no matter how much they insist.

The need for attention is one of the narcissist's greatest motivators, so when you don’t engage, it frustrates the sh*t of them.

Inspire gratitude.

Gratitude is frightening to narcissists, and they don’t know what to do with it and will run the opposite way. They see gratitude as a sign of weakness and as if they’re signing over their power the moment they voice their appreciation.

Final thoughts.

Narcissists can be too rigid with how they deal with people. The only way to get an honest reaction out of them or reclaim your own independence is to shake them up and make it so they can’t rely on their regular thought-processes or behaviors.

Writer for The Los Angeles Times, Salon, The Startup, Tenderly, Fearless She Wrote, MuddyUm.

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