The damage from narcissistic abuse is insipid and insidious and the emotional harm from it can be traumatizing. However, do not think for one second that you are defenseless or powerless to narcissists.
Narcissists are energy vampires. They cannot generate their own power or energy. In fact, they in themselves are powerless.
We fear them because we believe we are powerless and defenseless to them. However, what we fear in reality is not really dangerous. Our perception of danger has been skewed in large part from past harmful or traumatic experiences. We fear narcissists because of what abusers did to us as children when we were vulnerable to them and felt powerless to them. We learned to readily give up our personal power and energy to narcissists and other abusers who trigger our pain and the accompanying false belief of powerlessness.
Narcissists, in reality, however, while aggressive and revengeful, are weak and predictable. This works to your favor since this makes them vulnerable. In fact, they are very easy to manipulate.
“Really,” you may be thinking, “how can that be?”
Because in reality, narcissists push the same pain buttons our abusers did when we were children when we were powerless to them. We bring these same fears and beliefs into adulthood. As adults, we overestimate the danger and underestimate our ability to deal with it when, if we were able to look at it rationally, we would see very clearly that we are no longer powerless to these annoying creeps. Read more here.
So our fear of them is really false? The answer is an unequivocal, “Yes!”
We can learn, with practice, to deal with narcissists easily and effectively and not be vulnerable to them or fear them. Once you are able to see them and understand them for who they really are and break through the dysfunctional illusion and heal, you will see they are really more like annoying buzzing insects or whining man and woman babies – bothersome, boring, and predictable.
Here are 3 tips to maintain your self-preservation when dealing with them:
Become a “Gray Rock.” Do not give them any attention, positive or negative. Like this meme states, gray rocks do not attract attention and blend in with the scenery and you can do the same to make yourself less appealing to a narcissist.
If you do not give them your energy, they will go away. They need narcissistic supply to survive. Without it, they cannot live. Practice not reacting to anything they say or do or even thinking about them.
Say to yourself over and over and practice:
- I am authentic and powerful in my silence.
- I am indestructable.
- I show no emotion.
- I cannot be triggered.
- I offer no supply.
- I am invincible.
- I am not powerless to anything that triggers me.
- I am not defenseless to anything that triggers me.
- I am silent.
- I am not angry.
- I am boring.
- I give no clue as to what is going on with me.
Turn the fear triggers into annoyance triggers.
Watch them and map out what you expect them to do and when. You may find it useful to write down each action and how they make you feel. Plan what you will do when the narcissist responds as you predicted. This will help to remove the severity and seriousness from the situation by showing how weak and predictable, yet annoying, they really are, like mosquitoes. It will also make you more mindful and aware of your real power. Taking action (including saying “no”) will help you reset your internal fear threshold and provide you the self power (e.g. narc repellent) to regulate your emotions before they escalate and the confidence in your ability to protect your personal boundaries. Your confidence, self-esteem, and self-confidence will soar!
For reasons of self-preservation (not revenge), learning to manipulate them may be your best option.
Now, I DO NOT recommend this at all to anyone who is in early stages of healing. In addition, it takes time and energy and practice, and frankly, good acting skills to learn how to do this.
So when you are ready and have a legitimate need to benefit, you can learn pretty easily to manipulate them by giving the appearance you are giving up your energy. You can make them think they are manipulating you. Again, I am not promoting deceit for revenge. Rather, I am promoting self-preservation.
I, very far along in my healing, deal with narcissists and other boundary violators like manipulators and covert aggressors and passive aggressive people all the time. I do not fear them because I know how they tick and I no longer believe I am defenseless to them. I no longer fear them because I took my power back and healed and I know how to manage them. For example, I choose to voluntarily interact with them only if I benefit. I always make sure I benefit in some way because I know that they always are using me for something. It is just who they are and it is just what they do. I view it neutrally and not with any fear or emotional investment. If I do not benefit, I do not interact with them or I give up no energy. I just shut down and say nothing. I bank on the fact that they will come back again to “win” just like they bank on others’ vulnerabilities. If and when they come back, I just follow the same rule. If I do not benefit, I do not interact and give up no energy to the interaction.
Narcissists are aggressive and potentially dangerous and can only harm you if you fear them and allow them to do harm to you. In reality, they cannot generate their own power and need yours to survive. This is why they aggressively pursue you. This is behavior they learned in their dysfunctional families. They bank on our weaknesses and only target the emotionally vulnerable, kind, empathetic, generous, conscientious, and trusting people. You can use this information to your benefit and work the interaction with them to your favor.
But make no mistake and do not let your guard down. A narcissist always uses another person for something they need. They are aggressive parasites. Every interaction with them is parasitic. Accept that. It is not because they like you or love you or even hate you. They need you for narcissistic supply and actively go after it. They are predictable and weak and can be managed. They, however, cannot be cured.