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.
WHY UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HARM, FEAR AND REAL DANGER ARE FUNDAMENTAL TO OUR HEALING AND WELL-BEING
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.
Read more on the “Gray Rock Method.”
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.
Read more on how to minimize their toxicity here.
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!
Read more on how to minimize their toxicity here.
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.
Read more on how to manipulate a narcissist here.
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.
Read more on how to manipulate a narcissist here.
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.
9 thoughts on “Three Ways to Maintain Your Self-Preservation When Dealing With a Narcissist”
When dealing with these sociopaths/narcissists/psychopaths, how are you going to know if whatever thing benefits you when dealing with them then knowing to just not even respond to them?
Always best to have no contact. If you HAVE to have contact, accept that they will always be trying to MANIPULATE or take something from you so the goal here is to MINIMIZE harm from them. They are predators.
Always best to have no contact. Goal is to minimize harm if you HAVE to have contact because a narc is ALWAYS manipulating, exploiting, conning, etc. To serve themselves. They are predators.
Always best to have no contact. Goal is to minimize harm if you HAVE to have contact because a narc is ALWAYS manipulating, lying, exploiting, conning, etc. To serve themselves. They are predators. They are slick so just accept this, don’t trust them and learn to not react and say no with no explanation.
Kathy, I am sorry you had to go through this and I wish we had met BEFORE this started. I know many going through the same. Some narcs are worse than others and the only thing YOU can do is maintain true to YOURSELF and YOUR healing..that’s it. Once I, you and in your case, the courts give them energy, they are fueled and powered for combat as you have seen. There are programs and initiatives now led by others like you to help people deal with these monsters in court. Believing lies does not make it truth and not being the truth does not make it lies. Truth IS truth. You cannot polish a turd but you can roll it glitter. They are the masters of illusions and the educated legal providers are so easily duped. They view court as battle and ruin the other parent because the courts fall for it and write it off as personal. When we respond, we the “hysterical” menstruating women, look crazy. Yes, the bias of the courts and if led by a narc judge watch out, works to the narcs’ favor. I avoided court at all costs. They thrive, too, on combat. So the rules in this article apply to any interaction with them. DO NOT REACT EMOTIONALLY. Pretend you are defeated so he lets his guard down but while he thinks that TAKE YOUR POWER back times a thousand because in reality he is a powerless mosquito without his proxies…learn to outsmart him. If any of your children turn into a narc or pick up his dishonoring bad habits…DO NOT PUT UP with it. In fact, do not put up with abuse or disrespect from anyone. Your adaptive children will heal through you and you will be living in truth as your authentic self….that is what life is all about..Read my other articles on self-care, self-compassion, and nourishing your soul. The only person you need to serve is your own self. You will make great strides in your healing by doing self-esteem work and assertiveness and stress management classes and even Yoga has been found to be instrumental in healing trauma. Register too for my free 14 page report on self-esteem tips at this site. The best way to take your power back and heal is through taking ACTION, not revenge. Life is not a fight as you say. Life is a search for truth so we can be joyous and happy. The BEST revenge is your success. Start now and be the best version of yourself you were put on this earth to be…be you and live your life as if he does not exist.. Do not think of him or talk about him unless it BENEFITS you. Practice practice practice. And if you are concerned for your welfare, tell the authorities, write down what your concerns are and send them to a person you can confide it, and learn self defense…the point being, we can only be victims if we think like them. Take action, be well and thrive! He is powerless without your energy. Take your power back. Be sure to check out the free sneak peek of my book, “Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips, and Tools for Abuse Survivors” as well. Evelyn Ryan
Like using my children to get to me. We have all become his supply. How the heck am I to fight back mentally with him after he has convinced the system that I am a terrible mother and my children have been taken from me. His crazymaking is endless and he is hellbent on damaging not only us but everyone in my extended family and friends, to take away all positive support system for us. And I have found that the system doesn’t and won’t protect us from him. Time after time I pleaded for help. I was told it to be a personal domestic dispute, we are sorry but can’t help you with his antics of, you’ll have to deal with his emotional unbalance; we can’t make him play nice. The fears of leaving after almost 30 years in hell with this man, holding on to hope that never came; while exposing and allowing my kids to be raised in the negative environment and damaging them along with myself…. Has and is true…. He can and will do as he pleases, nobody will stop him and nobody will listen. Actually the only thing he hadn’t done that I feared… Was kill me… And I’m waiting on that. With the drugs and alcohol streaming him along with madness.