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How to Wage Battle Against a Narcissist
The dear reader has likely read enough articles, in the desperation to figure out what has happened to them at the hands of a Narcissistic Personality Disordered (NPD) person, to have already read that the very best strategy is to ignore and keep quiet around an NPD. While it is true that you can never really beat them (in their own minds, anyway), it is important to note that the strong desire to have them serve justice is part of the ‘worm’ that gets into a victim’s head and serves to partly keep them reengaging with the NPD to try to get that justice. You need to get their worm out of your head in order to do real battle with them, and determine to see that they receive real justice. Secondly, you must understand and consider that NPD’s can be dangerous, in a number of ways, from messing with your head and self-esteem, to smearing your reputation, to even becoming serious threats to your life or lives or your loved ones.
Being silent and ignoring the NPD is fine for some, but, if like me, you believe in justice, and do not take kindly to ‘laying low’, then waging battle against an NPD is possible, but you must be apprised of a few things before you do. First, you need, as Sun Zu said centuries ago in ‘The Art of War’: “To know your enemy”. It is imperative you become an expert at NPD, and in particular, take up the unsavory task of becoming and expert at your NPD. Secondly, you need to purge yourself of all of the remaining toxicity from the abuse you have suffered from the NPD. If your mind and heart are not purged of the ‘worms’ that the NPD placed there, the NPD will be able to activate those worms and continue to control your emotions and life. You may need some considerable time in counseling with a skilled clinician to achieve this. Thirdly, you need to create a solid battle plan that includes a high degree of skill building for the battle ahead.
You can choose to engage in a strategy that uses ‘kidd gloves’ to battle your NPD. Some find this approach very effective, while some find it far too gentle for the hostility they feel towards the NPD. If you still feel intense hostility and need for revenge, then you likely need to check yourself to see if the NPD’s ‘worm’ is really out of your head. If it is still there, no approach you try to use will be very effective, because the NPD still has you under their power.
In any approach to doing battle with the NPD, it is imperative to have an intensely clear view of healthy ethics. You must never do anything that puts you at serious risk from the NPD or from the law (it may be tempting to engage in illegal activities to ‘trap’ the NPD, but don’t do it.) You will also need to alter your concept of ‘beating’ the NPD. The inner rage that NPD’s can produce in a victim is intense, and is a good representative of the ‘worm’ mentioned earlier that needs to be purged before going into battle. The more realistic concept is one of ‘management’ of the NPD, because NPD’s rarely willingly give up a possible supply of attention (even negative attention), and may be like an anchor for decades, and maybe even your whole life. The best you will likely achieve is to press the NPD towards a quicker date with justice. In most cases, the sheer weight of the NPD’s web of lies eventually is enough to trigger just rewards for their evil actions.
The classic ‘kidd glove’ approach to an NPD is to simply stop participating in their gaming. You probably have read this before in other articles about how to deal with NPD’s. But what the other articles do not tell you is how complete this must be. NPD’s, I am convinced, have a spooky talent for knowing when their victim still has the ‘worm’ inside of them. In other words, it is not enough to act like they are not bothering you, you have to genuinely make it so. Easier said than done, yes?
If you can rid yourself of the ‘worm’, your next ‘kidd glove’ tactic is to simply feed the narcissist what it is they are looking for and delight in the most: reactivity. If you have indeed purged yourself of real reactivity, you can learn to praise and flatter the NPD in a way that they will eat up like a puppy getting scratched behind the ears. This gives you the chance to use the praise and flattery in a way that easily manipulates the NPD…and the interesting this is, they will probably miss that you are playing them, because they so love the attention. For example, a good way to shut them up is to agree with them, enthusiastically, and allow them to ‘have the last word’ (most NPD’s cannot tolerate NOT having the last word). So you give it to them. They quiet down, thinking they bested you, while in reality, you set them up using their own short-sightedness. Anytime you can make them think that a good idea of yours is really a good idea of theirs, and it seems to benefit them, but really benefits you, go ahead and feed them. Just don’t get your fingers too close.
The NPD gets genuinely stoned on the positive attention and praise of their ego, and then you can easily calculate ways to manipulate their need for more of the same. You want them to consistently believe that they have the upper hand and have you under their thumb, all the while the reverse is true. It just depends on your personality if the ‘kidd glove’ approach fits for you, or if you find it reprehensible to have such soothing contact with a crocodile.
Before you decide to don the gloves, a repeat warning is in order: you must calculate the risks of going toe-to-toe with an NPD. You already know that they do not play fair, and will use every means to beat you. You must be able to validate for yourself that the risk of using ‘boxing gloves’ is worth the benefits to do so. Only you can decide if that is true. Remember, you should always be the one to control the field of battle; know exactly how your NPD will react to each and every punch you throw, or do not begin swinging!
You must be in such control of your own emotional reactivity that there is nothing that the NPD can do to shake you up. This is important so that they cannot get into your head, but it is also important because when you are that confident, it shakes them up, and can even make them go into full retreat. Like any bully, NPD’s don’t like people that they cannot intimidate.
NPD’s and cockroaches have a good bit in common (besides congregating together): they hate the light. NPD’s cannot tolerate solid facts and truth when it is turned their way. If you are in a court proceeding with an NPD, be sure you have your facts and poofs lined up and in tight order. The more facts the better, especially if these facts and proofs contradict the NPD’s version. Most every reader is well aware of what ‘perjury’ is; that’s what you are shooting for. When an NPD gets cornered with facts and proofs on the stand, just watch them try to scurry away. Often, they become so befuddled, that their ‘crazy begins to leak out’ right on the stand. You can see why it is a good strategy to find an attorney of your own that is very knowledgeable about NPD and skilled at poking at them in a legal fashion that gets them to make errors and become reactive in the courtroom.
Good boxing tactics usually involve tiring out your opponent. To do this with an NPD, you can make several kinds of comments like suggesting that they are not unique or special, that they are ordinary, rather dull and not intelligent, they are a parental failure, or give hints that you have some information on them that could be very damaging to their image (you don’t even need to have any such info, just the suggestion will make them run in circles in a panic trying to find out what you have, because they are usually guilty of several unresolved things.) You can also position yourself to consistently speak to them as if they were a naughty child, which really stings because most NPD’s were treated (and probably continue to be treated) as such by their NPD parent.
Another tactic is to learn to ‘beat them to the punch’. You can do this by making moves on their supporters. Many of the NPD’s supporters are still ‘in the dark’ about just how ill the NPD is. When you are able to present facts to an NPD’s naïve supporters, it wreaks havoc with their fragile egos, and can send them into a real tizzy and if you are fortunate, the loss of supporters can press an NPD into a full retreat.
Our last tactic is to adopt a nimble, more ‘marital arts’ approach to battle with the NPD. This approach might be described as a hybrid of the former two approaches. If you have ever watched a classic marital arts film, you will note that the hero is often portrayed as an underdog (albeit extremely skilled), and has a great deal of self-confidence and emotional self-control. The two latter characteristics once again address a means to purge the ‘worm’ that the NPD has planted in your head, while the skills, in this case, consist of verbal marital arts skills. Below is a fundamental, and certainly not exhaustive primer. Each of these ‘verbal marital arts’ moves are designed to throw the NPD off balance.
Always maintain a very ‘blank game-face face’ with them, allow no cracks in your expression of any emotionality.…then present revealing, challenging facts with no emotion at all...and be sure not smile, as they take this as agreement with themselves.
Be assertive and authoritative, always sound like an expert; command the field.
Never let them take full credit for anything, always press to suggest that others have equal or greater credit for what they are claiming.
When the NPD says something absurd, respond with (in a slightly condescending tone): ‘I wonder why you think THAT way?’
Or: “I wonder how you came to that conclusion?
Whenever possible when they speak with ridiculous authority: “What if you are wrong?” Or, “Could you possibly be wrong in that statement?” Or, more directly: "You are full of s**t".
A good general comment when they are yammering on and on: “Hmmm…that is confusing…” (say this with a mysterious kind of tone).
A way to let them know you think that they are full of crap: “I believe time will show you to be wrong and time will tell the truth…”
To put them in their intellectual place: “I think there are several important pieces of information you do not have access to…” Or: "I think you are unable to grasp what I am saying."
A bit more direct when challenging their B.S.: “I believe that there are experts that would disagree with your vapid assessment…”
Challenging their imagined mastery of everything: “I think what you are saying is based in out-of-control emotions and pseudo-facts, not reality.”
Direct insult: “Watch out, your inflated self-image is showing…”
The following are behavioral warning signs that an NPD may be dangerous or is becoming dangerous (‘heating up’ in the world of personality disorder lingo). The more of these behavioral signs present, the more cautions need to be taken.
History of being bullied or bullying earlier in life.
Highly possessive of things, ideas, successes, and people.
Episodic rage increasing in frequency and intensity.
History and present escalation of property damage.
Throwing items, punching walls/windows.
History of suicide in family, their own past, recent gestures or attempts at self-harm/suicide.
Change of behavior: escalation of irritating NPD behaviors or sudden and profound lapse into silence (check on the silence).
Radical social, political, or religious ideations.
Weapons possession/fascination/passion for violent gaming.
History of being a victim of violence or having perpetrated violence to the point of legal action.
Physical posturing, pacing, and ‘casing’ behaviors.
Stalking behavior set.
History of multiple job loss or recent job loss.
History of multiple romantic and friendship relationship failures.
Recent legal actions against them.
History of public disruptive actions, threats, arrests, PFA’s.
Substance abuse/chronic intoxication.
Have you done battle with an NPD?
You can heal and recover from victimization by an NPD. It is hard work, but doable. You need education, purging of the brain-worms, gathering of allies, friends, and professional help from the law and clinical counseling. Whichever decision you arrive at in response to doing battle with the NPD, know that you can validate your direction and you can gain serenity and satisfaction!