Twenty Strategies to Use With Your Narcissistic Abuser
Written by Randi Fine, Narcissistic Abuse Expert and Coach
Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine
If you are looking for someone to fulfill your needs, give you support, and appreciate the best you have to offer, don’t rely on your narcissistic abuser. Narcissists are emotionally limited and possess no ability to empathize with you. They will never be who you want them to be. The sooner you can accept this fact, the better off you will be.
You have probably seen glimpses of that ideal person in your narcissist and told yourself that there must be a good person somewhere inside of her, that there is always hope she might change. Since the narcissist is human you will catch glimpses of humanity, but never empathy. Be careful not to allow these brief emanations of kindness to fool you into believing in the narcissist’s potential. A narcissist is only nice and kind if there is some personal gain for being so. Forget about potential. What you see is what you get.
Following are tips to help you manage the narcissist in your life. You must strategize to protect yourself just as diligently as your abuser strategizes to abuse you:
- Stay emotionally distant. If you continue to live with the narcissist do not share any of your feelings or emotions with him. Be guarded. Do not let him see you get upset. Do not try to rationalize with him. He sees these things as weaknesses and will use them against you. If you are physically removed from the narcissist, the same applies, but it may be easier to do.
- Do not give advice or tips to narcissists. They will take your helpful words as criticisms and lash out against you.
- Check your sense of humor. Narcissists have no ability to laugh at themselves. You and she do not find the same things funny, and she is easily offended.
- Postpone and delay rather than confront. If you feel like a conversation is not going well or you are being criticized, make excuses that will buy you time and cool his emotions down.
- Be direct and concise when you speak to the narcissist. The more you elaborate, the weaker you will appear to her. You do not have to explain yourself or fill in uncomfortable silences. Just say what you have to say and leave dead air space.
- Never negotiate with a narcissist. You will lose every time.
- Never give a narcissist a second chance. If he has made a promise and does not keep it, do not let him convince you that he will do better next time. He will not. If he disregards a boundary that you have set, follow through on the consequences you previously established.
- Manage the narcissist’s wayward emotions and moods. Think of her as if she is a child having a temper tantrum rather than an adult who has power over you. Try to allay her anxieties and fears. It is her fragility, not high self-esteem that causes her to bully.
- Convince the narcissist that you are playing on the same team he is. Do not give him reasons to treat you like an enemy.
- Have no expectations of the narcissist. She will never consider your feelings, take responsibility for anything she does or apologize for hurting you. She does not care about you and never will.
- Accept that what you see is what you get. He will never change into the person you want him to be. Don’t let him fool you into believing he will. Remind yourself of this often. Create an affirmation you can say to yourself to reinforce the fact.
- Try not to take her treatment of you personally. It is a symptom of her insecurities. It is not about you.
- Stay focused on your personal objectives. Do not let the narcissist side track you. Do whatever it takes to reach your goals. Be patient and be smart.
- Exercise self-control. Narcissists are button pushers. They love reactions and they love drama. Do not feed into the things they do.
- Never accuse or blame the narcissist. This will cause them to rage. Narcissists cannot see that they are anything less than perfect and will never believe they are at fault for anything. Take responsibility for all your feelings by using “I” statements.
- Never demand or give ultimatums. If you want to sway the narcissist in a particular direction, frame it in a way that appeals to his ego. Instead of saying, “My office is having another family picnic. I always want to go and you never agree to it. If you say no I am going without you,” you could say, “My boss asked about you today. He thinks you are so intelligent and interesting, and looks forward to seeing you at this year’s family picnic. The gals in my office hope to see you there too. They always talk about how handsome and charming you are.”
- Narcissists feed off of compliments. Nothing soothes the savage beast more than having her ego stroked. Tell her how successful she is, how nice she looks, and how much you admire the ease in which she relates to people.
- Narcissists use fear to control their victims. Do not show her that you are afraid of him. Take you power back.
- Take nothing the narcissist says at face value. She lies and manipulates even when there is no reason to. And she reinvents the past to fit whatever narrative best suits her. Be discerning with everything she tells you to avoid falling into her traps.
- Never retaliate against a narcissist. You will only make things worse for yourself. Use strategy instead. Learn what makes him tick and use it to your advantage.
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Randi Fine is an internationally renowned narcissistic abuse expert and coach. She is the author of the groundbreaking book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing and Recovery, the most comprehensive, most well researched, and most up-to-date book on this subject. In addition to helping survivors recognize their abuse and heal from it, this book teaches mental health professionals how to recognize and properly treat the associated abuse syndrome. She is also the author of Cliffedge Road: A Memoir, the first and only book to characterize the life-long progression of complications caused by narcissistic child abuse.