Not all narcissists are flagrant and boisterous with their abusive and manipulative behavior. Many are quiet and subdued around people who don’t know them very well.
In fact, that’s often how the narcissist lures you into their trap…
You ignore the red flags, console them (even when they’re to blame for whatever problem), and assume they will correct their negative behaviors. But nothing changes.
That’s because you’re not dealing with a typical person — you’re dealing with a narcissist.
Narcissists don’t process and experience emotions the way average people do and this is reflected in their abusive behavior. As such, you cannot respond to a narcissist the same way you might respond to other people.
Here’s how to shut down a narcissist and understand their pattern of behavior.
In order to understand how to shut down a narcissist, you need to understand how they experience, process, and react to emotions, energy, and everyone in their immediate environment.
Imagine someone suffering through substance abuse. They crave a fix — whether it be drugs, alcohol, or food. Their substance of choice gives them a rush and satisfies them for a bit so the cycle continues as it gets worse.
For narcissists, the emotions, energy, and attention of people around them are their substances of choice. You’ve got what they need: sympathy, validation, reassurance, and even physical energy.
If you don’t give up your attention voluntarily, the narcissist will create the material conditions for it to happen.
How many times has the narcissist lured you into a fight? Overreacted to minor inconveniences or transgressions? How many times have you tried to confront the narcissist about their disrespectful behavior only to end up apologizing to them?
Not everyone’s situation is the same. Spouses often find out they’re dating, living with, or even raising a family with a narcissist after quite some time. In other cases, you’re dealing with a narcissist in your family or work environment.
When you decide to finally go “no contact,” a lot of people may not believe your experience. That’s okay: They don’t have to because you know the truth.
Still, cutting a person out of your life isn’t easy — especially one clinging to you for life. Here are some tips to start dealing with a narcissist the right way:
Many narcissists have always been this way, generally back to their teenage or childhood years. If you’re dealing with a narcissist, you cannot and should not expect them to change their behavior now or ever.
Treatment for narcissistic personality disorder often involves things like cognitive behavioral therapy. In many cases, a narcissist may also suffer from other mental illnesses like depression or substance use disorder. (You’ve probably heard extensively about these problems too when the narcissist needs your sympathy or someone to blame.)
Despite this, there is little evidence to suggest therapy actually works for narcissists as personality disorders are notoriously difficult to treat. The first step to getting help is to admit a problem exists — the narcissist will never believe they have or are a problem. “No contact” is the only option.
Trust in yourself and your support system. Because once you get to the other side and stick to “no contact,” you’ll be amazed by all the amazing things you can accomplish.