No matter who it’s being faced by, dealing with narcissism is emotionally exhausting and may even lead to estrangement of families. Their anger and gaslighting can strain relationships, destroy friendships, or cause family abuse to escalate further.
People with this kind of dynamic typically possess both a destructive superego and needy False Self; without breaking through to their reality it may be challenging for you to stand up for yourself and assert yourself. Here’s what happens when you do stand up for yourself:
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1. You’re viewed as a threat.
Even a mild negative response can evoke feelings of rejection in covert narcissists, making them more likely to gaslight, deflect, project, or physically attack you in response. Should this escalate into full-on narcissistic collapse it can become very dangerous indeed.
Narcissists excel at making others feel inferior. They foster grand schemes and believe only external circumstances or adversaries are standing in their way of success; such distorted thinking may cause them to perceive you as their main threat; hence it’s critical that boundaries be clearly set from the outset, especially if working with a narcissist.
As soon as a narcissist first meets with you, they often use their signature charm in order to gain trust and manipulate you. They may use flattery, charm or arrogance in order to convince you they understand you best and can assist in helping achieve your goals.
At its core, however, they’re simply trying to gain control of you so they can get what they want out of the relationship – which explains why they often point the finger at those closest to them when they feel attacked, criticized, or belittled.
Once you stand up for yourself and refuse to be used by a narcissist, they’ll quickly redirect their attention elsewhere. They’ll start looking for easier targets who they can manipulate and abuse more readily, repeating their destructive patterns of behavior in another arena. Breaking this vicious cycle may require moving on; be willing to walk away if it means that they stop draining you of energy and love if that means leaving alone altogether; otherwise remember that you stood up for yourself; they were free to act however they wanted.
2. They’ll try to get you to change.
Narcissists will use all means at their disposal to keep you from speaking up for yourself, such as deflecting accusations and offering gifts or compliments in return for stopping their behavior. Don’t fall for their schemes: these strategies only serve to maintain their false sense of superiority.
If you offer even mild criticism to a narcissist, they are likely to react aggressively. They’ll accuse you of being mean and attack your character as though you were being vindictive and cruel; and may rewrite past actions in their stories as though it were all part of one grand plan, keeping their grandiosity, self-esteem boosted and avoid feeling guilt for harm done to others. This tactic helps narcissists maintain grandiosity, maintain self-esteem boosted while keeping their grandiosity intact while protecting their grandiosity without guilt from being attacked themselves!
Ramani warns that it can be tempting to give in to their pleas for assistance; however, she cautions that taking care of yourself first is more important than trying to help “rescue” a toxic individual.
Rushing to help a narcissist will only exacerbate their pathology and keep them as an emotional punching bag, never leading to closure or peace for either of you. Instead, strive for polite detachment from them and learn how to manage their bad behavior without letting it impact your own life negatively. If you want to walk away from them for good and feel liberated by them, the first step should be accepting what’s happening as abusive before setting firm boundaries and setting clear rules against further contact.
3. They’ll accuse you of being paranoid or bitter.
Narcissists often rely on deception, manipulation and gaslighting people in order to maintain their sense of power and superiority. If confronted about their behavior, narcissists will usually accuse you of being paranoid or bitter; alternatively they may suggest you are jealous or have ulterior motives when challenging their actions – this tactic works because many will believe them and believe their claims about your intentions when confronted by them.
In an angry fit of belittling, the narcissist may begin insulting you – insulting your appearance, intelligence and achievements in addition to telling you they don’t value yourself and telling lies that will break down your self-esteem – in an attempt to break you down as quickly as possible in order to move onto new victims. They do this to break you down as part of their abusive acts against you before moving onto find another victim to victimize.
When dealing with a narcissist who’s experiencing an outburst of anger, it can be challenging to reason with them. Engaging them only serves to add fuel to the fire; for a better approach focus on your own emotions and set boundaries instead.
Untangling what sparks narcissist rage is difficult, but typically stems from their sense of entitlement or need for attention. Knowing their trigger points can help prepare for future interactions as well as set clear boundaries for yourself that you enforce with consequences when they’re crossed. Choosing Therapy works with leading mental health companies including BetterHelp and Online-Therapy that offer their services for marketing purposes – we are compensated accordingly.
4. They’ll accuse you of being delusional.
Narcissists see life through a singular lens – their world revolves entirely around them and they view others as tools or places to dump their troubles on. Their perspective holds that other people’s Life Force, property, relationships, resources and empathy all belong solely to them and must be exploited without regard for anyone else’s wellbeing or empathy.
When confronted about their delusions, narcissists will typically turn the tables and accuse you of delusion too. This is because narcissists cannot bear to face reality: that they’re not as powerful and confident as they portray themselves to be. Like an abscess that bursts open then drains puss out, they become quickly offended at any suggestion they might not be perfect and flee from this like vampires flee garlic in horror movies.
Many will attempt to maintain their false selves through aggressive behavior such as screaming, yelling, lying or manipulating you into accepting that they’re right and you are wrong – which is why it is critical that you set and enforce clear boundaries within yourself that never allow anyone else to cross them.
They’ll have difficulty dealing with questions like “why are you behaving this way?” While non-narcissists won’t find this problematic, narcissists will react like their boil has just burst and started bleeding – fleeing in fear from any light source such as mirrors or windows with clear reflections; only emerging once ready to attack again from behind their protective facade – perhaps enrolling them to coach a kid’s sports team to put someone else in control and force accountability instead.
5. They’ll accuse you of being a liar.
When confronting a narcissist and calling out their lies, they become very angry and accuse you of lying yourself – as this threatens their fear of exposure for what they truly are – toxic, abusive and manipulative people. Furthermore, narcissists will attempt to make you believe they are right and that your perceptions of them are incorrect, which only erodes your self-worth further and leaves them vulnerable against further abuse from future perpetrators.
Narcissists lack the capacity to recognize or admit mistakes or flaws, so their only choice in response to criticism or attack is deflect it by attacking you directly. They frequently employ this tactic when engaging with others and it can quickly reduce confidence and self-esteem levels in those they interact with.
Narcissists seek to impose their view of reality onto everyone else, including you. Their goal is to avoid taking responsibility for their behavior; but being made to confront themselves could have beneficial results on them and their relationships with other people.
Narcissists often employ the tactic of selective narration to present only parts of an event where you reacted negatively to their behavior, then make out as though you were the aggressor and were rude or offensive in nature.
Narcissists thrive on compliments, so when confronted with you calling out their lies, they can be very angry and may respond by accusing you of being paranoid or bitter – yet another attempt to break down your emotional health and hinder any efforts taken against them.