How to reason (not fight) with a narcissist

There is a lot of stuff on the internet, also from professionals, that basically says “narcissists are evil and will destroy you”. That isn’t necessarily true. (In fact, if you believe that, you may end up being the one sending you in a downward spiral, all by yourself!)

I suspect that narcissists often end up in similar downward spirals like the ones they tend to push other people into, with the difference being that they can’t help it, but most of the rest of us can.

So in theory, we can keep at least ourselves from going into a downward spiral, for example by refusing to engage in fights, and possibly also stop them from going into a negative spiral. The other side of that is that it may even be possible to send narcissists in a bit of an upward spiral.

Today, YouTube popped a video into my “suggestions” that I like because this psychotherapist takes a very realistic yet humorous approach and does not push this persistent idea that people with narcissistic personality disorder “are evil and out to destroy you”. Yes, they can “destroy” you, but only if you let them (or maybe if your circumstances are very limited and limiting in practical ways, which can put you at their mercy).

What is also good about this video is that it tells you not to become a “black hole” or echo well. It is very easy to fall into the trap of not saying much of anything any longer or just telling a narcissist what he or she wants to hear (pretending to be weak, stupid and off-balance) because that may even trigger more stuff and it can cost you a lot of energy. It’s also bad for your health.

With regard to fights, let’s put it this way. Their fights are like they’re constantly hitting you with verbal ping pong balls. As long as you keep hitting the ball back into their court, they will keep hitting it back increasingly fiercely. But if you resist the temptation to play and let the ping pong ball rest where it falls, or pick it up and hand it back to them calmly, then you have peace in the house.

Narcissists often have a terrific sense of humour and they can also give you lots of practical, very useful tips that can make your life a lot easier. They can also be very generous. At least, that’s been my two cents’ worth of experience.

Stay grounded. Apparently, one way of accomplishing that is to focus on your toes or feet.

One thought on “How to reason (not fight) with a narcissist

  1. Make no mistake, however, and be aware that narcissists can abuse and damage their targets terribly.

    It is more important to know that people around the victim, including therapists, often add more abuse. The reason that this is more important is that those people do have a choice, whereas people with narcissistic personality disorder do not.

    If you want to know more about that and about narcissistic victim syndrome, watch this talk:

    You may also want to look at this page:

    Victims can essentially have been taken hostage by a narcissist, with no practical way out. That is why the abuse of other people can be extra cruel.

    As I’ve said in my book “We need to talk about this”, it is my impression that the phenomenon of sadistic stalking (12.9% of the cases in Lorraine Sheridan’s study in Britain) is carried out by narcissists, perhaps specifically by people who possess the “dark triad”.

    But narcissists are not all as bad as Christine Louis de Canonville says, who wavers quite a bit in her talk because of her own earlier victimization. (She was put into intensive care by her brother, who apparently sustained brain damage at 2 years old and may not actually be or have been a narcissist.)

    Once you start believing that all narcissists are violent and dangerous, if you have someone with narcissistic personality disorder in your life, you can put yourself in a negative spiral that is essentially the mirror image of infantile regression. Stay in your own shoes, on your own feet.

    Maybe it is particularly people who come from a criminology and/or “victim” background, like Christine Louis de Canonville who tend to paint all narcissists with the same black brush (even though she also says that she likes them).

    Don’t expect narcissists to change. They are not happy with the way they are – even though they can be very good at making it look like they are – and some can learn techniques to help them live life with less friction, but they can’t become different people and that is not their fault. They didn’t wake up one morning and decided to have a narcissistic personality disorder. In my opinion, it is good to keep that in mind.

    It does not mean that you are “stupid” and it does not mean that you have to be sucked into a spiral of proving or stating “I’m not stupid! I’m not stupid!”. That would be a waste of energy.

    Something similar goes for the many attention-seeking stories they spin. Even if you know they’re fake, why argue about it?


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