A narcissist likes to criticize, intimidate, and control people.
Once you have him figured out, he’ll do these things to reel you back in. It’s important to recognize these red flags so that you can deal with them right away.
He’ll go on a narcissistic rage
Nobody likes to have their weaknesses revealed. So once you figure him out, you can expect him to go into a full-blown narcissistic rage. While the usual signs are yelling and screaming, some may exhibit passive-aggressive avoidance and silence.
These outbursts usually happen whenever the narcissist feels threatened. His self-esteem, after all, is on the line because you’ve debunked his ways.
Rage also occurs when the narcissist feels that his sense of self and confidence are being questioned. And since you now know his weakness, his immediate tendency is to lash out.
How to deal with a raging narcissist
According to Coach EB Johnson, there are several ways to address a person with narcissistic rage:
1) Be firm
Now that you’ve figured him out, be committed to cutting out this narcissist in your life.
Don’t be intimidated by the pushback. The important thing here is to stand your ground. By saying no, you get to escape from his control.
2) Hold the line – and reinforce it
Narcissists like crossing the line, which is why empaths – who have the same boundary issues – find them attractive.
This is why you should set clear boundaries. You need to say enough is enough, sometimes even repeatedly. If not, he’ll just try to walk over you again.
3) Ignore him
Don’t react to everything he says or does. This will just give him the satisfaction of controlling you.
When you’re tempted to talk or fight back, step away and count to 10. Better yet, find a place where you can meditate or relax. By doing this, you’ll realize that responding to a narcissistic rage is just a waste of time.
4) Don’t blame yourself
The narcissist’s rage is by no means your fault. Stop punishing yourself for it.
5) Protect yourself
Dealing with a narcissist usually means making him a priority. And now that you have figured him out, it’s time for you to put yourself first.
Remember, you’re not unimportant or useless. These are lies that he spews to keep you under his spell.
6) Try to be compassionate
It’s hard to show empathy for a raging narcissistic. Although this is the case, acknowledging his troubled history will help you understand him better.
…Or he’ll resort to stonewalling
Some narcissists go on a rage, while some resort to stonewalling. This is what most people describe as the “silent treatment”.
Now that you’ve figured him out, he’ll ignore your pleas or requests. Should he answer you, you’ll be most likely met with a negative response.
Stonewalling is the narcissist’s way to punish or abuse you. It’s also his way of manipulating you (more about this below).
Compared to other people who stonewall their way out of conflict, narcissists do this to make the other person lose control.
How to break the stonewall
It’s normal to want to talk to a person who ignores you. A narcissist, however, will ignore you so that you’ll chase after him.
If you’ve done this before, then it’s time to turn the other way around. Now that the jig is already up, you should consider re-evaluating the relationship.
Remember, if he really cares for you, he’ll try to cater to your needs – not ignore them.
He’ll continue to abuse you
Narcissists are controlling individuals who end up abusing their victims, either physically, financially, or sexually. While these types are easier to spot, emotional abuse can be harder to figure out.
So if he abused you before, there’s a huge chance he’ll do this again – especially now that you’ve debunked his personality.
Remember, this narcissistic abuse is a way for him to blame you rather than himself. This type of person, after all, is oblivious to guilt. In fact, he revels in inflicting pain and dominating others – hence his abusive personality.
How to deal with an abusive narcissist
It all boils down to knowing your rights. You have the right to privacy, and a right NOT to be disrespected. With these in mind, you can tackle the abuse head-on.
Should he try to work you up again, you need to be assertive. You should set your boundaries, so you won’t end up being taken advantage of again.
He’ll try to manipulate you…again
A narcissist has this addiction called “narcissistic supply“. This means he needs constant attention and “special” treatments to feel good about himself.
This is why he was able to trick you in the first place. His need for validation appealed to your vulnerability. Like others, you found it hard to resist his charm.
And while you’ve figured him out eventually, he’ll try to do it once again. And why not? You fell for this before.
Just like the first time, he will try to:
- Act like a know-it-all, constantly criticizing your ideas
- Dominate you by acting like a savior – even if you don’t need one
- Persuade or coerce you to give in to his demands
- Show things off – and do some ‘name dropping’ along the way
- Be uncooperative and make everything difficult, even if there’s no need for it
How to deal with a manipulative narcissist
If his manipulative ways have affected you several times before, it’s time to put your foot down.
As therapist Sharie Stines said in her interview, “Observe, don’t absorb.” Remember: it’s not your fault that he feels the way he does.
It will also help to avoid reacting immediately. He will try to reel you in with an irresistible offer or a promise of change. No matter what he tries to say or do, think twice – even thrice!
As always, make sure to establish boundaries. Narcissists don’t have this, so you need to draw the dividing line yourself.
He’ll project himself
Projection is one of the defense mechanisms commonly exhibited by a narcissist. He does this to defend himself. That way, he gets to blame his bad traits on others.
As for you – and the other people at the receiving end – this often leads to codependency.
Narcissists thrive when people rely on them. This is why he was able to exploit and manipulate others in the first place.
And even if you have him all figured out, the narcissist will tell others that you’re the narcissist, not him.
How to fend off a projecting narcissist
It’s hard to fight projection, especially if you have poor boundaries. The same can be said if you’re just plain empathetic.
The first step to doing this, however, is something you’ve already accomplished. You’ve already recognized his projecting ways, so you know it’s not you who has a problem.
As always, you have to set boundaries. If he projects something, go ahead and say “I disagree” or “I don’t think that’s the case”.
This is not arguing, but rather, a way to expose the narcissist’s false reality.
He’ll bring you down to his level
Narcissists don’t own up to their mistakes. Instead, he’ll try to bring you down to his level. Also known as leveling, it’s when he tries to equate himself with you.
This is another one of the ways a narcissist will try to manipulate you. He wants you to think that you’re on equal footing with him.
By making you think this way, he’s able to make his own rules. And as always, he does so to wreak havoc in your life – and that of others.
How to escape leveling
The sad thing about leveling is that it’s so subtle. So even if you’ve figured the narcissist out, you might end up falling for this tactic once again.
To prevent this from happening, you need to remember that not all people are equal.
He will try to bring you down to his level by attacking your integrity. He may even go as far as launching a smear campaign.
Expectedly so, the best way to deal with this kind of narcissist is to stop engaging with him. Because when you do, you just give him the power to control you.
Should his smear campaigns go overboard, make sure to document everything. You may even need to consult with your lawyer when this happens.
He’ll gaslight you once more
A narcissist – just like an abuser or dictator – likes gaslighting people. He wants you to question your reality so that he’ll be able to overpower you.
So even if you see through his gaslighting ways, you can expect him to try this tactic once again. It worked on you in the past, after all.
That said, you need to be wary of these common gaslighting techniques:
- Telling outright lies to confuse you
You both know it’s a lie, but he’ll keep on telling it anyway. The point here is to make you feel insecure. Since he keeps on lying to you over and over again, you fail to see what’s real and what’s not.
- Denying everything – despite the proof
You know for a fact that he did something bad. Even if you present him with some solid evidence, he’ll just end up denying everything.
Again, he does this so you would end up second-guessing yourself.
- Attacking everything you cherish
A gaslighter will make sure that he destroys everything you hold dear. Be it your reputation or your family, he’ll make you doubt everything else you stand for.
- Rallying people against you
As master manipulators, gaslighters will try to turn other people against you. Similar to telling lies, it’ll make you question your reality.
- Wearing you down – over and over again
It doesn’t matter if you’ve figured him out. The narcissist will keep on attacking you. What started as negative comments might eventually evolve into full-blown insults. You may even fail to notice this – up until all hell breaks loose.
How to douse the gaslighter’s fire
Although gaslighting will make you question everything, you can escape this narcissistic stronghold by:
- Telling the people around you
In an interview, Paige Sweet Ph.D. explained the need to confide your gaslighting experience with as many people as you can. According to the University of Michigan professor, this will help “back you up and verify your experience of reality.”
- Get in touch with others
Isolation can easily lead to self-doubt. So apart from confiding in your family and friends, you need to be in constant contact with them as well.
When you have a strong support team, you’re less likely to be worn down by malicious narcissistic statements.
- Write it down
Journaling is a way to regain the control that the gaslighter took from you. By writing the events that take place, you get to confirm the truth – even if the narcissist says otherwise.
- Seek professional help
In some cases, gaslighted individuals will need more than just a strong support group and journaling. Therapists may help you regain self-control – and rebuild the self-esteem you lost along the way.
He’ll try to force a “trauma bond”
Once exposed, a narcissist will find it harder to trick you. To make up for this loss, he will try to initiate a “trauma bond“. This is usually borne out of the narcissist’s belittling ways.
This is not the way he starts the bond though. Like any other relationship, he will first shower you with affection. Then he’ll act differently, which sparks the cycle of abuse. This power imbalance is what allows him to control you.
Breaking free from a trauma bond can be a bit tricky. You may end up focusing on the positive aspects of the relationship (although this only runs for a limited time). When this happens, you’ll end up stuck with the narcissist.
How to break the trauma bond
If you’ve been under the narcissist’s spell for long, then you already know what he’s up to. And to break this bond, you need to acknowledge it first.
Once you do so, you could proceed with the next step – and that is to avoid blame. It’s not your fault that you have been caught in a vicious cycle.
Most importantly, sever all the ties you have with the narcissist. Blocking their communication attempts – and staying physically away from them – will help you escape the bond.
If all else fails, don’t be reluctant to get therapy. Here, you’ll learn how to:
- Identify factors that led to the traumatic bond
- Confront blame and criticism
- Enforce healthy boundaries
- Build better relationships
- Create a self-care plan – and adhere to it
He’ll try to hoover you
Most narcissists do inexplicably bad things to the people who have figured them out. As this list will tell you, there’s rage, stonewalling, projection, and gaslighting, to name a few.
So if a narcissist does or says something good to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s changed. You actually need to be wary, because it’s another manipulative attempt called hoovering.
Here are some ways a narcissist will try to hoover you:
- He suddenly becomes repentant
- He reaches out during important dates, like your birthday or the holidays
- He’ll love to bomb you with gifts and compliments
- He’ll keep on professing his love for you
- He’ll make absurd, almost impossible promises
Apart from these “endearing” actions, a hoovering narcissist will also try to:
- Pretend like nothing happened
- Fake the need for help
- Try to hurt himself
- Make crazy accusations
How to stop the hoovering
With all the love bombing and dreamy promises, you may find yourself crawling back to the narcissist. You shouldn’t, now that you have him all figured out!
When it comes to hoovering, the same advice of disengaging applies. You don’t want to give in to these empty promises just like you did before.
It also pays to listen to your gut. You need to nip it in the bud before this act leads to something worse, i.e. stalking.
He’ll play the victim
Should his intimidation and/or hoovering acts fail, the narcissist will play one last card: feigning the victim in this scenario.
As with many of his other tendencies, this is his way of avoiding shame.
Since you’ve exposed his personality, he has to create a fake persona. As always, he wants the world to view him as perfect – when in fact, he’s not.
How to deal with a “fake” victim
As always, it’s all about setting boundaries. It’s a way to distance yourself from negative energy as well.
Like any other narcissist, this fake victim is unwilling to take responsibility. If you don’t detach yourself from this person, you’ll just sink with him.
It’s also good to note or record everything, especially when dealing with this type of narcissist at the workplace. This may require some HR intervention, especially when he’s trying to make it look like you’re the bully.
Deciphering a narcissist is not an easy task, given his controlling and manipulative ways.
And now that you’ve figured him out, the next step is to face these scenarios with a strong will and an even stronger mind. Now that you know what to expect, you’re more equipped to deal with his narcissistic ways – unlike before.
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