Dealing with a narcissist can be an emotional roller coaster. They’re nice one moment, but the minute after, they’re not.
They have no regard for your feelings and boundaries but would show concern only when it benefits them. Their actions confuse you, then you start to fall for their manipulation and gradually lose control of your life and self-esteem.
Although staying away is the safest bet, spotting and knowing how to disarm a narcissist is another way to protect yourself from their faux charm and antics. To help you, we’ve listed 7 tips on how to disarm a narcissist. Keep reading!
7 Tips to Disarm a Narcissist
1. Overcome Your Fears
Fear is a tool narcissists use to control victims, but courage shatters it. Your narcissistic spouse may often issue subtle threats that will have you wondering if they’ll do it or not. Other times, they gaslight you into thinking you’re overreacting when you confront them.
With their skilled manipulation, you become confused on what’s real or not. Because of their reaction, you may be scared to speak up or be yourself. At this point, you’ll have no choice but to give in to everything they say.
However, when you learn to overcome fear, they’ll lose their hold on you. Rather than cower, stand your ground. Never give in to the things you don’t like out of fear. Instead, learn to speak up for the things you need.
2. Stop Feeding Their Ego and Sadistic Tendencies
Narcissists feed off unmerited praise and off seeing others in pain. Either they’re putting you in a corner to squeeze out unduly praise to feed their ever-growing ego, or they’re baiting you into a carefully set trap to cause pain. Your reaction to that pain thrills and empowers them.
To disarm a narcissist, praise them only when they deserve it and avoid every trap they set to make you feel less of yourself. Stop giving the narcissist the pleasure of seeing you wallow in grief, enraged with anger, or seeing you beneath them.
3. Mend Broken Boundaries
Narcissistic partners have no regard for your boundaries. This is because they feel superior and assume they have the right to do as they please.
To disarm a narcissist when they’re out of line, reaffirm boundaries. Mending broken limits not only disarms them, it also helps you regain your self-worth.
Clear boundaries also help put things in perspective and improve your mental health and relationship with others. As Aimee Daramus, PsyD says, “If you’re trying to preserve a relationship with a narcissist, the best thing to do is set direct limits and stick to them.”
4. Empathic Confrontation
To disarm a narcissist, we recommend a technique developed by Wendy T. Behary, a renowned narcissist expert and the author of the best selling narcissism book called “Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving & Thriving with the Self-Absorbed“.
This technique is empathic confrontation—combining empathy when addressing issues to achieve the best outcome. It’s about letting them know you understand their feelings; why they want things done a certain way, while making them understand why they can’t continue to act like that. This way, you disarm a narcissist during confrontations with empathy while making it clear that they can’t keep doing what they’re doing.
5. Don’t Play Games
Trying to play games or beat them at their own game is not how to disarm a narcissist.
When you retaliate, you give them more ammunition.
Rather than trying to beat them, ignore them. Also, accept that their action is theirs and you can only control what you do.
6. Stop Taking Responsibility When You’re Not at Fault
Sometimes, we tend to take responsibility for other people’s actions to maintain peace. Doing this with a narcissist means giving them total control because they’ll constantly gaslight you into taking responsibility when they’re at fault.
Always call them out on what they’ve done wrong and ignore them afterward, even if they don’t apologize. When they try to intimidate you into taking responsibility for their actions, stand your ground firmly. That way, you give them no control.
7. Figure out What Went Wrong
How to disarm a narcissist is to understand how they think and what makes them tick. So look for behaviorsanomalies that could potentially trigger this disorder, and know what disarming tactics on this list works best on them.
Phrases to Disarm a Narcissist
Dealing with a narcissist can be mentally and emotionally draining, particularly when they aim to cause you pain. Also, having conversations with them can be tough because they always want to be correct. To disarm a narcissist whenever they try to hurt you, here are some phrases you can use.
- I know you are this way because of all the times you were betrayed in the past, I understand that it’s not your fault, but I can’t let you take it out on me.
- I don’t like how you’re speaking to me, so I’ll only respond when you’re calm.
- I’m sorry if you feel that way toward me. If this is what you think of me after all these years together, then nothing I do can change that.
- I understand why you would have this opinion, but I’m entitled to have mine too.
- Understandably, you want things to be perfect because that’s how you were brought up, but no one is 100% perfect. So don’t expect me to be perfect.
- There is nothing wrong with accepting you’re wrong, we’ll both feel better if you apologize.
Take note of how these statements have something in common—combining empathy while maintaining boundaries. You’re telling the narcissist, “I understand why you’re complaining or angry, but this is my boundary. You’re not crossing it.”
The ultimate goal is to disarm a narcissist without getting into a messy fight. Keep in mind that they’ll always have a counter reply. When it’s getting out of hand, end the discussion with conversation stoppers like:
- No problem
- That’s alright
After you end the conversation, take some time to calm yourself. Also, let go of the pain because when you carry it around, you empower a narcissist to hurt you more.
Once you disarm a narcissist, they won’t be able to control you. But soon, they’ll either act right around you or find another victim. However, you should try to support them if they decide to get professional help. If that’s not the case, cut all ties with them to protect your emotional and mental health.