Need to know how to shut down a narcissist?
Everyone has a tendency to show some narcissistic traits at times.
This tendency comes in varying degrees with different people, and sometimes you can't tell if someone has a heaping serving of this personality trait until you’ve spent a significant amount of time with them.
What's more, the qualities that initially attracted you to this person may be the very qualities that end up annoying you.
You may meet someone who is confident and proud of their accomplishments who seems interesting and well-versed in life.
But after getting to know them, you realize that all they like to talk about is themselves, and they are starting to drain your energy with all of the self-absorption.
This is when you may realize you're dealing with a narcissist.
Narcissists have a delusional sense of self-worth and an inability to feel empathy for other people.
They are not able to regulate their emotions or consider the impact that their actions may have on other people.
This person may be a friend with whom you choose to limit your time, but it could also be a boss, co-worker, or family member that you have to be with on a regular basis.
The question is, can you have a workable relationship with someone who is narcissistic?
The truth is that you can, you just have to know how to deal with them.
Let's talk about the most effective ways to talk to and shut down a narcissist so you can tolerate their irritating and often hurtful behaviors.
- What Hurts Narcissists the Most
- How to Talk to a Narcissist
- How to Shut Down a Narcissist: 15 of the Best Ways
- 1. Disengage
- 2. Don't Sink to Their Level
- 3. Don't Feed Their Ego
- 4. Don't Accept Responsibility
- 5. Say “I'm sorry you feel that way.”
- 6. Cut Their Psychic Cords
- 7. Rise Above It
- 8. Offer Compassion
- 9. Be Vague
- 10. Walk Away
- 11. Remember That You Cannot Control Their Reality
- 12. Avoid Giving Negative Attention
- 13. Put Your Needs First
- 14. Keep Your Cool
- 15. Force Them to Move On
What Hurts Narcissists the Most
Self-absorbed people are in constant need of validation that they are fabulous people.
If they don't receive this validation, or someone questions their greatness, they often lash out.
The thing that hurts narcissists the most is when they are not acknowledged, or they are seen as just being an ordinary person like everyone else.
This typically causes them to have a strong reaction to try to elicit the engagement of the people around them. When this attempt fails, they often feel very hurt.
Insincere flattery is also something that hurts a narcissist. Deep down, narcissists lack well-grounded self-esteem.
Because of this, they need credibility in the compliments that they receive. Anything that comes across as being fake can be very hurtful.
How to Talk to a Narcissist
Talking to a narcissist requires patience, tolerance, and focus if you want to maintain a semblance of a positive relationship with him or her.
Having patience will let you remain in the conversation when others may drop out. Being able to tolerate the conversation will help you overlook the narcissist's selfishness and arrogance.
If you stay focused, you will be able to remember what the narcissist wants and what your objectives are in the conversation.
Talking to a narcissist may not be comfortable, but you can still carry on a decent conversation and even form a friendship — although it won't be a deep friendship.
The first thing to remember is to limit your expectations and realize your role in the conversation is to be supportive and recognize what you are dealing with.
You also have to be willing to listen carefully and offer signals of positive recognition. If possible, be genuine and sincere in your acknowledgment of this person.
Make a verbal note of any of the narcissist's achievements that you truly admire.
Don't worry about causing the narcissist to become more self-centered. He or she has behaved this way since an early age and is unable to stop without professional help. Yes, you may feed this person's ego, but don't worry that you are the cause of their inflated sense of self.
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Avoid challenging a narcissist's opinion or point of view. Narcissists have a very low tolerance for anyone questioning or debating them.
Doing so easily leads them to become frustrated or angry. Refusing to challenge a narcissist's opinion will help you avoid the risk of being attacked.
To shut down a narcissist, you have to be more prepared than they are. Let's go over fifteen effective strategies you can use to shut down a narcissist and help reduce the harm they inflict on you.
How to Shut Down a Narcissist: 15 of the Best Ways
Don't be surprised when you are with a narcissist, and they become unreasonable angry over a seemingly minor annoyance.
Don't try to reason with them and don't involve yourself in the situation. Remember to only think about the things that are in your control.
The only way a narcissist will realize that they might be in the wrong (or simply let something go) is if you refuse to accept it.
This can be difficult, but if you know that they are wrong about something, don't fall for their charming attempts at getting you to agree with them.
Think before you speak and do not take the bait.
2. Don't Sink to Their Level
Narcissists thrive off of a good fight because they know how to push your buttons.
When your buttons are pushed, you are probably tempted to fight back and defend yourself.
However, once you fight back, you have lost control. If you want to get around a jab from a narcissist, stay cool and don't have a reaction to the emotions around you.
It is important to stay in control of your actions and words because the narcissist will not be able to do this.
3. Don't Feed Their Ego
Narcissists have a pretty impressive sense of self. It is clearly inflated, but it is also unstable.
If you give them too many numerous verbal praises, you are empowering their belief that they are better than you and everyone else. Only give praise when you feel it is deserved and honest.
If you don't give a narcissist any of this fuel to work with, they won't continue to gain the ammunition that they need to attack back.
When a narcissist's self-image is reflected back in ways that amplify how the narcissist already feels about him or herself, they are receiving the gratification of their narcissistic supply.
4. Don't Accept Responsibility
If a narcissist is angry, let them be angry. They will probably try to make you feel the same anger and pain that they are feeling, but you can refuse to do so.
It might seem easier to just accept the blame to stop their rampage, but doing so will start to break you down after a while.
If you accept the responsibility for their anger or emotions, you may end up doing whatever they want just to appease them.
Let the narcissist handle their own emotions and come to terms with them. Remember that they will eventually get over it.
The challenge for those who have narcissism is to learn how to take personal responsibility instead of attributing their disrespectful or abusive behavior to those around them.
Accepting this responsibility is painful and gives permission to the narcissist to continue to blame you for how they treat you or try to make you believe that their behavior is a result of their actions, which is not true.
5. Say “I'm sorry you feel that way.”
Narcissists think they know everything. When they are insulting you, they think they are completely right in their accusations.
However, if you say, “I'm sorry you feel that way” as they are trying to engage you, it will completely throw them off balance.
Their attempt at getting you to defend yourself has failed. Saying this will show them that the conversation is over and you don't have a response.
6. Cut Their Psychic Cords
Narcissists think that they can engage you in their reality.
They expect a reaction out of you when they push your buttons.
However, if you acknowledge their reality and tell them that you accept it, despite the fact that it is faulty, you are sending a firm message that you are not going to be manipulated, nor are you going to have the reaction that they expect.
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7. Rise Above It
Always be the best, truest version of yourself. If someone is trying to convince you that you have done something wrong or that you are a horrible person, don't try to retaliate or defend yourself.
Doing so will only cause you to behave in the way that they are accusing you of. If you don’t act in a way that the narcissist expects, they’re likely to give up and leave you alone.
8. Offer Compassion
Having compassion for someone who is narcissistic will help you remember that they are dealing with a mental issue that has nothing to do with you.
This means you are having to handle a difficult or toxic person in what could possibly be an abusive relationship. The humanity of a narcissist must be recognized because they are in pain.
You have to keep in mind that narcissists have a deep sense of insecurity and self-doubt.
You don't have to be sympathetic about this, but you can be compassionate by refraining from adding to their distress.
This will quickly shut down a narcissist because you will be refusing to add fuel to their fire. The narcissist’s grandiose sense of self is simply their defense against profound psychological pain.
9. Be Vague
The attention you give to a narcissist is addictive. They will continue to look for that fix to help satisfy their ego.
If you keep giving them what they want, they will continue to try to control you so you will meet their needs and wishes.
Keep all dialogue to a minimum. Don't talk to a narcissist unless you have to.
Avoid interaction as much as possible, but don’t make a big deal out of it because it will give them ammunition against you.
When you do have to talk to them, talk about boring things, like the weather. If they ask questions, give vague, uninspiring answers that don't invite more questions.
This will quickly bore a narcissist and shut them down.
10. Walk Away
The best way to truly shut down a narcissist is to walk away from them. If all else fails, you just have to physically refuse to stay in the conversation.
Even if they keep talking, simply turn around and walk away. If they follow you, close the door. Put headphones on. Pick up your phone and call someone. This will force them to eventually just stop.
11. Remember That You Cannot Control Their Reality
If you recognize that you can only control yourself and your perception of things, you will be less likely to try to fight back against a narcissist.
You can't challenge someone else's perception of you. They will think whatever they want to think about you no matter how much you fight against it.
You will be able to shut down a narcissist easier if you can accept their faulty perceptions of you.
12. Avoid Giving Negative Attention
Narcissists love attention– either positive or negative. Receiving negative attention is a critical part of their ability to hold you accountable for their behavior.
Once you give them this kind of attention, they will be able to hold it over your head. They need this kind of attention from you to give them a reason to lash out and target you in return.
If you are the closest person to the narcissist, you will automatically become the most reliable target.
13. Put Your Needs First
Narcissists make others feel guilty about being happy because they expect everyone to put the narcissist's happiness first.
If you’re not constantly praising them or accepting their criticisms that make them feel superior, they won't be satisfied.
Always keep your needs in the front of your mind to reduce the chance of a narcissist being able to take advantage of you.
Set healthy boundaries that you are comfortable with to keep the amount of distance that you need from the narcissist. Keep your eye only on what you need and continue to aim to fulfill it.
14. Keep Your Cool
Showing a narcissist that you’re upset will reinforce their behavior.
They will see that they have won you over. They will be encouraged by your strong reaction and look for other ways to elicit the same response from you.
Always try to keep a level head and keep any emotions to yourself.
15. Force Them to Move On
If you want a narcissist's behavior to stop, you have to figure out what you are willing to deal with and what you aren't.
Then you have to respond in the exact same way every time until the narcissist gets so bored with you that they drop it.
If you are facing behavior that you are not willing to deal with, it probably makes it hard for you to be objective during these tense interactions.
To shut down a narcissist, you have to know your “hot buttons” so you can diminish the power a narcissist may have had in the past and gain control over your emotional responses.
You have to understand that you can't change a narcissist.
If you want to know how to shut down a narcissist, the most important thing to do is to try to understand the disorder so you can protect yourself from the havoc they will wreak on your life.
Try using these steps to disarm the narcissist in your life before their behavior has a long-term impact on you.