15 Ways to Outsmart a Narcissist

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Do you often feel belittled or exploited? Maybe you’re dealing with a narcissist. Narcissists overrate their self-importance and lack empathy for others. They can be charming but usually leave a trail of wreckage. If you find that you are entangled with them, it is essential to protect yourself. Here are 15 ways to do that

Don’t Engage in their Drama

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Narcissists thrive on chaos and emotional reactions. To provoke a reaction, they may make hurtful remarks, try to pick fights, or play the victim. When they try to bait you into an argument, detach. Respond calmly and factually, or walk away.

Maintain Strong Boundaries

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Set clear boundaries about what you will not tolerate. Narcissists will often push them to see how much they can control you, like disregarding your needs or invading your personal space. Firmly and consistently enforce your boundaries.

Don’t Jink Their Ego

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A narcissist’s self-esteem is fragile and depends heavily on external validation. They crave constant admiration and praise. While it’s essential to be polite, resist the urge to compliment them or inflate their ego excessively. It will only reinforce their sense of grandiosity.

Validate Yourself

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Don’t rely on the narcissist for validation of your worth. Narcissists are often stingy with praise and may withhold positive reinforcement to control you. Look within for approval and self-esteem. Cultivate a healthy inner dialogue and celebrate your accomplishments. Recognize your strengths and value your contributions.

Starve Them of Attention

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Like a starving child seeking nourishment, a narcissist needs constant attention to feel validated. They may engage in outrageous or attention-seeking behavior, hoping to provoke a reaction. When they try to manipulate you through negativity, don’t give them the satisfaction of a response.

Document Their Behavior

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If you’re dealing with a narcissist in a legal or professional setting, keeping a record of their abusive actions can be extremely helpful. It can be handy if you need to take legal action or file a complaint against them. It can prove their actions and help protect you from their gaslighting tactics.

Don’t Take the Blame

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Narcissists are notorious for deflecting blame and shifting responsibility for their mistakes onto others. They may try to guilt you into taking accountability for their actions or downplay their wrongdoings altogether. Don’t accept responsibility for their behavior or shortcomings. Communicate that their actions are their own doing.

Mind Your Jargon

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They may use gaslighting tactics, emotional manipulation, or veiled threats to control you. Be mindful of their phrasing; don’t be afraid to call out any manipulative habits. If they use guilt trips or try to twist your words, challenge their statements calmly and firmly.

Don’t Compete with Them

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Narcissists want to feel superior to others. They may initiate competitions or comparisons, subtly putting you down to make themselves feel better. Avoid getting drawn into these competitions or comparisons. Instead, focus on your achievements and self-worth.

Don’t Let Them Isolate You

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Narcissists may try to isolate you from your friends and family. You may hear them criticize your loved ones, try to make you feel guilty about spending time with them, or subtly sabotage your relationships. Maintaining your support network is essential. Confide in trusted friends and family members about your situation.

Focus on the Gray, Not Black and White

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Narcissists view the world in extremes, seeing themselves as right and everyone else as wrong. They might frame situations as black and white, making it challenging to have nuanced conversations. Recognize that there are usually shades of gray in any case. Don’t be afraid to challenge their rigid perspective and present alternative viewpoints.

Prioritize Self-Care

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You may be emotionally drained when dealing with a narcissist. Prioritize your well-being. Do things that bring you joy and aid relaxation. Get enough sleep, eat well, and look after yourself.

Don’t Negotiate Your Values

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Narcissists may try to manipulate you into compromising your morals or values to get what they want. They might guilt-trip you or use blackmail to coerce you to do something you’re uncomfortable with. Don’t compromise your core beliefs for their sake. Hold firm to your principles, and don’t hesitate to say no.

Seek Professional Help

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If you’re struggling to cope with a narcissist and their manipulative ways, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor. A therapist can equip you with strategies for managing the situation and protecting your mental health. Therapy can also provide a safe space to process your experiences and develop a plan for moving forward.

Go No Contact If Necessary

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In extreme cases, where the narcissist is abusive or poses a significant threat to your well-being, going no contact with them may be the healthiest option. Cut off all communication and avoid any situations where you may encounter them. That’s how you protect yourself from further manipulation and abuse.


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