Possibly one of the most painful experiences in life, having any form of a relationship with a narcissist – whether he or she is a parent, spouse, boss or boyfriend or girlfriend – can literally destroy your life; your self doubt is at an all-time high, you feel worthless and you’re always on guard because you are always under attack and being used up. Having a stretch of life stolen and destroyed is enough to make you want to exact payment for your loss, in some form or another.
So, it’s understandable that you might ask the question, “How do I teach that narcissist a lesson?” While this is dangerous territory, as I said, I understand the feeling and I’d like to start with some suggestions that are as close to being positive resolutions as is possible considering the context.
Expose the Narcissist
A narcissist is very concerned with how they look. They want to be thought of as exceptional, better. To have a flaw exposed, even if it’s only to you, is damaging. Understanding fully what they do, making it concrete in your mind, run it down for them, tell them who they are and what they do. While to some degree they won’t care, because they don’t care about you and what they’ve done to you, they also will fear the fact that it might make them look less than intelligent. In other words, find a way to show them who they are by making it look inferior; that it is stupid or careless, less than exceptional.
I suppose if you are going this far, don’t be afraid to play your own game on them; you could make it passive aggressive – “I’ve read somewhere that people who are inadequate and not very intelligent must constantly criticize others to compensate.” Chances are they will be fuming at the suggestion that they are stupid and inadequate. Most people would be, but a narcissist particularly would be.
Victory Henderson, Flickr. Some rights reserved.
Show Them Wrong
One of the things a narcissist does to make themselves feel better is make you feel inferior; make you feel like you can’t do something or that what you do is worthless. If they can’t be the best, they figure they’ll make you “less”. Well, prove them wrong. Don’t let them derail you, go ahead and do what you need to do, do what you want and make it stellar. Ignoring their game and not letting it affect you puts them in their place. They’ll realize they have no effect, that they are the one who is powerless, with their worn out game and stupid motives. Realize your much more noble motive of escaping their clutches and doing something valuable for yourself overrides their narcissistic endeavors.
Bastian, Flickr. Some rights reserved.
This is possibly the most difficult of the solutions because if you are in a serious relationship with a narcissist or he or she is your boss, it will be difficult, maybe impossible to leave them. But it certainly ends their game entirely. They want you as a source of energy and try to hold you to them to continue to take advantage of you. Leaving them is the ultimate punishment. The whole game of keeping you tied to them to use you to make themselves feel better and make you feel worse will have ended when you end the relationship. Of course, they will move on to do the same things to someone else, but they will have learned that what they do does not work in your case. And that is a defeat, and narcissists can’t stand to lose.
Featured image: Josh Janssen, Flickr. Some rights reserved.