It is difficult to get over a narcissistic relationship. Narcissists only depend on their supply–people they drain emotionally, psychologically, and financially. They are often in pursuit of someone to manipulate and abuse to fulfill their needs and continuously prove themselves stronger, smatter, and better than everyone else.
If you know a narcissist, you are already exhausted from their misconduct and the constant battles, so leaving is difficult. However, it is possible if you trust your gut, be firm in your decisions, and constantly remind yourself why you need to walk away.
In the meantime, if you have ongoing contact with them, here are insights into how you can de-escalate a narcissist.
Stay Grounded in The Facts
It is always important to remember who the narcissist is. They may sometimes appear decent, generous, or kind, and you may be tempted to trust them again. Don’t.
You may be tired of being alert or careful and slip by sharing something emotional or personal with them. While this is logical, especially if the narcissist is someone you are close to, it is a bad idea since it will open you to their manipulations and criticisms.
If this happens, come back to your senses by remembering who they are and what they have put you through. They are untrustworthy and unhealthy, as proven by their track record. Let it always remind you to maintain your boundaries while committed to that person.
Remember, this is not about feeding dislikes or hatred, but instead remembering the truth of how they have treated you and what they might be capable of.
Don’t Sink to Their Playing Field
One thing about narcissists is that they love a decent fight. Not because they know how to argue, but because they are good at pushing peoples’ buttons.
When they push your buttons, you will be tempted to protect yourself verbally. At this point, you will be fighting back and considered to have no control. Your response will make you the bad guy.
When a narcissist throws the first verbal punch, it is upon you to decide how to navigate the situation. Remain calm and do not react to any sentiments in the room. This is what is referred to as emotional intelligence.
Consider this your first defense mechanism in de-escalating the narcissist. It will help if you control your emotions, as the narcissist will not.
Troubleshoot Your Interactions with Them
Disengaging and healing from narcissistic abuse can be as chaotic as the abuse. You will experience losses and gains. At times you will feel lost, and other times like you finally have everything figured out.
It is necessary to stop judging yourself. If you have complicated interactions or moments with the narcissist, take a step back and perceive the experience objectively. Consider what influences or circumstances were at play.
After some time, you will realize that certain things cause the narcissist to splash out, even though attacks may be unanticipated. You will not automatically predict their next move, but you can have an idea of what to expect.
For instance, if you realize they are highly reactive around specific topics such as their previous relationships, it could be how you talk to them that gives them less or more opportunity to attack.
They may also be reactive during important events or dates. In such a case, you can place boundaries to protect yourself. While troubleshooting chapters of abuse from your abuser, you will discover small and big ways to avert the narcissist and guard yourself.
Avoid Giving Them Negative Attention
While positive attention is great for them, negative attention is critical to their ability to hold you responsible.
Narcissists tend to have unhealthy thoughts at times. They will constantly remind you when you give them negative attention and eventually make you a target. If you have ongoing contact with a narcissist, you are the most reliable target for negative attention.
For this reason, narcissists will strive to hold you around because few would be willing to keep up with such absurdity.
Do Not Feed the Ego
Narcissists look innocent behind the fence, which gives you a false sense of security. They can also be unpredictable with striking selfishness, and when you shower their ego with verbal phrases, you empower their unstable minds.
Feeding their ego will not guarantee gratitude, but instead, how boastful they are. All a narcissist hear is how better they are over you. Therefore, it is vital to stop showing them praise to keep them from attacking your confidence later.
Define Safe Territory and Stay There
After identifying your patterns with a narcissist, you have sufficient information to define how to engage with them in unavoidable circumstances. The best way is to maintain an unpredictable façade. This means no chatting, no emotion, no reaction, and no small talk.
This technique protects you from further attack by starving the abuser of information about you that they would use to fuel their abuse. A safe territory can be interacting in ways that limit the likelihood of abuse or limit the conversation to specific topics.
To reduce your engagement with the abuser, you have to consider how and where they have access to you. It could be via social media networks or mutual relationships. Block them from accessing your profiles and accounts and detach them from anyone who may have an interest in reporting your posts or content to them.
Narcissists are experts at getting people under their wings and have presumably informed others about you as their victim. Narcissists may have family or friends who believe what they have been told regarding you.
It is, therefore, in your best interest to detach from such people because they may report misleading information to the abuser to use against you.
Narcissists will rarely be accountable for their actions and emotions, yet they expect you to be responsible for yours. They have studied you and know exactly how to annoy and convince you to stay.
The best way to cope with the abuser is to be entirely in control of your emotions. Examine your emotional intelligence and figure out how to use it to control yourself.