Is it possible to outsmart a narcissist? Perhaps, but only if you’re willing to downgrade your standards to act like one.
Admittedly, this post began with a trick question! The point was to say, first of all, why would you want to? And also, that taking that approachcan betrap! (What a narcissist wants…) This post explains why.
The narcissist has a wounded ego, and the suffering they cause is a projection oftheir own innersuffering and wounds they avoid. Their greatest fear is to be thought of as crazy, weak, not in control, dominated, inferior, irrelevant, and the like. It explains why they take pleasuremaking others feel this way.
When youre in the trenches with a narcissist trying again and again to get through to them, to get them to stop hurting you, to get them to understand why this hurts you or the impact their behaviors have on others, and so on, is futile. To understand why, you must necessarily view the narcissist’s behavior patterns and responses from their worldview and vantage point. Only then do their tactics makes sense.
You may not be able to outsmart a narcissist, but what you can do, however, is far more powerful, and amazing for that matter, in that you turn the situation into an opportunitytogrow strongerandsmarter, more courageous and real, cultivating a more authentic connection to life in and around you, thus turning fear and pain you experience into assets.
If thegoal is to prove who will win, and be declaredan impenetrableforce, this article may not be for you. If your goal, however, is to grow and learn “what”you need to know along the way about the narcissist, and more specifically what this triggers inside you that needs healing,there are a few need to know secrets that canhelp you save your energy, and neutralize the toxic effects of the type of power a narcissist likes to negatively impact your emotional wellbeing.
Secret number 1: Only anarcissist finds sheerpleasure in competing to outsmart another in the use ofcruel- or chaos-causing tactics.
Theoretically, it may be “possible” to outsmart them, however, why would you want to?To outsmart a narcissist, youd have to play by their rules, in which case, youcouldfind yourself stuck in a vicious game, or worse,a hellish war zone. And thats the problem, a constant state of inner turmoil is precisely the trap a narcissist sets, all the while, making you think that “your situation” is as good as life gets. Not so!
Only another narcissist would really want to, and affordtodo so! They can do so … without feeling depleted. In fact, the thought that someone is trying to outsmart them wouldtotallyenergizea narcissistto go into battle. There’s nothing they’d enjoymore than a fightto prove who’s superior, who will ultimately outdo the other, conquer and dominate.
The narcissisthas an arsenal ofcrazy making tactics, and wants nothing morethan to see youout of controlandacting “crazy.” They are ready to takefull credit for how “right” they are about you, then turn around and accuse you of being “the” controlling, abusive, selfish one. Even worse, in the past, hasn’t this left you feeling even moreconfused,bewildered, not to mention exhausted?
In practice, if your primary goal is tolearn to relate in healthy ways to yourself and others, to grow andprotect your happiness in response to thenarcissist’s tactics, your first step is to set an intention to disallow their tactics fromwasting your energy and emotional resources.Why wasteprecious energy and time?Dont even try! Instead, identify the patterns that identifies narcissism, and learn to respond in ways that neutralize any power over your mind, sense of self and agency. In other words,learn howto repel rather than attract narcissism, by knowing how to protect your happiness, growth and wellbeing when you’re around him. Never compete to outdo them; leave this “thrill” to other narcissists. Go for deep fulfillment in life, not addictive, cheap thrills.
Secret number 2: From anarcissists vantage point, like it or not, youare viewed as afierce competitor –and your relationshipis an ongoingcompetition.
If youre in a relationship with a narcissist, understand that, in their worldview, first and foremost, you are viewed as a fierce competitor, andthe concept of partnership relations with a woman is foreign to them (though they may not say so).In their mind, there is no such thing. In a relationship, there’s a top dog and underdog, and the underdog is always trying to be the top dog, period.A narcissist is hyper-alert around the clock, looking forsigns that youre trying to take over, subvert their will, dominate,render them powerless, and so on. Youve been repeatedly accused of beingcontrolling, right?
Theyre competiting at such high levels that theyd rather self destruct than have you beat them by giving in to even simple requests, such as holding hands. It’s like a battle between ateam withsquirt guns and a teamwithgrenades. You’re trying to get them to partner and get close, and they’re strategizingto ambush, take over, render you powerless, get the upper hand, make sure they achieve a clearwin — so that (in their mind) you acknowledge theirsuperiority. Their ego is so monstrously big that it tells them their self-worth and existence depend on beating you down this way. This also explains why they compulsively look for evidence to diminish yourself worth, esteem. (And they know how.) They depend, lust for this to get a rush of superiority, evidence that to them, validates their existence.
For sure, they’ve been listening and taking notes when you disclose your hurts, pain and vulnerabilities, but not for the reasons you’d want. They seekto know your weaknesses, what triggers your fears, your insecurities, your wounds, and so on,to hit them hard, andtake you out of the game. That’s what a fierce competitor does!
To attempt to outsmart” a narcissist means you’d have to go down to their low emotional frequency (fear), whichwould beakin to two apes fighting over turf. Unless your goal is to destroy anothers sense of worth, just for sheer pleasure, and you believe this is required to “prove” your superiority, stay out of that trench!
Only another narcissist would have something to gain fromdo-or-die competitions, which in effectcause suffering for all involved! The problem is: theysee andrelish their ability to detach from feeling their own or the other’a pain, regardingthis as a strength that gives them superior status! That means that their ability to feel suffering in these contexts is zapped! (This is what makes them harmful to others.) You on the other hand, in contrast, are not numb — and that is a good thing. A healthy person aspires to grow an empathic connection to self and other, to feel their vulnerabilities alongside their strengths, and so on, and participates in these painful but vital processes.
If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist who has mere tendencies, and want the relationship to work, in practice, there are several things that may help. The narcissist needsregular assurance that you’re not competing, that you have no interest in provingwho’s better, whos right versus wrong, who has more power, etc.Simultaneously, you need to remind yourself to be totally aware and present, centered, authentic, confident when you’re around them. Whenassuring them, stay out of emotions of scorn, indignation (similar), and other low-level energies, such asscolding or lecturing them as if they are incorrigible children. This helps the person with narcissistic tendencies to relax and trust, stop fighting so hard to prove their worth based on superiority — and to view this as alimiting beliefthat needs to be discarded. It can take years to gain their trust, however. And, if they’re really lost, in other words, if they meet the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder — this won’t work. In any case, you must accept that it takes two to make a relationship healthy and work. You cannot do their part, any more than you can eat or breathe for them. The fact is, if they continue to relate to you as afierce competitor, this will push you away, and harm your relationship. You can choose to do your part, keep putting the choice to do their part in their court.
Secret number 3: For a narcissist, use of tactics to crush anothers esteem or plans..are the end game.
To a narcissist, the end and the means are the same. The game they’ve been conditioned to play is: to get you before you get them. Their game planisto stay ahead and one-up you.Nothing energizes or moves them to action more than the thoughtthattheyre in a fierce unto death competition. Theyre in war-game mode, ready to fight to survive.
To outsmart a narcissist is emotionally taxing to everyone but a narcissist, who’s not likely to feel terrible about the things they said and did during ascramble to emotionally survive! To a narcissist, its a game of war, and in a war, youre fighting unto death for supremacy rights over the other. In battle, staying in the fight is what grants you honor, and without honor, you have no image, thus, do not exist.In this mode, not only are theynumb to their own pain and yours, the thought of taking down an opponent a notch or two, likely also releases pleasure and reward chemicals, such as dopamine in their brain and body.
This release is something they are hooked on like a drug. It is an addiction.
The narcissist feels no remorse! They feel pleasure!Breaking other’s balloons, simply because they can, feeling no remorse, brings sheerpleasure.
When you sharedetails of what “hurts” you, they takegood notes onwhatyou disclose!Expect that they will hit every wound and vulnerability you expose or reveal. They may be drooling as they look forward tothe next opportunityto hit where it hurts most.
This explains why, although youve tried, the narcissist does not seem to “get” what youve shared about something they didthat hurt your feelings. Or, why theyneverengage inreal talks about improving your relationship, emotional intimacy and closeness, etc. The narcissistsees this as your emotional craziness stuff and views this as your attempt to trap, disempower or emasculate.
The means is their endgoal. Keeping an opponent wounded, in their mind, keeps them safe. They are in survival mode when you’re around. From their perspective, it makes sense. From yours, this should give you good reason to never, ever compete on their terms.
In practice, this means the narcissist is not a safe person with whom toshare vulnerabilities and hurts. If they use abusive words, for example, let them know, calmly and detached that, its beneath them or youto go there and take a this won’t work for you or “it’s unhealthy for both” approach. Then drop or change the subject.Letting them know your bottom line, and then guarding it closely, is your best chance of gaining their respect (a drop).
You cannotoutsmart a narcissist without hurting what is human inside you. What you realize is infinitely more wonderful, andthat is: You cultivate your ability to choose to consciously enrich your life, to let every experience grow you stronger and smarter, to identify and understand their patterns, and to allow yourself to see the world from a narcissist’s vantage point, so that you may neutralize the impact they attempt to have on your emotional state of mind and body.
Your real need is not to outsmart a narcissist. It is to awaken so that you no longer are impacted or hooked by the narcissists false self.
Save your energy. You’ll need it to keep a protective shield around your sense of self and security, one that allows you to keep reaching for high-energy goals and power, and to never succumb to a narcissist’s invitations to sling mud at each other, and enter any of their low-life, low energy, life-zapping, reactivity traps.