How to Stop a Narcissist From Driving You Crazy
Cut the Crazy Making
The title of this article is somewhat misleading because no one can make you crazy. This is something you do to yourself when you are involved with a malignant narcissist.
Of course, you don't deserve all the blame. It happens because you've become entangled with a deceitful, malicious personality who doesn't mind hurting you. In fact, doing so probably gives him or her pleasure.
Once you recognize these toxic dynamics, you need to formulate an exit plan. If this is a chosen relationship, such as a friend or a romantic partner, breaking up is the only solution. If it involves a family member, such as a parent or a sibling, this is much more difficult. You need to develop some safe, emotional distance. But you may still need to see this person from time to time.
If you work with a narcissist, you have my condolences. Although you're in good company, as one-third of all American workers are bullied on the job, it's usually a losing battle to continue working in a toxic environment. The majority of targets or either fired or end up quitting because they can no longer take the abuse.
When you venture into narcissism land, no one will argue that some mental space is needed to keep your sanity. That's because malignant narcissists excel at what people familiar with this disorder call "crazy making." Left unchecked, their behavior will drive you right around the bend if you don't put a stop to it.
However, recognition of their devious tactics is the first step toward bringing this foolishness to an end. Here are some of the things narcissists do to drive us insane, along with tips to get off the merry-go-round.
Getting Off the Narcissistic Merry-Go-Round
Don't Accept Their Projection
Someone very familiar with malignant narcissism once told me that someone with a personality disorder will accuse you of the very things they are guilty of. Psychologists call this tactic "projection." Although projection is usually done behind your back, a narcissist will also do this directly, in an attempt to convince you that she is right and you are wrong. It also seems to serve as a defense mechanism. If an abuser has any shred of conscience, this is assuaged by believing that you've done something to deserve the poor treatment.
If a malignant personality is trying to undermine you at work, it's likely your supervisor will hear that you're not being cooperative, because you are so competitive. He or she will also weave a lot of lies into their story, in the most convincing manner.
Or, if you confront a narcissist about her bad behavior, she will, instead try to tell you that you've been doing the very same thing you're rightly charging them with.
One way to protect yourself against believing any of this is to understand this is how narcissists operate. Also, if you wonder what this person has been saying about you, take a look at what they've been doing. This is what they'll tell others you're guilty of.
She'll Get You to Apologize
Malignant narcissists have a talent for getting us to apologize for their wrongdoings. This often happens after we make a futile attempt to get them to own up to something. As part of thecrazy making process, they turn it all around and, somehow, convince us we're wrong.
Even if we don't believe them, unfortunately, we may very well end up apologizing to smooth things over.
Being aware of this ploy may help you realize that nothing you said or did is responsible for the boatload of anger now coming your way. What you are seeing is what psychologists call "narcissistic rage." Don't be fooled. This is all smoke and mirrors. It serves to divert attention away from their misdeeds. It seems as if most narcissists would rather die than admit they're in the wrong.
But, sometimes, especially if they think you're going to end the relationship, they'll apologize profusely, enough to make you believe that they're sincere. The last thing they want you to do is cut them out of your life. They prefer to hold the scissors, so they can clip the cord when they are good and ready. This is after they have once again kicked you into submission, so they can end things with a flourish.
He'll Make You Doubt Yourself
A narcissist would get nowhere if he only picked on people who knew what he was up to. Instead, he chooses his victims wisely, after a period of grooming them to take a fall. During this process, expect to be love bombed. He'll put you up on a pedestal. He'll profess his love and devotion. You'll think you've just met the perfect friend, soul mate or romantic partner.
However, this honeymoon period is likely short lived. A narcissist will eventually chip away at your self esteem, so you begin to doubt yourself. Then he'll abuse you. By that point, you might even think you deserve to be treated this way.
Narcissists get their targets to doubt themselves through a variety of psychological techniques, such as gaslighting. This is when they say or do something, but deny it vigorously. It's a very cruel form of mental torture, named after a 1940s movie in which a deranged husband tries to drive his poor wife crazy.
If you're involved with a narcissist, you can also expect to be belittled and insulted. This is also designed to erode your confidence.
Recognizing what the narcissist is up to will help you take steps to stop this behavior. If you're dating such a person, the best thing to do is to go "no contact."
Coming Back for More
A narcissist doesn't want you to leave him. He wants to dump you, but only after you no longer matter to him, and he's found another target.
If you walk out on him, it will deal a death blow to his over-sized ego. He wants to protect his inflated self worth at all costs.
So, if he senses that you're about to exit, he will once again be on his very best behavior. He'll act just how he acted in the beginning of the relationship. Because this was such a happy time, it's tempting to try to return to these pleasant memories.
However, your knight in shining armor was only an illusion. The real persona is much darker. After another "honeymoon period," you can bank on seeing some of the same old tricks that drove you nuts in the first place.
Don't fall for this ploy. Someone who abuses once will abuse again. In fact, the next time will probably be even more unpleasant, and will come much sooner than you expect.
Crazy Making Techniques
A narcissist will deny that something happened, in order to make you question your sanity.
This is when a narcissist accuses you of doing exactly what she's been doing.
A morally disordered person will try to "shame" you in to believing you're bad and unworthy.
You typically see this behavior if you demand accountability for certain actions.
More Empty Promises
Narcissists are extremely reliable, in terms of making empty promises. As she is trying to work her way back into your life, she'll promise never to hurt you again. But this is a lie, as are nearly all the other words that leave her lips.
One hallmark if narcissism is the propensity to deceive. This may be done to avoid consequences, such as you ending the relationship. Or, lies may be told for no apparent reason. It seems as if many people with moral disorders like to pull the wool over people's eyes. They get pleasure from being tricky and sneaky.
For instance, your romantic partner will let you take her out to an expensive restaurant. She'll whisper in your ear how much she loves you. Later that night, after you drive her home, she meets her new boyfriend. Getting away with something like this is what she considers fun.
If someone deceives you once, they'll likely do it again and again. Let them go. It's not worth it.
How a Narcissist Thinks
Letting Go is Difficult
You've invested months, if not years, in a relationship with a narcissist. You dearly miss the person you thought they were, and you have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that this "wonderful" individual doesn't really exist.
You keep hoping, and even expecting, the person you first met will once again reappear. Because this happens periodically, when the narcissist is trying to get back into your good graces, you begin to live for these times. This intermittent reinforcement is what keeps you coming back for more. It's a very powerful attraction.
However, you need to let go of this dream. Because it's only a dream.
The author of this article is not a licensed mental health professional. She learned about malignant narcissist through personal experience.
I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.