Narcs are always on the lookout for a reaction. They are hoping to use your reaction against you as evidence that you are the crazy one or the unhinged one etc. Do NOT give them the satisfaction of handing them some tasty ammunition on a platter! Learn ways to RESPOND instead of REACTING. Work on regulating your emotions; you may want to try mindfulness techniques, journaling, calling a good friend who doesn’t mind hearing you vent….and deep breathing is an absolute MUST
Pick you battles very wisely
Choose what is worth fighting for or pursuing, and let the rest go. Narcs will never confess to wrongdoing and they will never admit that you may have a good point. Therefore it’s necessary you accept this fact and save your very precious energy and sanity. With the battles that are required to follow-up on, focus your energies on uncovering the lies, half-truths and unhealthy patterns of behaviour with factual evidence – without offering labels (NPD etc) or bashing the narc. In many cases, narcs will hang themselves with their own rope – as they can’t keep up with nor remember all the false narratives that they have bandied about. By picking your battles, you will avoid getting sucked up into the narc’s toxic vortex and being depleted of valuable energy.
Know your truth
Narcs will do or say anything to get you to doubt yourself and question your actions as they want you to submit to their narrative and do/say things that serve their needs and not your own. It is much easier for the narc to succeed when their target is self-doubting and looking to the narc for answers. I know it can be really hard to know your truth, and be in touch with your gut feeling when you have experienced narcissistic abuse… so it may be necessary to take steps to get back in touch with your truth/who you are/your instincts.
Once you start gaining that sense of self and self-belief once more, and you know that what you are doing is the right thing to do and stop questioning your actions, you will not care so much about what the narc says, and you will not try to seek their approval.
Are you spending your birthday with a narcissist?
Stay professional and polite
In your communications with the narc, remain professional and polite at all times (well, at least aim to!). Again, think to yourself how you DO NOT want to give them the satisfaction of knowing that you have given them ‘evidence’ of your irrational, mean or vindictive behaviour. After all, the narc loves to play the victim AND relishes the opportunity to paint you in a bad light. Don’t give the narc any occasion for extra air-time!
You may have already heard of the BIFF method of communication by Bill Eddy… I prefer BIPF (Brief, Informative, Polite & Firm) – as needing to be ‘friendly’ with the narc doesn’t really sit well with me! I can however see the merit in being polite. No one can ever fault you for being polite (well they can if they’re a narc… but at least you are coming across to most people, including a potential judge, as a balanced and cordial person).
Help! I’m getting divorced without a solicitor!
Therefore, whenever your are communicating with a narcissist (and ideally, only via email), keep the content: brief, informative, polite and firm. Do not allow any emotions to creep in, no matter how infuriating the narc’s last message to you was. Keep it very bland and stick to the matter at hand (and if you are a “co-parent” – keep it about child arrangements only).
If your narc ex accuses you of being on “hook-up” apps, or claims that you are a liar and a thief or other triggering things, DO NOT take the bait! IGNORE. Call one of your good pals and let loose, and perhaps at some point have a giggle about it. Kick a pillow or go do a boxing class. Whatever you do, DO NOT retaliate. As the quote goes (I am not sure whom to credit), being with a narc is like getting arrested, anything you do or say can, and will be used against you! Oh, and by the way, sometimes the best response is NO response!
Go No Contact or Extreme Modified Contact
Naturally if you do not share a child with a narc or you have some way never to see the narc again, then I would definitely recommend going NO CONTACT. Cut all social media ties, block their number, delete, unfollow; and that includes cutting ties with their flying monkeys or devotees. Do not “social media self-harm” – i.e. please don’t torture yourself by looking at their photos or their new supply’s photos on IG, FB etc.
Divorcing a narcissist? It’s you who’s walking on eggshells!
This of course applies to any of you who do need to remain in contact with a narc, whether that be a family member, ex- spouse and so on. If you are required to remain in touch with a narc, make sure that you limit your contact as much as possible (extreme modified contact in the words of Kim Saeed I believe).
It may be hard at first to cut ties with certain people who are linked with the narc in your life, however in the long run it will potentially save you a great deal of angst. Keep your inner circle sacred to those people who are 100% loyal to you, who have your back no matter what, and who help lift you up. After all, the quality of our lives is very much linked to the quality of people we surround ourselves with.
Place the focus on you, your wellbeing & that of your child(ren) and loved ones
The best ‘revenge’ is not exposing the narc’s lies, misdemeanours and transgressions and getting others to see what you have endured (though it may very well feel that way now and it can be so rewarding to get that validation, the best revenge is you living the life you deserve, where you are no longer treading on eggshells, you are happy and very much focused on your wellbeing and healing. The narc is no longer a foreboding presence or influence in your life (perhaps an inconvenience, yes), as you have learned strategies to manage & communicate with them and you no longer feel the urge to seek their approval for anything. You believe in yourself. You love & accept who you are. This is ALL within your reach. It may require more time than you would have hoped and some extra support outside of your family & friends, but it CAN happen.