Even when you have broken it off with a narcissist, it can be difficult to get rid of them once and for all. While narcissists may seem to disappear from your life, they will almost always be back, and when they do, it can be almost impossible to get them to leave you alone. The strategies you should use to get them to leave you alone depend on the severity of the harassment, but there are effective tactics for every level of harassment.
Every situation involving a narcissist is different, but there are some common strategies to employ to get them to leave you alone. Here are 11 of the most important things you can do to stop the harassment:
- Educate Yourself;
- Create Your Own Support System;
- Break Off All Contact;
- Don’t Forget About Social Media;
- Confront the Abuse;
- Be Assertive and Clear;
- Understand Your Rights;
- Document Everything That Happens;
- Alert Family and Friends;
- Strengthen Your Boundaries;
- Take the Appropriate Legal Actions.
Harassment from a narcissist is a common problem for those who have had a relationship with this kind of person. To get it to stop, it’s vital to understand what you’re dealing with so you can choose the most effective strategies in your case. Let’s explore why narcissists will harass you and the most important options available to you to get them to stop.
Why Do Narcissists Often Harass You?
Like many other personality disorders, narcissism is expressed on a continuum, and that includes pathological narcissism also known as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Some narcissists are shy and even introverted while others are brash and outgoing.
When it comes to narcissistic abuse, it can range from giving you the silent treatment to physical abuse. Whatever form the abuse takes, you can be sure the narcissist will never take responsibility for their role in the behavior. They will shift the blame to you.
Some types of narcissists not only don’t feel guilty about their behavior, but they also take pleasure in causing others pain. Whatever kind of narcissist you’re dealing with, however, has one and only one objective – they want power because they want to be in control of everyone in their life.
That’s because they need people to provide them with external validation, something called narcissistic supply. This supply is what props up their self-esteem. They have a damaged sense of self which is why they can’t do that for themselves. They need other people, but they also fear that other people will see the truth about them and abandon them.
That’s why they feel the need to dominate the people in their life. They want to feel superior in order to feel good about themselves. In reality, they are filled with both shame and self-loathing. When you seem able to live without them, they feel a strong urge to draw you back into their drama in order to feel like they are powerful and can control you. That makes them feel good, but it doesn’t do the same for you.
Common Mistakes People Make When Dealing with a Narcissist
It’s just as important to know what not to do when dealing with a narcissist as it is to know what you should do. We’re raised in a culture that teaches common courtesy, but unfortunately, that doesn’t work with a narcissist. In fact, they use that to their advantage.
You might not want to start a fight, for example, or cause a scene, but if you placate a narcissist to avoid that, they will see that as weakness and begin to exert even more control. It also doesn’t work to ask them nicely or plead with them. They will only view you as weak if you do.
Another tactic people will often use just as a kind of defense mechanism is they will try to withdraw from the situation. You might do this to collect your thoughts or try to get your emotions under control, but the narcissist will use this to further devalue and control you.
If you try to explain yourself or defend your actions, the narcissist sees that as an admission of guilt, and it also gives them permission to judge you. You’re essentially telling them they have the right to either approve or not of your actions.
Okay, so you might think I’ll argue my position, but once again, that is just a waste of time. A narcissist is not interested in facts. They make up their own reality, and the only thing they are trying to do is justify their beliefs and actions. You can’t win with them because they will always be able to justify themselves.
What Can You Do to Stop the Harassment?
A narcissist will never be able to understand your reasons for what you do because they aren’t interested in understanding you. They are only interested in getting you to do what they need – adore them and confirm their superiority. For this reason, it’s also useless to complain about their behavior because they aren’t interested in what you want or need. In fact, complaining may just justify their abusive treatment.
Now, this kind of seems like there’s nothing you can do except to take the abuse, but that’s not true. There are some effective tactics you can use to stop a narcissist from harassing you. It begins with not blaming yourself, and then you can take effective action. Let’s look at several things you can do to stop the abuse.
1. Educate Yourself
The first thing you need to do in any situation is to educate yourself about it. The more you can learn about narcissism and its causes, the better you will be able to prevent narcissistic abuse.
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) develops as a result of childhood experiences that damage a child’s developing sense of self (ego). Your ego is the identity mechanism that props up your self-esteem and helps you self-soothe during difficult times.
Without a healthy ego, narcissists need other people to prop up their self-esteem, and this guides much of their behavior. This is what you need to learn about if you are going to stand a chance at stopping their harassment.
There are a number of resources you can use to educate yourself about narcissism. These include online resources as well as ebooks, and of course, you might even seek advice from a professional psychotherapist. They can help you understand what you’re dealing with, and they can help you heal any trauma you’ve suffered.
2. Create Your Own Support System
Once you know what you’re up against, you can better understand how important it is to have people in your corner. You’re going to need people who really love you and have your best interest at heart to support you through the difficulties that likely lie ahead.
If you’ve been involved with a narcissist, you’re likely going to need support while you recover from the emotional abuse to which you’ve been exposed. These family and friends will be there for when you take the steps you may need to take to stop a narcissist from harassing you.
These should be people who you can call anytime you need help or emotional support. They should be people you trust and can rely on to be there for you when you need them. You’ll need them to help you stay strong.
3. Break Off All Contact
Once you know what you’re dealing with and have a support system in place, it’s time to break off all contact. This means break off ALL contact – don’t call them, don’t take calls from them, don’t respond to any form of communication, and if you see them, don’t engage with them.
It’s a good idea to block their phone, and you may even want to avoid going to places where you know they tend to go. Additionally, don’t respond to or accept communication from the narcissist’s “flying monkeys.”
Flying monkeys are mutual friends or even just friends of the narcissist who will contact you on their behalf. If they approach you and try to ask you any information about how or what you’re doing, it’s best to just say, “You know, I don’t want to be in contact with that person anymore, and so I think it’s just better if we don’t talk either.”
If it is someone who is a mutual friend and you don’t want to cut them out of your life, it’s a good idea to make it clear that you don’t want anything you share with them to get back to the narcissist. If they don’t honor that request, you’ll know where their loyalties lie, and it’s best to break off contact with them as well.
4. Don’t Forget About Social Media
It’s easy to forget about social media when you break off all contact with a narcissist. Be sure to block them there too. They can make your life miserable by posting on your social media pages and contacting your friends that way too.
You want to block them from getting back into your life in any way. These days that means much more than just blocking their phone or refusing to see them. You have to think about the reach of your social media and the damage a narcissist can do on those forums.
You wouldn’t want the narcissist, for example, taking revenge on you by posting something about you on your LinkedIn page where your professional colleagues can see it. Narcissists will often initiate a smear campaign against you as a way to get back at you for ‘abandoning them.’
It’s really a good idea to take the step of blocking them even before you break off all contact, but if not, it’s definitely something you should do immediately after you leave them behind.
5. Confront the Abuse
If you don’t confront narcissistic abuse, it won’t stop, and in fact, it will probably get worse. As narcissistic abuse survivor A. Thriver writes, “Speak up. Silence and secrecy are the abuser’s weapons.” Confronting the abuse doesn’t mean that you have to fight or argue with the narcissist because that usually doesn’t work.
It does mean, however, that you maintain your boundaries and don’t allow the abuse to continue. That may mean standing your ground and refusing to back down or it may mean calmly speaking your truth and walking away.
This can be difficult because you may feel you don’t want to start a fight or deal with the inevitable explosion of narcissistic rage that will follow, but you must not allow this to continue. A narcissist will never likely realize how their actions affect you, and if they do, they aren’t likely to care about it.
They are focused solely on themselves, and that’s why you have to take care of yourself. They will not do that for you. If the abuse doesn’t stop, you may have no other option but to cut off all contact with the abusive narcissist.
6. Be Assertive and Clear
Narcissists don’t get subtlety. I used to think that surely my mother would see I was upset and ask me why, but that never happened. They don’t want to know what you’re upset about because then they might have to listen to criticism or defend themselves so they won’t have to take responsibility for their actions.
If you think they will notice that you’re angry, you’re just fooling yourself. You have to calmly but assertively state your truth. You should do so in unequivocal, concise language without trying to sugarcoat anything. They don’t respond to your attempts to save their feelings.
If you are too soft or subtle, they read that as indecisive, and they won’t respond to what you’re saying. If a narcissist is harassing you and you want it to stop, you need to state that very clearly, or it will continue.
7. Understand Your Rights
Whether you’re dealing with a narcissist at work or in your personal life, it’s critical to understand your rights. You have a right to be free from harassment, and there are laws in place to protect you.
If you’re uncertain about your legal rights, take the time to educate yourself about what you can do when someone is harassing you. You need to understand this so you can take the action that is appropriate for your situation.
There are often governmental agencies in place that can assist you in getting the help you need to ensure you are not being harassed, and this is true for both your place of work and in your personal life. Take the time to find out what’s in place that you can use to stop the abuse.
8. Document Everything That Happens
Another vital thing to do when being harassed by anyone, including a narcissist, is to document everything that happens. Making notes in real-time about an incident that occurred may come in handy if you need to take legal action.
Whenever you have any interaction with your abuser, write down the date, time, place, any other people who were present, and detail the specifics about what occurred. You’ll be glad you did this if you have to go to court for any reason.
This is also important for those situations where you can’t completely break off contact with a narcissistic abuser. For example, if you share children with them and need to see them for reasons related to that, it’s essential to document everything as it occurred.
You’d also want to document anything your children tell you that happened in real-time as well. It can be vital if you end up in a dispute with them.
9. Alert Family and Friends
It’s also important to make sure all your family and friends know that you don’t want to be in contact with the narcissist anymore. Let them know that the narcissist may try to contact them but that you don’t want them to give that person any information.
You might also need to let your workplace know the situation since it’s not unheard of for a narcissist to contact the work of someone with whom they separated. If the narcissist is someone at work, you might need to request a transfer or separate work locations.
It is quite common for narcissists to contact family, friends, and work colleagues, so you’ll want to be prepared for this possibility. It’s also important to know that this can occur even a long period of time after you’ve broken off contact. Sometimes a narcissist will attempt to contact you even years after a breakup.
10. Strengthen Your Boundaries
Another critical thing to do when you break off contact is to strengthen your boundaries. Make sure you are very clear with everyone in your life what you want and what you will and will not accept.
Now is the time to look out for yourself, and particularly if you have to remain in contact with the narcissist who’s harassing you, you’ll want to make sure your boundaries are crystal clear and very strong.
Make sure that everyone in your life knows your boundaries and the consequences of violations. This is your right, and you deserve to have those boundaries respected. By taking good care of yourself, you’ll be prepared to confront anyone who would try to manipulate or control you.
11. Take the Appropriate Legal Actions
Narcissists are known to occasionally stalk their victims, and some are also physically abusive, so you need to take any appropriate legal actions to protect yourself. This may mean getting a restraining order, or it may mean pressing charges.
This can be an extremely difficult process, so it’s best to prepare yourself if you need to follow through on legal remedies. Don’t let that discourage you from doing so, however, since it’s easy for an abusive situation to escalate to a dangerous situation.
It might not be something you particularly want to do, but it might be necessary to keep yourself and your family safe.
When a narcissist is harassing you, it can make your life miserable. That’s why it’s critical to understand why they do what they do and the steps you might need to take to make the abuse stop. It can be difficult to initiate the actions discussed above, but it’s important for both your mental and physical wellbeing.
Narcissists don’t feel empathy the way healthy people do, and so, they don’t understand the impact of their actions. That’s why you have to protect yourself and do whatever you need to do to stay safe. You have to prioritize yourself because the narcissist won’t.
If you’re dealing with a persistent narcissist, it’s critical to understand the way they think. Check out the post about whether or not they will ever give up. It has vital information about why narcissists act the way they do.
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