Narcissists tend to see other people as a part of their own identity. They buried their true self in childhood and constructed an elaborate false self-image infused with grandiose ideas of superiority. But they need other people to support those ideas since their false self-image can’t prop up their own self-esteem. To get that supply of adoration that they need to feel good about themselves, they manipulate the people in their life. They learn as much as they can from them so they can do that.
Because of the narcissist’s need to manipulate other people, there are several things that confuse them. Among these are unpredictability, boring people, competitive people, and several other traits that make it difficult for them to manipulate you. If you’re dealing with a narcissist, it can be helpful to know the following 11 things that will confuse them and prevent them from being able to easily manipulate and control you.
1. Unpredictability Confuses Narcissists
Narcissists need predictability to be able to manipulate you. If they don’t know how you will react to something they say or do, it makes it much more difficult to prey on you. The early stages of a relationship with a narcissist, when they are love-bombing you, are all about learning what makes you tick.
Once they know more about your deepest fears or most difficult traumatic experiences, they can begin pushing those buttons to get certain reactions for you. If you are unpredictable, that makes it more difficult for them to do. Change how you react to their claims of grandiosity, show little or no reaction when they try to manipulate you, and you’ll likely find they reduce their narcissistic tendencies.
2. Little or No Emotion is Confusing to the Narcissist
A narcissist loves to use your emotions against you. They are looking for an emotional reaction from you. It tells them what bothers you, and that’s something they can use to manipulate and control you.
If you don’t give them that ammunition, they can’t use your emotions against you. While it might be difficult when you feel triggered, if you can refrain from showing them the emotions they’re looking for, they won’t be able to easily trigger you.
3. Boring People Confuse Narcissists
This is a great technique, particularly if you work with a narcissist. It’s known as the Gray Rock technique. The idea is to be as boring as a gray rock, as bland as milk toast. When you’re responding to them, just give short answers without any elaboration. Don’t get emotional, and don’t respond with excessive excitement.
Narcissists thrive on drama. They like to see people reacting to their manipulation. If you’re boring to them, they will look elsewhere to stimulate that drama they love. If you don’t feed their obsession, they will move on to other people to get that excitement.
4. Just Walk Away
Another thing that confuses a narcissist is if you just walk away from what they’re saying. They think of themselves as the center of attention, and that’s how they like it. If you can just walk away from them, they won’t know what to do.
This is an extremely effective technique that will cut the narcissist off from both their supply of adoration and their love of drama. If you’re not having it, they get confused and have to come up with a different strategy, one that is often less emotionally abusive to you. When they know you are able to walk away, it throws them off their game.
5. Confronting a Narcissist Directly is Confusing for Them
When you call out a narcissist’s dishonesty or mind games directly, they often get confused. They have been doing this for so long that they don’t expect that people can see through what they’re doing. When someone calls them out, they often become confused and have to look for a different strategy.
The worst-case scenario for a narcissist is that you will not only see their true self but point it out to other people as well. When they realize you can see what they’re really doing, that frightens them into ditching that technique for something else.
6. Question Their Bad Logic
Narcissists often trip themselves up on their own lies. When you ask for clarification, they have to stop and think more carefully about what they have just said. Sometimes, they will change their story altogether. Here are some examples of clarifying questions you might ask:
- I don’t understand. Can you explain the timeline again? It seems as though you’re saying you were actually in two places at once.
- You didn’t really mean to take credit for the entire team project, did you? Was that an accident that you just seemed to indicate you did everything?
- Did you mean to ask me to do all the housework by myself or did you want help? I need to know if you’re just planning on not doing any of it.
7. Outshine Them and You’ll Confuse Them
Narcissists love the spotlight because that’s how they get validated. They want everyone around them to be looking at them with admiration and adoration. This is something called narcissistic supply, and it’s how the narcissist feeds their ego.
If you take the limelight away from them, you take away a valuable source of narcissistic supply. This will absolutely confuse them. A few examples of how to do this are to clarify the real person responsible for the project’s success at work, prompt someone to tell a more interesting story than that of the narcissist at a party, or reminisce about a time you did something more interesting or better than the narcissist did.
8. Nothing is More Confusing to a Narcissist than Beating Them
If you really want to confuse a narcissist, just outperform them or beat them in a competition. They have constructed a fantasy about being superior to everyone else, and when you show them they are not superior to you, it’s incredibly confusing for them.
Outperforming them might mean getting that promotion they wanted at work, or it could be as simple as beating them at a game of cards. You might also take a leadership role at work or in your community, which is one sure way to confuse them.
9. Don’t Communicate with Them
Narcissists hate being ignored. They often will walk away from a conversation as a manipulation technique, but when someone else does it to them, it confuses them. They feel as if they might be exposed for who they truly are, and it takes away their power.
When you refuse to speak to them, it drives them crazy, and they become more desperate to reach you. This will often cause them to change their behavior. It’s a taste of their own medicine that will often get good results.
10. Don’t Give Them Ammunition
Narcissists love nothing more than to get to know all about you so they can use what they know against you. Sometimes this happens early in a relationship before you know what they’re up to, but if you think they’re a narcissist, take care not to tell them anything more about yourself.
If they don’t know what you like, and more importantly, dislike, they’ll have nothing to use against you. As soon as you know you’re dealing with a narcissist, don’t share any personal information with them.
11. Just Say No
Narcissists become confused by people who refuse to do what they want. When they see that there is someone they can’t manipulate into doing what they want, it’s very disorienting for them. As Tania Solis-Camara, the ex-golden child of a narcissistic father, notes, “What happens when a narcissist realizes that his/her target is not as weak as she/he thought is some level of panic.”
When you let them know that you are your own boss, and they can’t get you to do what they want, that’s when they become very confused. They know they have to rethink their strategy, but it’s difficult for them to determine what they can do. It drives them crazy!
Confusing a narcissist isn’t as difficult as you might think, but you have to understand that they will stop at nothing to manipulate you. You can’t trust them to ever be different. It’s very rare for a narcissist to change their ways. Understanding that is the hard part, and it’s why you have to stay on guard. One of the most important things you can do is get your emotions under control since they will use them against you at every turn.
To be able to do that, I recommend my 5 Step Roadmap to Heal Emotional Triggers. It’s free, and it can help you recognize and heal the early childhood wounds that created your emotional triggers. Once you do that, the narcissist can’t use them against you ever again. Just click on the link above, and I’ll send it directly to your inbox.
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