How does a narcissist react when they can’t control you?
Anyone who is suffering from narcissistic personality disorder craves one thing: Control! This applies not just in their personal life, but in every aspect of their life such as at work and in relationships. For anyone on the receiving end of this, dealing with a narcissistic person is an annoyance especially if it is someone close to you like family members or anyone in your circle. Make sure you know how to handle narcissistic abuse.
This guide will show you how narcissist react when they lose control and what you can do about their reaction.
What is a Narcissist?
How does a narcissist react when they can’t control you? Before you can answer this question, you must first understand what narcissistic personality disorder means. Gaining insight into the behavior and personality types of someone will make it easier to navigate their reactions without losing your own temper in the process.
Narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. This is a type of mental condition that is exhibited by their inflated sense of personal importance. They have an excessive desire for attention and admiration from other people. Narcissists have a deep longing for external validation even if it means hurting other people’s feelings in the process.
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Despite this image of pompous confidence, a narcissist struggles with their own past and self esteem. Their confidence is only a mere projection to make up for what’s lacking in their own life – it could be a troubled relationship, a broken family, or trauma from their past. This makes narcissists target others to project their own hurt and trauma because they are emotionally and mentally fragile.
This type of personality disorder can breed problems in various areas of one’s life, such as relationships, work, school, and their personal life. Since narcissists are generally unhappy, they have difficulty maintaining a healthy relationship with others because they lack empathy and only think about themselves. No matter who they are with and what they have, they never feel fulfilled and content. There is always something lacking in their lives.
For this reason, narcissists control those who are around them because it makes them feel empowered. As you will learn in the next section, they are naturally manipulative characters, too.
Why Do Narcissists Like Control?
According to mental health experts, narcissists are people who grew up under the control of their own narcissistic parents. From their young age, they have been under the control of their family members and they are dominated by someone in their personal life. In some cases, their parents are also physically abusive.
The lack of control from their young age, even in their own life decisions, is what causes them to behave the way they do towards other people. They faced narcissistic abuse growing up and they want to regain that control that they lost growing up. In addition, the behavior of their parents becomes the model for how they behave with others.
How Does a Narcissist Act When They Can’t Control You?
How does a narcissist react when they lose control? Narcissists employ manipulation tactics to control others because they like to be on the driver’s seat. This is the exact reason why maintaining a relationship with a narcissistic individual is difficult, if not impossible. They are unable to make a compromise because they crave control so badly.
The following are some of the ways someone with a narcissistic personality disorder acts when they are unable to control you.
1. They will launch a smear campaign against you.
When a narcissist can no longer control you, they will launch a smear campaign against you. This is an age-old tactic that they use as part of their control tactics as they are in denial mode. They cannot accept the fact that you have figured them out so they will do their best to make you look bad to others – to make you the villain in this scenario.
The goal of launching a smear campaign is to ruin your reputation so that others won’t believe whatever you have to say against the narcissistic individual. This could involve exposing any sensitive information they know about you. Narcissists control freaks might even go as far as making up lies to attack your reputation; they simply don’t care as long as they achieve their mission of ruining your reputation. In fact, they are so good at making up lies that they will appear genuine to others.
Keep in mind: narcissists are naturally manipulative characters with an arsenal of manipulation tactics and a penchant for wrecking people’s lives. Their desire to ruin you involves making ludicrous claims and they are very good at playing this game.
2. They will play victim.
Narcissists are also notable for having passive aggressive personalities. Aside from trying to ruin your reputation, another way that they would react to losing control over you is to play the victim role.
When you separate yourself from them, they will act like they are the one who faced the worse and you are the one who exploited them in this situation. So, how do narcissists do this? They go to others – the people you both know – first and express their “side of the story”. The goal for telling others first is to condition them to the “truth” of what actually happened. That way, when it is your turn to tell your side of the story, these people already has a preconceived notion of what “actually” transpired even if it might not be true.
Narcissists are very good at playing the victim. They do this without remorse and are so believable that people will actually believe you have wronged them, instead of the other way around. This situation also enables them to replenish their narcissistic supply.
Again, it goes back to a narcissist’s ability to weave elaborate lies that they become so believable. As a result, they gain the sympathy of others who they tell their story to.
Aside from making you feel guilty for parting ways with a narcissist, their goal is to make themselves feel better about the situation by gaining the sympathy of others while you take the blame.
3. They will give the silent treatment.
Anyone with a narcissistic personality disorder will not only play the victim when they lose control over you. They could also give you the silent treatment. It is part of their plan to put you into a guilt-trip for not wanting to stay with them.
The narcissist will cut off any form of communication with you. They will also cut themselves off from their connection with family and friends.
It is part of their manipulation tactic to make others feel sorry for them. By giving you the silent treatment, your closest friends and family will start to worry about how they are doing. While they might be the abuser in the relationship, the others will look at you differently based on how they handle the separation.
As a result, you will be painted as the bad person in the situation as they are hit the hardest by the separation. Narcissists are master manipulators and some are able to convince the actual victim to re-join them as they start to develop a sense of sympathy for them. But you know now that it’s only a tactic to elicit an emotional reaction from you and affect your decision.
4. They will stalk you.
What happens when narcissistic people can no longer control you? They will stalk you, constantly lurking, and keeping an eye over what you do.
It sounds scary but that’s just how narcissists are. It is part of how they cope with intense narcissistic rage because they cannot live with the fact that you figured them out and want to cut them off your life.
Narcissistic rage makes it difficult for them to believe that you don’t want to be around them anymore. As a result, they will keep track of your activities and keep a close eye on you. However, they are not just passive observers of your life; they are the most sophisticated liars and master manipulators. They use the information they can gather about you to mess with your life and make your personal life difficult.
They see it as a game and they don’t want to be the loser. By stalking you, they maintain control and want you to be constantly looking over your shoulder and they take away your peace of mind. Some narcissists become even more devious than they were before because they simply cannot accept defeat as it is a huge blow to their confidence.
5. They will ghost you.
This is one of the most unexpected responses when you totally break the shield of a narcissistic person. It is also the perfect testament of such passive aggressive personalities that make them highly unpredictable.
A person with narcissistic personality disorder uses this tactic to deceive other people. Instead of acting out, they will suddenly vanish off the radar. They will ghost you and leave no trace of activity.
This response involves blatant manipulation, especially in relationships that have been around for the long-term. The act of ghosting or suddenly disappearing without any trace can stir up negative emotions in the person who chose to abandon a narcissist. By keeping their distance, it will make you question about where and what happened to the other person. It will leave you with unanswered questions and even a sense of worry for their well-being.
The idea behind ghosting is for the narcissist to leave you in a state of panic and make you feel as though you are the guilty party. Even when a narcissist is far away from you, they can still mess with your mind.
6. They will be in full denial.
When a narcissist loses control, they enter into denial mode. As mentioned above, they could never accept defeat because of their inflated sense of ego. If they cannot win, they will deny the fact that they participated in the first place.
They will deny any of the mind game and any such activities that they are a part of. Narcissists separate themselves from the situation because they do not want to be seen as the villain in a situation.
As a result, they act like they are taking the high road. A narcissist refuses to acknowledge that they were part of any of the dirty games in the first place. They are never remorseful. Instead, they will do their best to preserve their image even at the expense of others.
7. They will break your confidence.
Just like narcissists like to stalk you and take away your peace of mind, they will also do anything they can to break your confidence. If it means ruining your reputation and creating a web of lies to hurt you and those around you, they won’t hesitate to do that.
For a narcissist, breaking your confidence is considered a win for them. They are fully aware that a person who has low confidence and self esteem is easy to control and manipulate. It makes them feel like they have the upper hand in this situation.
They will play mind games at you such that you reach the point wherein you question your decisions in life. Narcissists are very good at stirring negative emotions!
8. They will try to get a reaction from you.
Narcissists are very smart people and vengeful beings. Sadly, they use their intelligence for the wrong purpose and to manipulate people in their lives.
When they can no longer control you, they will push you to the limit to get an emotional reaction from you. They want you to feel sad, angry, frustrated, and so on. Whatever type of emotion that is, if they can get it out from you, then they think they’ve won.
Narcissists target their prey by analyzing other people’s weaknesses and what ticks them. They will manipulate that weakness to illicit a response and they will stop at nothing.
How to Respond to a Narcissist
As you can see from above, they react in different ways when a narcissist realizes they don’t have control over you anymore. As master manipulators, they don’t do things randomly. Everything is always planned out and they know exactly what they want out of you so that they come up winning in the end.
However, it is important that you now understand and know about these possible reactions from someone with a narcissistic personality disorder. You can predict how they will react and also how to handle the situation, if ever it happens to you.
Do not fall into this devious trap of manipulation and control tactics because it is all part of their mind games. Here are some tips that you can use to handle the retaliation of their intense narcissistic rage.
1. Gray Rock Method
You can regain control over the manipulative behavior of a narcissist by using a simple yet effective method known as the Gray Rock Method. This method was first published by a writer named Skylar. According to him, the best way to cope with a narcissistic behavior, especially when they want to regain control over you is to act boring and disinterested. Take yourself out of the equation as much as possible; never engage in the drama.
By distancing yourself from the situation, you also distance yourself from the manipulative reach of a narcissist. This can highly infuriate a narcissist because the moment you disengage, they won’t be able to control you anymore.
This method is not recommended when you are dealing with a physically abusive narcissist. This might act as a trigger for them and cause them to react physically. However, it might work on other forms of manipulation and especially if you’ve managed to separate yourself from the narcissist individual in your life.
2. Keep an Eye Out for Flying Monkeys
Narcissists like to bring people over to their side to antagonize you. They are referred to as the “flying monkeys”. These are people who are supposed to be your mutual friends that will act on behalf of the narcissist to talk you into getting back together with the narcissist.
The best thing you can do is to stay away from these people as much as possible. Avoid any conversations with them so that they won’t be able to manipulate you into doing things that you are not comfortable with. Never engage with them because the moment you do, you give them the right to get to your head.
3. Know That You’re In Control
This is the most important thing to remember when dealing with the retaliation of a narcissist who wants to control you. You always have the final decision. No matter what the narcissist attempts to do to you, they won’t succeed if you don’t let them win.
You’ve already managed to get away from the grips of a narcissist person and it is your opportunity to seize control of your life. Take note of the manipulative and control tactics that they will attempt to pull on you. However, you have the power to cut off their narcissistic supply by choosing not to play in their game.
The fact that a narcissist is retaliating is already proof that you have control, not them. They might project that they are in control of things, but inside they are consumed with fear. The moment you realize that you have control makes you feel empowered and strong. Do not give them that power back by inviting a narcissist back into your life.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How do narcissists control you?
Narcissists are naturally manipulative characters. They always want to elicit an emotional reaction from those around them. This is how they gain control over people’s lives and employ their manipulation tactics. Once they have control over your emotions, they can control you. These emotions can be guilt, shock, anger, or fear.
What happens when a narcissistic person loses control?
Narcissists are master manipulators so they do not thrive when they don’t have control. As a result, they feel threatened and could react with anger. They will direct these emotions toward you and can trick others and paint you in a bad light. This method is also known today as gaslighting.
What happens when a narcissist knows you figured them out?
A narcissist will never admit the truth, even if you’ve exposed them. They would rather make false accusations than face up to the truth. Their goal is to make others look bad and make themselves look good. Their reaction involves blatant manipulation.
Are all narcissists control freaks?
In general, yes. Narcissists want to control the people and their environment because it makes them feel good about themselves. They have control tactics that enable them to get things done in a certain way or else they will freak out.
Can a narcissist be controlled?
Yes. It might be difficult but this can be done. The secret here is to educate yourself about the common personality traits of a narcissistic person and using it against them. Most narcissists are very smart people, though, so you have to be very subtle about this.
What are narcissist weaknesses?
There are several weaknesses in the behavior of a narcissist. The most evident weakness is the lack of ability to self-analyze and criticize themselves. They are incapable of reflecting in their own behavior and have a set of defense mechanisms to explain their behavior.
Since narcissists have this inflated image of self-confidence, they have poor listening skills and only value their own opinion.
What scares the narcissist the most?
Narcissists have many fears. One of them is when they lose control over you or someone close to them. They also fear being alone because they are unhappy with themselves; they need others to feel relevant and to validate their existence.
How do you spot a narcissist?
It is easy to spot a narcissist because of the tell-tale signs of their behavior. First off, a narcissist considers themselves more important and better than others in every aspect of life. They also have this grandiose illusion of who they are and how they want to be perceived.
A narcissist constantly seeks praise and validation from others. And they have a sense of entitlement, even though they have not earned it.