confronting the narcissist

These Two Things Happen When Confronting the Narcissist

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Are you considering confronting the narcissist and wondering what to expect?

Many times people confront narcissists, believing that showing them how they’re behaving and how hurtful they’re being might make a difference. You may think that they’re simply unaware of how they’re behaving.  Or maybe you’re just tired of it. You’re fed up and you want to present the facts to the narcissist because you want them to know that you are onto them.

Generally, confronting the narcissist goes one of two ways.

 

What to Expect When Confronting the Narcissist

1 – They react with narcissistic rage and injury

Be prepared, they’re going to do more than simply discard you or walk away.

They’re going to make you pay for confronting them because you have pointed out flaws in their personality or their character and they can’t handle that. So they’re going to turn things around and make it seem like you are the reason they do the things they do and why they act the way they act.

This can include any number of things. They might try to blame you for their infidelities. They may try to blame you for why they’re so secretive about their electronics, and say that you don’t trust them.

Usually, when you point out to the narcissist what you don’t like about their behaviors, the gloves are off.  They understand that you are not falling for their facade anymore. You’re no longer falling for their grand illusion. And so they’re going to do things to make you pay for that.

They might persuade you that you are the one who’s being narcissistic. You are the one who is behaving in hurtful ways, because narcissists always have to be the victim in their own stories. So even if you have done everything on the up and up, you’ve given your all to the relationship, and you go to them and say, “Hey, I’m noticing these things about your behavior and I’d like to talk about it. I noticed that you don’t tell the truth, or I noticed that you said you were gonna stop this affair, but you’re still carrying it on. Or it feels like you’re trying to turn our children against me.” These topics are going to incite narcissistic injury.

Those are things that typically happen in scenario one.  But, it might also play out like this…

2 – They agree with everything you say and pretend that they will try to do better

In this scenario, they’re going to say things to make it seem as if they’re on the same page as you.

They might say, “Yeah, you’re right. I need to really watch myself.  I need to be more clear about what I’m up to.”  They might even apologize for hurting your feelings.

Narcissists sometimes apologize but, as you will discover, their apologies are not authentic because they always go back to the thing they were doing that they apologized for. It could be the same day or it could be several weeks, but they will always go back to doing it. And even if you don’t catch them, you can rest assured that they’re doing it behind your back.

Will Confronting the Narcissist Make Them Go Away?

It can seem that way. Oftentimes narcissists are going to have someone in their pipeline; another supply source, someone they’ve been grooming behind your back – or maybe not even behind your back. For example, I recently received a question from a woman asking, “My boyfriend told me that he took a random girl’s number just for the sake of being friends. I’m trying to figure out what that means.”

If your partner is out there getting phone numbers from random people, that should be a huge red flag. But this is often how triangulation begins. They’ll say things that seem fairly innocent, such as, “I just met this girl today and I got her number so that maybe we can be friends”. Unless they’ve known that person from perhaps school or college, they should not be asking people for their phone numbers or taking phone numbers from random people.

If you think you’re dealing with a narcissist, this means that they are definitely trying to groom that person to see if they’re going to pass the litmus test for good narcissistic supply.  This is how it generally starts out so that when you do confront them and then maybe they leave, or you leave, all this does is give the narcissist free space to go ahead and groom that person, to love-bomb them, and get that person hooked so that when you do confront them with their behaviors, they will likely give you the silent treatment and go off to groom their new supply source. 

This is why, when you finally do decide to end the relationship, they can swan dive into a new relationship with someone else who is – all of a sudden – the love of their life. When this happens, they’re gaslighting you to make you believe they have found their soulmate and true love, but they’re also love-bombing and gaslighting the new supply.

I Just Want Them to Leave Me Alone

Confronting the narcissist in hopes that they’re just going to go away and say, “Oh, you’re on to me now. I’m just gonna go ahead and leave. Have a good life,” is usually a fantasy.  It doesn’t normally happen that way. Narcissists have been known to come back 5, 10, and 20 years later. So even if you have convinced yourself that the narcissist is never going to come back, that they hate your guts, and they don’t want to breathe the same air that you breathe, don’t be surprised if they hop back onto the scene as though nothing happened and reversing any progress you’ve made.

This is why I advocate so strongly for No Contact, because you cannot leave it up to the narcissist.  Confronting the narcissist, wondering if they’re going to go away forever, or maybe hoping they will find a new person so they’ll leave you alone – these are things that a lot of us want, but that usually don’t happen.  We have to be the ones to put up the boundaries, uphold them, and maintain them.

So, if you had a previous relationship with a narcissist and you’re shocked because they reached out two years later, you may want to ask yourself what you were really expecting.  Narcissists are notorious for recycling through old supply, and even though it may seem like they’re loving up on the new person, they know that eventually, the relationship is going to start crumbling down around their ankles.

It’s also important to remember that just because they reached out to you after two years does not mean that they have reflected on how they treated you or that they’ve changed or made any kind of improvements. That’s not what narcissists do.  Further, they’re not only reaching out to you, they’re reaching out to other people whom they had relationships with in the past. So there’s nothing good or flattering about the narcissist reaching back out after the passage of time.

Should you confront the new supply?

Narcissists are very strategic. This is why it doesn’t make sense to warn the new supply. Even though most of us wish someone had warned us, we say that in hindsight. But in reality, we were being love-bombed.  We were hooked. We were hopeless. If someone had approached us and said, “Look, your new partner is a liar and a cheat.  They’re abusive.”, it would most likely have made them look like the crazy person the narcissist said they were.

This is why I don’t recommend approaching the new supply. Additionally, they might decide to file a restraining order against you and accuse you of stalking and harassment.  I have seen that happen. So when it comes to the new supply, even though it’s very sad and it’s very unfortunate, it’s better to let them have their own journey because they’re probably not going to believe you anyway.

It’s also very common that when you confront a narcissist about their behaviors, their manipulations, their gaslighting, their lies, and their betrayals, they will try to turn things around and make it seem like you are the narcissist. You are the one who’s abusive. You’re the one who is manipulative.

They might call you something else.  They might say you’re borderline or bipolar…whatever they accuse you of being is going to be a disorder that is generally associated with unstable behaviors. And this is often very effective at pushing your buttons, triggering you, and making you respond or react in a way that may cause you to act out of character. This is why you see people saying respond, don’t react. Because when you feed into the narcissist’s drama, it often makes it appear that the things they’re saying about you are true. So it’s important not to internalize the things they’re saying or the things they’re doing to try to get back at you.

Conclusion

When confronting the narcissist, they will either react with narcissistic injury, or they may pretend to be on board with the whole thing and give you the impression that they’re going to try to improve. This is often when they’ll agree to, or suggest therapy. When they have played all of their cards and don’t have anything else up their sleeve, then that is when they’re going to pretend to want to try to be a better partner, spouse, or friend.

If you’re confronting the narcissist thinking that they will either change their behaviors or finally go away and leave you alone, it’s important to remember that you are the one that has to ensure that they leave you alone. And if they don’t, then you have to be willing to take the necessary steps and precautions to try to make that happen.

Final Thoughts

You deserve more than manipulation and emotional abuse. You deserve the freedom to enjoy life and surround yourself with supportive people.

Recovery involves rewriting everything the narcissist has tried to make you believe. It requires rebuilding your identity – or in many cases building an identity for the first time.  You need a narcissistic abuse recovery program that can help you avoid relapse by learning about yourself, habits, and triggers.

The Break Free Program may be the missing piece of the puzzle. 

I know what you’re going through and I’m here to help. Learn more about the course and see what my students and neuroscience experts have to say about it.

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2 comments
Carla Corelli says June 29, 2022

Unfortunately you are perfectly right and I agree with your advice to go No Contact. You will never, ever get anywhere however hard you try to reason with a narcissist

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Karen says April 30, 2022

In my case I didn’t even get the chance to explain to the person I spoke to she went hysterical and said ff bleep hated me. I wanted to explain why I had enough of their selfish behavior but I would have put it diplomatically. I was the one who let them down ,yes I did but I have asked myself after all the guilt and upset that I caused them. Why what brought me to that point and counselling has helped me deal with my own issues and why I was so depressed. On the other hand you think this person would have understood massive pressure of worry about people I had to shield with major illness in lockdown brought me to not cope in the end with a selfish badly behaved woman who treated us all I mean all my family in a bully and nasty entitled manner. In the past we all ended up being ghosted by both her and our son stop contact and we didn’t even know why! What had we done . My mind would go in over drive trying to look for anything we had said or done to provoke this all along side worry about illness of others. I mean anything they see as criticism and not just a point of view if that makes sense to any one sets them off. I have learnt that I am not perfect but thankfully through help have understood that stress in my life took me to depression. Did I ever let off steam and aggression with her No. In the end I just stated how I felt it took me eight hours to try and be write how I felt. I wanted to get it right, sadly my mind was stressed some of it the content the person said sorry too but the n after that out of the blue went hysterical and aggressive and I was told I let her down and she bleeping hated me. She admitted she had done wrong but then screamed she hated me!

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