The dear reader has likely read enough articles, in the desperation to figure out what has happened to them at the hands of a Narcissistic Personality Disordered (NPD) person, to have already read that the very best strategy is to ignore and keep quiet around an NPD. While it is true that you can never really beat them (in their own minds, anyway), it is important to note that the strong desire to have them serve justice is part of the ‘worm’ that gets into a victim’s head and serves to partly keep them reengaging with the NPD to try to get that justice. You need to get their worm out of your head in order to do real battle with them, and determine to see that they receive real justice. Secondly, you must understand and consider that NPD’s can be dangerous, in a number of ways, from messing with your head and self-esteem, to smearing your reputation, to even becoming serious threats to your life or lives or your loved ones.
Being silent and ignoring the NPD is fine for some, but, if like me, you believe in justice, and do not take kindly to ‘laying low’, then waging battle against an NPD is possible, but you must be apprised of a few things before you do. First, you need, as Sun Zu said centuries ago in ‘The Art of War’: “To know your enemy”. It is imperative you become an expert at NPD, and in particular, take up the unsavory task of becoming and expert at your NPD. Secondly, you need to purge yourself of all of the remaining toxicity from the abuse you have suffered from the NPD. If your mind and heart are not purged of the ‘worms’ that the NPD placed there, the NPD will be able to activate those worms and continue to control your emotions and life. You may need some considerable time in counseling with a skilled clinician to achieve this. Thirdly, you need to create a solid battle plan that includes a high degree of skill building for the battle ahead.
You can choose to engage in a strategy that uses ‘kidd gloves’ to battle your NPD. Some find this approach very effective, while some find it far too gentle for the hostility they feel towards the NPD. If you still feel intense hostility and need for revenge, then you likely need to check yourself to see if the NPD’s ‘worm’ is really out of your head. If it is still there, no approach you try to use will be very effective, because the NPD still has you under their power.
In any approach to doing battle with the NPD, it is imperative to have an intensely clear view of healthy ethics. You must never do anything that puts you at serious risk from the NPD or from the law (it may be tempting to engage in illegal activities to ‘trap’ the NPD, but don’t do it.) You will also need to alter your concept of ‘beating’ the NPD. The inner rage that NPD’s can produce in a victim is intense, and is a good representative of the ‘worm’ mentioned earlier that needs to be purged before going into battle. The more realistic concept is one of ‘management’ of the NPD, because NPD’s rarely willingly give up a possible supply of attention (even negative attention), and may be like an anchor for decades, and maybe even your whole life. The best you will likely achieve is to press the NPD towards a quicker date with justice. In most cases, the sheer weight of the NPD’s web of lies eventually is enough to trigger just rewards for their evil actions.
The classic ‘kidd glove’ approach to an NPD is to simply stop participating in their gaming. You probably have read this before in other articles about how to deal with NPD’s. But what the other articles do not tell you is how complete this must be. NPD’s, I am convinced, have a spooky talent for knowing when their victim still has the ‘worm’ inside of them. In other words, it is not enough to act like they are not bothering you, you have to genuinely make it so. Easier said than done, yes?
If you can rid yourself of the ‘worm’, your next ‘kidd glove’ tactic is to simply feed the narcissist what it is they are looking for and delight in the most: reactivity. If you have indeed purged yourself of real reactivity, you can learn to praise and flatter the NPD in a way that they will eat up like a puppy getting scratched behind the ears. This gives you the chance to use the praise and flattery in a way that easily manipulates the NPD…and the interesting this is, they will probably miss that you are playing them, because they so love the attention. For example, a good way to shut them up is to agree with them, enthusiastically, and allow them to ‘have the last word’ (most NPD’s cannot tolerate NOT having the last word). So you give it to them. They quiet down, thinking they bested you, while in reality, you set them up using their own short-sightedness. Anytime you can make them think that a good idea of yours is really a good idea of theirs, and it seems to benefit them, but really benefits you, go ahead and feed them. Just don’t get your fingers too close.
The NPD gets genuinely stoned on the positive attention and praise of their ego, and then you can easily calculate ways to manipulate their need for more of the same. You want them to consistently believe that they have the upper hand and have you under their thumb, all the while the reverse is true. It just depends on your personality if the ‘kidd glove’ approach fits for you, or if you find it reprehensible to have such soothing contact with a crocodile.
Before you decide to don the gloves, a repeat warning is in order: you must calculate the risks of going toe-to-toe with an NPD. You already know that they do not play fair, and will use every means to beat you. You must be able to validate for yourself that the risk of using ‘boxing gloves’ is worth the benefits to do so. Only you can decide if that is true. Remember, you should always be the one to control the field of battle; know exactly how your NPD will react to each and every punch you throw, or do not begin swinging!
You must be in such control of your own emotional reactivity that there is nothing that the NPD can do to shake you up. This is important so that they cannot get into your head, but it is also important because when you are that confident, it shakes them up, and can even make them go into full retreat. Like any bully, NPD’s don’t like people that they cannot intimidate.
NPD’s and cockroaches have a good bit in common (besides congregating together): they hate the light. NPD’s cannot tolerate solid facts and truth when it is turned their way. If you are in a court proceeding with an NPD, be sure you have your facts and poofs lined up and in tight order. The more facts the better, especially if these facts and proofs contradict the NPD’s version. Most every reader is well aware of what ‘perjury’ is; that’s what you are shooting for. When an NPD gets cornered with facts and proofs on the stand, just watch them try to scurry away. Often, they become so befuddled, that their ‘crazy begins to leak out’ right on the stand. You can see why it is a good strategy to find an attorney of your own that is very knowledgeable about NPD and skilled at poking at them in a legal fashion that gets them to make errors and become reactive in the courtroom.
Good boxing tactics usually involve tiring out your opponent. To do this with an NPD, you can make several kinds of comments like suggesting that they are not unique or special, that they are ordinary, rather dull and not intelligent, they are a parental failure, or give hints that you have some information on them that could be very damaging to their image (you don’t even need to have any such info, just the suggestion will make them run in circles in a panic trying to find out what you have, because they are usually guilty of several unresolved things.) You can also position yourself to consistently speak to them as if they were a naughty child, which really stings because most NPD’s were treated (and probably continue to be treated) as such by their NPD parent.
Another tactic is to learn to ‘beat them to the punch’. You can do this by making moves on their supporters. Many of the NPD’s supporters are still ‘in the dark’ about just how ill the NPD is. When you are able to present facts to an NPD’s naïve supporters, it wreaks havoc with their fragile egos, and can send them into a real tizzy and if you are fortunate, the loss of supporters can press an NPD into a full retreat.
Our last tactic is to adopt a nimble, more ‘marital arts’ approach to battle with the NPD. This approach might be described as a hybrid of the former two approaches. If you have ever watched a classic marital arts film, you will note that the hero is often portrayed as an underdog (albeit extremely skilled), and has a great deal of self-confidence and emotional self-control. The two latter characteristics once again address a means to purge the ‘worm’ that the NPD has planted in your head, while the skills, in this case, consist of verbal marital arts skills. Below is a fundamental, and certainly not exhaustive primer. Each of these ‘verbal marital arts’ moves are designed to throw the NPD off balance.
Always maintain a very ‘blank game-face face’ with them, allow no cracks in your expression of any emotionality.…then present revealing, challenging facts with no emotion at all...and be sure not smile, as they take this as agreement with themselves.
Be assertive and authoritative, always sound like an expert; command the field.
Never let them take full credit for anything, always press to suggest that others have equal or greater credit for what they are claiming.
When the NPD says something absurd, respond with (in a slightly condescending tone): ‘I wonder why you think THAT way?’
Or: “I wonder how you came to that conclusion?
Whenever possible when they speak with ridiculous authority: “What if you are wrong?” Or, “Could you possibly be wrong in that statement?” Or, more directly: "You are full of s**t".
A good general comment when they are yammering on and on: “Hmmm…that is confusing…” (say this with a mysterious kind of tone).
A way to let them know you think that they are full of crap: “I believe time will show you to be wrong and time will tell the truth…”
To put them in their intellectual place: “I think there are several important pieces of information you do not have access to…” Or: "I think you are unable to grasp what I am saying."
A bit more direct when challenging their B.S.: “I believe that there are experts that would disagree with your vapid assessment…”
Challenging their imagined mastery of everything: “I think what you are saying is based in out-of-control emotions and pseudo-facts, not reality.”
Direct insult: “Watch out, your inflated self-image is showing…”
The following are behavioral warning signs that an NPD may be dangerous or is becoming dangerous (‘heating up’ in the world of personality disorder lingo). The more of these behavioral signs present, the more cautions need to be taken.
History of being bullied or bullying earlier in life.
Highly possessive of things, ideas, successes, and people.
Episodic rage increasing in frequency and intensity.
History and present escalation of property damage.
Throwing items, punching walls/windows.
History of suicide in family, their own past, recent gestures or attempts at self-harm/suicide.
Change of behavior: escalation of irritating NPD behaviors or sudden and profound lapse into silence (check on the silence).
Radical social, political, or religious ideations.
Weapons possession/fascination/passion for violent gaming.
History of being a victim of violence or having perpetrated violence to the point of legal action.
Physical posturing, pacing, and ‘casing’ behaviors.
Stalking behavior set.
History of multiple job loss or recent job loss.
History of multiple romantic and friendship relationship failures.
Recent legal actions against them.
History of public disruptive actions, threats, arrests, PFA’s.
Substance abuse/chronic intoxication.
You can heal and recover from victimization by an NPD. It is hard work, but doable. You need education, purging of the brain-worms, gathering of allies, friends, and professional help from the law and clinical counseling. Whichever decision you arrive at in response to doing battle with the NPD, know that you can validate your direction and you can gain serenity and satisfaction!
Still strong.. on August 30, 2015:
Tired, very tired...but strong. A knower, and more danger is here...not near, here! Electronic harrAsment for weeks now. To stay means death. Will there be justice after that? I dont mean killibg myself, i mean im stubborn and wont budge....will they be able to prove or at least know how my death happend?
William E Krill Jr (author) from Hollidaysburg, PA on May 07, 2015:
Pedal: I never advocate violence unless it is genuinely self-defense. No one can tell a victim/survivor if trusting the N is OK or not...only the victim gets to discern that.
And you are soooo ritght when you say that NPD is classless...in more than one way, eh? ;)
Pedal To The Medal on May 06, 2015:
I've found a way to remove the worm somewhat but I caused an explosive rage in my narc as he was finally here this weekend w/a U-haul to move some stuff. Four cop cars as I called the cops on the cops & had a supervisor cop show up b/c the female cop was siding w/him. She threatened to arrest me & break down my door! She got a black mark on her record for that. A woman's inhumanity to another woman who seems unlikely an abuse victim. Psycho-narc abuse knows no socioeconomic boundaries just like addictions. I think the rage a lot of victims feel is being bamboozled...but it really stings when your abuser comes from a dysfunctional, low end background. My narc takes home quite an impressive income in IT in Manhattan. I'm sorry to say this but he comes from trash. He can't control his rage & feels no shame in having neighbors witness his abuse & police showing up in my paid off home in a neighborhood in which his kind doesn't hail. He uses his big income to control everything but having the police come on domestic calls was rigeur du jour for his mom. I tried not to judge his background & thought I could fix him. You just can't w/these "trishy trashbags". The anger the victims feel was that they were conned, yes...but they "dated down". I'm sure a lot of narc victims are enraged when they realized they slummed it. Psycho-narcs rarely come from a proper upbringing. I've found this common denominator through months of research. Sure these abusers might be well off in their adult lives but their childhoods were rarely elite or on the level of their victims. I just tell myself "no more slumming" as a respect for my ancestors. Realizing I'm cut from a finer cloth, determined to rise to my rightful level, I am so grateful for a life this trashbag could never fathom. I just tell him that my future husband thanks him en advance & to please not go ghetto & take me down to your level. Sorry your Mom was trash but I can't fix that for you. Looking down your nose at these narcs & exposing who they really are is one way to get them to retreat. Just keep reminding them. Two worms, 1 stone
Pedal To The Metal on May 06, 2015:
Krillco, I have to say I've been researching psychopaths/covert narcs for 6 months now & your approach for victims is some of the best advice I've found. Very proactive. Later I will read your suggestion on 'Art of War'. I left comments on your checklist thread. Advice on how to deal w/domestic police call. You never want these psycho-narcs using the police by proxy heaping on more abuse. Odds are you'll get a cuckoo bird cop & the damage will be irreversible to beaten down victims. I think victims could go online & watch self-defense videos. If you must, go right for the eyes. Disorienting straight off.
Melissa Reese Etheridge from Tennessee, United States on April 29, 2015:
I teach with a younger man who is NPD. I have to be very careful of what i say to or around him. He is a tattletale.
William E Krill Jr (author) from Hollidaysburg, PA on April 28, 2015:
The stats reflect the opinion that between 3 and 7% of the population has personality disorder; from my experience it's more like 11-13%.
Ruth from St. Paul. MN on April 28, 2015:
It seems that there are more people with NPD than there used to be. When I was a kid, I lived with my brother and sister who had NPD and it was hell at times. They always feel entitled to treat others with contempt because they feel justified in their own minds.
William E Krill Jr (author) from Hollidaysburg, PA on April 27, 2015:
My pieces are inspired by counseling clients of mine; if enough folks want dialog examples, I will try and provide them, though I do not know how I might structure a HUB such as that.
Robin Mercer from Arizona on April 26, 2015:
I like your list at the end. I would have liked to see more concrete examples such as a dialog.
William E Krill Jr (author) from Hollidaysburg, PA on April 25, 2015:
Good for you, Jenny, good for you! You are living proof that there is hope for a life that can achieve serenity and joy.
Jenny on April 25, 2015:
I was married to a NPD/sociopath for 24 years. I had 3 children in 3 1/2 yrs and his 2 children from previous marriage. 1 lived with us. I was in kidney failure and could not work which trapped me even more. Yes, all the Warning signs listed above were there. I was 27, he 36 when we were married. I had never heard of such of a person. I was a naïve and trusting person. Showered with gifts at first, taken to nice places for dinner, etc, etc.I will not go into the 24 yrs of crap but when I finally did get the courage to leave he was totally shocked and stunned. I had done my homework. And, funny that in your description Martial Arts as the last tactic in battle, I had actually started to do Martial Arts despite what the Drs said since I have had a kidney transplant. I worked out 6 days a week doing Karate, Kick Boxing, Running stadium stairs, weight training and agility type workouts. Finally, my kids were older, 18,19 and 21, after a lot of counseling and prayers and family support, I put on my armor and went to battle. He laughed when I had my bag and was leaving. The months to come were torturous! But because I prayed for strength (that in my opinion is the only way I got through that, otherwise because to the guilt slung at me I might have broken) showed no emotion, stared him down, laughed at his repulsive insults etc (which really drove him crazy) my divorce was final. Now, let me tell you, I basically walked away with nothing. He made a very good living. Money was his idol. I knew the only was out was to leave with mine and the kids things and start over. You cannot buy peace. Once everything was basically final (the divorce) I felt such a peace I had not felt in a very long time. He sold life insurance as a living. He had $1.5 in life insurance policies which he let lapse and then proceeded to literally drink himself into obliviation. He died 2 years after I left him. I tend to describe this situation to "Jack in the Beanstalk". The Giant was upset when he found that Jack took the Goose, but when he discovered he rescued the beautiful Harp the he demanded to play(and was abusive to) he went crazy and fell to his death. He never thought I would leave. His kids would have nothing to do with him because every time they went to visit him they left sorry they went. Never positive. I nick named him "The Joy Robber" years and years ago. At his funeral, hardly anyone came and hardly a tear was shed. Very Very sad. I am scarred and y kids are scarred. The sad thing is, I see a trace of NPD in my kids. One is fighting it very hard. I asked my ex several times,"What kind of deal have you made with Satan." I really believe that Satan has decedents walking around on earth distroying people. I am healing and getting on with my life. Praying I don't make the same mistake again. People like me are targets for these evil people. However, I am a lot more wise at 53 than I was at 27. BTW, Yes, I did have to use some of my karate on him toward the end when he decided to provoke me by pushing me in the chest saying "Come on, show me some of that karate you've learned." I did. He backed down. He died when I was 51. I got my black belt when I was 52. : )