Over the course of time, narcissists are creators and perpetrators of misery. Their commitment to propping up their insecurities at other people’s expense knows no limit. For instance, in their minds, their need to be to right translates into you being lesser. Their need for control prompts them to superimpose their own self-serving agenda. Their self-absorption inhibits their willingness to tune into your feelings and needs. And no matter how cleanly you try to speak assertively or to set boundaries, they respond as if there is a contest and you are the designated loser.
In other words, narcissists can wear you out.
Over time, your hurt and resentment can build, and you might wonder, “How can I make this jerk stop?” And as they double down on their egregious behaviors, you might be pulled all the way into the competitive mode, asking yourself, “How can I put this person in his/her place? How can I convince that person that they are totally wrong?”
Sucking you into a war of the wills is exactly what a narcissist wants. Narcissists have an insatiable need to be superior over you, and they will stubbornly persist in the effort to invalidate or crush you. In their twisted thinking, they are most pleased when you come after them with anger because, to them, it proves how you need to be taught a lesson. And they are perfectly willing to play the role of conqueror.
That understood, the worst thing you can do to a narcissist is to seek revenge as they are vengeful toward you. It would be akin to wrestling with an alligator. It won’t end well for you.
Let’s highlight several thoughts within yourself that you will need to curb. For instance:
- You want to control me? How about if I try to control you? Knowing how narcissists make demands and use threats, you can do the same in reverse. If they unload aggression upon you, you could decide to be aggressive as well. You would accomplish little more than an exchange of insults, and the narcissist would very predictably keep coming against you.
- You’re rejecting me? Well, I’ll reject you first! While common sense would imply that you should remove yourself from the narcissist’s mistreatment, you could be tempted to take it a step further. Figuratively speaking, you could slap the narcissist in the face on the way out the door. Of course, nothing would be accomplished by this since the narcissist would come after you like a wounded animal.
- You’re going to turn others against me? I’ll beat you to the punch and turn them against you first! Commonly, narcissists use the tactic of smearing your good name publicly. So, you might reason that you should plead your case in the public domain, explaining how awful your experiences have been. This will likely lead to two conclusions. First, others will dislike feeling caught inside your feud. And second, the narcissist will double down with all sorts of lies and distortions about you.
- You’ve shamed me repeatedly? Let me tell you how shameful you really are! Predictably, narcissists will heap shame onto you to make you seem like a low-character person, you could easily return the favor. After all, narcissists give you lots of reasons to hold them in low regard. And yet, a tit-for-tat battle of insults not only does not soothe your wounds, it opens existing wounds even wider.
- You have no empathy for me? I have absolutely no need to know how you feel or what you think. It’s not wrong to turn off your efforts to comprehend one who is incomprehensible. Yet, if you turn off your empathy meter with a bitter attitude, you only sully your own soul.
Wishing for vengeance can be normal, so let’s not dismiss your desire to put narcissists in their place.
You don’t have to apologize for feeling as you do. Yet, if you wish to remove yourself from their damaging influence, you solve no problems when you give the same emotional filth to them that they give to you. That would mean they have infiltrated your heart and mind and caused you be as they are. As you determine to get away from narcissists’ mistreatments, there are certain truths to incorporate:
- Narcissists are pathologically defensive. They will receive no constructive input.
- Narcissists have an underdeveloped conscience. They have a low capacity to weigh their own inclination toward wrong or evil.
- Narcissists must feel powerful. Any effort on your part to overpower them will only fuel their need to destroy.
- Narcissists are fear-based, and that fear is most commonly displayed as aggression.
- Narcissists see themselves as the Misunderstood Victim. Their grasp on reality is weak.
Now, let’s underscore…as you choose not to seek vengeance, by no means do you have to lay down and let the narcissist roll over you.
Keep in mind:
- You still have a need to stand firmly in self-respect.
- It remains reasonable and necessary to live inside your convictions and boundaries. And when the narcissist illustrates a disregard, do it anyway. No defense is required.
- You may indeed have a need to speak with mutual acquaintances about the problems you have experienced. After all, it can be therapeutic to feel understood. Just be careful that the person is safe and that you are not waging a public relations war.
- You are never required to lay aside your intelligence, decisiveness, and resolve.
Ultimately, as you lay aside the need for vengeance, you indicate that you stand for love, insight, honor, fairness, regard, and dignity. It is an ugly truth that the narcissist is incapable of joining you in such matters, so sure enough, it may not feel fair. But fairness is not the goal. Self-preservation, accompanied by your decency and maturity, is the goal.
Narcissists operate with the premise that vengeance and dominance is the pathway to greatness, when in fact it merely shows how pitiable their world view is. My hope is that as you come to terms with a narcissist’s dysfunctions, you will be anything but a mirror image of the one who is driven by a tortured interior.
Your good character is the best revenge.
To watch the video version of this topic, please click here.
~Dr. Les Carter