Many of us have had the misfortune of knowing a narcissist.
And let’s face it — if you’ve ever had to deal with one, you know that, when they are mad at you and all bets are off, it can be difficult to know how to respond.
This blog post is going to give you 11 ways that may help take the sting out of their anger and get them back on your side.
A narcissist’s anger is typically either false or fleeting and will likely subside in a matter of minutes or hours — so don’t panic!
They just need some reassurance that they’re still important enough for your attention (even if only briefly).
1) Give them time to calm down
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), the definition of narcissistic personality disorder includes “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy.”
In general, narcissists have a lot of trouble regulating their emotions.
They may consider their anger to be the result of some deep-seated sense of injustice rather than merely a feeling, or they may fly into a rage and later dismiss it as trivial.
So, when a narcissist is mad at you and you want to know how to respond, give them space.
If you’re engaged in an argument with one, the best thing that you can do is avoid getting caught up in the maelstrom of their emotions.
Imagine this scenario:
You have an important meeting or appointment to keep and a narcissist has just criticized you or cut you down.
We all know that if narcissists are upset with you, they will usually want to carry on the argument, but you must resist their impulse.
The best thing that you can do is go take a walk, do something else for a while, and come back when your friend is more settled.
You will probably still be angry at him/her but your anger will be based on something more concrete than the emotions of impulsivity and insecurity that may be fueling their aggression.
2) Don’t try to reason or argue with them – not now, maybe later
It’s often not a good idea to try to reason with a narcissist when s/he is angry.
Narcissists think that their judgment is better than anyone else’s — and the only way that they can figure out if you’re right is if your logic and arguments are better than theirs (which is unlikely).
In other words, it will be hard to get them to listen to you at this point.
But what if you could change their state of mind?
The truth is, most of us never realize how much power and potential lies within us.
We become bogged down by continuous conditioning from the narcissist, we actually start to start believing that they are right.
The reality we create becomes detached from the reality that lives within our consciousness.
I learned this (and much more) from the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandé. In this excellent free video, Rudá explains how you can lift the mental chains and get back to the core of your being.
A word of caution – Rudá isn’t your typical shaman.
He doesn’t paint a pretty picture or sprout toxic positivity like so many other gurus do.
Instead, he’s going to force you to look inwards and confront the demons within. It’s a powerful approach, but one that works.
So if you’re ready to take this first step and align your actions with your reality, there’s no better place to start than with Rudá’s unique technique
3) Don’t try to please them
Sometimes narcissists want to be told how great they are.
This is a common phenomenon in human relationships, but what makes it so dangerous is that their craving for admiration often keeps them in a state of perpetual dissatisfaction.
So when one hears about something that he or she thinks is positive (e.g., “You have a great haircut!”) but the other person rather quickly dismisses it (“Oh, you’re just saying that to make me feel better!”), the criticisms can be harsh and painful.
Another way that narcissists get mad at you is when they try to force you to do something (e.g., “You need to put more effort into your work. We need you to be more successful.”) and when you fail to comply, they lash out at you.
In these situations, the smartest thing that you can do is refuse to engage in the behavior that they desire.
If you feel pressured to do what they want and are unable or unwilling to comply, just let them know why and don’t apologize for it.
It’s best not to promise anything if your judgment tells you that you cannot commit. These kinds of situations are very difficult because narcissists will often try to use their anger and their guilt-tripping skills to get what they want from others.
4) Draw boundaries back to yourself
When narcissists are mad at you and want to know how to respond, the first thing that you need to do is draw a clear and firm line back between them and you.
Humans have been on earth for hundreds of thousands of years, but we’ve only known narcissism as an illness in the last 100 years. We’re not used to drawing boundaries around our emotional selves as a means of self-protection — but that’s what needs to happen.
And it has two important effects:
It tells your friend that they no longer have power over your emotions and behavior, which helps them calm down quickly. Thus, your friend will be stuck with his/her anger and may eventually give up the argument.
Psychologists have been working hard to characterize the disorder and its causes, but as a result of our modern medical understanding, we can now also have an antidote.
A good way to practice “drawing boundaries” is to think about how you would react if someone else was in your shoes.
For example, if your narcissist friend gets angry with you for not doing something that he or she expects from you, try asking yourself what the reaction would be if it were a close friend or family member.
You’ll likely discover that you would feel guilty for not doing what they asked but at the same time expect that they would understand your reasons.
To protect yourself from narcissism, you need to draw a boundary between the two of you.
5) Understand their ego
Some people feel that narcissism is just a defense mechanism for low self-esteem.
We all need to feel we are special, but for narcissists, this need is so strong that it becomes the lens through which they view the world.
Here is the advice to deal with their ego: Narcissists believe that they are special and entitled to act the way they do.
They also have no tolerance for anyone else who doesn’t treat them in this special way, so they can be very demanding. Besides, as mentioned earlier, they often feel hurt by those who don’t agree with their behaviors.
The best way to deal with their ego is not to try to change them but instead, if possible, to work on changing how you react to it.
In a similar case, if your narcissist friend gets angry with you for not doing something that he or she expects from you, try asking yourself what the reaction would be if it were a close friend or family member.
These reactions should be bold but not aggressive, like “I’m sorry that you feel hurt, but I cannot agree to do what you want me to do.”
Or “I understand that your feelings are hurt, but I disagree with you.”
It’s easier if it’s a brief statement and not an argument. If your response does encourage them to argue, it may be best for you to say nothing further.
6) Focus on what’s best for your self-care, not theirs
Psychopaths are very skilled at manipulating people, and narcissists are even better at it.
One of their favorite tricks is to make claims that you don’t deserve to be happy unless you do what they want or believe what they believe.
They use guilt as a weapon to force you into complying with all of their beliefs and desires.
So what you can do to prevent them from using your guilt against you?
Begin with yourself. Stop searching for external fixes to sort out your life, deep down, you know this isn’t working, and focus on what’s best for your self-care, not theirs.
And that’s because until you look within and unleash your personal power, you’ll never find the satisfaction and fulfillment you’re searching for.
I learned this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. His life mission is to help people restore balance to their lives and unlock their creativity and potential. He has an incredible approach that combines ancient shamanic techniques with a modern-day twist.
In his excellent free video, Rudá explains effective methods to achieve this goal: Instead of focusing on making them happy, focus on what’s best for you.
So if you want to build a better relationship with yourself, unlock your endless potential, and put passion at the heart of everything you do, start now by checking out his genuine advice.
In a nutshell:
Taking their criticism with a grain of salt and figuring out what’s best for your well-being are likely to be the best ways to deal with them.
7) Find good friends who will support you in this situation
It’s hard to deal with narcissists who are always angry and upset, and you may spend a lot of time trying to calm them down. But even if you can be there for them all the time, it’s still going to be very hard for you.
The best way to deal with these issues is by connecting with other people who can help remind you how special and good a person you are — people who will give you positive support.
This can be your family and friends, your religious community, or even just a pet that you cherish.
Make sure you surround yourself with positive people who will help build the confidence you need to deal with narcissists.
Or you can find advice through some psychologists and counselors. They can help you develop new ways to cope with your life by giving you positive advice to deal with your narcissist friend.
Remember that you’re not alone and there are many, many people who have been through the same thing as you.
8) Apologize if necessary but don’t overdo it
If you’re having problems with your narcissist friend, you may need to apologize from time to time. If you are a narcissist, then it is normal for you to do this quite often.
For example, if they complain that they feel disrespected in your office and ask you to apologize on their behalf, then it is likely that they would expect something like “I’m so sorry. I hope I didn’t upset you.”
This can be seen as a normal thing to say or do when apologizing or receiving an apology — but this also makes your narcissist friend feel more entitled than ever before.
You have to realize that narcissist may not be the one who is at fault in this situation.
If you apologize too much, you may end up with a feeling of low self-esteem and guilt. You may also begin to feel as if it’s not healthy for you to be around your friend anymore.
So if you need to apologize again and again, then this means your relationship has become unhealthy for both you and the person with whom you are having issues. It’s time to go your separate ways.
So how do you know when to apologize if necessary?
A narcissist friend is someone who cares about their image. If you act in a way that hurts their feelings or threatens to put a dent in their image, it would be wise for you to apologize for it.
But there are also times when it isn’t at all necessary for you to apologize. In particular, if your friend has made a nasty comment about your son’s weight or the fact that you are pregnant with his child, then it might not be appropriate for you to apologize.
So to determine whether or not it’s necessary for you to say “I’m sorry,” just stop and ask yourself whether or not they have made any mean comments toward others.
If they have, then you should apologize and make amends if possible. If they haven’t made any negative remarks, then you should think carefully before apologizing.
9) Take small steps instead of big ones
Let’s dig a little deeper:
It’s much easier to ask for help than it is to take a step. And it’s much healthier for you to take the small steps instead of the big ones.
A narcissist does not do either of these things very often.
They may be more likely to take a big step, even one that ends in disaster or failure, than they are to ask someone else for help or advice — if they don’t already have all of the answers they need inside of their head.
What’s more is that when narcissists do this, their strategy often doesn’t work out as they had planned.
It’s not to say narcissists are dumb or that they aren’t thinking things through — it’s just that their way of thinking is different than yours, so their way of acting will likely be different as well.
It’s not your job to help them out with every life decision they make.
With that said, let’s look at some practical steps you can take if you feel like you’re going through something difficult with a narcissist friend:
Decide on the small steps you can take for yourself.
It may be helpful for you to come up with a plan for yourself and make sure that your plan is realistic and easy to implement before taking action.
Here is an example of telling the difference between small steps and big ones when it comes to dealing with a narcissistic friend:
Making a big step to say “I’m sorry” when the situation doesn’t even call for it is something that narcissists are quite good at doing.
It seems like such a simple thing, of course, but it can lead to a lot of problems in your relationship. And you can see why: When you apologize for every little indiscretion or mistake, your friend will begin to assume that they are always in the right.
Taking small steps toward fixing up the problem instead of taking charge and trying to do everything on your own is something any good therapist will tell you and this is one of the healthier ways you can be in control of yourself and your life.
10) Do not go along with their self-centeredness
The best way for you to handle another person’s narcissism is to focus on what you want and need in your life.
When it comes to dealing with your friend, you also have to learn how best to handle yourself as well.
A narcissist will often only focus on other people and their own needs, which means that neither of you will be happy in the long run.
If you are doing something that is hurting you, or if you are going along with some of the narcissist’s weird behaviors, then it may be time to reevaluate your friendship.
Not only will this help you to feel good about yourself, but it will also help your friend to realize that they need to do the same with themselves.
The truth is:
You need to let your friend know that you are not going to put up with their self-centeredness.
Now that you know how to identify your narcissistic friend and how to handle them and yourself properly, it’s time for you to take action.
11) Forget about narcissists and move on with your life
Many people have trouble doing this because they still feel some kind of connection with their friends. But if your friend is a narcissist, then there’s no point in trying to stay in touch with them any longer.
One of the main reasons why you’re still trying is because you don’t want to forget about them. You may feel like they’ve become part of your life, and you don’t want to throw that away.
But what else do you have to lose if your friend is a narcissist?
The cost of staying in touch with a friend who’s got problems can be very high.
You risk losing friendships with other people and creating some hard feelings between yourself and your friends. You may end up needing to take a few hard steps to move on from your friend, like getting a restraining order or moving away from the relationship.
It’s important for you to remember that there are people in this world who aren’t worth a friendship with because they’re bad people.
Narcissists are definitely among those people. They’re not worth the time of day, and they’re certainly not worth your friendship.
If you want to keep your sanity and be in a better place than the people in your life, then you need to move on from these relationships.
Hopefully, you now can understand how to deal with a narcissist.
It’s not easy to deal with them, but if you find yourself stuck in a relationship like the one we discussed above or have had issues with another narcissist, then perhaps this guide will be of some help.
Remember that it is never too late to repair some damaged friendships with narcissists, but also know it takes a lot of time and effort.