In this article, I would like to go into why the question ‘how to outsmart a narcissist?’ is the wrong question to ask. You have been hurt by a narcissist and it’s normal to feel like you want to strike back and outsmart a narcissist. It’s, however, a very self-destructive question.
Some articles provide quite a few manipulative options to try to outsmart a narcissist or gain control over them. In my opinion, we should completely stay out of this manipulative game and preferably go no contact and focus our attention on ourselves.
My view, which is the foundation of my articles and this website, is about growth, self-worth and protecting your energy. I believe we should treat ourselves with kindness, care, and compassion. To be clear, this doesn’t mean there shouldn’t or can’t be negativity, pain or sadness in our lives. This kindness is to be interpreted on a more spiritual level and is about being non-judgemental concerning your own thoughts and feelings.
It’s essential to stay true to yourself and it would be great to treat the painful truths you need to work through with compassion. To allow growth, we have to acknowledge the truth about narcissists and our role in what happened. We should inform ourselves about narcissism in order to recognize behavioural patterns and analyze what’s going on.
We need to embrace the painful truths in order to regain control over ourselves. It should be about what you want in life and your needs and feelings.
Therefore, methods to emotionally detach and protect your energy when interacting with a narcissist can be useful and even necessary to create space. The created space from (slowly) emotionally detaching can be used to focus more on yourself and your energy. If you’re focused on how to outsmart a narcissist you will become stuck in the phase of having attention for the narcissist rather than for yourself.
Attention to the narcissist and playing the game is still a form of attachment. It’s okay if you recognize you’re still attached. It takes time and hard work to emotionally detach. It would be great to realize that you eventually don’t want this attachment anymore and that you try to focus on yourself. It’s worth it and you’re worth it!
So here are 8 reasons why trying to outsmart a narcissist is not smart at all and why it’s better to use this time to focus on yourself!
1. Outsmarting is negative energy
Energy is everywhere and everyone has a certain frequency of energy or vibration. Highly vibrating energy means you experience greater clarity, peace, love, and joy.
A narcissist has disturbed energy and carries lower energies. They seem fully involved in low vibrating energies by comparing to others, manipulating, experiencing deep fears or emptiness, and negative emotions such as angriness and feeling indignant.
Negativity will never be the best way of dealing with any situation and a negative inner state is contagious and spreads easily. Any action with negative energy will lead to more pain and unhappiness.
It will feel uncomfortable if someone carries these lower energies. It can be hard to protect your energy when dealing with a narcissist. This is what you experience when it feels like a narcissist is draining your energy. All engagement and trying to outsmart a narcissist will be pulling yourself into the low vibrating energy, so it’s healthier to stay out of it and protect your energy!
2. Outsmarting is a lack of acceptance
When you focus on higher energies it doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing to have negative emotions such as anger and maybe you want revenge or justification. These are normal responses when being abused by a narcissist. This person has hurt you and it’s very painful when someone you love does this.
Once any mind pattern or emotion occurs try to accept it and not judge it. If you practice acceptance for a while there will be a point these negative emotions will be created less.
Acceptance is important when it comes to narcissists. Can you accept that you can’t change a narcissist? The painful experience you’ve had is hard to accept and by not accepting there remains a form of mental attachment to the narcissist. There possibly are many feelings such as fear, angriness, rejection, pain, and feeling abandoned.
Not being able to understand it or accept it results in not being able to fully detach. Know you have the power to detach from the narcissist. Your real need is not to outsmart a narcissist. It’s to awaken so that you no longer are impacted by the narcissist’s false self.
Trying to outsmart a narcissist is choosing to stay attached to any of the negative reasons to do so. When working on acceptance you can become internally free of the situation. Being able to surrender yourself to the here and now and dropping inner resistance is spiritual power. Meditation, mindfulness or conscious breathing are methods that can really help in trying to accept the here and now.
3. A narcissist has experience in playing the game and has no boundaries
If you would decide to try to beat a narcissist in the manipulative game it will be a new experience for you to play this game. A narcissist’s nature is to (un)consciously play the game of power and control and will thus be more experienced in playing this game than you. They could even love to play and they will be determined to beat you in this game.
A narcissist has a box full of manipulative behavior they might use such as gaslighting, smear campaigning, guilt-blaming, using silent treatments, mirroring and more brutal and disturbing behaviour. You simply don’t want to compete with them because you need to lower your standards to the same type of behaviour.
All of their manipulations are based on their knowledge of your triggers, emotions, and vulnerabilities. They (ab)use this knowledge to win the game and keep you wounded. A narcissist would prefer to self-destruct than have you beat them.
When you try to outsmart them and play the game it’s adding fuel to the fire. They will always take it a step further and they have no boundaries in doing so. A narcissist doesn’t care about your needs or feelings. They probably already have a head start because everything they do is about keeping up their appearance and setting up a web of control. You will probably be slowed down by empathy and your feelings and this is a good thing. Your empathy and feelings are a beautiful thing!
To conclude, you would have to become a better/worse narcissist in order to come close to winning the game. In reality, there will only be losers in these manipulative games.
4. A narcissist believes their own truth or identity
A narcissist seems to fully believe in their truth. Your truth will never be their truth. Their created identity of being superior is the truth to them. A narcissist will thus aways deny your truth when you think you possibly outsmarted them.
They will choose their actions consciously or unconsciously to get narcissistic supply, which follows from their unending need for validation, appreciation, and ego-boosting. In my article about cognitive dissonance, I try to assess the mind of a narcissist and explain how they create a positive vicious circle of confirmation and ego-boosting.
Any losing of manipulative games to you simply doesn’t fit in their mind, so they will never lose the game. Trying to outsmart a narcissist will only result in emptiness. The only thing that could happen to them is that you go no contact and they need to seek their narcissistic supply somewhere else (which would be great).
The narcissist is playing on the level of ego and thinks about winning, controlling and destroying others. A narcissist is fully invested in their ego and fake persona. This created identity has control over them. The game is pure survival to them in order to protect their fake persona. Having empathy or as an empath, you have emotional and spiritual intelligence. You have no need or reason to play on the level of ego as you are so much more!
5. Outsmarting is engaging instead of disengaging
When dealing with a narcissist it’s best to fully disengage instead of engaging by playing the game. There is no use in interaction, communication or reasoning with a narcissist. You can only aim for what you can control yourself. You can’t control their behaviour and neither are you responsible for it.
When you can’t go no contact right away a good way to emotionally detach is the grey rock method. It’s a method in which you reduce the narcissistic supply the narcissist gets from you as much as possible. You can read more about this method in this in-depth article about the grey rock method.
There are communicative tricks that could result in feeling like you’ve won a battle with a narcissist. The problem is every engagement and any attention you spend on a narcissist is wasted time and your time could be better used by working on yourself.
The narcissist will never allow themselves to feel like they have lost. This means they will endlessly keep going even if you feel like you’ve won the game. They will deny, lie, smear, play the victim and so forth until you give up. In the end, there will be only two empty people that both play the victim, play games and blame the other.
So again, it’s best not to play and fully disengage.
6. Mirroring the narcissist is pointless
A method to outsmart a narcissist would be to mirror the narcissist. You would have to constantly observe their behaviour and ask them questions about it. If they attack you, you would say ‘do you feel angry right now?’ and stay calm and neutral. You keep reflecting their behaviour and emotions back onto them and keep mirroring them.
I don’t like this method because it’s passive-aggressive. With an intelligent communicative narcissist, this results in an endless game of mirroring each other. It requires a lot of energy to do this and there honestly is no point. It forces you to keep telling them you don’t feel responsible for their behaviour. I’m convinced you will be happier when not having to do this all the time.
7. You can’t effectively protect boundaries with a narcissist
It’s very hard to effectively protect your boundaries in a relationship with a narcissist. It requires you to only focus on protecting your boundaries and that’s pretty exhausting. A narcissist, for example, might blame you and tell you everything you did wrong because you simply set a boundary.
You could then respond in many ways to try to protect this boundary: ‘Okay, wow. That’s very negative feedback on me setting a healthy boundary. I hope this negative energy doesn’t disturb your day too much.’ Or ‘I’m glad you shared what is bothering you. It’s very informative and I hope opening up helps you. Thank you.’
You could thus respond in all kinds of ways as long as it’s in a calm and neutral manner. You would just listen and respond in a way in which you don’t accept their behaviour/statements but you leave it with them.
The problem is these possibly true responses will feel belittling or confusing to the narcissist and therefore they feel the need to respond and find new ways to control you. It will not lead to a better situation and again will only drain your energy.
Luckily, you care about the consequences of your behaviour and you have feelings and empathy. You want to be able to set boundaries without being attacked or questioned. You don’t want to live this way, it’s disrespectful and it isn’t a healthy dynamic.
8. Grow and live in the here and now
When you decide to outsmart a narcissist, you decide to spend your now time to outsmart a narcissist in the future because of pain in the past. This will not result in any growth or joy.
It can be a challenge to grow in life and it’s even harder when you’re interacting with a narcissist. A narcissist doesn’t stimulate you to become a better and more independent person with self-worth and respect. They, in fact, have a negative impact on you and your self-worth. I wrote this article about self-worth and narcissism including tips on how to work on self-worth.
Healing and recovering from the emotional damage caused by narcissistic abuse is a long and painful road. Painful and tough situations can, however, be eventually transformed in an opportunity to grow. Growth can be painful and uncomfortable but it’s worth it.
You could have disconnected from yourself and not be in touch with your authentic self. A narcissist pushes you into the wrong direction by making you disconnect from yourself, lower your standards, and creating doubts and less self-worth. Grow and become more wise, strong, peaceful, authentic and courageous. If you allow yourself to grow you will allow yourself to live.
Going no contact
There is no need to care for whether someone actually is a narcissist or not. It’s all about the behaviour and actions of this person and the influence on you. You have to decide whether you want this person in your life based on this. Focus on yourself and learn what you want in a relationship with someone. Become your own source of love and kindness.
When you go no contact it doesn’t mean it’s directly over for the narcissist. A narcissist can use a full discard and even try to hoover you after they did that. So why would your no contact mean it’s over to them as well? They’re sadly still playing the game and therefore they could try harder to make sure you engage in some way.
A narcissist will try to adjust their game and they could both act nicer or worse than before. If this doesn’t work they might try to use your environment or smear you. You can read more in my article about what to expect when breaking up with a narcissist and my article about hoovering where a narcissist tries to suck you back into the relationship. They could try to pull you back into the narcissistic abuse cycle by doing so.
Allow yourself to grow
The conclusion is you can’t outsmart a narcissist without hurting what is human inside you. It requires you to disconnect from yourself and play without a conscience. You could use tricks and mirror them or overemphasize agreeing with everything they say. To do this you need a false sense of yourself and a fake persona as well.
A narcissist in a way forces you to develop yourself and set healthy boundaries in the future. You have to go through your wounds. Come home to yourself to heal and be free of yourself. The narcissist is not responsible for your wounds but does pull them into the open. The narcissist is a (brutal) messenger and only you can heal your wounds.
Stay true to yourself and stay in your integrity. It’s time to start asking quality questions to yourself. Positive/quality questions will lead to similar answers: Is this relationship worth it or is it unhealthy? Do I want a relationship in which I am stimulated to develop myself and my self-worth or not?
Stay out of the game, learn to protect your energy and work towards going no contact. Work on emotionally detaching and acceptance of what happened. Start with making small steps in the right direction again and allow yourself to grow!
I wish you kindness and strength!
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