5 Toxic Argument Techniques Narcissists Use

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Do you find yourself caught up in arguments with someone who uses narcissistic tactics? It helps to know what they might say and how to respond effectively.

Arguing with someone who has narcissistic traits can make you feel hurt and confused.

People on the narcissism spectrum—from those with narcissistic traits to those with diagnosed narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)—may have an intense desire to win arguments because it helps keep their ego intact.

Sometimes it can seem like they will get there by any means necessary. As a result, there are many things people with narcissistic traits say in an argument to gain the upper hand.

Talking to someone with narcissism can be a challenge. This article looks at some narcissistic argumentation techniques, why people use them, and ways to protect yourself.

Researchers found that those living with NPD have limited self-awareness and a reduced ability to adapt to others, which may explain why they don’t see their behaviors the way you do.

If you confront a narcissist about something hurtful, they may minimize what happened or minimize the events that happened.

It could look like:

  • “Relax, it’s no big deal.”
  • “I did it before and you didn’t care.”
  • “I didn’t think you’d be upset by something so petty.”

It can also look like using softer language to make a behavior less hurtful. For example, stealing can become “borrowing money without asking.”

Research shows that those living with narcissism often have an innate sense of victimhood, which is why they may blame it on you, someone else, or some other external factor over which they have little control. .

Shifting blame and being defensive can look like:

  • “It’s not my fault, it’s because of you/money/stress/work.”
  • “If you hadn’t done this, I wouldn’t have done that.”
  • “You knew what you were getting into; it’s just the way i am.

If you can’t spot what’s happening when someone plays the victim card, you might feel bad and apologize for a perceived slight.

Studies suggest that people with narcissism are not as prone to guilt as others, which may prevent them from taking responsibility for their actions.

As a result, they may outright deny saying or doing anything hurtful, a strategy called gaslighting, even in the face of evidence. It can leave you doubting your own sense of reality.

It may look like:

  • “I never said that.”
  • “That never happened.”
  • “Your evidence proves nothing.”

Gas lighting isn’t always outright. It can also take the form of diversionary tactics that confuse the other person or make it very difficult to solve the problem at hand.

Those who live with narcissism may find it difficult to have positive and negative feelings for someone at the same time. As a result, things can get heated during an argument. You may experience name-calling, put-downs, and even mocking behavior, such as laughing while expressing your pain.

Here are some examples :

  • “That’s stupid.”
  • “You are so crazy.”
  • “There is something wrong with you.”

Faced with indisputable evidence (like receipts, photos, emails), someone with narcissistic traits may redirect attention to you as a distraction.

Deviation may include:

  • Indirect or non-responses: bring unrelated details into the mix.
  • Preliminary arguments: bring up old issues, especially your past “offences”.
  • Guilt : “After everything I’ve done for you, is that how you pay me back?”
  • Projection: accusing you of exactly what they are doing.

If you get caught up in an argument, there are ways to stay on your own.

It can be helpful to approach the person outside of an argument or when you’re not feeling emotionally aroused. This means you can think more clearly and it’s easier to use the strategies described below.

Try to focus on the facts

With a limited capacity for empathy, a narcissist may not be able to truly understand how you are feeling. Instead, focus on the logical facts – the objective truth, rather than your subjective truth.

This looks like :

  • “In my email, I indicated that the deadline was 5:00 p.m.”
  • “In therapy, we agreed that kissing is cheating.”
  • “The lease says no smoking.”

Focus on “I” statements

Framing your arguments as “I” statements can help you understand the person. For example, you might say, “I feel like you’re ignoring my needs,” instead of saying, “You’re being selfish.”

try to stay calm

You may find it useful to consider the “gray rock” approach.

In other words, try to get so boring that the other person doesn’t find it appealing to try to elicit a reaction from you, because you won’t be giving them anything. If possible, keep a neutral face, a peaceful demeanor, and limited emotional reactions (called flat affect), especially in the face of anger.

You can also try:

  • take deep breaths
  • pause between sentences
  • apologize for a few minutes

Try to stay focused

If possible, don’t be derailed by manipulative tactics. Try to focus on one topic at a time. If it helps, write down your talking points for easy reference.

Try to assert your limits with confidence

In order to hold on, set healthy boundaries and maintain direct eye contact.

It may look like:

  • “You just said I’m crazy. I can’t stand you repeating that.
  • “If you keep yelling at me, I’ll leave.”
  • “I need a 15 minute break and then we can resume this discussion.”

Try to release your expectations

Common ground may not be an achievable goal. Instead, try to introduce yourself. Take care of yourself and don’t worry about their side, it’s their business.

And while you may possess empathy in spades, you may find it helpful to stop trying to figure out the narcissist’s behaviors. Instead, focus on your own healing work and recharge by taking care of yourself after an argument.

Consider imposing a time limit

If the argument is going nowhere and making you feel bad, try to end the interaction peacefully. For example, you might say, “I have a meeting at 2 p.m. I have to go there in 10 minutes.

If you are in danger, leave as soon as possible

In some cases, a relationship with someone with NPD can become toxic, abusive, or dangerous. If someone starts threatening you in any way, it’s best to end the argument as soon as possible.

Some threats may include:

  • call the police on you
  • take legal action against you
  • lodge complaints with human resources or line managers
  • physical threats to you, your loved ones, or your pets

This article can help you develop a discharge plan to leave someone with NPD for good.

Narcissism is a complex pattern of behavior.

This can impact two-way communication, as you may come to the argument trying to understand, when they may be trying to ensure their own subsistence or “win”.

It can help with staying focused, setting healthy boundaries, and knowing when to walk away.

You may also find it useful to learn more about the subject of narcissism. Some useful books include:

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