Arguing with a narcissist can be overwhelming. Their personality is characterized by a constant need to be admired and worshiped, as well as a lack of empathy, as defined in the MSD Medical Manual.. In an article by Vice, psychologist Ramani Durvasula gives some advice on how to best manage a conflict with a narcissist.
1. Know his tricks
Knowing the ploys employed by narcissists can be useful in order to know how to get around them. They often use the same tricks to deflect the dispute in their favor. Narcissists will do anything to win. To do this, they and they will seek by all means to blame you, to deny the facts and make you doubt them (a technique of manipulation called "gaslighting ' in psychology). In the event that all of these previous techniques have failed, they will make you pay for it by taking refuge in silence and ignoring you.
2. Keep calm
No matter what, stay calm even if the person is yelling and screaming. Behave as if you are with a child whose temper tantrums you are trying to reduce. If you lose your temper, the narcissist may blame you for your excessive behavior, which may leave you disoriented, causing you to doubt yourself.
3. Don't explain yourself
Always remember that the narcissistic person is not listening. She only wants to win and make you feel wrong to fix her fragile ego. Your interlocutor will only deny and reject your point of view en bloc, whatever it is. Keep your goal in mind.
4. Trust your point of view
The technique of gaslighting can only work if you are in doubt and we do not have enough confidence in your position. Above all, don't question yourself if the person says you are "too sensitive" or that the offending event "does not occur". Do not try to correct it. Stay calm knowing deep down what really happened.
5. Don't deviate
Always stick to the starting point of the disagreement and what triggered it, do not get carried away by the disgressions of your interlocutor. This is again a ruse to dodge the original problem that gave rise to the controversy.
Narcissists are often resentful people and can also use old arguments to make you feel guilty. Don't do it on your own. To move forward, you can use the following sentence: "Yeah, I said that, and I know it was tough back then … and I would like us to work out what's going on right now so we can keep moving forward."
6. Go away and no longer answer
Finally, if you feel that the discussion is going round in circles and is really not leading to anything, you can decide to leave by explaining: "It's not productive for any of us, so let's take a break" or "I have nothing else to say about this".