How To Outplay A Narcissist And Beat Them At Their Own Game

how to outplay a narcissist

Are you trapped in a narcissistic relationship unable to walk away? Are you tired of the toxic behavior and manipulative tactics that make you feel miserable? If you have had enough and want to know how to outplay a narcissist, then this one’s for you!

The Unholy Narcissistic Trap

Whether you were raised by a narcissist, in a relationship with one or work for a narcissistic boss, it can be difficult to tolerate them on day-today basis. In fact, you may even be downright traumatized after going through years of mental and emotional abuse. Narcissists love to exploit emotions. So the more empathic, compassionate, responsible you are, the more abusive your narcissist will be.

It is your willingness to help and rescue them that keeps attracting them to you. Dr. Athena Staik Ph.D. explains “Expressing vulnerable emotions is vital to life balance and peace of mind, but do so only with safe others – never a narcissist. A narcissist literally uses this information to get into your mind, instilling fear to steal your sense of self, by crippling your brain’s capacity to clearly think.”


The manipulation and abuse, which can go on for years, has probably destroyed your self-esteem, sense of self-worth and to some extent, even your bank balance. You have tried to reason with them, argue with them, accept their demands and went no contact too. But nothing has worked. A narcissist will always find their way back into your life and make you their puppet despite your best efforts to avoid them.

So what can you do? How can make life with a narcissist more tolerable? How can you start your healing journey? How can you gain back control of your life? How can you give them a taste of their own medicine? The answer is simple actually – you manipulate the manipulator. When you learn how to outplay a narcissist, you can beat them at their own game.

Related: 5 Ways To Disarm A Love Bombing Sociopath

Outsmart To Outplay A Narcissist

Although each of us are capable of change and growth, it is rare with a narcissist. Yes, they are capable of being understanding and showing emotions at times, but these are few and far between. You can never expect permanent growth on an emotional level from a narcissist. As they see themselves as “perfect”, you can never rescue or change them. 

Harvard Business Review explains “Making matters worse, narcissists refuse to acknowledge that they have a problem.” The truth is, we can never change someone until and unless they want to change themselves. The harder you try and the more desperate you become to change them, the more power your narcissist will have over you. That’s not how to outplay a narcissist. You can only control your own self. 


Narcissists are intelligent, analytical and calculating beings. They are detached from emotions, empathy and remorse which keeps them from gaining personal awareness. So how can these manipulative strategies against a narcissist help you? These tactics are meant to make you WIN and NOT to make them lose. It is only by focusing on your well being and healing, you can win against them. It’s not about revenge. It’s about gaining back control of your life and preparing to leave the vicious narcissistic trap for good. 

Related: Narcissist Mirroring: How Narcissist Manipulates You Into Loving Them

Psychotherapist and author Erin Leonard, Ph.D. writes “A person should never stoop to unscrupulous tactics. Yet utilizing the power he or she possesses which the narcissist may lack is the key. This power includes the capacity for deep thought and feeling.” What was once your weakness can now become your greatest strength – your empathy, conscientiousness, accountability, introspection, deep insight & remorse.

This makes you a real person with emotions capable of growth. This can help you think and act in ways your narcissist is incapable of. “Outsmarting a narcissist is the best defense,” adds Erin.

How To Outplay A Narcissist

These tactics to manipulate a narcissist should be used only if they are beneficial for you and when you feel secure and comfortable using them. These steps are not meant to emotionally hurt or ruin their reputation. This is simply about gaining back your personal power. So let’s cut to the chase and check out how to outplay a narcissist, manipulate and beat them in their own game.

1. Don’t react to them

This may seem too simple to work, but this is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to get back at your narcissist. Narcissists love to get an emotional reaction from their victims. The moment you stop reacting to them is the moment you stop feeding their feeble egos. When you decide to stop being your narcissist’s emotional puppet, you gain back power for yourself.

Related: Flying Monkeys and Smear Campaigns: How To Deal With It

When you don’t mirror them any longer, you can better control your own thoughts and emotions. You can strategically and carefully analyze their behavior and point out their flaws when you stop reflecting and reacting to their moods. As narcissists are unable to feel any real emotions of their own, they feed off yours. By not reacting to them, you can make them emotionally starved and protect your mental and emotional health. That’s one great way of how to outplay a narcissist.

So the first and most important step is to realize that you cannot change a narcissist and see them for who they truly are. “The first step in dealing with someone who has a narcissistic personality is simply accepting that this is who they are – there’s not much you can do to change that,” suggests author Ann Pietrangelo. Stop giving them any importance or feeding their ego. Identify when they are lying or making up stories and clearly tell them they need to stop making excuses. Be assertive and don’t be afraid to say “no” whenever you feel like it. You don’t have to flatter them repeatedly.

For some narcissists, this may make them react more aggressively and abusively, but have the strength to stand up to them. However, some other narcissists might look for attention outside the relationship, while others may start showering you with love and use love-bombing to gain your attention. They may even play the victim and appeal to your empathic nature to help them.

But see them for who they are. Do not fall for their charms and lies. Let them be desperate for your attention while you plan your exit. This is the simplest way of how to outplay a narcissist.

Related: 7 Things You Can Say To Trigger a Narcissist’s Anger

2. Manipulate them back

If you don’t mind playing some mind games, then you can use the narcissist’s own manipulative tactics against them to give them a taste of their own medicine. This simply means that you mirror all the positive things about them. Love bomb them, praise them, adore them, tell them how important and valuable they are to you. Drown them with love, praise and affection.

Build them up and put them on such a high pedestal that they develop vertigo. Become the perfect narcissistic supply that they have always dreamt of. However, never lose focus from your true goal. Plan how and when you want to leave them without giving the narcissist a single clue. And when they least expect it, walk away without giving any explanation and be unapologetic about it. Although this method is completely opposite of the first method, this is also an effective option of how to outplay a narcissist.

However, this method can be risky and dangerous, as you are an empathic and caring person whose nature is to love and help your dear ones. Being two-faced and manipulative doesn’t come naturally to you. You are an authentic person capable of feeling deep emotions. So living a false relationship and going against your true nature can affect your mental and emotional wellbeing. However, if you are unhappy in this narcissistic relationship and desperately want to leave it for good, then this method of how to outplay a narcissist can be helpful.

Things You Must Remember 

There are certain things that you need to keep in mind when trying to manipulate a narcissistic person. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Keep the focus on yourself, not on them
  • Avoid the temptation to fall down to the narcissist’s level of toxicity
  • Focus on being strategic, avoid being vengeful
  • Use your emotional intelligence as your strength, not as a weakness
  • Realize that you’re not responsible for their emotions
  • Remember that you’re not a bad person or an abuser. It’s not your fault.
  • Do not use negative emotions or give any negative attention or ultimatums
  • Expect them to react in a negative way
  • Build a support network and ask for help from trusted loved ones when needed

It is also important that you realize the narcissist may require professional help as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a diagnosable mental condition. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., author and Professor Emerita of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, explains “Recognize that the person may need help. Because some narcissists truly have low self-esteem and profound feelings of inadequacy, it’s important to recognize when they can benefit from professional intervention.”

Related: Therapy for Narcissistic Personality Disorder(NPD) and Narcissists

This is why your caring and loving nature can be your greatest asset. Realizing that they are a human being who deserve your compassion can enable you to help them get the psychiatric care they need. Psychotherapist and consultant Steven Berglas writes “It is hard to dredge-up sympathy for a narcissist since working with or for one sets you up for an inevitable beat-down. You can forestall this outcome if you distance yourself emotionally.” However, make sure not to confuse compassion for narcissists with love or attachment for them.

You can help them, if needed, by staying emotionally detached. The key to how to outplay a narcissist is to keep the focus on yourself all the time. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t forgive them. Forgiveness can truly liberate you and help you start your journey to move on and heal.

Related: The 5 Love Languages In A Toxic Relationship

Be True To Yourself

The best way to manipulate a narcissistic person is to be your most genuine self and then use your personal power to regain control of your life. Narcissists thrive on your emotions and reactions. Stop feeding their ego and choose to leave. Walking away may seem hard from the outside but it is the most empowering feeling you can experience after being with a narcissist.

Your emotional intelligence and compassion are your strengths, not your weaknesses. You deserve to be with someone who values you for who you are without forcing you to be someone you are not.

If you want to manipulate a narcissist, go right ahead. Just remember to focus on your own improvement, not to be vindictive and be your authentic self.

More power to you.

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— About the Author —


  1. Sandra Isolene Haridas Avatar
    Sandra Isolene Haridas

    As I need to know the inner workings of the mind and the effects of trauma,anxiety disorder, painful past experiences,etcand their effects on the mind and internal organs of the body as well as their analysis and proper treatment this would be extremely helpful for me. Henceforth all I need is a guidance for me to fulfill my own thoughts. Having dealt with divorce,death, unemployment,severe health issues,painful childbirth deliveries,seperation,financial hardships,property disputes,excessive abusive health care issues,ongoing financial crises for provisions at home,etc. This is very suitable for me now and in future.

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