When you confront a narcissist about their lies, cheating, or behavior, they rarely hold up their hands and admit a mistake. Instead, they use a range of tactics they’ve developed over years to deflect blame.
These tactics are designed to confuse you, shift blame to you, and get them off the hook. Narcissists aren’t interested in doing the right thing for you, or for their conscience.
Here’s a rundown of the common tactics narcissists use when confronted…
Related: Confronting Narcissistic Abuse
This Is What Happens When You Confront A Narcissist
1. Attack You
Narcissists often play by the rule of “attack is the best form of defense”. So when you confront them, they may attack you. This can be startling, as it’s not expected.
They could attack you about something related. Or something nothing to do with what you brought up. It doesn’t matter. They attack and attack hard. This is to put you on the back foot. Whilst you’re busy defending yourself, your original point has been forgotten. It muddies the water.
And it can be complete nonsense. When I confronted my ex about cheating, she immediately attacked me, demanding to know why I waited until 10 PM to confront her!
If you confront a narcissist, stay focussed on what you’re confronting them about. And don’t let them shift the focus onto you.
Narcissists may deny until the end of time. Even if you’ve clear evidence.
I’ve seen them deny taking money out of a purse. Even when they were caught red-handed!
It’s frustrating, but they know if they continue to deny, there’s a small shred of doubt in your mind. And they play on this.
Narcissists might rewrite history to get themselves off the hook. They change the facts of things that happened. Even though you both know the truth. They do this to get you to doubt your sense of reality.
Once you doubt your sense of reality, they know they can get away with ANYTHING. And they’ll use this as their get-out clause for everything. “You know you have a bad memory.”
If you spend a lot of time with them, and they do this a lot, it can cause psychological damage.
4. Provoke You
Narcissists know their significant others’ weak spots. Things they’re sensitive about. Narcissists spend a lot of time observing what sets you off. Because they know they can use this to their advantage.
When they know they’re wrong, they use things you’re sensitive about to provoke you. They bring up your issues to provoke you into getting angry. If you’re paranoid about your job, they’ll bring that up.
When you react angrily, they change the argument to be about your reaction. “Why did you call me that?!” And because you’re angry, it’s easy to lose focus.
Try to stay calm, and don’t react to their provocations. And keep in mind your original point.
5. Blame You
Narcissists are skilled at turning things they’ve done into YOUR fault. “You drove me to it.” They may even use twisted logic. They don’t care, as long as they can pass the blame on to you.
Narcissists sometimes try to gain a positive out of their negative behavior. “I cheated on you because you didn’t love me enough.” That’s actually them demanding you love them MORE because of their crappy behavior!
6. Play The Victim
Narcissists sometimes bring up things from their past as an excuse for their behavior. They may be related, or completely unrelated. “You know I had a bad upbringing.”
If they’re female, they might turn on the waterworks. And blame themselves in an over-the-top way. They know most people feel sorry for them, and ease up. But they’re crocodile tears. Totally fake. Designed to get them off the hook.