If you are dealing with a narcissist, the relationship was established with love-bombing. In that love-bombing phase, they made you feel respected, loved, special, and valued. All of a sudden, things started to get weird. You entered the devaluing stage and you started feeling as if the narcissist was constantly disrespecting you. It’s important to remember that the love-bombing was all a form of manipulation so that the narcissist could gain a sense of control over you. Having control over someone is just one of the things that narcissists can get narcissistic supply from. Narcissistic supply is anything that feeds a narcissist’s ego. It could be money, compliments, and respect; but, it can also be control, intimidation, devaluing, and treating people poorly.
Remember that narcissism falls on a spectrum. Wanting to feel seen, heard, and as if we matter is a part of the human condition. Narcissists, on the other hand, have no inner sense of value and derive all of their value from narcissistic supply. They survive off of this. In addition, they lack empathy for others. Although they can learn how to behave in a way that’s appropriate, they cannot actually learn how to feel for others. This is the determining factor in what separates normal people with narcissistic tendencies and those with pathological narcissistic qualities.
Narcissists have no inner sense of self; therefore, they don’t feel any sense of value or respect for themselves. Because of this, they cannot actually have true respect for others. They do, however, admire others that have what they want or can give them a form of narcissistic supply. I personally experienced this with a colleague of mine. This particular narcissist wanted what I had on a professional level. She attached herself to me and upon entering my world, she started to devalue me, step on me, take from me, etc.
A narcissist may seemingly respect someone if that person has wealth, prestige, or power. It’s important to note that what is really going on with the narcissist is that they really just want what that person has and are going to try to gain supply from that person whom they supposedly respect/admire.
So, can a narcissist actually respect you? No; however, you can stop them from disrespecting you. This is a very important distinction. Although a narcissist is never actually capable of respecting someone, you can definitely do things to get them to stop disrespecting you.
I call this the ethical manipulation of the manipulator. You can do this by saying key phrases that will disarm the narcissist.
“I’m not going to allow you to disrespect me.”
“We can have this conversation when you are ready to talk to me in a civilized manner.”
“I know that you are lying to me.”
It’s important to learn how to divorce yourself from the emotions you have surrounding them and everything you’ve gone through because of them. You have to engage with them the same way you might engage with a toddler having a tantrum. You wouldn’t start screaming and crying with them, you would look at them half-amused and say something like, “Okay, are you done now?”
You have to do the same thing with narcissists.
Creating iron-clad boundaries and then eventually going no contact will be the best ways to go about avoiding getting disrespected by them in the long run. Remember that narcissists are predators and true predators don’t actually ever change. Start with using phrases to disarm them, then create iron-clad boundaries and eventually go no contact so that the narcissist in your life will stop disrespecting you.