A common tactic of narcissists is to assign aspects of their personality to others. They will deny their own flaws, laying them on the people around them. After all, it’s a heck of a lot easier to blame than to accept blame. If you are dealing with a narcissist, you have likely seen this tactic in action and found it to be confusing and distressing. The good news is, there’s a positive way to deal these projections. Read on to learn more.
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When you do not understand why the person in your life is saying terrible things about you and falsely accusing you of things you aren’t doing, you may feel like you are going crazy.
Narcissist’s project their anger, mistrust, and other unhealthy behaviors onto you because they can’t see it for themselves. Once you get this, you can unhook from their projections.
Never fight with a narcissist
The best way to handle a narcissist’s projections is to stay as calm as possible. First, narcissists love to fight, so as soon as they get you upset, they win.
Do everything you can to remain as cool as you can. This will not only help you stay out of the “fight or flight” mode, so you can think clearly, it will fluster the narcissist because they won’t know what to do. You will never win a fight with a narcissist because they are mean, lack empathy, and will do anything to win, but you can keep your dignity and reputation by refusing to accept their accusations. A good comeback is, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
Ignore the blame and projections.
This sounds unfair at first, but your narcissist will never listen to you, so ignoring them is your best defense. The blame, accusations, and projections can be endless when dealing with a narcissist and it is exhausting.
If they are smearing you to other people, stay calm. You can’t run around trying to stop them from projecting their bad behavior about you, but you can remain in control of yourself. If they degrade you to people who matter to you, explain what you are dealing with as best you can. Chances are the people they speak to know the kind of person they are and will believe you. If not, a narcissist will always show their unhealthy behaviors, and you will be vindicated by being your best self.
Learn to disagree
Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but no one should belittle the other for it. A narcissist has the tendency to claim an identity of grandeur for himself and may think he’s the only right one in the room.
You know for a fact which criticisms are constructive and which are not, so always be open-minded and don’t fear disagreeing with a narcissist. Doing that will [diffuse] his pride because he senses someone is determined to fight back.
Never accept a false accusation. Speak the truth about the narcissist, they are afraid of that. Their overly promoted confidence is their defense mechanism so you have to learn how to break it by speaking the truth about him.
However, I don’t recommend doing this in public or when you’re angry, which can be hard, especially when you have reached your limit. You still have to be careful with your words so wait for a good time and converse in private about his bad habits.
Take care of yourself first
I’ve found, after years of therapy and struggle, that the number one thing I can tell anyone who’s dealing with a narcissist is that it is imperative you take care of yourself first, realize they’ll never change and take a step back for relationship reflection.
Oftentimes, we’re left investing to no end and feeling like it’s never good enough, whether this is a personal or professional relationship. A narcissist will never truly be capable of the empathy that’s required to understand how it feels when you’re pouring your heart into something and longing for reciprocity. Although many can form decent, loving relationships, it’s important to acknowledge and accept them for who they are and that it’s like keeping a constrictor snake as a pet—eventually, someday, a snake will be a snake, and you will get squeezed.
Realizing that you’re not an anomaly to them, someone special or the exception to their selfishness can do a world of good, as narcissistic manipulation and charm can be highly appealing. This doesn’t just happen, as narcissism is as much ingrained in a person as their religious leanings or political persuasions, even more so, as it’s an actual mental condition. It’s imperative to keep this in mind and understand that you’ll never be the exception to their illness. You have to remember that and operate with your own clear head.
It’s also necessary to set “healthy boundaries” and not bend on those, regardless of the manipulation, guilt, or even anger that you may experience. A narcissistic individual will likely not take kindly to boundaries, they never really do, and it’s important to realize that any pushback on their end is a red flag on yours. No is a complete sentence and never an excuse for abuse.
It’s also essential that you don’t accept blame for things you don’t deserve to be blamed for, though knowing it’s also a smart idea to pick battles with a narcissist because they’re often spoiling for a fight or a means to display their power. If you don’t have to deal with a narcissist, my advice would be to steer clear because it’s a messy, confusing, painful diagnosis to navigate, and one I certainly encourage therapy for.
Know your standards
Your boundary is the moment your “no” begins, and you take action to move your body away when someone approaches your limits. It’s helpful to know what your minimum standard is around how people treat you. Examples of some basic boundaries might include no name-calling or threats.
Others may refuse to honor your boundaries, and you may feel invalidated and confused by their words and actions. This can be incredibly triggering, and once triggered, it’s hard to problem-solve effectively.
Your body’s response to a trigger moves hundreds of times faster than your logical, analytical neocortex. This means once you are in fight/flight/freeze/fawn, your capacity to reason and problem-solve is greatly diminished.
Instead of trying to defend yourself or make sense of the chaos, start tracking your felt-sense of confusion, agitation, or frustration in your body. Does your breathing become shallow, your heart race, your thoughts become rapid?
Once you can recognize your physical cues, that’s a sign to pause and walk away from the interaction until your nervous system has calmed down. You’ll be able to think more clearly and come up with more satisfying solutions if you wait until you feel centered. Only re-engage once the other person is willing to honor your minimum standard for how to have a respectful interaction.
Be emotionally intelligent
Narcissists almost all of the time lack self-awareness. They deny their flaws and problems, and they always blame others for them. Their shortcomings, mistakes, and misfortunes are all being projected onto other people. Narcissists are projection-heavy individuals. When they project, they want you to stoop down to their level and accept the blame. You can stop that from happening and fight back.
Here are three ways to fight back against a narcissist’s projections:
When being projected by a narcissist, you must learn how to set boundaries. It gives the projection back to the narcissist instead of you. You have to establish a “wall” by saying things like “I don’t agree” or “That’s your opinion.” This removes the power from the narcissist.
Don’t Feed The Ego.
Zoo animals shouldn’t be fed. Narcissists are like that. Zoo animals have a “wild side” that can be unleashed anytime. Narcissists are like that, too. When you throw praise at a narcissist, it feeds their ego. You empower an unstable mind. When being praised, narcissists take it as you saying that they’re better and above you. Don’t feed him early on so that he won’t attack you later on.
Don’t Accept The Blame.
Projection transfers the blame from the narcissist to you. That’s why it’s important to never accept that blame. Never stoop down to his level. You have to keep a strong mind. It’s easier to just defend yourself and accept the blame, but this will just boost a narcissist’s ego more. Remember the boundaries you have set and stick to them as much as you can. Always remember that it isn’t your fault, and you shouldn’t take the blame.
Narcissists don’t take any responsibility for their emotions. They want you to take all the blame for them. They want you to keep feeding their ego. Be emotionally intelligent and don’t feed yourself to the wolves.
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