How to Respond to Public Humiliation by a Narcissist

Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

A narcissist may often humiliate you in public just to protect their false image and as a show of their ‘innocence’ and superiority. It’s also a form of supply and intimidation when they see you feeling embarrassed especially in front of others. Public humiliation is not the easiest thing to experience and you may want to disappear in the face of this planet. You will feel even more worthless and shocked at what to do to save your face from the embarrassment. The humiliation hits harder when you were not even prepared for or when you thought your ‘once love of your life’ would not go to those extents. The other thing about humiliation is that they will not just do it when you’re in the relationship together, they may still do it even long after you’ve left the relationship like when you’re co-parenting together. You may also experience public humiliation when dealing with any narcissistic individual in your life (like your boss, work colleague, parents or siblings). So how do you practically respond when a narcissist publicly humiliates you?

1. Ignore Them and Exit the Situation

You may want to defend yourself and disprove what the narcissist is saying but that’s how you’ve taken the bait. The bait is your reaction to the situation, so where possible just ignore what they’re doing and walkaway from the situation. Don’t hang around and wait for them to tear you apart, just walk away once you notice they’re starting to humiliate you. They will hardly humiliate you in public when you’re not around. When you ignore and walk away you’re saving yourself from further embarrassment as well as cutting off the supply.

2. It’s not About You, it’s About Them

It will of course be painful to face the humiliation in front of others but you can take solace in the fact that what they’re doing is not a depiction of who they are. If you still had hope in that relationship, you can now use it as a clear reason why you need to leave the relationship. Don’t take in what they say about you in public as a reflection of who you are, just understand that you’re dealing with someone who’s manipulative and has a problem. Don’t let what someone says sway you and drive you in circles of self-doubt.

3. Do no React and Take your Time to Respond

In cases where you cannot walk away, do not react to the situation because the moment you do that, it will be used against you. When we react, we may say something which we can regret afterwards and it even add fuels to those allegations made by the narcissist. So, try as much as possible, not to give them that reaction they want. You can give yourself some time before responding to their allegations. Your responses should also not be something that can be further used against by the narcissist.

We may not fully avoid highly narcissistic individuals in life but when you’re dealing with one always remember you have a choice on how you respond to their allegations. Depending on your situation, what you do is your responsibility and what the narcissist does is also up to them. So, focus more on what you can do to keep yourself safe in that moment and onwards. If it’s a relationship, keeping safe may mean walking away from the relationship and healing, so strive for that. If it’s workplace, it may mean having healthy work boundaries and documenting your work or even changing jobs. In short, always focus on the option that will ensure your safety, and that is now your responsibility. This is of course not the easiest thing to do when you’ve not healed and worked on your self-esteem. When you’re unhealed they will know where to target when they publicly humiliate you but when you’ve healed they will have nothing to target. Healing disempowers all the narcissistic threats on a deeper level (the level which cannot be taken away from you).





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Edwin Bii

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