What Happens When You Call Out A Narcissist
Are you considering calling out or confronting a narcissist? You’ve just done your brief Google Search and you’re now certain that what you’ve been going through in that unhealthy relationship are in fact traits of a narcissistic relationship. You are so eager and looking forward to confront them on their abusive behaviors. You may have this belief that if you call them out, they’ll probably admit their wrongdoings and change their behaviors. You may also be giving them a benefit of doubt that maybe they don’t know that their behavior is toxic so confronting them with the facts might help the situation and return the relationship to the way it was. Or you’re just fed up with them and you want to call them out for who they are, you will even call them a narcissist. Whichever way you approach it, when you call out a narcissist, you should expect a retaliation from them.
A narcissist always wants things to go their way at all times and confronting them is like a disturbance in their space. They want to always be in control of every situation around them and will go to great extents to ensure that control is maintained. That’s why they will not entertain someone who wants to expose them because that will mean that they have to look inwards and take responsibility for some of their actions which of course is not part of the narcissist’s agenda. The narcissist doesn’t believe that what they’re doing is wrong and they spend most of their life protecting their perfect false self. So, do not expect that things will get better for you if you confront them, they will in fact reverse what you’ve called them and use it against you which will even make things worse for you.
So, what does a narcissist do when you confront them?
When you call out the narcissist, they will open their toolbox of punishment tactics where they switch into defense and attack mode. What they choose to do depends on the situation they’re in and the kind of person they’re dealing with but the goal is to maintain their status quo. They will engage in some of the following behaviors if they’re confronted: -
1. Narcissist Rage
They may burst into a ball of rage and start hurling back insults as a way to shut you down. They will furiously lash out at you and it will look like they’ve lost control. They may also threaten you or start breaking things in the house or punch walls or just this intimidating presence you’ve never felt before. If you’re familiar with Marvel Movies, it’s just like how the Incredible Hulk gets angry when he’s pissed off.
2. Blame Shifting
They may also shift the blame to you or anyone else as a way of escaping the responsibility. They may say something like, “I did that because I was stressed at work.” It’s more of just anything that comes to mind as long as they’re not taking ownership for their actions or behaviors. They will just deflect everything you call them out on to something or a circumstance outside them. (Read more on blame shifting in my past article here.)
They may also plainly deny what you’re confronting them on as a lie or that you’re making things up. Even if you have solid evidence, they will deny it and try to distort your sense of reality by even calling you sensitive or crazy. They will say something like, “You’re always dramatic, you’re exaggerating, or you’re crazy.” They just want to minimize, invalidate or deny your experiences. It’s all about planting a seed of doubt in you so that you can shut up or even feel bad about yourself.
4. Silent treatment & Ghosting
When a narcissist has been cornered and they really feel they have nothing to say, they’ll go silent on you without any response to your claims. They may just leave you there when you’re still confronting them. This will make you feel bad on what you’ve done and you may even find yourself begging for forgiveness or begging them to talk to you because you can’t stand this awkward silence. They may also pull a disappearing act and leave you stranded so that you can’t call them out anymore.
A narcissist is all about control so when you confront them, they will press where it hurts you the most. They may withhold some emotional or physical resources that directly have an effect on your present life. They may hide your documents or stop giving you money (especially if you’re financially dependent on them- look financial abuse), they may alienate you from your kids or even isolate you from your loved ones. It’s more about just instilling their sense of power and control over your life.
6. Calling you a Narcissist
When you call out a narcissist, they may also accuse you of being a narcissist. They will even point out some specific instances where you reacted to something in an undesirable way. When you are in a narcissistic relationship, you may get pushed to the point where you do unimaginable things as a form of survival. It’s called reactive abuse (response), and you might have lashed out at them, insulted them or even broke a few cups out of frustration for how they were mistreating you or as a reaction to their provocations. When you confront them, they will pull this card and even list those instances you acted inappropriately. You will really think you’re the narcissist or “you’re both toxic” which will bring a sudden stop to your confrontations. It’s more like, “How dare you call someone a narcissist when you’re also a narcissist.”
When you’ve figured them out, they may accept their wrongdoings and try to win you back. They will try to brainwash you to forget or ignore what’s been happening so that they retain their supply. They may love bomb you and shower you will all kinds of praises, promises and anything you want to hear as they seek to convince you of their love. They may also apologize for what they’ve been doing so that you can forgive, forget and let them back into your life. This is the toughest one of them all as it will give you mixed feelings about it. You will even think that they truly mean what they’re saying and you’ll give them another chance only for you to realize that it’s just part of the game. They will even suggest therapy and pretend that they’re going to be a better person. They pull this as the last resort especially when they still need you to supply their needs presently or when they don’t have an immediate supply.
“Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone” — Alan Watts
Calling out a narcissist will never bore any fruit for you. In fact, you will have it worse than it was before. When calling out a narcissist, they may either react with further manipulation or they may act as if they’re in agreement with you and that they’re going to change. The best way to confront a narcissist is not confront them. If you’re calling them out with the hope that they will finally see what they’re doing and finally leave you alone or change their behaviors, then you’re in for a rude shock and you’ll always be disappointed. Here’s the thing, a narcissist is always thirsty and wants their needs to be met and they don’t really have limits on what they can/cannot do as long as they fulfil those needs. That’s why, no amount of calling them out will really keep them away, the only one who can keep the narcissist away is you. So, if you figure out that your friend, partner or parent is narcissistic, do not waste your time trying to explain to them. What you need to do instead is quietly plan your exit where possible or learn more on healthy ways you can use to counteract their abusive behaviors (in instances where you cannot leave). Remember, the default is to always think of a way you’re going to break free and cut ties with the narcissist. You deserve a better life which is free of manipulation and abuse.
Note from the Author
If you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from this cycle of abuse in 2 months or Less, you can book a call with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment!