The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury. Marcus Aurelius
When we end a relationship with a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, we go through the five stages of grief and loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. When we reach the anger stage, we dream of hurting the person who hurt us. We want them to understand how they hurt us and the damage that they caused. We want vindication. We want retaliation. We want revenge. We want them to experience what we experienced. So we start doing some research on the internet: How to Outsmart a Narcissist, How to Get Revenge on a Narcissist. It is human nature and is understandable. The best way is No Contact, we learn from many sources. But still, anger pushes us to look for other ways, especially if we have been hoovered or have to stay in contact because of divorce proceedings or custody issues – which fortunately I did not have to deal with.
I purchased a book named 9 Covert Ways to Outsmart a Narcissist, Beat the Tools He Uses to Mind Control You by Jamie Keller, which was part of my Christmas Reading List. I thought that maybe I could learn something and get him back for what he did to me. Obviously, this is not a healthy thought but after Narcissistic Abuse, we are far from being healthy and having healthy thoughts. When we educate ourselves and realise that almost everything in the relationship was a lie aimed at getting narcissistic supply, the whole world collapses around us. We are not thinking straight. After months or years of being subjected to mind games, our minds are corrupted. We developed a false self, just like the narcissist, in order to cope with the abuse. We are not ourselves. They made us believe that we were crazy, insecure, jealous and controlling and we became just that.
Here are the 9 ways narcissists use to abuse and what Jamie Keller recommends that we do in order to outsmart them.
I think the most hurtful thing in my relationship was triangulation, which was just a way to make me feel that he was in high demand or that there were many things in his life more important than me. He triangulated with anyone and anything he believed would hurt me. He used his exes, his colleagues and his mobile phone. His exes thought I was detrimental to him, his colleagues understood him better than I did, and his mobile phone was more interesting than I was. Jamie Keller advises using triangulation back on the narcissist. I am not entirely convinced that this is the best course of action. Do we really want to stoop down to their level? They have no boundaries, no limits to what they will do in order to get what they want. So it is a dangerous game to play.
- Demean, devalue and discard
Narcissists will demean us any chance they get whilst in the devaluation stage. It takes us by surprise because we felt we were soul mates but suddenly we become an encumbrance, somebody who is preventing them from achieving their goals because we are too ‘demanding’. Therefore, we are subjected to the silent treatment disappearing act or triangulation amongst other things. Jamie Keller’s advice is to not take things personally. Narcissists are projecting their own insecurities. So, the best thing is to ignore them.
- Emotional reactivity
Narcissists will play the Bait and Bash game to get us to react. They know us well. In the idealisation stage, we told them all our secrets and insecurities and they will use them against us. And, when we react to their many taunts, we become the ‘bad guy’ and that gives them the right to justify their behaviour. According to Jamie Keller, the best thing to do is to not play the game. Unfortunately, it is so hard to not react that we often become participants in their games. We are humans after all.
- Hoovering and love bombing
Hoovering is narcissists’ way of preventing all their exes to move on. When they realise that they have gone too far and we are no longer interested, they will use all the tools in their arsenal to make us get back with them. Their egos want us to believe that they were the most important relationship we had. While we felt completely undervalued in the relationship, post break-up they will make us feel like we were the most important person in their lives. It is very easy to fall for and, unfortunately I have many times. The best thing is to take everything they say or do with a pinch of salt. He made me feel like the most repulsive woman on the planet while we were in a relationship, so why would I believe that I am so wonderful now? I certainly do not believe that he has my best interest at heart. He never had.
Gaslighting has to be the most insidious way to get at our spirit. Narcissists deny, lie or twist facts in order to get us confused, which allows them to control us. During childhood, they were probably encouraged to lie to keep the peace or cover up the abuse in the family. Their feelings were constantly invalidated. Therefore lying and invalidating other’s feelings seems for them the ‘normal’ way to communicate. Narcissists are unable to acknowledge other’s feelings. In order to protect ourselves against gaslighting, the best advice is not to isolate ourselves -as we will tend to do- but to keep other relationships, so someone can validate things to us.
- Fact bombing and soap boxes
Narcissists sometimes use random facts or advocate some theory that they have read somewhere to make themselves feel important and others feel ignorant. If they are challenged in their opinions or on the value of their facts, they will react by either stonewalling us or becoming angry. Not getting drawn into a debate is the best option, to avoid any trouble.
- Withholding sex and affection
After triangulation, I can honestly say that this was the second most painful thing to experience. Especially as it often comes out of the blue. The relationship was going well, we were enjoying a healthy sex life, and we were joined at the hip, when suddenly everything changes. It is extremely distressful as there seems to be no rhyme nor reason to this sudden change. Not appearing interested will generate narcissists’ interest again. But the best thing would be to run away from them as fast as we can.
Narcissists get us to confess all our dirty secrets and insecurities during the idealisation stage, only to use them against us when they start devaluating us. Unfortunately, by the time we know that, it is too late. But we can do some damage control by not divulging anything more to them.
- Reverse psychology and cognitive dissonance
Narcissists constantly create confusion by always doing the opposite of what they say. Narcissists are themselves in a constant state of cognitive dissonance, so they project this onto. Gasligting, triangulation and all the other wiles that they use end up making us confused as we try to reconcile all the conflicting elements that we are being exposed to. Jamie Keller advises to use the same ruse on them: create confusion. I think there already is enough confusion with narcissists, so I would rather not generate more.
Personally, I think that trying to get revenge on narcissists or trying to outsmart them is a waste of time. Our energy is better spent on rebuilding ourselves.
The best revenge is to let go of the past and live well!