Arguing with a Narcissist

hamster     Having an argument with a narcissist is like being on a hamster wheel.  It will keep going until you step off.  They love to beat a dead horse.  You will argue on that same subject for years. They never move past it.  You can offer scientific proof that your point is valid and they will still say you are wrong, the scientists don’t know what they are talking about and you are at fault.

I remember once after I had surgery, I wrote in a heartfelt card I took a lot of time to pick out, “Thanks for stepping up to the plate for me. I really appreciate it.”  I was met with, by my then husband, “What does that mean?  That’s a rude thing to say.” etc… I said, “I was trying to thank you.  It’s not rude, it’s an old saying.  I’m trying to show you I don’t take you for granted.”  He was so offended and I was so caught off guard that I went to the library to see if I could find a book of sayings that explained it was a good thing.  I asked his mother if it was offensive.  I was thinking maybe it was something in his childhood that someone told him it wasn’t a good thing.  She was just as perplexed.

This particular argument only lasted about 3 weeks.  Actually one of the short ones.  He would not stop bringing it up.  Even after showing him a book I found, he tossed it aside and said it doesn’t matter what it says it is. I think it’s rude.  After 3 weeks, I stepped off the wheel and just said, “I’m sorry you took it offensively.  It wasn’t meant that way. It was meant to be kind and thankful.”  I walked away and within a day, the fight was over.

Here’s the thing.  Even at some point, if he realized he took it wrong or overreacted, he was never going to back down or admit he was wrong.  He wanted me to suffer and I did for 3 weeks with snide remarks, being ignored and him talking under his breath.  It had to end for the kids. So I ended it.

Narcissists feel they are entitled to your time and your attention.  They love to fight.  They feel the drama they create is passion, it’s not.  Narcissistic people love to argue and to create discord both for and between other people.  And they don’t really argue, they attack.  They just want you to shut up in humiliation, especially if you dared to challenge their idea.   There is a latin term, hominem. ( hominem (Latin) means “against the man”. As the name suggests, it is a literary term that involves commenting on or against an opponent to undermine him instead of his arguments.) Narcissists are really good at this. You might even question whether he is undermining you or not.  They don’t know how to argue or agree to disagree.  You cannot agree to disagree if you don’t have respect for the other person.  They have no respect for anyone so it’s a moot point.  It’s never going to happen.

Pick your battles.  Hop off the hamster wheel and let them continue on it until they have exhausted themselves.  It’s not worth your sanity or your time.  I tell you this because I wish I had learned it years before I did.  Our marriage actually went downhill more after I learned it because he felt I wasn’t willing to fight for the marriage.  It wasn’t the marriage.  It was the volleyball game I was unwilling to fight to win.  Lobbing words back and forth hoping to get a spike, for what?  To prove that “thanks for stepping up to the plate” wasn’t an insult?  Screw it!  I have better things to do with my time than prove to you that a pure of heart comment was not an insult.  Your issue, not mine.

If the Narcissist is unwilling to do any form of active listening, and usually they are not, simply look at them and say, “I’m sorry.  This is your issue, not mine. I’ve said what I have to say and I’m not commenting further.”  AND DON’T.  They will want to continue to dance.  DON’T.  I would grab the kids, get in the car, go to Barnes and Noble and we would get juice and coffee and sit and read until enough time had passed that I felt we could go back home.  I was usually met with the silent treatment but it was better than him beating a dead horse over and over and over again to try to convince me he was right or to engage me again.

Step off the wheel and move on in your day and live it in joy.   Life is too short.

Blessings.

9 thoughts on “Arguing with a Narcissist

  1. I’ve done everything you’ve suggested above. None of this works. Maybe my asshole is the epidemy of the worst type of Narcissist. He’s unempathetic. He could care less. I’ve been silenced for years. I’ve tried to communicate with this man and all I’ve ever got in return was the brush off. He’s like a five-year old who instantly plugs his ears as soon as I have ANYTHING to say in regards to how cruel he can be towards me. And if I stand up for myself or “talk back” I get the worse passive aggressive childish consequences that another human being in my position could endure except for physical abuse. So he’s smart about it and that’s what’s heartbreaking. That he can treat me like this and receive no punishment at all. Which is why I too dedicate my whole blog to his treatment because I’m still with him after 16 years of this shit because he knows that I have no place else to run too.

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    1. I had no place to run but I had a restraining order against him for how he talked to me at one point, which removed him from the house and left him with no contact with me whatsoever for 2 weeks. He got a srong talking to by the judge who told him he would be in jail if he talked to me like that again or laid a hand on me.

      You will never change him and you will never win. Start the process of empowering yourself now and get on with your life. You are worth so much more than being looked down upon the rest of your life and living in fear and not being heard for the simplest of things. You are a human being, if he can’t treat you like one, kick him to the curb with the rest of the trash.

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      1. I wish it were that simple. At least here where I live. I went to the police station one time when he was at work, to file a report against him and the police officer told me that although they understood there wasnt anything they could do to a man who I claimed was “being mean to me”
        And I’ve even thought of the restraining order as well, but if I did that and kicked him out of the apartments, who would I pay for anything. He pays all the bills and he certainly wouldn’t if I did this to him. I have no job and no vehicle. So that would be a stupid move on my part.

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      2. Court of law, not the police. That is where I got my restraining order. Not sure what the law is where you are. It would be beneficial for you to start getting some resources in place for yourself. Took me 5 years but I set it in motion but I also worked on myself and got through the emotional stuff while still married.

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      3. And no amount of working or trying to save could ever get me out of here. Ive been unemployed since 2008, he finacially abuses me. I have no money. He makes all of it. I get no allowance. I’m on SSD. Once I managed to put a way $100 a month. It took me a year to save $1000, I mean c’mon.

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      4. I would start with domestic abuse agencies in your area and go from there. It’s a hard system to work through but if you want out, you can get out. If you are resigned to living in your current condition, then you can do that, but just know that you will be in this situation forever and you will have to learn to deal so that you can live as peacefully as possible with the Narcissist.

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