You probably spend a great deal of time feeling defeated and frustrated by the narcissist in your life. You see how they treat other people (and yourself), and it’s appalling. You certainly know what you don’t like in your relationship. But have you ever wondered how to make a narcissist miserable or what makes them afraid or triggered?
Just for the record, trying to make a narcissist miserable might have its place for a short period of time, but I don’t recommend focusing on it for too long as this will inevitably have an effect on your mental health and energy levels.
But, if you need a quick fix, let’s get into the top 12 things all narcissists hate.
How to Make a Narcissist Miserable
1 – Lack Of Acknowledgment
It’s no secret that most narcissists revel in admiration and validation (except for ‘closet narcissists’). They depend on constant approval to maintain their sense of intrinsic worth. To achieve this goal, they absorb (or steal) the energy of other people to feel good about themselves.
Do you ever wonder why narcissists don’t seem to mind the negative attention? It’s because negative attention also fuels their narcissistic fire. The negativity is still attention, and any form of attention gives them the incentive to keep going. It gives them the motivation to keep proving themselves.
In fact, they often like negative attention better because if you’re still bothered by their relationship crimes, they can exploit this in order to deepen the trauma bond and keep you hooked and entangled!
Therefore, a lack of acknowledgment is a real threat. To a narcissist, indifference is even more of an issue than hatred. They’d rather you have a negative opinion than have no opinion at all.
Narcissists can’t stand when no one is paying attention to them. They don’t know how to feel important or special if they aren’t the center of the universe or consuming someone’s thoughts. This is also why the traditional Grey Rock method is often pointless and why complete avoidance is the best route (or extreme modified contact if you share children with them).
2 – When People Speak Factually
Have you ever paid close attention to how a narcissist speaks? They use excessive, long-winded language charged with grandiose emotion. They skew reality to meet their worldview, and they believe their truth is always the truth.
Additionally, through the use of cognitive empathy, they’ve spent their entire lives observing the emotional language of other people and using it to their advantage. So, when you speak in facts instead of using emotion, they intuitively understand they have less of an upper hand.
Therefore, they hate when someone challenges them with facts instead of emotion. They will usually retaliate with more arguing or hysteria. This childish response simply shows that they feel out-of-control. They attempt to elevate the conversation’s intensity by throwing an emotional temper tantrum.
If anything, this dynamic only highlights the narcissist’s immaturity. Their inability to absorb facts demonstrates their incompetence in approaching most adult interactions. They are not skilled in the language of facts because they are always lying and hiding things, so speaking factually throws them completely off-balance.
3 – Authority
Narcissists detest authority. That’s because they resent having to answer to anybody but themselves. Any sense of authority threatens their inherent desires for power and control.
It’s not uncommon for narcissists to have issues at work, school, or with the law. Has the narcissist in your life had multiple jobs? Are they frequently getting reprimanded for their behavior?
While narcissists can be intelligent, they often come across as combative and unfit in professional environments. If confronted by their inappropriate behavior, they tend to deny or rationalize their part.
Of course, it’s no surprise that most authority figures dislike working with narcissists. Supervisors find them unruly and unreasonable. They can’t understand why the person can’t follow basic directions without such volatile reactions.
4 – Being Told No
Of all things a narcissist hates, being told no (and actually following through with it) tops the list. Narcissists are used to manipulating and weaseling their way into getting what they want.
Often, they’ll pull all the stops to accomplish this task. They’ve spent their whole lives charming people to meet their needs. They never stop to think about how your feelings impact the dynamic.
That’s why telling them no- and being adamant on your stance- often causes such an angry reaction. A narcissist isn’t just upset about the denial- they’re downright confused by it!
Narcissists can’t actually fathom why someone would refuse them. Because they lack real empathy, they can’t understand what must be going on in your mind. Moreover, even if they try to comprehend it, they refuse to accept this reality.
5 – Implementing Consequences
Have you ever tried to set a boundary with a narcissist? How well did it go? Most likely, you tried to implement a limit, and they reacted in one of three ways:
- Dismissing you altogether and gaslighting your feelings
- Acknowledging their mistake, promising to change, and then doing nothing to change
- Reacting with intense rage, threats, or even physical violence
Narcissists can’t accept any real consequences. They can’t see when they’re wrong, and they can’t understand how someone would ever think they’re wrong. And even if the narcissist understood this, they simply wouldn’t care. As a result, they tend to react disproportionately to boundaries and serious conversations as a means to intimidate you and force you into compliance.
Unfortunately, many people simply give up on trying to implement consequences with narcissists. Because they want to avoid a potential conflict, they surrender and dismiss their feelings. How many times have you avoided setting a real boundary because that’s just how they are?
6 – Losing At Anything
Have you ever observed young children playing a board game? If so, you probably witnessed plenty of cheating behaviors and dramatic reactions to losing. It’s acceptable when the players are three years old, but what happens when you’re referring to full-fledged adults?
Narcissists can resemble toddlers, in that they tend to be extremely sore losers. They struggle to accept losing, and they also tend to lash out when it happens. A few scenarios may occur:
- They repeatedly proclaim the person in charge (boss/referee) was incompetent
- They attempt to defame or humiliate the winner
- They pretend they didn’t care about winning
- They insist that they “let the other person” take the spotlight
- They refuse to accept that they lost and awkwardly act as if they’re the actual winner (you may have experienced this by hearing, after you’ve left them, that they’ve told everyone they’re the one who left you!)
7 – Public Humiliation
Because they are sore losers, narcissists can’t handle real or perceived public humiliation. They just can’t tolerate the threat of failure. To them, public humiliation is the ultimate form of defeat.
We all know that narcissists have incredibly fragile egos. When they believe someone is making fun of them or if they’re not the perceived expert or authority in a public setting, it jolts their existence. As a result, they’ll do anything to protect their fragile ego. Some common responses include:
- Making violent or emotionally-charged threats
- Attempting to one-up the audience by turning on them
- Screaming or yelling
- Walking away with obvious anger
- Laughing it off in public only to lash out later on loved ones later
- Making up lies about anyone who is a real expert
8 – Expectations of Commitment
Most narcissists are terrible with commitment. Although they believe they deserve all senses of loyalty, they don’t usually provide it themselves. As a result, when they get into relationships, they don’t consider other people’s needs. They’re only accounting for their own emotions, impulses, and desires.
Unfortunately, many adoring partners hold onto wistful hope about their narcissist changing. They listen to how the narcissist praises and adores them. They hold onto fleeting promises that this time will be different.
Yet the narcissist makes all the rules. They decide what they want to do, and they do it when they want to do it. Therefore, they can break and change the rules in ways that suit them.
9 – Vulnerability And Emotional Expression
Narcissists often use cognitive empathy to feign interest in other people’s emotions. Real, emotional empathy means putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes. We take on the feelings and experiences of the other person.
Cognitive empathy, on the other hand, is far more insidious and manipulative. Think about the money-hungry salesman who preys on your ambivalence about buying a new car. Think about the general contractor who convinces you that you need to upgrade your appliances.
Cognitive empathy means tapping into someone’s deep emotions and feelings. This tactic requires having an initial connection. Narcissists use cognitive empathy to “gain entry” into your vulnerability. They establish this sense of trust and rapport using false kindness and compassion.
At the same time, they loathe vulnerability and emotional expression. They perceive it as a sign of weakness. Therefore, they use it to take advantage of you when your defenses are down.
10 – 99% Of Other People
How many friends does your narcissist have? Probably very few. Usually, their only friends are other people who validate their narcissism.
Subsequently, how often do you hear your narcissist complain about other people? More times than you can count, probably! That’s because a single wrongdoing often results in lifetime resentment. One mistake tarnishes an entire reputation.
Narcissists struggle to get along with anyone who doesn’t fit into their falsified worldview. They can’t stand to be challenged. They can’t tolerate the ideas that other people may know more than them.
If they’re a cerebral narcissist, they are convinced that they are unique and should only associate with other special or high-status individuals. In fact, when confronted with anything that contradicts their sense of god-like stature, you can bet that their reaction will be explosive and malicious.
Therefore, narcissists can’t tolerate people who actually live in reality. That’s why you rarely see people with strong boundaries tolerating narcissists for very long. They recognize that the narcissist can’t provide mutual respect, connection, or love.
11 – Your Own Clarity
Above anything, the narcissist hates the idea that you might remember life before you met them. This concern is their greatest fear , and they’ll engage in many manipulative tactics to prevent it from manifesting.
Narcissists use love-bombing to keep you captured and intrigued. They’ll win you over with their charm and wit and cognitive empathy. They’ll make you feel special in ways you’ve never felt before (all through the use of cognitive empathy, of course).
But the narcissist never wants you to think for yourself. If you start doing that, they’ll react. They’ll attempt to break you down and sabotage you. They’ll make you doubt your capabilities and question your motives.
Their goal is to reprogram your mind- and they’ll do whatever they can to maintain their preferred status quo.
12 – When You Change The Status Quo
Narcissists hate change when it’s out of their control. But when you stay with a narcissist, you remain in a defeating pattern full of resentment and frustration.
You deserve better than riding on their crazy train. You deserve freedom. When you choose yourself, you choose to remove yourself from this abuse. You choose to live your life without needing to walk on eggshells every day. You deserve to focus on your healing once you understand how to make a narcissist miserable.
If you are trying to leave a toxic relationship, my testament to you is that as horrible and crippling as it feels in the beginning to leave, there is an end to it. The body and mind have enormous wisdom. They know how to heal themselves if you create the conditions in which they can do so. Give them that opportunity by working on yourself – healing your wounds and altering those of your traits that left you vulnerable to narcissistic abuse.
There are so many people just like you who have taken a stand against their abusers. They’ve gotten a taste of the good life–and that taste of freedom is too sweet to turn back to the lives they had before.