Do you always get tricked by a narcissist’s verbal traps? Learn how to argue with a narcissist, break their manipulative walls, and get the results you want.
Should you argue with a narcissist? No. As long as you can, avoid arguing with them.
If you want to win an argument with them, you must know the strategies based on the narc’s personality.
Like, narcissists over-exaggerate how good they are as a person and how great their life is. And then to prove their superiority, they will masterfully turn normal conversations into arguments.
Get the right insights and strategies so you don’t have to spend time and energy arguing with them and feel defeated.
How To Argue With A Narcissist & Win: 7 Ways To Beat Their Tricks
Here are some practical strategies to win against the narcissist in arguments:
1. Keep Your Composure
The roar of the narcissist might provoke an uproar, but you keep your temper calm and collected.
Maintain your composure, speaking as you would do to soothe a child during a tantrum.
If the narcissist sees your frustration and finds you provoked to match their loudness, they may suddenly quiet down and walk off.
This sudden shift could unbalance and disorient you, leaving you to deal with your agitated state alone.
It could make you get into an argument with the next person you find, defending your perceptions.
2. Do Not Defend Or Explain
When arguing with a narcissist, refrain from wasting your valuable energy in trying to prove, defending, or explaining your point of view. Why?
Because there’s is a thing called Brandolini’s law, popularly known as the “Bulls**t Asymmetry Principle.”
Brandolini’s law : “The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude larger than to produce it.”
Applying it to an argument with a narcissist, you can defend your position for 2 hours, but they will still tell you it’s your fault in the end.
They cannot understand your arguments because they are not listening to you to understand.
They are too busy preserving their warped reality. And imposing their perspective on you (and others).
So, why try to spend your precious energy disproving nonsense that they produced with almost zero effort?
Despite the sting of the assault feeling acutely personal, remember that your objective is not to sway them toward your line of thinking.
Instead, the goal is to keep your dignity, peace, and sanity, and safeguard your mental well-being.
3. Steer Clear of Old Arguments
Narcissists possess an uncanny knack for retaining and resurrecting past grievances, employing them as smokescreens to obscure the matter presently at stake.
If they try to dredge up old conflicts, curb the instinct to volley back with a similar tactic. Instead, channel your efforts to anchor the dialog in the here and now.
You could achieve this by conscientiously rerouting the conversation back to its original course, or by curtailing your participation in the escalating dispute.
In doing so, you establish a steady foothold in the present, disallowing the ghost of old disputes to derail the conversation.
It sends the message that past issues do not eclipse the matter at hand.
4. Know When To Step Away
As the argument begins to intensify, you sense that it has started to lose its purpose. That is the time to calmly get out of the brewing mess.
But storming out in anger may merely feed the narcissist’s sense of victory.
Instead, tell them calmly that it is futile to continue the argument in its present state, and step back from the situation with grace and poise.
This withdrawal is not a sign of surrender but an act of self-preservation.
By choosing your mental peace over a chaotic battle of arguments, you exert control over the situation.
It denies the narcissist the gratification of seeing you pushed to your breaking point.
You are giving yourself time and space to prepare for re-engagement.
Always leave with a firm but gentle disengagement.
Rather than making an inflammatory statement like “You are always like this!”, leave it at “I have nothing else to say about it.”
And stop the discussion.
5. Retain Your Reality & Avoid Being Swept Up
Narcissistic gaslighting only becomes effective when you start to question your own perception.
Keep a firm grip on your reality, and don’t let yourself be swayed. Stay strong with your, “I know what exactly happened.”
When they try to deny or belittle your experiences, don’t try to oppose or correct them.
Instead, recognize that you’re being gaslighted, and don’t allow them to pull you into their manipulation.
Narcissists habitually use deflection and ‘word salad’ to avoid talking about the real issue.
If they change the topic or bombard you with a lot of confusing declarations, calmly navigate the discussion back to its initial point.
This method might ruffle the narcissist’s feathers, but it sends a clear message that their tactics won’t veer you off your path.
6. Practice Being Unresponsive
Narcissists like disputes, and will frequently lure and trigger you to participate.
The best response is to react with indifference rather than arguing back. It may initially agitate them, but over time, it trains them into understanding that you have no interest in arguing with them.
By depriving them of this ‘narcissistic supply‘, you’re blocking their habitual contentious tendencies, forcing them to seek a new avenue for releasing their frustrations.
This not only just redirects their attention, but also protects you from their destructive aftermath of silent treatment or more severe narcissistic abuse.
Lastly, your non-engagement sends a clear message that you will not fuel their need for conflict, and would rather prioritize your own peace and well-being.
7. Decide Wisely When to Engage
Finally, as we said in the beginning, avoid arguing with a narcissist for as long as you can.
“Sometimes, your smartest battles are those that you left unfought”
Remember that not every battle is worth your energy, and you’ll be better for it.
Figure out which issues would be served better with your time and energy, and focus on them.
Keep in mind, arguing with a narcissist is often a waste of time and resources. They are stubborn and unwilling to agree even if you present them with a ton of supportive evidence.
Only choose those arguments of the highest importance, like your children’s well-being, work integrity, or money matters.
Understanding Narcissistic Behaviors In Arguments
Narcissists are obsessed with winning any conversation, even if it means hurting other people.
They can argue nonstop, devalue others’ achievements, use strategic manipulation, and take a perverse delight in other peoples’ misfortunes.
They might start by making you agree with them, even if it means degrading themselves somewhat.
Some more tactics in the narcissist’s argument playbook are:
- Blame-Shifting – Narcissists are skilled at ducking responsibility and shifting blame onto others. They skillfully deflect their own faults and actions, placing the weight of guilt onto your shoulders. This often leaves you feeling as if you are the problem-person.
- Gaslighting – This involves manipulating your thoughts and feelings to the point of making you question your own reality. They employ phrases like “it’s all in your head” or “you’re making a big deal out of nothing,” to make you self-doubt and second-guess your perceptions and experiences.
- Strawmanning – In this, the narcissist misrepresents your argument to make it easier to attack and refute. They create a ‘straw man’ version of your standpoint, which is typically a distorted or oversimplified version, and then argue against that, sidestepping the actual issue.
- Stonewalling – Narcissists use various means to exert control. If an argument doesn’t align with their perspective, they may resort to stonewalling. In this, they refuse to cooperate or engage in the conversation. It’s a well-planned avoidance strategy that frustrates you, effectively ending the conversation without resolving the issue.
- Narcissistic Silent Treatment – Often, when they cannot get total control over an argument with you, they may give you the silent treatment. In this, they don’t talk to you. But they may talk to others a lot while ignoring you even if you are present in the conversation. When you ask them anything, they will only respond with silence or short, monosyllabic words like “Yes,” “No,” or “OK.”
- Narcissistic Word Salad – Narcissists often deploy a confusing style of communication called “word salad” (read more about it here). It is essentially a flurry of unrelated phrases and statements meant to confuse you.
3 Powers You Need To Deal With An Argumentative Narcissist
Any argument with a narcissist quite often leaves you confused, frustrated, and emotionally drained.
To prevent that, you need three “powers” to navigate their argumentative shenanigans:
- The Power of Calmness and Composure: Be prepared to stay calm and composed when talking to a narcissist. Raising your voice in response to their high volume only adds fuel to the fire, giving them more control.
- The Power of Understanding Their Reality: Understand that narcissists live within a self-crafted reality designed to protect their low self-esteem. Let them be in their false reality. Your attempts to burst their bubble of distorted views will be likely futile and only serve to distract you from the main issue.
- The Power of Avoiding The Personal Attack Trap: Realize that narcissists can quickly wrestle you down into a dirty pit to uphold their skewed reality. Their arguments get deeply personal, fully meant to hurt you, your values, and your loved ones. They want you to get triggered into either attacking back or backing down.
Engaging with a narcissist can be draining.
When you confront a narcissist, your first goal should be protecting your sanity, peace, and self-respect.
If you can keep a cool head when they are losing theirs, trying to provoke you, you’ve already won half the game.
Three things to remember when arguing with a narcissist:
- only rarely engage in an argument with a narcissist,
- maintain your mental peace and sense of reality,
- know when to back out with grace.
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Read more on narcissists:
- Do Narcissists Know They Are Narcissists?
- How To Make A Narcissist Jealous & Envious?
- How To Know When A Narcissist Is Finished With You?
- What A Narcissist Does At The End of A Relationship?
- How To Make A Narcissist Fear You: 35 Ways To Outsmart Them
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Author Bio: Researched and reviewed by Dr. Sandip Roy. His expertise is in mental well-being, positive psychology, narcissism, and Stoic philosophy.
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