How To Make A Narcissist Fear You – 35 Ways To Outsmart Them

How can you make a narcissist fear you? After all, they have strong defenses to protect their self-esteem, and they know all your weaknesses.

How can you pierce into the center of their grand universe and make the narcissist take notice and concede power to you?

Narcissists have an inflated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy, and a constant need for attention and admiration. Catering to this cocktail of traits to scare them may seem easy, but they are often too hard to give in.

“You can’t change a narcissist. The only thing you can do is control how you react to them.”

Let’s explore some highly effective ways to make a narcissist feel frightened of you.

35 Ways To Make A Narcissist Fear You

To show that you’re not afraid and can protect yourself, you may have to make them afraid.

Here are 35 strategies to scare off a narcissist:

1. Don’t feed a narcissist’s ego

Stop stoking their ego. A narcissist thrives on attention, but when you starve them of it and instead, turn to your priorities, it unnerves them.

Show them you’re not a pawn in their game. Stand strong, assert your independence, and witness their fear rise.

Narcissists have vulnerable egos and can be made to feel subdued when you expose their flaws or deny their superiority. If you can go further, exploit their ego brittleness.

They might choose to retreat when you show them their mistakes and how you saw through their schemes.

Keep your head strong and show them you’re taking back control. This can throw them off balance.

To keep control in your hands, find out what makes holes in their grandiosity bubble and exposes them. Use this information in a safe way to loosen their grip on you.

How To Make a Narcissist Fear You
Narcissits train you to be their obedient puppies. Take that leash off your neck.

2. Criticize them publicly

Narcissists often use deception as a shield. But if you manage to peel back these layers and reveal their true character, their carefully crafted image can start to crumble.

A key way to do this is by calling out their behavior for everyone to see.

Don’t hesitate to shine a spotlight on their toxic actions, especially in public settings. This tactic not only exposes their true nature but also forces them to confront the fallout.

In doing so, you weaken their grip on control. Their mask falls away, showing the world just how harmful they can be.

3. Use reality as a weapon

Reality can be your most powerful tool when dealing with narcissists.

Narcissists can twist reality to fit their needs. Don’t let them.

When they start to spin their tales, stand your ground with hard facts.

Show them they can’t hide behind their lies. Use evidence to challenge their false stories. This forces them to face the truth.

You might find that a narcissist tries to gaslight you. This is when they make you doubt your own experiences.

Don’t fall for it. Stand firm in what you know is true. Don’t let them mess with your sense of reality.

Sometimes, narcissists act like they’re better than everyone else. They might think they don’t have to follow the same rules.

But they do.

Remind them of this.

Show them they have duties and responsibilities just like everyone else. Make sure they know they can’t escape the reality of their actions.

They might try to manipulate it, but don’t let them. Keep your grip on the truth. Stay grounded in what you know is real. This is your best defense against their tricks.

Reality is a powerful tool against narcissists.

4. Gather supportive allies

When dealing with a narcissist, it’s vital to gather allies.

Build a network of trusted people who can offer both guidance and validation. They can be your rock in the storm of narcissistic manipulation.

Let the narcissist know that you’re not alone.

You’re backed by a network of support that won’t hesitate to stand up for you if needed.

The more visible your support system is, the more likely the narcissist is to back off.

The knowledge that you’re not alone, and that those around you are ready to step in, can be a powerful deterrent.

Reach out to these supportive figures in your life, let them know what’s happening, and don’t hesitate to lean on them for emotional or even other backups like house and money.

The mere presence of your support could be sufficient to cause a narcissist to think twice.

5. Withhold emotional reactions

With emotional restraint, you can deny narcissists the satisfaction of provoking a response.

When you stay calm and look composed, you can regulate your emotions better, making manipulation more challenging.

This shields your mental well-being and prevents them from gaining control. It also preserves your psychological independence.

6. Do not argue after saying “No”

Once you have set a boundary for them or declined a request, resist the temptation to engage in further debate or justification.

Stand firm in your decision and avoid being drawn into fruitless arguments.

Sometimes, a “No” is a complete sentence that does not need a qualifier, apology, or explanation.

7. Leverage their fears against them

Narcissists have underlying insecurities and fears, mostly linked to them being disrespected, unmasked, or neglected.

Check their past records and relationships, find out their phobias, and use them to make them fear you.

Exploit their fear of exposure or loss of control or respect to stop their manipulative tactics.

8. Impose accountability

Make sure the narcissist is held accountable for what they do and how they act.

Communicate clearly that there will be consequences for their misdeeds and misbehavior.

Show them that their actions will not be allowed to continue, and they will be made to assume the blame and face the consequences of their harmful actions.

9. Realize they act like upset toddlers

Narcissists tend to act like upset kids.

They get angry easily and make a big deal out of nothing.

When you see their actions as just a kid throwing a fit, it becomes easier to deal with them.

This mental shift makes you feel like you’re stronger than they are. It scares them because they know you’re not falling for their games.

Narcissists can’t really feel for others. They only care about their own feelings. Knowing this can help you not get too involved with them emotionally.

This way, you won’t let their behavior get to you.

Remind yourself often: “The person I’m dealing with is not really grown up. They’re like a kid in an adult body who can’t handle their feelings.”

Keep this in mind, and it will be easier to deal with their antics.

10. Never let the narcissist change the subject

Do not let a narcissist change the topic of discussion in the name of providing examples or supporting arguments.

They can use their typical “word salad” to confuse you, and then win against you.

Stay vigilant and assertive, and keep them focused on the issue.

Don’t let them change the subject to unrelated things, or give false information to change the conversation to things they know they can win.

11. Make the narcissist wait for your answer

Look at them but do not respond, making sure your eyes do not have fear or anxiety.

Take your time to respond.

It shows you are strong and independent, and don’t have to do what they demand, whatever the pressure or urgency.

You could say, “I need time to think it over,” instead of agreeing or paying attention right away.

12. Don’t be afraid to walk away

Narcissists thrive on control, getting a sense of power when they can manipulate others.

So when you show that you’re not scared to pack up and leave, it sends a strong message. It shatters their illusion of invincibility and makes them fear losing their grip on you.

More importantly, it empowers you and lets you take back the reins of your life.

You’re not a puppet on their string, but a strong person who knows his/her worth.

By walking away, you prove that you value yourself more than their toxic influence.

It’s a move that knocks them off balance, showing them that their fearmongering tactics don’t work on you anymore.

13. Set clear boundaries

Creating clear boundaries with a narcissist is a must.

Make sure to protect your feelings and step back from the narcissist’s harmful effect.

Take care of yourself first, aiming to heal and get back your self-identity.

Let the narcissist know about your limits and what you expect.

They should get your permission before approaching you, and you may refuse to entertain them if they come near you without asking you.

Be clear about what you can and can’t put up with. Stand your ground when it comes to defending those boundaries to look after your well-being.

Ask them to respect your personal time and space.

14. Don’t engage in their games

Narcissists love to play manipulative mind games to provoke you into emotional reactions. One of these is using the “drama triangle.”

Refuse to take part (even as a mute spectator) in their power struggles and emotional dramas. Resist their attempts to get a reaction out of you, and work to maintain your emotional detachment. When you choose not to get triggered by the narcissist, they lose their interest in you.

15. Don’t be their “supply”

Narcissists thrive on attention and admiration (“narcissistic supply“).

Withhold the narcissist’s supply, such as praise or validation, and you can make them feel powerless and afraid about feeling unwanted and inferior.

  • Narcissists relish being seen as superior. Don’t give them that supply of superiority or praise. Instead, try to threaten their sense of superiority; it makes them feel fearful of you.
  • They always show you down to appear better, and this is their indirect supply. But if you grow proficient in something and challenge them to it, they might sense defeat and go into frustration.
  • Narcissists love seeing people in their failures, and this supplies them with a holier-than-thou aura. So, stop revealing your weaknesses to them, and even deny those past failures that they already know about you. This leaves them unable to have any courage to jeer at you, as they might be accused of fabricating lies.

16. Challenge them

Narcissists think they’re always right and are arrogant about it.

So, when you question them, show them different facts, or argue against their big claims, you can make them doubt themselves.

But, before you go ahead and challenge them, make sure you’re ready to handle their sudden mood swings without getting too upset yourself.

Knowing this makes things easier for you: Narcissists don’t care about other people’s needs.

So, don’t let them push you around.

Don’t let the narcissist take away your rights or make you feel less valuable.

Speak out about what you need, and don’t let them make you feel bad or stop you from saying what you want.

Stick up for your rights, talk about your thoughts, and defend your limits.

Be bold when talking about your needs and what matters to you.

17. Expose their lies

How to make a narcissist fear you the easiest way? Expose their lies.

Narcissists lie, often for no apparent reason at all.

They are often pathological liars who lie first and think later about how they may benefit from that lie.

They also distort and dress up the truth to serve their own agenda.

Show people their lies and fake fronts. This can wreck their “spotlessly good” name and tarnish their reputation.

18. Be indifferent

The narcissist provoking you to react is just another one of their manipulation tactics to gain control.

They love to see you lose your calm and sanity. They feed on it.

But, if you don’t react or show them that you don’t care, you suddenly make them feel like an idiot and an insignificant person craving your attention.

When they see they’re not getting an emotional reaction, they are frightened that they don’t matter anymore.

They worry their heads off planning how to stay relevant.

By not giving them the attention they’re so desperate for, you take away their power and make them feel like they don’t count.

19. Be the bigger person

“Don’t wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.”

– George Bernard Shaw

Getting involved in a dispute or discord with a narcissist, who thrives on chaos and conflict, can often lead to lasting mental distress.

Also, it would be sheer waste of your time.

So, rise above the narcissist’s petty and vindictive behavior, say, “You’re right,” and move out of their presence. Remember, you don’t argue with pigs or idiots.

Keep your grace, empathy, and peace, and go meet your good friends. This will contrast with their negative nature and make you feel better.

However, do not expect their largeness of heart in return. They will always act small and lowly.

20. Don’t take them seriously

Narcissists often take themselves very seriously.

They can be all about keeping up appearances and seriousness.

You? Do the opposite. Have a hearty laugh by yourself or with your friends stop their seriousness rubbing on you.

Don’t feed into their sense of self-importance. Instead, see their actions as immature.

This can let the air out of their inflated ego.

Now, they may start to worry about how others see them as ridiculous people, making them less confident in their control over you.

21. Have a good sense of humor

Narcissists tend to lack a sense of humor and take themselves too seriously.

By using wit and humor, you can disrupt their control and throw them off balance, making them feel insecure.

Narcissists take comments against them seriously. But since they can’t respond with humor, they get upset.

You could scrape their ego with a funny comment or dark humor.

22. Be happy and live your best life

Living a happy life is the best way to frighten off a narcissist.

Narcissists cannot tolerate other people being happy.

When you are full of joy and satisfaction, show that you can bounce back from abuse, they are very afraid.

The narcissist sees they can no longer steer your feelings or choices. This can even leave them with a feeling of regret for not having been able to keep the “moldable and foldable” you.

Narcissists feel unsure of themselves. Your confidence can make them feel even less powerful. They may feel upset and overshadowed by your success.

So, push for your goals and live your best life. This can shake their feeling of being above you.

Narcissists often make you focus on their needs. They make you feel like you’re always messing up. But, you can stand strong against this.

Chase your dreams fearlessly. Take control of your life, make choices based on your beliefs, and live your truth without needing the narcissist to approve it.

23. Cut ties and leave them completely

Being completely alone is a narcissist’s worst nightmare.

Cut off all contact with them. This leaves them emotionally broken and actually afraid.

Block their phone numbers, unfriend them on social media, and ignore their presence even when they are in the same room.

Do you know what happens to narcissists in the end?

24. Understand their deeper motivations

Read them: Narcissists are driven by a desire for power, control, and admiration.

If you get to the root of why they act the way they do, you can stay one step ahead and shield yourself from their mind games.

Recognize their underlying motivations, so you can anticipate their next act of abuse and remove yourself to safety before they have put their manipulations into action.

25. Don’t let them boss you around

Don’t let the narcissist boss you around or trick you into doing stuff you don’t want.

Show them you’re not a pushover. You’re your own person with your own mind.

Make sure you make your own choices and control your life. Say no when they try to control you and make you do things their way.

Make your personal limits clear and stick to them.

Don’t let the narcissist cross these lines. This will protect your freedom and wellness.

The narcissist will try to control you, but don’t let them. Be firm and show them you’re in control of your own life.

Always take firm ownership of your life and your decisions.

26. Don’t let them gaslight you

Narcissists play mind games. They use something called gaslighting – a form of emotional abuse. This is when they make you think you’re not remembering things right. But it’s just a trick they use to control you.

Keep in mind, they’re doing this on purpose. It’s not you. You’re not forgetting things or misremembering. It’s them trying to make you question your own mind.

Don’t fall for it. Trust yourself. You know what’s real and what’s not.

When you feel like they’re trying to mess with your head, reach out to people you trust. Ask them if what you’re remembering is correct.

Hold onto your truth. Don’t let the narcissist make you doubt your own reality.

27. Don’t take their actions personally

Remember, how a narcissist acts is a reflection of their own issues and insecurities, not about your worth.

fix your priorities independent of their opinions.

Don’t let them bring you down or make you feel bad. Don’t internalize their opinions and insults.

28. Take a break from them for your mental health

Narcissists can really mess with your head. Being around them can be bad for your mental health.

So, sometimes you just need to take a break. It’s okay to put yourself first. You don’t always have to be there for them.

Put your health and happiness first.

Take a step back from these people who don’t treat you right. Do something you enjoy. It could be anything that makes you feel good.

Remember, your worth is not defined by them.

When dealing with a narcissist, it’s easy to forget about your own needs. But you have to take care of yourself.

Do things that make you happy.

Get away from the narcissist for a while if you need to. It’s okay to take time for yourself to heal and recharge.

Learn the 10 life lessons before it gets too late.

29. Break the trauma bond

How to make a narcissist insecure? Break their trauma bonds.

Narcissists trauma-bond their victims. It is the main reason why people who break off with them keep going back to them.

Most on-again and off-again relationships have a narcissist on one end and a trauma-bonded victim on the other.

Recognize the unhealthy attachment that may have built between you and them. And break free from their abusive emotional grip on you.

Seek therapy or support to navigate the healing process and rebuild your life.

30. Confront them with statements of facts

When addressing the narcissist, present concrete evidence and factual information that contradicts their distorted narratives.

By challenging them with objective truths, you can weaken their manipulative hold.

31. Narcissists fear you when you stay in your own power or opinion

When you assert your autonomy, confidence, and individuality, narcissists feel threatened.

  1. Speak up: Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion or disagree with them. This shows them that you have your own mind and won’t be easily controlled.
  2. Draw the line: Show them what actions you won’t let pass. It could be hard, but it shows you care about your peace and your health.
  3. Stay calm: Narcissists want to see you react and lose your mind. If you can keep calm when they pull their triggers, you show them they are powerless to ruffle you.

This firm stand in your power and opinions can create a sense of intimidation that deters their manipulative behavior.

32. Make sure you have people around who aren’t afraid to tell the truth

Call up people who can give honest feedback and perspectives, even if they are not your friends or family.

These people aren’t afraid to speak their minds. Their first loyalty is always to the truth. They will stand by you against the narcissist’s manipulations.

By having people who value truth by your side, you can face the narcissist’s lies and false tropes.

33. Take legal action against them if you have a reason to

Explore the possibility of taking legal action to protect yourself when needed.

In severe cases of narcissistic abuse, consult a lawyer or even law enforcement agencies like your local police.

Insist that your legal entitlements are respected and take action to get them to go through what is due.

34. Avoid getting yourself tangled up in their control tactics and ignore them

Learn to recognize the narcissist’s manipulative tactics and don’t let yourself get entangled in their web of control.

Don’t let the narcissists in your life provoke or control you, focus on your well-being instead.

Practice healthy detachment from unhealthy people.

35. Self-Care: Prioritize your own well-being above all

Your mental, emotional, and physical well-being should be your utmost priority.

Engage in self-care practices like exercising regularly,, getting enough sleep, taking breaks, listening to music you like, reading a book, gifting your inner child, connecting with nature, meditating, engaging in self-reflection, and investing in yourself.

Nourish your resilience, creating a solid foundation to resist the narcissist’s threats to control you.

Final Words

Find out how to leave a narcissist, even if you have no money, and be free.

Dealing with a narcissist requires courage and responsibility.

  1. Deny them their narcissistic supply and focus on self-love and self-compassion.
  2. Fiercely protect your boundaries and hold them accountable for their misdeeds.
  3. Challenge their behavior even with half-courage, remaining composed and calm.

• • •

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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When it comes to mental well-being, you don't have to do it alone. Going to therapy to feel better is a positive choice. Therapists can help you work through your trauma triggers and emotional patterns.