Most of us are tired of being constantly disrespected and belittled by a narcissist in our life. We cannot understand why they have to do it all the time.
They do it because narcissists are parasites feeding on their host victims. They draw their supply from you and then disrespect you. It damages your self-esteem and makes you weaker than them. Then they control you even more.
The best solution is to leave them even if you have no money.
But there are times when you cannot leave the narcissist because you work or live at the same place, or have children with them. In such situations, you have to transform the relationship into a mutually beneficial one.
Once they are as useful to you as you are to them, it can cultivate a workable relationship. It can make them respect you, and have them offer you their services to your advantage.
However, keep it at the top of your mind to do it only so much that it doesn’t make you unsafe or uneasy.
How to make a narcissist respect you?
A narcissist by definition is someone who is so obsessed with themselves that they disregard everyone else.
There is no cure for narcissism. You have to use strategies to make them behave like they respect you, or at least they don’t disrespect you, so that sharing the necessary time and space with them is tolerable.
Here’s how to make narcissists respect you so that you can take control of the relationship.
1. Let them see you as an extension of themselves.
When you keep reminding them you are so much like them by pointing out the similarities, they will take a liking for you and have high respect for you.
It can be statements like, “Remember what you were telling me last week? I went home and thought about it. And I felt that it was the same with me.”
Or, “She is just as you say (say, your vindictive boss). We have the same thoughts about them.”
When they start to see you as an extension of themselves, they are less likely to hurt you, because you are “them” – so hurt how can they hurt themselves?
It also makes them respect you more.
Once the narcissist starts to see you as alike to themselves, establish goals and boundaries.
Get them to agree to those, verbally or better in written form.
It’s like, “I appreciate it when you tell me things that you don’t share with others, but 3 AM is not the right time to do it.”
However, always keep an eye open before agreeing to everything they say, because they are habitual gaslighters.
2. Train them to respect you.
Your narcissist will already be taking you for granted. So, they will devalue and disrespect you regularly.
What you can do is just interact with them only when they are on good behavior and are fun and helpful to be around.
Start ignoring them when they are insulting.
Cut off interactions with them when their masks start slipping away. Train them to understand that you will go No Contact with them until they start being fun or good or useful.
In any case, do not invest too much effort into the relationship, for most of your emotions won’t be reciprocated. They will either treat your happiness with envy or try to pull down your mood in one way or the other.
Starve them of empathy. Warn about the consequences of their further bad conduct and implement them. If necessary, humiliate them a little in presence of others.
For the times they devalue you, and you cannot avoid contact with them, use the “Gray Rock technique.”
It means you give them one-word responses, look through them, and treat them as if they don’t exist until their conduct changes.
3. Predict their mood shifts and choose your days.
Narcissists can get violent at the drop of a hat. There is always a base level of aggression going on that can burst into narcissistic rage.
But the thing is it is a predictable behavior most of the time.
Once you learn to predict their mood shifts early on, you can win their respect and get them to do you favors during their good mood periods.
Read their moods and play off them – stay out of their way when they are in a foul mood and stay around to boost their ego when they are feeling uppity.
What upsets them most is people criticizing them or holding them responsible for a mess-up. Don’t trigger their fears by pointing out their mistakes and dereliction of duties.
An insecure narcissist will only hate you, as they can never take any criticism as constructive feedback.
Leave them feeling mostly good about you throughout the day, and will respect you and be more likely to bend to your legit wishes.
However, do not over it and always keep yourself safe.
4. Let them win sometimes and feel good at defeating you.
Narcissists are creatures who hate to lose. They take it as a personal humiliation and hold grudges for life.
The idea is to let them win, and let them know that they deserved the win.
Once narcissists perceive that they have won a battle, they tend to back off and leave you in peace and hold you in respect.
In case you cannot let them win, give them at least something to win out of an engagement, and let the whole deal come off as a win-win or zero-sum game.
Of course, they will want you to cater to their needs first.
The basic idea is to give them what they want – attention and praise – in controlled doses to keep their egos puffed up just enough.
5. Give them gifts and buy them things.
they love it when people give them gifts and buy them things, since they hardly receive those things.
For two reasons:
- they alienate people with their nature and behavior, making you feel that feel as if they deserved the gift,
- they are typical receivers – only receive and rarely reciprocate.
Also, they will often not be as pleased as you had imagined them to be.
Still, give them small gifts or buy them dinners from time to time. It will have them hold you in the respect that “you remembered to value them.”
You may even cook and gift them one of their favorite meals.
6. Be clear about what you want from them.
First, do not expect that they will do for you good things because you did well for them. Second, when they do good, they always expect a return.
So, when you compliment them, do not expect that they will return your good comments.
You praise them so that they become pliable. Once you have their egos boosted, you can get them to do what you want from them.
Stay clear and firm about your needs and requirements from them.
Mostly, your compliments will be insincere, but always make it a point to deliver them with extreme believability.
Tell them they look great, how perfectly they carried out a certain project, and why only they deserve a promotion.
Assure them that it was not at all their fault that a project failed.
However, don’t do it too often.
Or do it so often that they are lured into believing that you have no option but to praise them, as they are the greatest people you will ever meet in your life.
Know those narcissistic quips: “I am the best thing that ever happened to you.”
Agree with those if your goal is to get them to do things for you.
You can reply with, “I can only believe you’re the best thing for me if you do this for me.”
7. Build a strongly positive mindset and high self-esteem.
Narcissists typically target people who appear vulnerable. They know these people tend to have low self-esteem, and therefore can be easily manipulated.
However, they hate these weak-minded people because it reminds them of their own hidden selves.
So, even if a narcissist manages to make their target believe that they respect them, they actually do not. They hold a rather resentful attitude toward people with poor self-esteem.
To get their true respect, you have to achieve things like power positions, lots of money, or incredible looks. They associate these aspects with high self-esteem and high value.
A narcissist will highly value another narcissist who is more powerful or extremely rich. Dictators are mostly narcissists and they have a band of followers who are narcissists.
So, build yourself a positive mindset and high self-esteem (but never forget the kindness and fellow feeling), and the narcissist may respect you.
8. Apologize to them even for no fault of yours.
If they hold you responsible for one of their mistakes, apologize to them.
If they say, “I was late to the meeting because you got up late and were late to make me breakfast,” just say “Sorry” without meaning it.
You may even tell them it was your mistake before they can point it out to you. They will also be pleased to know that next time you will ask for their advice before embarking on a project.
Of course, if you haven’t done anything wrong, then remind yourself that all your apologies are fake.
9. Respect them as well as yourself.
Respect them truly for their skills. Many narcissists reach high positions and acquire great expertise through their doggedness and persistence.
Keep your emotional distance from them as you treat them with respect.
Respect yourself. Be confident and self-assured. Project that you have a high value.
Be on an acquaintance level with friends with those they respect. Strengthen your support network, for they fear strong support.
Being self-respecting means you do not have to seek other people’s opinions to validate your worth. Go against your principles to please the narcissist and gain their respect.
Keep reminding yourself, “I am fine as I am, and do not need their validation to become better.”
Hold them accountable for what they committed to you. This will win you their respect, as well as they will fear you a little, since they will learn that you do not let them backtrack on their words.
10. Learn to say “No” More Forcefully
Learning to say “No” more emphatically is crucial.
First, because they always tend to violate the boundaries you set with them. Firmly tell them No to such violations in the future.
Second, they habitually say disrespectful things about almost everyone. If they are telling you negative things about others, especially people you know, stop them with “No.”
Learning to say “No” projects a sense of no-nonsense authority.
If you find they are constantly finding faults with you, and showing you down, handle them with a strict “No.”
Can a narcissist ever respect you?
Narcissists cannot really treat anyone with genuine respect or authentic appreciation. Their respect is only for the times it benefits them. Their lack of honesty makes it difficult to feel good in the good words they say about us.
Mostly because we know that narcissists are not afraid to exploit their powers to get what they want.
Of course, they look at other people’s wealth and possessions with envy and ill will. So, if they say, ” That guy earns a hell lot!” – they secretly mean that they would want that person to lose all of that.
Let’s close this with a personal anecdote.
A narcissist I knew too well had borrowed a giant sum of money from me. Then they won’t return it.
When I asked them to, they started giving it in small monthly installments. The whole thing would have taken 5 years, and I was ready for that. But they stopped within a year, quoting financial distress, and did not restart even after two years.
Their idea was to keep me hooked so that I can be useful to them. But as soon as they thought I would not go furious about that, they stopped paying me back.
Narcs think people do things only for money. They will keep holding on to the money you loaned them because they feel it gives them an upper hand.
So, what did I do? I waived it all and moved away from the relationship permanently. It may not be the most advisable thing to do, but I did it because I cared about my well-being more than the money.
Remember, mental well-being is of utmost importance and self-care is your best friend.
If it makes you unhappy, stop “acting” to appease them. End the relationship if you feel it has become toxic beyond repair.
If needed, seek help from experts experienced in narcissistic abuse recovery, narcissistic abuse support groups, and legal authorities.
• • •
Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy — medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes on mental well-being, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).
√ If you liked it, please spread the word.