— Researched and written by Dr. Sandip Roy.
We are all tired of being constantly disrespected and belittled by a narcissist in our life. Why do they have to do it all the time?
It’s because they are emotional parasites feeding on their host victims. They draw their narcissistic supply from us, insulting us when it’s not enough.
Constant disrespect can damage anyone’s self-esteem and make them lose their voice against them. Then they control you even more.
The best solution is to leave them, even if you have no money.
There are, however, times when you cannot leave the narcissist because you work together, live in the same place, or have children with them. In such situations, you may 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.
But remember to do it only as long as it doesn’t make you unsafe or uncomfortable.
Table of Contents
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 psychology-based strategies to make them respect you, or at least not disrespect you. The main idea is to make the time and space you share with them tolerable.
Here’s how to make narcissists respect you:
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.
Statements that work:
- “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.”
- “She is just as you say (say, your vindictive boss). I 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 how can they hurt “themselves”?
Once the narcissist starts to see you as similar to them, gradually set boundaries. More crucially, get them to agree to your boundaries, verbally or in written form.
“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.”
But be always careful before agreeing to everything they say because they can use your words later to manipulate you.
2. Train them to respect you.
Being in a narcissistic relationship means they will take you for granted, devalue you, and treat you badly.
Do this to handle them:
- Interact with them only when they are on good behavior and are fun and helpful to be around.
- Ignore them when they are insulting, demanding, or being displeased with you.
Stop talking to them when their “magnanimous” masks slip. Train them to understand that you will go ‘No Contact’ with them until they start being fun, 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.
When they devalue you, but you cannot avoid contact with them, use the “Gray Rock technique.” Like giving one-word responses, and treating them as if they don’t exist.
You may try mildly humiliating a narcissist into modifying their behavior. Note that “mildly” is the crucial word there, and only when you feel safe. Why? Read the next one.
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 in them 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.
Narcissists will only have hatred for you for feedback that doesn’t praise them, as they cannot take any criticism as constructive feedback.
Leave them feeling good by lavishly praising them all day, and they will respect you and be more likely to follow your legit wishes.
However, do not over it and always keep yourself safe. Why?read the next one.
4. Let them sometimes win and feel good at defeating you.
Narcissists hate to lose. When they find you’ve taken them for a ride, they take it as a humiliating defeat. They hold a grudge against you for life.
So, to gain their respect, 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.
Give them what they want – attention and praise – in controlled doses, and it will keep their egos puffed up just enough.
Praise the narcissist without coming off as a vengeful hyena or a sacrificial goat.
5. Give them gifts and buy them things.
Narcissists alienate people with their nature and behavior for two reasons:
- They make almost every gift-giver feel as if they deserved the gift.
- They’re typical receivers – only receive and rarely reciprocate.
Moreover, they are often not as pleased with the gift as you imagine them to be.
So, since they hardly receive gifts, they love it when you buy them things.
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.
But don’t tow along a boatload of expectations in return. Why? Read on.
6. Be clear about what you want from them.
- First, don’t expect that they will do good things for you because you did so for them.
- Second, when they do good, and it’s rare, they always expect a return gift.
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.
Your compliments can 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.
Agree with those narcissistic quips – “I am the best thing that ever happened to you” – 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 target people who appear to be strong, but have a vulnerable self-esteem. They know these people can be easily manipulated.
Still, they hate these people because they remind them of their own hidden fragile egos.
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 their victims.
To get their true respect, you have to achieve things like:
- power positions,
- lots of money, or
- incredible looks.
They associate those with high self-esteem and high value.
Strangely enough, a narcissist will highly value another narcissist who is much more powerful or rich than them.
Dictators are mostly narcissists, and they have a band of followers who are narcissists.
So, build yourself a positive mindset and high self-esteem. Prioritize self-kindness, self-empathy, and self-love. Respect yourself, be self-assured, and project high value.
When the narcissist sees you as stronger than them, they 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 for their skills and talents.
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.
Be on an acquaintance level with those they respect. Strengthen your support network, for they fear strong support.
All through this, always stay self-respecting. It means you do not seek other people’s opinions to validate your worth. Never 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 might win you their respect, as well as make them fear you a little.
Drill it into their heads that you do not let them backtrack on their words.
And learn the next skill.
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.”
FAQs: Making Narcissists Respect You
Can a narcissist ever respect you?
Narcissists cannot treat anyone with genuine respect or authentic appreciation. Their respect is only for the times it benefits them.
This lack of honesty makes it difficult to feel good about the good things they say to you. Deep inside, narcissists keep looking for ways to exploit you.
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.
How to make a narcissist not disrespect you?
These are some ways to make sure the narcissist doesn’t disrespect you:
Address Them Respectfully: Use proper terms/names, and avoid dismissive language like ‘my narc.’
Communicate Intentionally: When talking to a narcissist, be thoughtful about the words and tone you use. Don’t say: “You’re wrong about that, and I can’t believe you would think that way.” Say, “I have a different perspective on this issue. We can discuss it later when I gather more details on it?”
Recognize Their Behavior: Understand that a narcissist’s public praise is motivated by a desire to appear supportive in front of others rather than a genuine appreciation.
• Situation: You completed a project at work, and a narcissistic colleague praises you for it in front of your boss.
• Superficial Respect: Narcissist says, “Great job on that project! You really nailed it. I knew you had it in you.”
• Later, Privately: Your narcissistic colleague says, “I could have done it better, but I guess your effort was okay.”
Strengthen Yourself: Focus on personal healing and recovery to build resilience against toxic behavior. Don’t take their criticisms (or praises) too seriously.
Show Self-Respect: Give yourself the self-love, self-esteem, and self-respect that you truly deserve.
Be Strategic: If planning to end the relationship, keep your intentions discreet and plan carefully. First, make yourself safe, only then declare the breakup at an appropriate place.
Exude Confidence: Display confidence and act in alignment with your personal values.
Trust Your Instincts: Believe in yourself, and act with integrity and self-assurance.
Establish Boundaries: Clearly define your limits, reduce unnecessary contact, and prioritize your well-being.
Stay Independent: Maintain your autonomy by avoiding financial or emotional dependence on a narcissist.
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 intention was to keep me hooked so that I could be useful to them. But once they concluded that I would not be furious, they stopped paying me back.
Narcs think people do things only for money. So 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 that your mental health is the most important thing and that 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.
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√ Also Read: How to manipulate a narcissist?
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