" Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something." ~ Plato
When you are entangled with a narcissist, communication becomes an important concept in making safe passage. Everything you say becomes critical if you want to avoid becoming emotionally ship wrecked. The strategies for maneuvering through narcissistic conversations are difficult to execute. In order to be successful you must have clear goals or a vision for the future. In the midst of leaving a narcissist, the idea of goal setting can be a little much, but it will be the goals that act to protect you from the verbal tidal waves that lie ahead. The narcissist is going to push your buttons. He will bait you to get a response. A clear vision of your future will keep you from responding to his call. It will be this vision of the future that helps to keep you calm when the tide suddenly turns against you.
"Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible." ~ Tony Robbins
Under stressful conditions, changing from traditional goal setting techniques to visualization techniques will make things easier. Instead of writing out a list of the things you want to achieve, visualize yourself leaving the narcissist and creating your ideal life. What would this amazing life look like? How happy would you feel in this new life? Where would you live, and who would be at the door waiting to tenderly wrap their arms around you? Create the most vivid picture possible and really try to feel the excitement of living free from all the emotional abuse. Think of the women who you admire most. What are their special qualities? Can you imagine taking on these qualities? The power to overcome begins when you are able to really see yourself as that strong and confident woman. So start now!
"It is the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen." ~ John Wooden
Once you have this ideal life and self in your heart, you have actually created a series of short-term and long-term goals. Congratulations! Now, you only need the actions steps to get you there. Start to envision just how you will navigate the waters. After you have visualized the process, break it down into smaller pieces. For example, if you visualized yourself living apart from the Narcissist, how did you get there? Did you have to pack up and leave, or did he leave? The process of packing up becomes the steps which make up a series of short-term goals. As you begin to focus on the action steps and accomplish each goal, you will gain momentum. From this point, everything in your life will begin to change. These long-term and short-term goals become a life preserver as you navigate the dangerous waters of communication. You will no longer be easily drawn into destructive conversations. You will better resist the urge to prove your point or remind him of all his dirty deeds. You now have great reason to steer clear, it is no longer about the narcissist, it is about you.
"The moment you feel like you have to prove your worth to someone is the moment to absolutely and utterly walk away." ~ Alysia Harris
Below are six common character traits of the narcissist and the conversation strategies for each.
The Narcissist is always right.
Conversation Strategy– Never argue your position. End high conflict conversations before they begin. You will not win an argument. Give only the necessary information in a calm, monotone voice. Defer high conflict topics. State your willingness to have these conversations at a later date. Quietly leave the room, leave the house if necessary, but do not engage. Plan when you will resume the conversation and where the conversation will take place. If you must have conversations around emotionally charged topics, they should been done with a support team. This could be a lawyer, an arbitrator, a mutually respected therapist, family member or friend. A third party presence is imperative if you are to reach a civil agreement surrounding high conflict subjects.
"Speak only if it improves upon the silence." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
The Narcissist will always play to your weaknesses.
Conversation Strategy- Identify your vulnerable subjects, and plan how you will respond. Understand that intimate conversations you shared with the narcissist will be turned against you. Do not engage in his attempts to bait you into hysteria. Remain indifferent to his remarks. Politely tell him you will not take part in the conversation and leave his presence.
"Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken." ~ Orson S. Card
The Narcissist will retaliate when called out for his inappropriate behavior.
Conversation Strategy –You must keep your opinions to yourself and never criticize his actions. Do not allow yourself to be caught up in conversations when you are angry or upset by something he has said or done. Remove yourself from the situation and refocus on your goals. Remember, he is an emotional wrecking ball in waiting. Seek professional guidance for conflicts that cannot be resolved. Ideally, guidance should be taken from someone who understands personality disorders such as narcissism.
"Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret." ~ Ambrose Bierce
The Narcissist will not take responsibility for his behavior.
Conversation Strategy - Do not try and hold him accountable in any type of conversation. Deep breathe and let it go. You are leaving the relationship, nothing he has said matters any longer. Stay calm and say nothing, otherwise, he will put you in a verbal chokehold and quickly have your self-esteem lying on the floor. Remember, the narcissist loves to see you emotionally distraught over him. It feeds his insatiable ego. Leave his presence if you can’t remain silent.
"There is a time for departure even when there's no certain place to go." ~ Tennessee Williams
The Narcissist will not tolerate rejection.
Conversation Strategy – Never tell him you are leaving because of whom he is or something he has done. Rejection can equal revenge. Use benign concepts such as your “changing interests.” Be respectful and thank him for the qualities of the relationship that enriched your life. Keep the conversation short.
"Gratitude changes everything." ~ Anonymous
The Narcissist can easily and irrevocably leave a romantic relationship. Yes, even yours!
Conversation Strategy - Do not become upset or plead for another chance if he has ended the relationship. He may well take you back, but only temporarily, as he increases the devastation you feel. Respectfully agree with him, and tell him thank you for setting you free. Nothing more. Do not become emotional in his presence. Remember, this will only act to reinforce his grandiose self-image.
He has no empathy for you. Seek out your closest friends for support. It is there you will find the empathy and compassion to help you through the pain.
"Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny." ~ Steven Maraboli
In order to navigate through the inevitable storms, it will be necessary to visualize your ideal life every day, and sometimes, multiple times a day. If you do get caught up in a strong current, and say something you shouldn’t, just let it go. Reset your course and head back towards calmer waters. These communication techniques are designed to disempower the narcissist and empower you, and they will, but they can take practice. The more you use them, the greater the force will be upon your sails, and the sooner you will arrive at your new destination. You can do this!
"To establish true self-esteem we must concentrate on our successes and forget about the failures and the negatives in our lives." ~ Denis Waitley