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How to Make a Narcissist Miserable: 12 Things They Hate

You probably spend a great deal of time feeling defeated and frustrated by the narcissist in your life. You see how they treat other people (and yourself), and it’s appalling. 

You certainly know what you don’t like in your relationship. But have you ever wondered how to make a narcissist miserable?

Just for the record, trying to make a narcissist miserable might have its place for a short period of time, but I don’t recommend focusing on it for too long as this will inevitably have an effect on your mental health and energy levels.

But, if you need a quick fix, let’s get into the top 12 things all narcissists hate. 

1. When You Change The Status Quo 

Leaving a narcissist is indeed a significant step toward reclaiming your autonomy and breaking free from their manipulative hold. By choosing to prioritize your own well-being and happiness, you take away their ability to control and manipulate you.

Walking away from a narcissistic relationship is not only an act of self-preservation but also a powerful statement of self-worth. It demonstrates that you refuse to be a pawn in their game any longer and that you are no longer willing to tolerate their toxic behavior.

Leaving a narcissist may initially feel daunting, as they often use tactics such as gaslighting, guilt-tripping, and manipulation to keep you tethered to them.

However, by recognizing your own value and taking the steps necessary to remove yourself from the situation, you reclaim your power and begin the journey toward healing and recovery.

While leaving a narcissist may not be easy, it is ultimately the most effective way to break free from the cycle of abuse and regain control over your life. By walking away and focusing on your own well-being, you deny the narcissist the satisfaction of continuing to exert power over you.

Remember, you deserve to be treated with respect, kindness, and dignity. By choosing to leave a narcissistic relationship, you are taking a courageous step toward a brighter and healthier future.

2. Lack Of Acknowledgment

The absence of acknowledgment is like a cold wind to a narcissist’s fiery ego. They thrive on attention, whether it’s adoration or disapproval, because any form of recognition validates their existence.

Even negative attention feeds their insatiable need for validation, providing them with fuel to continue their manipulative ways.

Interestingly, narcissists often prefer negative attention because it keeps them at the forefront of your thoughts. They can exploit your emotional reactions to deepen the bond, keeping you ensnared in their web of manipulation.

Indifference is their greatest fear because it denies them the spotlight they crave. It’s like being in a room where no one acknowledges their presence – a nightmare scenario for someone who thrives on being the center of attention.

Narcissists simply can’t cope when they’re not the focus of someone’s thoughts or emotions. This is why conventional tactics like the Grey Rock method, which aims to make them lose interest by being unresponsive, often fall short.

Complete avoidance or minimal contact is often the most effective strategy, especially if you share children with them, as it starves them of the attention they crave.

3. Your Own Clarity

Narcissists fear the prospect of you regaining clarity about your life before they entered it. They employ various manipulative tactics to prevent you from remembering who you were and what you valued before they came into the picture.

Love-bombing is a common strategy used by narcissists to keep you ensnared and fascinated. They shower you with excessive flattery, attention, and affection, using their charm, wit, and cognitive empathy to manipulate your emotions and make you feel special.

However, the narcissist’s ultimate aim is to prevent you from thinking independently. They fear your ability to see through their facade and recognize their manipulative tactics.

If you begin to assert your autonomy and think for yourself, they will react aggressively.

Narcissists will attempt to undermine your confidence and sabotage your efforts to reclaim your identity. They may gaslight you, distort reality, and manipulate situations to make you doubt your capabilities and question your motives.

Their objective is to maintain control over you and perpetuate their preferred status quo, where they hold power and influence over your thoughts and actions. They will go to great lengths to reprogram your mind and ensure that you remain under their sway.

4. When People Speak Factually 

Narcissists have a distinctive way of communicating, often embellishing their speech with exaggerated emotions and twisting facts to fit their distorted worldview. They believe their version of reality is the absolute truth and will go to great lengths to defend it.

Their manipulation is fueled by their adeptness in reading and exploiting others’ emotions through cognitive empathy. However, when confronted with factual arguments instead of emotional appeals, they feel threatened and out of control.

Their response is often immature and disproportionate, marked by heightened emotions and irrational behavior. This reaction underscores their inability to engage in rational discourse and their reliance on emotional manipulation to maintain dominance.

Speaking in factual terms disrupts their carefully constructed narrative, leaving them off-balance and exposed. It reveals their incompetence in handling adult interactions without resorting to emotional manipulation and deceit.

In essence, challenging a narcissist with facts is like pulling the rug out from under them, revealing the shaky foundation upon which their narcissistic facade rests.

5. Of Other People 

Narcissists often struggle to maintain genuine connections with others because they are primarily focused on seeking validation and admiration.

Their circle of friends is typically small, consisting mainly of individuals who validate their narcissistic tendencies and bolster their inflated sense of self-worth.

You may frequently hear your narcissist complain about others, as they tend to hold grudges and harbor resentment over perceived slights or offenses. They have difficulty forgiving or moving past even minor transgressions, leading to a negative outlook on the people around them.

Narcissists have a rigid worldview and struggle to tolerate viewpoints that contradict their own. They crave being seen as superior and cannot handle being challenged or confronted with the possibility that someone else may know more or be more competent than them.

For cerebral narcissists, in particular, they often surround themselves only with individuals they perceive as special or high-status. They believe themselves to be unique and above others, leading them to seek out relationships with individuals who reinforce this belief.

When confronted with anything that contradicts their grandiose self-image, narcissists may react explosively and maliciously. They cannot tolerate anything that threatens their sense of superiority or challenges their distorted perception of reality.

6. Authority

Narcissists have a deep-seated aversion to authority because it challenges their sense of superiority and control. They resent being accountable to anyone other than themselves, viewing authority figures as threats to their autonomy.

In various settings like work, school, or even legal contexts, narcissists often struggle to comply with authority. Their track record may be marked by frequent job changes or reprimands for their disruptive behavior.

Despite their intelligence, narcissists often clash with colleagues and superiors due to their combative nature and inability to adhere to professional standards. When confronted about their misconduct, they typically deflect blame or downplay their role in the situation.

Unsurprisingly, authority figures find working with narcissists to be challenging and frustrating. Their unruly behavior and refusal to follow directions make them liabilities in professional settings.

Supervisors struggle to comprehend why narcissists can’t simply adhere to basic rules without resorting to volatile reactions, further exacerbating the tension in the workplace.

7. Vulnerability And Emotional Expression 

Narcissists are masters at manipulating others’ emotions to serve their own agenda. They often employ cognitive empathy as a tool to feign interest in people’s feelings and experiences, but their motivations are far from genuine. 

Unlike genuine emotional empathy, where individuals sincerely empathize with others’ emotions and experiences, cognitive empathy is a calculated and manipulative strategy. It involves understanding and tapping into someone’s emotions to gain control or advantage over them.

Think of the slick salesman who seems to understand your hesitations and fears about making a purchase, only to exploit them for his own gain. Or the contractor who plays on your desire for improvement to convince you to upgrade your appliances, even if you don’t really need to.

For narcissists, cognitive empathy serves as a means to gain entry into your vulnerability. They use false kindness and compassion to establish trust and rapport, creating the illusion of connection and understanding. This allows them to manipulate and exploit your emotions when your defenses are down.

However, despite their adeptness at manipulating others’ emotions, narcissists despise vulnerability and emotional expression in themselves and others. They see it as a weakness, something to be exploited rather than embraced.

By preying on vulnerability, they can maintain a sense of power and control over their victims, furthering their own selfish interests at the expense of others’ well-being.

8. Being Told No

Being denied is like a dagger to the ego of a narcissist. Throughout their lives, they’ve honed their skills in manipulation and persuasion, accustomed to getting their way by any means necessary.

Their charm and manipulation tactics have been their go-to tools for fulfilling their desires, often without consideration for how their actions affect others. Therefore, when faced with a firm “no,” they are not just disappointed but genuinely bewildered.

Empathy is a foreign concept to narcissists, making it difficult for them to grasp why someone would refuse them. They struggle to comprehend the perspective of others and the emotions involved, and even if they attempt to understand, they refuse to accept any reality that contradicts their inflated self-image.

The mere act of refusal threatens their sense of control and superiority, leading to an intense and often hostile reaction. To a narcissist, being denied is not just a rejection of their request; it’s a challenge to their perceived omnipotence, an affront to their very existence.

9. Expectations of Commitment

Expecting commitment from a narcissist is like trying to draw water from a dry well. While they may talk a big game about loyalty and devotion, their actions rarely align with their words. 

Narcissists see themselves as deserving of unwavering loyalty and dedication from others, yet they seldom reciprocate these qualities themselves. They view relationships as vehicles for fulfilling their own needs and desires, with little regard for the feelings or needs of their partners.

Adoring partners often cling to hope that the narcissist will change, lured by their charming words and promises of a better future. However, these promises are often empty and fleeting, serving only to manipulate their partner into compliance.

In reality, the narcissist holds all the power in the relationship. They dictate the terms and conditions, changing them at will to suit their own agenda. Their lack of empathy and disregard for others’ feelings make it nearly impossible for them to truly commit to anyone or anything beyond their own self-interests.

Attempting to hold a narcissist to the standards of commitment and loyalty is an exercise in futility. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole – no matter how hard you try, it’s never going to work. 

10. Implementing Consequences

Attempting to establish boundaries with a narcissist is often an exercise in frustration and futility. Their inability to accept responsibility or acknowledge wrongdoing makes any attempt at consequence implementation an uphill battle.

In response to your efforts to set limits, a narcissist may resort to one of three typical reactions. First, they may dismiss your concerns entirely, gaslighting you by invalidating your feelings and experiences.

Alternatively, they might feign contrition, promising to change their behavior, only to revert to their old ways shortly afterward. Finally, some narcissists may react with intense rage, resorting to threats or even physical violence to assert their dominance.

Consequences hold little sway over narcissists, as they refuse to acknowledge their own fallibility. They cannot comprehend why someone would perceive them as wrong, let alone care about the consequences of their actions. Even if they do understand, they simply don’t care, prioritizing their own desires above all else.

As a result, many individuals find themselves giving up on enforcing boundaries with narcissists, opting to avoid conflict rather than confront their manipulative behaviors. How often have you found yourself foregoing setting boundaries simply because it seems futile to do so with a narcissist?

11. Public Humiliation

Public humiliation is like a dagger to the heart of a narcissist’s fragile ego. They simply cannot tolerate the thought of being perceived as inferior or incompetent in any way, especially in front of others.

The fragile nature of a narcissist’s ego means that even the slightest hint of public humiliation can trigger a dramatic and often destructive response. They may resort to a variety of tactics in an attempt to salvage their wounded pride:

1. Making violent or emotionally-charged threats: In a desperate attempt to regain control and assert dominance, some narcissists may resort to making threats of physical or emotional harm towards those they perceive as responsible for their humiliation.

2. Attempting to one-up the audience by turning on them: Narcissists may react by attempting to shift the focus away from themselves and onto others, particularly those present in the public setting. They may engage in behaviors designed to belittle or undermine others in an effort to regain a sense of superiority.

3. Screaming or yelling: Unable to contain their emotions, some narcissists may resort to shouting or yelling in an attempt to intimidate and assert dominance over others. This outburst of anger is often fueled by their deep-seated fear of being perceived as weak or vulnerable.

4. Walking away with obvious anger: Feeling unable to control the situation, some narcissists may choose to simply walk away in a display of anger and frustration. This act serves to protect their fragile ego from further damage while allowing them to maintain a facade of control.

5. Laughing it off in public only to lash out later on loved ones: In an attempt to save face in front of others, some narcissists may respond to public humiliation with forced laughter or dismissive remarks. However, once they are alone or in the company of trusted individuals, they may unleash their anger and frustration on their loved ones in a display of emotional manipulation.

6. Making up lies about anyone who is a real expert: To deflect attention away from their own shortcomings, narcissists may resort to spreading lies or rumors about those they perceive as threats or rivals. By discrediting the expertise or credibility of others, they hope to regain a sense of control and superiority in the eyes of those around them.

12. Losing At Anything

Witnessing a narcissist lose at anything can be akin to observing a toddler throwing a tantrum after losing a board game. While such behavior may be acceptable in children, it becomes far more concerning when exhibited by adults.

Narcissists are notoriously sore losers, struggling to accept defeat gracefully. Instead, they may resort to various tactics to cope with their loss. Some may attempt to shift blame onto external factors, such as claiming that the person in charge was incompetent or that the game was rigged against them.

Others may resort to attempts at defaming or humiliating the winner, unable to accept their own shortcomings gracefully.

In some cases, narcissists may even feign indifference to the outcome, pretending that winning wasn’t important to them in the first place. Alternatively, they may attempt to steal the spotlight by insisting that they graciously allowed the other person to win, despite evidence to the contrary.

Perhaps most concerning is the narcissist’s refusal to accept defeat, even after the fact. They may awkwardly act as if they were the actual winner, rewriting history to suit their own narrative.

This can be particularly frustrating for those who have left a narcissistic relationship, only to hear the narcissist claim credit for the breakup or spin the story to make themselves appear in a more favorable light.

Is Your Relationship or Marriage Worth Saving?

If you find yourself struggling with feelings of unworthiness and self-loathing due to your relationship, it may be a sign that your relationship is not healthy or fulfilling. It’s important to assess whether the relationship is worth saving or if it may be better to prioritize your own well-being and happiness.

Consider the following questions:

1. Are you able to communicate openly and honestly with your partner?

2. Do you feel valued, respected, and appreciated in the relationship?

3. Are both you and your partner willing to work on addressing issues and making positive changes?

4. Are there patterns of abuse, manipulation, or toxicity in the relationship that are causing harm?

5. Have you sought support from friends, family, or professionals to help navigate challenges in the relationship?

Ultimately, only you can determine whether your relationship is worth saving. It may be helpful to seek guidance from trusted friends, family members, or therapists to gain perspective and explore your options.

Remember that your well-being and happiness should always be a priority. If the relationship is causing you significant distress and unhappiness, it may be time to consider ending it and focusing on your own healing and growth.