5 tools to reduce the impact of narcissistic abuse

Narcissists are emotional abusers who aim to cause upset, sadness, desperation, confusion, low self-esteem, insecurity and guilt in others. Not just any person, but those who are naturally empathic, happy to forgive and give second chances.


Communication loop

It is the transaction between the narcissist and the empath that makes the emotional abuse a reality.

Imagine when two people are exposed to the same abuse of a narcissist, it could easily be that one will be absolutely floored, while the other shrugs their shoulders and lets it slide off. And of course, it is the one that is floored who presents the narc with their perfect target, to be changed into their victim.

The simple route of effective communication means that there is a sender, a message, a receiver, and feedback. That closes the loop.

In the case of interactions with a narc, the narc will send a message that is meant to be hurtful in any way or form. The receiver takes it in, has an emotional response to it and reacts. That reaction is the feedback the narcissist is looking for.

The reaction they want is upset, sadness, desperation, confusion, low self-esteem, insecurity or a sense of guilt. It shows them they are top-dog and in control.

If the receiver ignores the message and doesn’t react, the abuse doesn’t materialise.

Break the loop

It is important to stop the communication from being effective by changing your behaviour as the receiver of emotionally abusive messages and behaviour.


  1. Understand what narcissists are looking for.
  2. Understand what you are looking for.
  3. Recognise the underlying emotional abuse in their communication.
  4. Choose a response that blocks the abuser, understand how much power you have and apply the power.


1. Never look on the bright side

A narcissist is only motivated by actions that benefit them. They won’t do anything for anyone else, to make someone feel better.

Always keep in mind what the reason behind their behaviour and communication is. Could it be that they seem to be nice because they want to make a good impression on others? Could it be they twist the truth to look like the better party? Could it be they need something from you and therefore seem nice?

You might be looking for the change. Never be tempted into thinking their behaviour shows a change of intention because it doesn’t. Let go of hope. 

2. They will suck you dry if you allow them

A narcissist is entitled. From this mindset, they will happily take your energy, time, money, services, stuff and whatever else they can get from you.

If you want to make it happen with them and feel compelled to be the giving party, you will end up depleted and empty. The price you pay for being nice and adhering to their ‘wishes’ is high. Too high. The only way to stop that process is by setting boundaries and deciding upfront how much of your resources you are willing to use to please your narc. 

3. Prepare for the waiting game

Being late is a way to attract attention. Right up the street of a narcissist. It is also a way of creating drama and upsetting others. However, if you know that this is a pattern, you can anticipate events, have a backup plan when appropriate (fe. babysitting) or lie about the starting time of an event. That way you nip the drama in the bud. 

4. Turn into a grey rock

Grey rocking is the technique where you disengage emotionally and let everything that comes your way slide off. Words, eyes and gestures will never be received. The narc wants to throw their abuse at you to make you feel miserable, but you cut off the communication by grey rocking. Thinking about something totally different, ignoring their messages and focusing on your own stuff. You are not there to jump to their wishes at the cost of your expense, even though you might have thought engaging would help to ease the relationship. Believe me, it won’t.

5. Keep your joys to yourself

Narcs don’t like it when you have a good time. As top dogs, they need to have a better time. Sharing what pleases you will help them to find ways to spoil it. You might want to share to feel closer to them or to be open and honest, but it will backfire. The best protection is to keep to yourself to yourself and not share anything that is of value to you. You have the right to protect yourself.

Dealing with a narcissist and overcoming narcissistic abuse is a huge challenge. Don’t travel the journey by yourself, but find a professional who understands what you are experiencing or have gone through. That will stir your healing journey in the right direction and get you back in the driving seat of your own life.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Weybridge, Surrey, KT13
Written by Mariette Jansen, Dr
Weybridge, Surrey, KT13

Dr Mariette Jansen (Dr De-Stress) is a life coach / psychotherapist and author of two best-selling selfhelp books on Narcissism. She grew up with a narcissistic mother and has first hand experience of the emotional abuse.
Focus areas of her coachng are narcissistic abuse, lack of confidence and stress.
Offers a free coaching call via her website.

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