25 answers

Help in Settling an Argument with a Narcissist :(

Hi there, this is more of a relationship question than a parenting one, but here goes: I am currently in a long-standing argument with an extended family member whom I believe has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (my opinion, not confirmed). In my naivete, I disagreed with this person about something that they said and it turned into a huge deal. I've since been reading about this disorder and am understanding what is going on in her head. She is also bullying me by using the time-honored (haha) female bullying techniques of forming cliques (within our family), exclusion (of me), and gossip (with other members of our family). BTW we aren't in high school. Both in our thirties. Of course with the holidays coming up, it brings the issue between us to the forefront. We see each other a couple times a year. I'm not willing to forgo these family functions just to satisfy her ego. There is family there that I do want to see. My question is: from your experience in dealing with someone like this, is there a way to end this argument so that we are not enemies, or do I just completely ignore her? I've already asked her to stop discussing it with family members. I hold no ill-will towards her, yet I don't think we will ever be very friendly. I've tried googling this, but only come up with "how to leave a narcissist if you're, like, married to one" Thank you so much for any insights you can give!

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all so much. It helps to hear from people who have dealt with this in their personal lives! I never really understood why she is the way she is until now. I'm not trying to "label" her. I would never tell anyone my suspicions about NPD. But now I understand why, even when things were good between us, that I always felt that if we weren't family, she wouldn't consider me "good enough" to be her friend. I have fallen into the trap many times of doing favors for her when I truly did not have the time, taking criticism and not saying anything about it, etc. My husband would ask me "Why are you doing all this for her?" We had a disagreement about 2 years ago and I was the one to apologize to keep the peace. But that is my m.o. - passive, non-confrontational. Not until she started telling me how to raise my kids did I have to put a stop to it. I've been so distraught by this that my Dr. put me on anxiety and blood pressure medicine. I now understand that she has no interest in resolving this because I'm probably not all that important to her, her only interest is to make herself look better. It is actually very liberating because I now know that this has little to do with me, it is her defense mechanism to put on this show. I will absolutely not argue with her anymore; there's no reason to. I will be cordial. I still love her and her family, but I know, as I've known my whole life, that I can only be around her for a short time, for my own sanity.

Featured Answers

The best thing to do when you are playing tug-a-war with a difficult person is to just drop the rope.

10 moms found this helpful

There was a similar question about a week ago. These links might help you.



My Mom is a narcissist. She is very difficult to deal with. I don't argue with her I state my feelings and go on from there. She feels that if she isn't interested in something or doesn't like something -- no one should. I just her ignore her.

Go to the family gatherings and be polite but not overly friendly with this person. Don't engage her in conversation or argue with her. If she tries to start something simply look her in the eye in front of everyone and say "Why can't you accept that not everyone agrees with you. I have a right to my own opinion. Different is just that DIFFERENT it's not bad or wrong and neither am I."

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers

The best thing to do when you are playing tug-a-war with a difficult person is to just drop the rope.

10 moms found this helpful

There is no winning an argument with a narcissist. Drop it.

If it's critical, just do it your way with no argument.

9 moms found this helpful

Have you tried to agree to disagree, if only in your own mind? I would definitely not try to discuss the topic ever again.

I don't know what you mean by ignore her. I would go to family get togethers but I would be cordial. I would avoid all discussion of opinions.

I suggest that the best way to handle this is to give it time. Ignore what she says to other family members. Continue to be your friendly and accepting self. Let others make up their own minds about the situation without you trying to defend yourself.

8 moms found this helpful

Well since I was married to a narcissistic sociopath for 18 years I can tell you that you cannot win an argument with a narcissist. They are always right, the only time you are right is when you are in agreement with them.

I can tell you how to get along with one. For one always word things as an opinion, an opinion that everyone believes is true. Never do this after they have offered a different opinion because then you are wrong. So long as they believe that agreeing with you will always be considered right they will agree with you.

Crazy I know. If you find the most insecure person you know I can assure you the narcissist is even more insecure. They are so insecure they cannot handle being wrong.

My ex would have temper tantrums that would inspire pride from any two year old if I tried to get him to admit he is wrong.

Good luck, they are a lot of work. Obviously more than I could take because I divorced him.

Yeah Hazel brought up some good ones. They won't confront you in public where someone else could take your side. They are strange creatures I tell ya. My boss is one, she loved to yell about all my mistakes, which were actually her mistakes, until I had enough and said, no I emailed you about this, it is on your desk. She never did it again because that is beyond humiliating to a narcissist.

8 moms found this helpful

This is a really tough one... if she's truly a narcissist there is literally nothing that you can say/do to have her see your point. The only thing that will "end it" is to somehow acquiesce to her thinking. Depending on what the argument is about, either concede and end the whole thing for the sake of the family or refuse to discuss it with her further. Either way, try not to be alone with her because it WILL become the ONLY topic of conversation.

7 moms found this helpful

Win an arguement with a narcissist? That's impossible. They are never wrong and they love drama. My stepdtr is like this and worse. My advice to you is to not react to her, do not engage in deep conversations with her. Avoid her as much as possible if you can. Keep it a hi and bye type of thing. You can't reason with someone like this because they do not have the reasoning skills you and I do, ones that make sense that is. Be glad you only have to see her a couple of times a year. Just play nice and do your thing. Rise above and others will see that and respect that. True narcissists usually end up alone because eventually people get tired of dealing with their drama. How many narcissists do you know that have true friends?

7 moms found this helpful

You can't "win" with a Narcissist.
There are many.... types of Narcissism and degrees of its mental illness and personality disorders, or DSM categories, .http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_M...,
Which only a trained Psychologist, can pinpoint in all its spectrum.

And, people like this, will always get people to be in their vicious toxic cycle... because most people who deal with them, either keeps trying to knock 'sense' into them or 'win' against them or prove their point or think they can 'change' them... or, they are just being manipulated by the Narcissist. And it does not stop.

One way a person can keep manipulating or victimizing someone else... is when the person keeps interacting with them, too.
To various degrees of what is required, you either just ignore them, divorce them, get legal help, or just disown them. etc.

You cannot... 'rationalize' with someone who is mentally ill... and with a Narcissist, which is very moot.
They do NOT think, like a normal person, nor do they have the same basis of right/wrong, as a normal person would.
Their whole matrix... is different.

AND... another thing is: people who are mentally ill, CAN make other people mentally ill as well... because of the stress/mental games & anguish and manipulations.... that they do to the other person.
Unless you are trained and can "detach" from the person emotionally and mentally... you can easily... be swept up INTO the mentally ill person's.... total toxicity. And therefore, become, not well yourself and fully, absorbed by the other person.
Many people do not consider, just how a mentally ill person, can make THEM, mentally ill too. Therefore, unless you are cognizant of that, a person can be forever tangled up emotionally, with that mentally ill person.
And then, the relationship becomes entrenched.
And then, the lines of normalcy, ends and becomes blurred.
And then, before you know it, years of misery accumulates. And no hindsight is evident. Anymore.

You have to watch out for yourself and your own mental well being.
Not about "fixing" the other person who you KNOW is mentally ill, or trying to prove that you can outdo them.
They need to see a Psychologist or Psychiatrist.

You cannot "settle" an argument with a Narcissist.
Do you see? That person already has YOU.... spinning your wheels... because you do not want to let go of that person. Whom you know... is mentally ill. And you don't even see this person everyday... but you are thinking about it a lot... and 'planning' ways to win that person.
So you are in the vicious cycle with that person. Already.
You cannot win... with a person like this.
It takes years.... or psychological treatment and/or meds... for a Narcissist to MAYBE, improve. But it is still, no guarantee.
So for a Layperson, to try and 'win' or convert a Narcissist.. is really, a moot thing.

Narcissists... leave trails of damaged people behind them.
And.... everyone... walks on egg-shells, around a Narcissist.
And, most people, just give in to them, because that is easier... than arguing with them or becoming their victim.
Hence, yes, cliques form. And some people do not see through the Narcissists lies and manipulations. Hence, yes, unfortunate problems occurs, often with a whole bunch of people seemingly against "one" person. And tons, of gossip/lies/rumors, which the other people take as truth.

You take yourself out of the equation.
Which means, ignore the person. In whatever way that means to you.
But that will not necessarily, stop... the Narcissist, from talking about you or making trouble.

Now, I have a relative, that is a Narcissist. And who knows if she even knows she herself has mental problems. Probably not. As is typical.
But... naturally, this person has tons of problems and interaction problems with others to various degrees. This is typical of Narcissists.
But... this person, (as is typical again), will say that nothing is 'her' fault... BECAUSE... she will say "Sally is SUCH a Narcissist, and blames everyone except herself and always has to make trouble to others and then puts on such an act like she is so innocent."
So, a Narcissist calling another person, a Narcissist. When, the real Narcissist can't even recognize.... that the problem is themselves.
What another vicious cycle.
And it goes on and on and on.

The end result is:
-others stop associating with them
- others become more tangled up with them and the problems they cause.
- others just give in to them because they don't want to be attacked and then everyone just ends up walking on egg-shells around them, and then this becomes, the 'norm.'
- but the Narcissist, often just keeps on making trouble for others, whether they imagine it or not. Because their sense of reality, is not normal. And making trouble for others, is powerful. Again, justifying their existence.

6 moms found this helpful

I think you have to keep a person like that at arm's length. It's too much work to worry about when the next argument will be. Be nice, but distant, and don't let her drag you into any of the drama. People will figure out who the jerk is, eventually.

5 moms found this helpful

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