The narcissists playbook should be your key to escape. There are traits a narcissist has that are different from yours, and these traits are what hurt you and keep you under control. Have you tried exposing a narcissist? Then you know that your life can become a living hell. You may think when you let a narcissist know you’re on to them, you can get the upper hand. Or you may think when a narcissist knows you’re onto him/her you can get the destructive behaviors against you to stop . But exactly the opposite will happen. Exposing a narcissist will unleash the furies of hell worse than anything you’ve seen before. So you should know the weapons in the narcissist’s playbook to plan a quiet, not a noisy escape.

The narcissist’s playbook uses tactics that make exposing a narcissist impossible

One of our friends, we’ll call him Bill, asked us what to do about a narcissistic family member who gaslighted and triangulated against him, turning loving family into a suspicious and angry one. The narcissistic family member told so many lies about Bill he was turned into the family scapegoat for everything that went wrong. The truth is you can’t expose a narcissist and expect a good result. You are the only person who can change.

But why is escaping a narcissist so hard

So what are the traits that make escaping a narcissist so difficult? The narcissist isn’t just a selfish person who wants to be right all the time. The narcissist is a person with a character defect who has to have the upper hand in every interaction all the time. That means a narcissist will use every tactic to make you miserable. He/she uses everyone else’s feelings to gain control. He will flatter to get on your good side and then tear you down. This constant tearing you down or degrading you is a key tactic from the narcissists playbook.

The narcissist’s playbook reveals a person without a conscience

A narcissist doesn’t care about your feelings in the first place. Your feelings are only a way to control you. A narcissist will know everything there is to know about how you feel, and then use your every feeling against you. Pretty much everything he/she does is to control you by making you feel good then bad, then mostly bad. And finally a narcissist will make you feel crazy, distraught and desperate, especially if you try to expose him/her to others.

The narcissist’s playbook includes these 9 hurtful tactics

Gaslighting creates an alternate realty

With gaslighting, the narcissist will lie about what happened to prove you’re mistaken. They will shift the facts about everything so that you begin to wonder what’s the truth. Gaslighting is a form of manipulation to undermine you and make you think you’re crazy.

Projecting their feelings on you 

A narcissist will project his/her feelings on you. What does projecting mean? It means if you’re not feeling angry, but the narcissist is, the narcissist will accuse you of feeling what he is feeling. He will accuse you of being jealous, when he/or she is the jealous one. You are being hurtful, he will say, when he is the hurtful one. Whatever negative feeling the narcissist has, he will project onto you as if you’re the one to blame. The narcissist knows that you’re not like them. You experience normal emotions like guilt and compassion – they don’t. They’ll project their abuse onto you because they assume you’ll accept it and apologize. Don’t argue with a narcissist, you can’t win.

Baiting you is a form of trauma bonding

Narcissists are extremely reactive. Don’t believe anyone who says I hate drama but is always in some kind of adrenalin spiking fight. Baiting you into a fight is a common tactic of narcissists. They love to fight because they remain cool while insulting you every way they can. You’re in a puddle of despair while a narcissist is screaming yelling and insulting you to get you into a state of rage. If you don’t respond, there can be no fight.

Leveling reminds you of every bad thing you ever did

Leveling is another effective tool in the narcissist’s tool box, or playbook if you will. Leveling brings you down. If you accuse a narcissist of anything, the narcissist will throw back at you your weaknesses, foibles, and insecurities. Everything you ever did wrong will come back at you in a storm every time you try to have a discussion. 

How can you call the narcissist a bad person when you, too, have done some terrible things? Even if you haven’t. A narcissist will say, “Who are you to evaluate abusive behavior? You’re not a psychologist. What gives you the right?” Even if you are a psychologist, you can’t get the upper hand with a narcissist. He or she will attack your integrity and your past shortcomings to make his abuse seem normal and make you think you have no ground to stand on.

Manipulating you with fear of consequences

Keep in mind that the narcissist has spent months or years breaking down your very identity. They know more about you than you know about yourself. It you’re insecure, and who isn’t around a narcissist, you will hear this. “You’ll never find someone like me and you’ll die alone.” If you try exposing a narcissist, they’ll turn your deepest fears and guilt into a picture of destruction to manipulate you into capitulation. “How can you do or say this after everything I’ve done for you?”

Devaluing or discarding you make narcissists feel better

Narcissists are experts at devaluing you. If you try exposing a narcissist, expect to be told you’re no good in every way possible. It will hurt. This is the time he/she may resort to violence. Get all the facts to escape a narcissist safely. And if the narcissist can’t win, or feels the fight isn’t worth it. He may ghost you to make you disappear altogether.

Playing the victim makes you feel guilty

A narcissist will always play the victim, and the blame game. If you attempt to expose them, they’ll attack you for bringing up all their flaws after they had “the worst day” at work. They’ll blame their abusive behavior on a previous relationship or sob story about their upbringing (which probably isn’t even true). Even if you think the situation is a clear-cut case of the narcissist hurting you and doing something wrong, they will miraculously wriggle into the position of a victim.

Blackmailing destroys you with fear of consequences

Get ready to experience a level of vindictiveness like you could never imagine – especially if you expose the narcissist and refuse to cave after their initial outburst. A Narcissist is absolutely not above making you homeless, cleaning out your bank account, publicly posting your intimate photos, intentionally crashing your car, or withholding access to your own children to get what they want from you. 

Triangulating pits others against you

Triangulating is a play narcissists use with your friends. Triangulating uses gaslighting techniques on your friends, bosses, children, whoever you care about to get the wrong idea about you. A narcissist will tell stories about you, make up lies about how unkind or evil or hurtful you are. The narcissist may say you have been unfaithful or have abused the children to alienate you from those who care about you. Their goal is to get others to act against you.

Escaping a narcissist safely

The first important thing to remember is that you can’t tell a narcissist what you feel or what you want or plan to do. A narcissist will do everything in his playbook to prevent you from leaving, or succeeding in life, or having the support of your friends. If you are a talker or sharer, now is the time for quiet action.  


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Leslie Glass

Leslie Glass became a recovery advocate and co-founder of Reach Out Recovery in 2011, encouraged by her daughter Lindsey who had struggled with substances as a teen and young adult. Learning how to manage the family disease of addiction with no roadmap to follow inspired the mother and daughter to create Reach Out Recovery's website to help others experiencing the same life-threatening problems. Together they produced the the 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World of Recovery, and the teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, distributed by American Public Television. In her career, Leslie has worked in advertising, publishing, and magazines as a writer of both fiction and non fiction. She is the author of 9 bestselling crime novels, featuring NYPD Dt.Sgt. April Woo. Leslie has has served as a Public Member of the Middle States Commission of Higher Education and as a Trustee of the New York City Police Foundation. For from 1990 to 2017, Leslie was the Trustee of the Leslie Glass Foundation. Leslie is a proud member of Rotary International.

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