How to Deal With a Narcissist: 12 Things That Drive Them Crazy

Ever found yourself dealing with a narcissistic individual? It’s not always easy, right?

In this article, we’ll explore 12 things that drive narcissists crazy, helping you navigate those challenging interactions. Let’s dive in!

1. Empathy: Showing genuine concern for their feelings

Narcissists often struggle with empathy, as they focus primarily on themselves. When you demonstrate understanding and compassion towards their emotions, it catches them off guard. This doesn’t mean enabling manipulative behavior; rather, showing true care when interacting with them.

2. Boundaries: Establishing clear limits

Setting firm boundaries can frustrate narcissists since they thrive on controlling others. By clearly defining what behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable, you reclaim power in the relationship and create healthier dynamics.

“Healthy relationships require boundaries. Without them, chaos ensues.” – Henry Cloud & John Townsend, authors of “Boundaries”

3. Vulnerability: Sharing personal stories and experiences

Opening up about your life may annoy a narcissist because they prefer focusing solely on themselves. However, being vulnerable helps build trust and fosters deeper connections—skills crucial for any healthy relationship.

4. Constructive Criticism: Providing feedback respectfully

Critiquing a narcissist might seem impossible without triggering anger, but delivering well-intentioned criticism constructively can lead to growth opportunities for both parties involved. Just remember to stay calm, objective, and solution-oriented during discussions.

A Word Of Caution: Dealing With Narcissistic Abuse

It’s essential to recognize potential signs of emotional abuse while managing relationships with narcissists. If someone consistently disregards your needs, belittles your opinions, or isolates you from friends and family, consider seeking support from trusted loved ones or professionals.

5. Assertiveness: Standing Up For Yourself Firmly

Expressing your thoughts confidently yet tactfully sends a strong message to a narcissist: You won’t tolerate disrespectful treatment. Being assertive shows self-assurance and allows you to claim equal footing in conversations.

6. Independence: Pursuing Personal Goals And Interests

Avoid becoming overly dependent on a narcissist by cultivating hobbies, friendships, and other interests outside the relationship. Prioritize personal development and watch how the dynamic shifts between you two.

7. Gratitude: Expressing Appreciation Authentically

When expressing gratitude genuinely, narcissists may become irritated due to feeling undervalued or ignored. Nonetheless, giving thanks benefits mental health and strengthens bonds among equals.

“Feeling grateful or appreciative leads to higher levels of happiness.” – Dr. Robert Emmons, psychologist

8. Reflective Listening: Paraphrasing Their Thoughts Back To Them

By reflecting back what they say using different words (paraphrasing), you show attentiveness and encourage open communication. While narcissists may initially resist this approach, consistent efforts can foster mutual understanding.

PhraseExample
Original statementI hate my job.
ReflectionSo, work isn’t enjoyable for you nowadays.

9. Silence: Keeping Quiet During Arguments

Responding to provocations with silence denies a narcissist attention and validation, diminishing their motivation to engage in toxic patterns. Instead, choose mindfulness and thoughtful responses over impulsive reactions.

10. Personal Space: Taking Time Apart From Each Other

Creating physical distance reinforces the importance of independence within relationships, allowing each person to grow individually while preserving connection and affection.

11. Self-compassion: Treating Yourself Kindly

Be gentle with yourself as you learn to manage interactions with a narcissist. Practicing self-compassion encourages resilience, promoting overall wellbeing despite challenges faced along the way.

12. Professional Help: Consulting Therapists Or Counselors

If dealing with a narcissist becomes overwhelming, seek guidance from trained professionals experienced in handling such situations. They provide valuable insight and strategies to cope effectively.


Navigating relationships involving narcissism requires patience and determination. Utilizing these techniques can help alleviate frustration and promote more balanced interactions, empowering both you and the narcissist toward positive change.

I'm Sarah Koch, a Relationship Coach based in Austin, Texas. With over 9 years of professional experience and degrees in Sociology and Counseling Psychology from UT Austin, I specialize in helping people build healthy, fulfilling relationships. On this blog, you'll find practical tips and insightful guidance for improving communication, resolving conflicts, increasing intimacy, and fostering deeper connections in your romantic relationships, family dynamics, friendships and more.

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Mrs & The Misc is a passion project from life coach and mom Sarah Koch. With a background in psychology and years of empowering personal growth, Sarah shares bite-sized wisdom and practical tools for fostering healthy relationships, achieving goals, elevating well-being, and living with intention.

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