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Do you really want to know how to make a narcissist miserable? I mean, they are fair game after all they did to you. And don’t worry about having to itemize the things the narcissist did to make life difficult for you… I'm sure the list is long.
I've had my fair share of dealing with narcissists and I know how they can mess with your peace. It doesn't matter if they are a romantic partner, family member, or platonic friend. They're just hard to deal with. Point blank. Period.
And now it's your turn to make them miserable and I've got 15 powerful ways to make them wish they never crossed you. Finally, you can put the narcissist in their place and make them respect you.
What Is a Narcissist?
A narcissist is someone who displays certain identifiable traits related to narcissism. The traits include an inflated sense of self-importance (grandiosity), a strong desire for attention, a hunger for admiration, and self-centeredness.
In their head, they deserve special treatment. If it's not about them, they're not interested. They also lack empathy, can be manipulative and have difficulty treating others with respect.
Signs You're Dealing with a Narcissist
Most people may occasionally display narcissistic behaviors, but not enough to make them a narcissist, according to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). You may be dealing with a highly narcissistic parent, partner, or friend if they consistently behave in the following manner:
The pattern of behaviors often results in a toxic relationship that can be difficult to end.
Effects of Dealing with a Narcissist
At first, the narcissist acts charming and promises the world to get you to trust them. Psychologists call the behavior “love bombing.” Once they achieve their goal, their “mask” slips, and their true selves come out. It's confusing to see such a “nice” person turn toxic.
Based on my experience with several narcissistic people, they love to gaslight and use manipulative statements like, “You don't know what you're talking about,” “You're crazy!” or “You made me do this”
Studies reveal that narcissists seek out empaths primarily because of their kind and forgiving nature. These vulnerable traits serve as narcissistic fuel. But even empaths get to the point of “enough” and start trying to figure out how to make a narcissist miserable.
Experts say narcissism is rooted in low self-esteem and low self-worth. By treating others badly, these self-fish manipulators feel better about themselves. Dealing with them is often traumatizing and the emotional and psychological effects might be present long before you decide to push back. Common effects include:
15 Ways to Make a Narcissist Miserable
The best way to “hit” the narc where it hurts is to do these 15 things they dislike.
Tactic #1. Know your enemy
To successfully make the narcissist wish they never messed with you, you'll have to get to know them inside out.
Pull up online articles on the different types of narcissists. I was married to one who's grandiose (overt narcissism) and dated one who's vulnerable (covert narcissism). There is also the cerebral, somatic, communal, and malignant narcissist. Clinical psychologist, Dr. Ramani Durvasula explained more in her YouTube video.
Understanding which type you're dealing with helps you determine what makes them tick. Once you've figured out their weak spots, it's time to pull their mask off and turn the tables.
Tactic #2. Call them out on their “bs”
Narcs do not like taking accountability for their lies, cheating, deceit, and other toxic conduct. Remember, they have a false image to uphold. Calling them out for what they are hurts at the core. They can't stand knowing you've figured them out and will take it as a narcissistic injury. Expect them to push back and get mad.
Don't be surprised if they call you a narcissist in one of their classic attempts to deflect from the issue at hand. Stand your ground. Let them know that you know who they truly are and it's time for them to shape up or ship out.
Tactic #3. Tell them, “No”
Knowing how to make a narcissist miserable can be quite simple as using the word, “No.” Narcs target people-pleasers, including empaths and individuals with a caregiver mentality. If you fall into any of these categories, you know how difficult it is to turn down the endless wants and needs of your narcissistic spouse, child, or friend.
Let the buck stop here. Start responding with statements such as, “No”, “I can't do that,” and “Not today.” Not giving in to their demands is another narcissistic injury. They'll find it infuriating because of their sense of entitlement. How dare you reject their wants and needs?
Tactic #4. Hit them with new boundaries
Healthy relationships require a healthy set of boundaries for everyone involved. The individuals in question don't like or respect boundaries. Set them anyway, even though they will fume and complain.
Boundary setting is intended to prevent others from violating your space and values. Make no mistake; they will test your boundaries to see if you're going to give in. Be strong, as narcs have the tenacity to wear people down, even if it means being nice until you let up.
Tactic #5. Hold them accountable
Stop letting them slide with their bad behavior. No more thinking they can manipulate you and do whatever else they want without having to answer for it. They get furious when you seek answers to just about anything.
There's a sense of superiority that causes them to feel you have no right to question them or for them to answer you. Instead, they'll deflect and stall or change the topic to avoid accountability. Double down on the line of questioning and let them know you expect an answer.
Tactic #6. Set consequences
Narcissistic people's dislike of consequences pales in comparison to their resentment of boundaries. However, consequences are what make boundaries effective. Set consequences for boundary violations and when they don't want to own up to their wrongdoings.
Consequences work better when they are directly related to the boundary violation, specific, and practical. For example, “If you aren't ready on time, I won't give you a ride to school.”
Let them know that disregarding your time and needs or believing you have to help them isn't going to cut it anymore. Prove you're serious and don't drive them to wherever the next time they show a lack of respect for your time.
Tactic #7. Hit them with facts and evidence
Are you living with a narc who's an expert at lying and denying? These two traits can drive you nuts. For narcissists, it never happened, not unless you have proof.
Gather the facts and evidence and show it to them whenever they attempt to lie. Be prepared for them to argue with the facts and deny legitimate evidence.
Admitting puts them to shame and shows that they're flawed. They have a huge problem with this. Psychiatrists believe narcissistic people don't really feel guilt, but are afraid of being shamed and publicly humiliated. That explains why they'll go to lengths to protect their false image and reputation.
Tactic #8. Shift the spotlight onto yourself
Switch things up by making your experience with them all about you. Doing so ought to piss them off. “How dare you become obsessed with yourself?” they'll ask themselves. Narcs love having the spotlight on them and can't stand it when you fail to notice, admire, or validate them.
If the person is a coworker, they may love to take all the credit for teamwork. Letting everyone know about your contributions will make the narc feel thrown under the bus. It will enrage them to see everyone focusing attention on you.
If the individual is your partner, turn the attention to something about you each time they start talking about themselves.
Tactic #9. Show authority
Narcissists despise authority and rules because it means someone else is wielding power and control. That might explain why they dislike dealing with authority figures, across the board, and are known for being insubordinate.
Start making them miserable by calling the shots, being assertive, and standing up for yourself. Tell them, “This is what we will do and won't do from now on.”
They'll see it as an attempt to quash their desire for control. Feeling threatened, they might try to engage you in a power struggle. Don't engage or they will use it as narcissistic supply.
Tactic #10. Ignore them
Want to pop their inflated ego? Ignoring them does it best. They love attention. It's fuel for their fragile ego and they need it to feel important or valuable.
Cutting off your attention is one way to reduce their narcissistic supply. It's bound to make them feel like they don't matter.
However, this tactic can be tricky, as narcissists thrive on negative attention, too. They may think you're ignoring them because they “got to you” emotionally.
This can inspire them to do more of the things you dislike. Despite this, ignoring them long enough will force them to look elsewhere for narcissistic fuel to end their misery.
Tactic #11. Gray rocking
Gray rocking is a communication technique for reducing the attention you've been giving the person. The technique is similar to the silent treatment and can be especially effective for dealing with a parent or adult child you can't necessarily banish forever. Keep communication short and to the point.
Responding with “Yes,” “No,” and “Okay” and with no explanation will make them feel unimportant like a gray rock by the roadside. Let's see how they like that. Sounds harsh, but don't flinch. The individual doesn't consider your needs and feelings. Why should you worry about theirs?
Tactic #12. Treat them how they treat you
Inflict a great deal of misery by treating your manipulative narcissistic friend the same way they treat you. By this, I mean mirroring the individual. If they deny, you deny. If they deflect, you deflect. Talk a lot about yourself and don't let them get a word in.
Now, going toe-to-toe with a narcissist like this might feel strange, especially if tit-for-tat is not in your nature. You might crack up once you see the confusion or disbelief on their face.
That's how to make a narcissist miserable. Talk about giving them a taste of their own medicine. I bet it doesn't taste good.
Tactic #13. Leave the narcissist
They think they own and control you and you can't leave them until they're ready to discard you. Once a narcissist initiates the trauma bonding to keep you under their thumb, they feel confident that you're stuck with them.
A trauma bond can be created through emotional abuse, which can include habitually lying, cheating, or calling you ‘crazy.” Leaving them for good puts an end to control and manipulation.
They'll become miserable to the point of losing their mind once they realize you cut off their narcissistic supply.
Tactic #14. Live your best life and make sure they know
Another way to humiliate the narc and leave them in misery is by getting on with your life without them. The person will feel envious of you, which is another trait of narcissism.
Envy drives their need to compete with and try to one-up you. It's ironic since they portray themselves to be an accomplished, know-all whose life is better than yours.
In actuality, they walk around with a deep sense of emptiness and seek fulfillment from their connection with you. Yet, they just can't stand to see you happy and succeeding. It drives them berserk!
Knowing that they hate this is all the more reason to focus on self-care, self-love, and improving your well-being through exercise, journaling, and affirmations.
Tactic #15. Cease Contact
If you’re truly wondering how to make a narcissist miserable, then apply the “No Contact” rule. No contact is the ultimate blow to the narc's fragile self-esteem and ego.
The rule was introduced as a way to finally banish them for good. It's quite simple to follow. Just unfollow, block, and delete all traces of them online and offline.
Refuse to respond if they try making contact with you using fake numbers or third parties, also known as “flying monkeys.” Resorting to no contact conveys strongly that you're done!
Final Thoughts on How to Make a Narcissist Miserable
The secret to making a narcissist wish they never messed with you is to target the things they hate. You'll beat them at their own game and get the respect you deserve. But remember to feel the narcissist out first and avoid taking any step that could push them to hurt you.
If you’ve already gotten to the point of no return and are a victim of violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Also, check out 5 Stages of Healing & Recovery after Narcissistic Abuse.
Finally, if you want to identify YOUR personality type, then take one of these 11 personality tests to better understand what makes you tick.
See a few more posts about dealing with narcissists:
- 17 Ways to Make a Narcissist Really Fear You
- 13 Narcissist Traits, Characteristics, & Warning Signs
- 11 Ways Narcissists Treat Their Exes (and How to React)
- 15 Female Narcissist Traits, Characteristics, and Warning Signs