I am Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.
This is the third video in a series about coping strategies and techniques with narcissists and psychopaths in intimate relationships. Be sure to watch the rest of the series.
Today, we will map out techniques of coping with narcissistic and psychopathic abusers.
Not all these techniques apply to all abusers. Watch the other videos in this series to decide which technique to adopt in which situation.
Right now, we are just going to map the territory.
The first technique is to mirror the abuser's behavior. Mirror his actions. Repeat his words.
If, for instance, he is having a rage attack, rage back. If he threatens, threaten back. Incredibly try to use the same language, the same content. If he leaves the house, leave the house as well. Disappear on him. If he is suspicious, act suspicious and jealous. Be critical, denigrating, humiliating. Go down to his level.
The other technique is to frighten him.
Identify the vulnerabilities and susceptibilities of the narcissistic and psychopathic abuser and strike repeated escalating blows at them.
If a narcissist is a secret or something he wishes to conceal, use your knowledge to threaten him. Of course, do so legally and only after you have consulted an attorney.
Drop cryptic hints that there are mysterious witnesses to the events and recently revealed evidence. Do it cleverly. Do it non-committally, gradually, in an escalating manner and, of course, again, in a legal way.
Let his imagination do the rest. You don't have to do much except utter a vague reference, make a nominous allusion, delineate a possible turn of events.
Needless to add that all these activities have to be pursued legally, preferably through the good services of law officers and in broad daylight. If done the wrong way, they might constitute extortion or blackmail, harassment and a host of other criminal offenses. They can also backfire and provoke the narcissistic and psychopathic abuser into violence and aggression.
I repeat, not all coping techniques are applicable to all situations and to all abusers.
Listen and watch the other videos in this series to make up your mind which technique applies when and to whom.
The next technique is to lure the abuser.
Offer the abuser continued narcissistic supply. You can make a narcissist do anything by offering, withholding or threatening to withhold narcissistic supply, adulation, admiration, attention, sex, all subservience, or even the appearance of being fearful.
Play on his fears of abandonment is the next technique. If nothing else works, explicitly threaten to abandon your abuser.
You can condition the threat. You can say, if you don't do something or if you do do something, I will desert you.
The narcissist perceives the following sentences as threats of abandonment, even if they are not meant as such.
He perceives every confrontation, every fundamental disagreement or protracted criticism as a sign of abandonment. He perceives abandonment when he is completely ignored or when you insist on your boundaries, needs, emotions, choices and preferences.
When you retaliate, for instance, when you shout back at him, all these in the narcissist's mind equate abandonment.
Finally, this is the technique that I recommend the most and always.
Refuse all contact. Be sure to maintain as much contact with your abuser as the courts, counsellors, mediators, guardians or law enforcement officials mandate, but no more.
Do not contravene the decisions of the system.
Work from inside the system to change judgments, evaluations or rulings, but never rebel against the system, the courts, the police, never ignore them. You will only turn the system against you and against your interests and you will be labeled the abuser instead of the victim.
But with the exception of this minimum, mandated by the courts, decline any and all gratuitous contact with the narcissist or psychopath. Dopsychopath.
Do not respond to your abuser's pleading, to romantic, nostalgic, flattering or threatening email messages. Return all the gifts that he sends you. Refuse inventory to your premises. Do not even respond to the intercom. Do not talk to him on the phone. Hang up the minute you hear his voice while making clear to him in a single polite but firm sentence that you are determined not to talk to him ever again. Do not answer his letters. Do not visit him on special occasions or in emergencies when he is sick. Do not respond to questions, requests or pleas forwarded to you through or via or by third parties. Disconnect from third parties whom you know are spying on you at your abuser's behest. Do not discuss with your abuser your children. Do not gossip about your abuser. Do not ask him for anything even if you are in dire need and dire straits.
When you are forced to meet your abuser, do not discuss your personal affairs or raise them. Do not discuss his personal affairs or raise them as well.
Relegate any inevitable contact with him when and where possible to professionals, to your lawyer, to your accountant, to the police, to judges or to court officials.
But is there anything you can do to avoid abuses and narcissists to start with? Are there any warning signs and identifying marks, rules of thumb to shield you from the harrowing and traumatic experience of an abusive relationship?
We have a special video which deals with these issues. Be sure to watch it.