Should you ever try to out-narc your narc?



I don’t recommend trying to out-narc a narc unless you feel up to playing such wretched games, or if there’s no other choice.   If you can’t go No Contact right away, a technique known as grey rocking is better and won’t violate your conscience or morals .   But grey rocking works best with people you aren’t that intimate with.   In a very intimate relationship, such as a marriage, out-narcing the narc could prove more effective.   Always keep in mind you are not as skilled a player as the narcissist in your life.   You’ll know if it isn’t working.  Then STOP.    


Out-narcing my narc.

After years of codependency to my MN sociopath ex, always skulking around like a frightened church mouse and not daring to defy him (but inwardly seething the whole while)– and about a year before I finally got a restraining order and finally made him leave–I started to get mean. In other words, I had learned his games (hey, I had the best teacher!) and decided to use them against him.

I think when our rage rises to a certain level, or has been building up over a long time, there’s a pressure cooker effect, and you either explode–or if you can keep a measure of control, you can mirror the narcissist in the most negative way possible — by reflecting back to them the nasty and evil things they have been doing to you.  In other words, you can “out-narc” the narc.

It can be hard for abuse victims to out-narc the narc,  because we don’t have as many allies (they’ve all been turned against us), and anyway, we don’t recruit flying monkeys to make sure our commands are carried out. We also have a stronger conscience and some empathy, maybe a lot of empathy. If we’re really empathic, we might be much more prone to try to “rescue” the narcissist from themselves rather than give them “tough love”–forcing them to taste their own nasty medicine. poison.    If we have compassion and especially if we still love the narcissist, we don’t want to see them suffer at our hands.   If you don’t feel comfortable doing this or it goes against your morals then you shouldn’t.   Grey rocking is a nicer alternative.

But if you get mad enough, the anger might override your compassion temporarily.  It did for me, for about a year, until he as served the restraining order. Mostly I gaslighted him (told him coldly he was imagining things when he accused me of something I didn’t do, etc.), verbally abused (insulted him), using what I knew were his buttons (things he was sensitive about) against him, and most of all, I gave him the silent treatment.  (If you’re not all that skilled in narc tactics, the silent treatment is one of the easiest to use).  I don’t recommend using insults–they’re not very effective (they will be turned against you) and likely will enrage the narc.  So try not to use them, unless they’re very subtle or you have the ability to be sweetly sarcastic. Then, if he picks up on it, you can tell him, “oh, you must have been imagining things!”

I hated to be this way to anyone–it just isn’t me–but my survival at the end depended on it.  The narc had zero sense of boundaries, and my seething  rage and fear with no way to vent it was destroying me.   Out-narcing him for a short time made me feel stronger and readied me to do the (at he time) unthinkable: kick him the hell out.   While rage shouldn’t become a permanent place to live (in fact, it’s downright dangerous to you if you can never move past it), righteous anger when you’re going no contact is perfectly justified.

My narc-mirroring definitely turned my ex a lot colder toward me, but it also made him stop trying to suck the lifeblood out of me and stomp all over my boundaries 24/7.  He learned, and rather quickly, that I wasn’t having it anymore, and I also think he recognized himself in the way I treated him.  It didn’t make him remorseful or ashamed and it didn’t bring self-awareness either, but it made him STFU and leave me alone until I had the courage to file a restraining order on his sorry ass.



If you do decide to a out-narc your narc, don’t do it for an extended length of time because after too long,  it will take a toll on your spiritual and emotional integrity.   It should only be used for the short term, when you simply can no longer tolerate the N’s behavior, but going No Contact isn’t possible yet (but will be–start saving money now if you have no place to go).

Further reading:

Grey Rocking: If You Can’t Go No Contact



13 thoughts on “Should you ever try to out-narc your narc?

  1. It’s understandable that you went that route to ready yourself to do something that you had to gain the strength to do (kick him out). Sometimes we find ourselves instinctively doing what needs to be done to protect our minds and soul.

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    • As long as it doesn’t become part of who we are and we remain mindful that we’re doing it to save ourselves and sometimes our kids, I think it’s alright to a point.

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  2. Years into a marriage with a MN I was dutifully fixing his dinner. He’d run through all my money, he’d blown up his career because of sexually harassing coworkers and clients. The woman he cheated on me with threw him under the bus and his friends deserted him when his narcissism finally landed him on the front page of our local newspaper. I just painted the house by myself to prepare it to sell because he was too depressed by the consequences of his actions to get out of bed. Something in me snapped when he shouted downstairs to me in the kitchen as I put the finishing touches on a nice meal I was going to serve him in bed.
    He said “hurry up b@($&th, get my food up here now”. He’d done nothing but chain smoke all day while I baked, cooked, cleaned and was supporting his raging self pity. He wasn’t repentant for his wrong doing he was plotting revenge of those that made him have consequences. At that moment of his arrogant name calling, ungrateful entitled 2 year old display of contempt I pictured throwing the food in his face. But, there would be severe violence against me if I did so. I sweetly yelled up the stairs “its just about ready dear” and I quietly spit in the mashed potatoes, I spit in the gravy and stirred it all well….

    I felt like I crossed some moral thresh hold and realized I was going to turn into something I hated if I didn’t get away from him. But in a way that action was my resistance to abuse. I smiled pleasantly as he ate his food and felt empowered to realize I was still alive enough to stick it to him. I found that I could never out narc him in general because he was so very skilled, Additionally, when God says vengeance is mine I will repay, I’ve seen my narcissistic abusers have some heavy stuff land on them. In time I’ve learned God can dish out mind boggling consequences on abusers with far more skill than I ever could. But still I think these acts of resistance aren’t being narcissistic they are reclaiming our humanity from an insidious darkness that is trying to take it away. Resistance is different than narcissism…

    I heard it said there is no revenge like a well lived life, I went to school and got a masters degree thinking of his taunts about how under educated and stupid I was when that relationship ended Every class I took was a sense of vindication and freedom.

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  3. This is really interesting. I’m not sure that my mother is a narcissist (or maybe my father, or possibly both). I suspect, but I’m not positive. But, the most recent behavior modification I gave her, put the blame for what she was angry about on my father. Which is where it actually belonged. I read your post on grey rocking and that’s very similar to what I have been doing with her as much as possible for years. Since I’m 46 and live 5 states away, our relationship is mostly by phone. It’s so easy to just say nothing important. Unfortunately, I do still have moments of weakness and will blurt out something too personal.

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    • My mother still calls on occasion, and we exchange cards on Christmas and birthdays. That’s as far as our contact goes. The conversations are always really trite and consist of nothing more than the things you’d say to a stranger: “How are you?” “I’m doing well, thank you.” “That’s good.” “Well, talk to you soon.”
      She’s incabpable of talking about feelings and I gave up trying to do that with her a long time ago. So even if I’m dying, I just tell her everything’s fine! I hate it.


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