Conventional wisdom suggests two principle strategies for dealing with narcopaths – No Contact and Grey Rock. Whilst making ongoing abuse more difficult (NC), or less rewarding (GR), they seldom stop ongoing abuse. Both strategies are less effective when abuser and victim are more enmeshed – coparenting kids, properties together, or in the cases of work colleagues or family members. In such instances, a more robust position may be required – stopping the narcopath in their tracks.
Understanding the Narcopath
The first part in understanding that underpinning this strategy is knowing that, for all their calm and apparent confidence, underneath they are absolute cowards. Their whole charade, the Jekyll & Hyde battle between false and real self, is pitched at convincing the world otherwise. They are significantly more vulnerable than you could ever dream. But it’s not to say they aren’t dangerous – they are – so be very careful about how you go about trying to stop them.
Attack – the best form of Defence
As a retired Army Officer then Management Consultant, it became increasingly clear to me in my attempts to stop the thorn in my side and contain her abuse, I was increasingly falling back on military strategy learnt at Sandhurst. And whilst not without dangers that must be carefully considered, I am convinced that psychological campaign is the best form of psychological defence. Conventional wisdom, peddled by conventional therapists and counsellors (not to mention friends and family) is not just useless but also dangerously counter-productive. Restrain on your part simply enables further malevolence and ill-treatment – in essence you become a passive activist in your own abuse. This becomes more important again in the case of Parental Alienation, when not only are the kids used as weapons against targeted parent, but are then subjected to psychological abuse directly by the targeting parent.
Sadly I’m not sure that there is a one-size-fits-all solution – each strategy needs careful consideration against a load of variables at play – your own mental health, that of your abuser, their additional sources of supply, Flying Monkeys and Enablers (who have to be neutralised too), your understanding of NPD, your allies, availability of physical and emotional safety and protection, routes in, the leverage you can bring to bear, legal strategies for and against, money etc. But non-violent solutions exist for every situation, however creative they might have to be.
Weapons and Tactics
Put very simply, the only weapon you need is the truth. Your objective is to close the Narc’s Grandiosity Gap – the difference between the overinflated version of themselves they need to convince everyone else of on the one hand, and the reality of the toxic monster they really are on the other.
Dr Jekyll meets Mr Hyde, and their powerbase see for their own eyes that they are one and the same. Close the grandiosity gap and you take aware their power they require in order to continue to abuse you (and kids).
Tactics will need to be tailored to situation – but suffice-it-to-say, you will probably need to:
- recruit and retain allies to your side,
- disrupt and undermine the narc’s smear campaign,
- divide their support base, force fence-sitters to reveal themselves as friends of foes,
- gather the right evidence and log it in the right ways,
- know when and how to reveal, what truths should be revealed and what should be held in reserve,.
- what traps to set, how much rope to give them, how to ambush them.
Distilled into its simplest form, you are waging a devastating psychological propaganda war to counter theirs. Fighting fire with fire.
You need to know how far you want to push it – narcissistic hibernation or all the way to narcissistic collapse – and prepare yourself and your support base for the moral dilemmas of each.
These tactics are not for the feint-hearted – although you will be amazed at how strong you can be, despite how broken you may feel at present, and how weak and scared narcs are despite their bluff and bravado. Just like playground bullies, they hunt in packs but run when you turn the tables. Transforming yourself from prey to predator can take time, planning and training in order to get mentally fit and physically strong again – but it is worth the effort and can safeguard you forever after. Achieving this is also an important step in a survivor’s journey to recovery.
Just be very careful that you have everything planned and defences in place before you make your move – just putting in boundaries, let alone pursuing any of the tactics mentioned above, dramatically raises the stakes. Narcissistic injury and rage can be lethal, and the backlash intense and so you need to know what to expect, how to neutralise the risks first, and how to use the narc’s tactics against them.