What are the best strategies to use when arguing with a narcissist?

This article will explain what are the best ways for you to argue with a narcissist. The article will show what you should do, and what to avoid as you enter an argument with a narcissist. 

What are the best strategies to use when arguing with a narcissist? 

Getting into an argument with a narcissist can be tricky. You may have important things to discuss, or feel that they have hurt you in some way. But narcissists can find ways through an argument that they won’t have to face what they have done.

So if you need to argue with a narcissist. Here is the best way to do so.

Maintain your calm 

The most important thing to do, as you get into an argument with a narcissist, is to keep calm. They are people that can read others extremely well. And if they notice you are too emotional, they will find a way to use that to their advantage. 

They can begin yelling, or calling you names, as soon as they realize this will have an emotional impact on you. So try to keep calm as you bring the topic of the argument up. Take a deep breath, and count to 10 before you are ready to speak.

Show them empathy 

If the narcissist is trying to change the game and put the responsibility on you, try to show them empathy. Tell them you can imagine how upset they feel about the matter. This will help diffuse their aggressiveness towards you. 

That is because narcissists usually believe that they are such complex creatures that they won’t ever be understood by others. So as they get the idea that you understand them, they may be able to talk more rationally about the matter at hand.

State that you disagree with them 

Narcissists will often want to make the argument bigger than it is as a way to change the focus from their problems. So if you begin to argue with them, try to not fall for that. 

If you can remain calm, speak slowly about how you disagree with them. There is no need to make a big argument out of this, but let them know that you have another point of view and that this won’t change through an argument.

They may try to convince you of their point, but gently tell them that, for example, that is not how you remember things that happened. 

Ask them to explain themselves 

Narcissists can easily manipulate people, and to do so, they will often use tactics such as gaslighting, in which they change how things happened so you begin to doubt yourself. 

But if you ever get them in that situation, or feel that they are contradicting themselves, ask them to explain. This will likely show them you have caught them on the lie, and that there is no way they can escape this. Centering back the argument to the matter at hand.

What are the best strategies to use when arguing with a narcissist?

Use “we” 

As the narcissist tries to make you the only one to blame in the situation, start using “we” instead of “you” or “I”. By doing so you will put the two of you responsible for the matter. This may make it easier for them to own up to something.

For example, if you notice the narcissist is trying to make the argument bigger by offending you, you can tell them that you think “we are putting things out of proportion. Let’s start again”. 

Apologize for what you did 

If there is a part of your actions that has contributed to the argument, apologize to it. By taking responsibility for your actions you will show them that it is not impossible to do so.

Narcissists may have problems during their forming years, and may have grown up with the understanding that apologizing is a sign of weakness. Aside from that, since they are unable to feel empathy, they may not understand how they have hurt you.

So if they see you apologizing, it may give them a pattern to model their actions to. They can see that apologizing is something that can be done, and it can even move a relationship forward.

Keep the conversation on the topic

As said before, to avoid taking the blame, and having to deal with their flaws, narcissists will likely be ones that will try to change the topic of the argument.

They can either project on you, saying that you are doing the same thing as they are being accused of doing. Or they may even bring back old problems from the relationship. 

All of that to try and regain the control they had. If you notice that is what is happening, tell them that you should better maintain the argument towards the problem that has presented itself now.

Use flattery 

If at any time you realize that the argument is not going to a good place, you may want to call it quits. It can be extremely draining to argue with a narcissist, they can go on with it for hours. And at some point what is being said has no relation to what started the argument in the first place.

When you hit this point, it may be time to find a way out of it. Flattery may be a quick weapon for that. By saying something that implies how great they are, it will instantly give them the reassurance they need, and the argument will be over in no time.

Ignore when they try to make it worse 

In arguments, it is quite common that narcissists will try to pick on you just to get your emotional reaction to it. As they try to do so, breathe, and remember to not surrender to it.

They can do that to make it obvious that you lack self-control, or that you are less capable than they are in various ways. They will only stop using this technique if they come to realize that they are not surrendering to it.

Walk away 

With time, if you notice that the narcissist in your life keeps finding reasons to argue, it may be that they are using this as a way to feel good about themselves. And that may be harmful to you.

In these situations, try to set clear and firm boundaries. And stick to them. Don’t spend your time waiting for them to apologize. Rather than that, understand if this is a relationship that you still want in your life, and if not, it may be the time for you to walk away.

This doesn’t always come easy. It may be something that will be built little by little. And it may even require professional support. But when you feel ready, it may be good to just walk away from this pattern of argument.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What are the best strategies to use when arguing with a narcissist? 

Can an argument with a narcissist be constructive? 

An argument with a narcissist will hardly ever lead to a constructive place. For them, the argument is yet another way to keep their control over you. In the same way as when you are complimenting them, when you are arguing with them you show you care.

And that is what will make the narcissist keep filling the discussion. In an argument with a narcissist, it often comes to a point in which you don’t even know what you are arguing about. 

So they don’t have to deal with the repercussions of their actions, they will often just keep changing the target of the argument, making it impossible for the two of you to ever reach an agreement.

How can I humiliate a narcissist?

Very little will humiliate a narcissist, even when they are angry, if they can transfer the responsibility to other people, they will ultimately feel better. But if a narcissist is publicly humiliated, there is a high chance that they will feel utterly humiliated.

That is because this leaves very little space for them to turn the story around, and come out as the victim. They will have absolutely no control over what other people are thinking and saying about them, which can be extremely painful to the narcissist.

They will also feel humiliated if you ever step away from doing things as they have told you to do, or if you come forward and question their opinions or knowledge. Laughing at them is also something that will often cause them to feel humiliated.

What is the biggest fear of the narcissist?

The biggest fear of the narcissist is being left alone. They crave other people’s attention and will feed on that. So if you are complimenting them, or if you are fighting with them, they will enjoy it all the same. The important thing is that they feel that you care.

That is why narcissists will often be surrounded by people, and if, at any moment you walk away from them, they will quickly replace you with another person that is ready and willing to fulfill their every need.

Can a narcissist change?

Yes, ultimately a narcissist can change some traits of their personality, although there is no cure to being a narcissist. But to do so, the narcissist will need to face that they are not perfect, which can be difficult. But once they do, they may look for professionals, especially therapy to help them.

In that process, they will be able to maybe see themselves through a more realistic light, without that filter of perfection. They will also be able to set more realistic goals for themselves, so they don’t get so easily frustrated.

Will a narcissist be mean when you argue with them?

Yes, most of the time the narcissist will be mean as you are arguing with them. They will use all the manipulation techniques that are available to them to get their way. They can often gaslight you, and lead you to question what you know, and as a matter of fact, your sanity.

They can become enraged, and even become aggressive when in an argument with you, so they can get you to agree with them, so they can regain their control over you. The more you resist it, the more aggressive they will be.


This article showed what are the best strategies to use as you see yourself in an argument with a narcissist. It explained what you should do, and what to avoid as you are arguing with a narcissist.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.