10 Subtle Ways To Outsmart A Narcissist That Should Know

Last Update on February 26, 2023 : Published on November 6, 2022

If you’ve ever encountered a narcissist or have a loved one with narcissistic traits or even a narcissistic personality disorder, then you know that understanding the ways how a narcissist’s brain works are challenging.

They are smart yet manipulative and would do anything to get what they want, even if it comes at others’ expense.

We’ve learned how manipulation can harm a relationship or even a person’s health but can we use manipulation to outsmart a manipulator? We can try!

Outsmarting a narcissist isn’t easy and needs more than just book smarts. You can’t use rationality to manipulate a narcissist as the brain of a narcissistic person doesn’t quite work the way ours do.

To outsmart a narcissist, you need to understand their weaknesses and what makes them “tick”. Here, I’ve compiled a list of ways you can outsmart or subtly manipulate a narcissist. Check them out!

10 Ways To Manipulate A Narcissist

1. Keep Up The Image

One of the best ways to subtly outsmart a narcissistic person is to keep up your image as a straightforward person who doesn’t take any nonsense from anyone.

No narcissist likes tackling this kind of person as they are harder to manipulate and fall into the charm trap, they like setting. Avoid making yourself seem gullible, and this scare tactic might just work in your favor.

2. Sincerely Compliment Them

Narcissists have a grand sense of self and believe themselves to be extra special and deserve special treatment. You need to bring their inflated sense of self down to protect yourself.

For that, you need to be sincere (at least for show) in your compliments. Fake ‘em till you make ‘em! However, you need to play this type of narcissism. A grandiose narcissist may fall easily into the compliment trap.

3. Go “No Contact”

This is another way you can manipulate a narcissist. Going “no contact” means breaking free of the narcissistic abuse on your terms. You cut ties with the narcissist and no longer interact with them the way you used to.

This means, not meeting them, not responding to their texts, not answering their calls, etc. This could be a little harsh way to treat a narcissist, but if you’ve been emotionally manipulated for a long time by one, then it’s a step you need to take.

4. Feed Their Ego

It’s all about gaining the respect you deserve. A narcissist may not treat you with respect as they believe themselves to be special above all, but they might respect you when you treat them as your king.

So, keep feeding their ego. Keep asking for their advice, if need be. After all, fire cuts fire. Narcissists need validation and to get that, they create an impression. However, they don’t like listening to criticism. They love hearing compliments.

Try, “You’re amazing! Only if you could do more!” and see how a narcissist relinquishes power.

5. Keep The Fear Alive

Narcissistic behaviors are often driven by fear, especially the fear of being publicly embarrassed. So, to outsmart and manipulate a narcissist, you need to keep this fear alive.

If you want them to do something your way, ask them in a public setting. They fear that they may be shamed for false promises and want to keep their image intact. And, you can use their words against them too to avoid being exposed.

6. Agree With Them

Okay, hear me out. Narcissists love making others feel inferior. For example, a narcissistic parent might shame their child for being less hard on their children. If it happens to you, agree with them. When you do this, they won’t know how to react and will back down. Mirror their words to them and disarm them that easily.

7. Don’t Give In

If a narcissist says anything, make them agree with your conditions first. Ask them for their consent in writing and don’t commit to anything they ask you to do.

It can be hard to escape if the narcissist uses their charm to convince you, but don’t give in to their charms. If they force you, then be strong and walk away from them.

8. Remain Calm And Patient

Narcissists are master manipulators and will do anything to break down your barriers. They hone in on your weaknesses and exploit them for their gain. Now, to avoid this, you need to remain calm and patient. Keep your cards close to your chest. Don’t snap at them, but move away from the conversation.

9. Take Their Side When They’re Upset

An upset narcissist is a dangerous one. They take their upset out on anyone so whether you’re tired of the narcissist or not, make sure you take their side when they’re upset. Don’t become their next target.

Try being sympathetic and say, “You are OK to feel upset. I would also be upset!” This way, you’ll also avoid any unnecessary conflicts.

10. Refuse To Play Their Games

If you have a narcissistic loved one in your life then you’re automatically a fair target of their game. Narcissists lack empathy and have a hard time forming emotional attachments so they won’t care if you get hurt in their game.

But you can control the situation by taking yourself out and refusing to play their games. Sometimes, this can be the best way to outsmart and manipulate a narcissist.

Final Words

It can be hard to live and love a narcissist, but if you have one in your life, then there are ways to protect yourself against their manipulation. Sometimes, we might need to use an ethical form of manipulation to defend ourselves, so it’s OK.

If you need help with dealing with a narcissist, you can always reach out to a professional for advice and support. I hope this article helped you understand how to subtly manipulate a narcissist to protect yourself.

For more, you can write to us at info@calmsage.com or DM us on social media. You can also share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.


  1. Nick

    Good advice there. How do I get a narcissist to go into therapy? Does therapy work?

    1. CS Team
      CS Team

      Hi, thanks for visiting Calm Sage. To get a narcissist to therapy, you need to make them believe that it was their idea. You can talk to them and share with them how therapy can help them get their needs met. Empathize with them and let them know they are not alone. And with the right therapist and the dedication one has for getting better, therapy may work. I hope this answered your question!

  2. Maymoona

    Great Advice!! Fits the picture of Narcissistic partner completely

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

As Seen On