How to Outsmart a Narcissist

How to Outsmart a Narcissist how to outsmart a narcissist
Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash

To outsmart a narcissist, you have to understand what makes them tick and what they need to survive (narcissist supply). A narcissist always wants to feel superior and be in control of every situation, and they will go to great extents to ensure that’s the case.

The default, of course, is to go no contact and never communicate with them, but that’s not always possible for everyone. You may have to interact with a narcissist in one way or another if you’re co-parenting with them, working together, or still in that relationship.

That’s where you need to outsmart them because if you can’t, they will keep tormenting you, undermining your worth, and making your life miserable. Narcissists are difficult to deal with because they don’t view life the same way we do, but that doesn’t mean we cannot outwit them.

They’re inconsiderate and only want to cater to their needs. You cannot outsmart the narcissist if you still want to change them; you can only do it if you want to keep yourself safe and understand what’s within your scope of control (which is your actions and reactions). This article is for you if you understand who you’re dealing with and you just want to always be one step ahead when interacting with the narcissist.

7 Ways to Outsmart a Narcissist:

  1. Don’t React to Their Provocations

A narcissist will always try to provoke you so that they can get a reaction from you. They enjoy provoking you to react as that shows that they’re still in control of your emotions or how you feel. They also provoke you to weaken you and to open doors for further manipulation as they seek to supply their needs.

To outsmart a narcissist, you need to hide your emotional reactions when they provoke you or when they call you names. Don’t tell them that they’re hurting you because that’s what they want to hear. Just stand firm and be like stone; keep your emotions inside you the moment you’re interacting with them. Then later, when you’re not interacting with them, you can find healthy ways to channel your anger and frustrations (like journaling or punching a pillow).

It’s about not showing them your reactions that you’re hurt. They want you to be angry and defensive so that they can label you as crazy or tell other people about your abusive nature. Another thing is also not reacting to their false accusations or lies they might be spreading in the form of a smear campaign; just stay away and consider them plain lies.

Do not try to argue your truth or clear your name; they thrive more in these environments due to their superficial charm and persuasive nature. In short, do not react or show emotion to their actions and behaviors. To them, it’s a game, but you outsmart them by refusing to take part in those games.

2. Be Boring

Another way to outsmart a narcissist is to be boring to the point that they’re so disinterested in you that they choose to avoid you or not interact with you. A narcissist feeds off drama and loves the thrill.

They don’t like the mundane, boring stuff and will do anything just to escape the boredom. You may avoid sharing your personal experiences and interests and just share mundane and boring news. It’s more about presenting yourself as someone who’s so boring that the narcissist doesn’t even want to be seen with you.

It’s about making it appear like you’re living the most monotonous life that will bore the narcissist to death, and they will choose to end conversations with you because you’re not exciting at all. You can also keep your conversations short and respond briefly to any of their leading statements.

3. Understand Your Triggers

A narcissist will use your weaknesses and insecurities against you. In the course of that relationship, you’ve come to understand how they exploit those insecurities to make you feel ashamed and afraid. When they want something from you, they may pull a certain card that makes you bow down to their demands.

To outsmart the narcissist, you must understand what buttons they constantly press to control you. Common triggers might be something like finances, physical appearance, past incidents, beliefs, parenting, or just anything that sparks an intense emotional reaction from you and can be used against you.

Once you understand those triggers, you can develop proper coping mechanisms to use when they trigger you. This could be something like understanding that they are using your triggers to hurt you or get something from you, and it doesn’t have to affect you. You can even plan your replies in advance so you can use them when they provoke you.

The more you understand your triggers and how to cope in a healthy way, the more you’ll outsmart them, and they will not catch you off guard. This is where healing comes in, as true healing means reaching a point where you’ve dealt with all your triggers and deeply understand that what someone uses against you is just a depiction of who they are, not who you are.

4. Stay Away and Be Aware of Enablers or Mutual Acquaintances

A narcissist never works alone; they always have people who enable their behavior. These people may be unaware or well-aware of what they’re doing. To outsmart them, you should be aware that they may use your loved ones to pass a message across or to abuse you on their behalf.

Limit communication with those people who ask so much about the narcissist or set healthy boundaries with them. Your mutual acquaintances may also pass information to the narcissist out of good faith, which is why you need to be careful about what you share with them.

The narcissist will use every piece of information they have about you to get into your head and manipulate you. In short, if you have information about yourself that you’d rather not share or that might make you vulnerable, keep it to yourself or away from your mutual friends. To outsmart them, be cautious of the fact that those close to you may convince you to get back together or may be an indirect channel of communication between you and the narcissist.

5. Beware of the Trojan Horse

A narcissist will use manipulative tactics that appear caring to get into your head. Occasionally, they may shower you with compliments or grand gestures that leave a mark on the “they still care about me” part of you. They may remember important days like your birthday or anniversary and even send an expensive gift.

This catches most people off-guard as it reignites those feelings, and someone may choose to reopen their doors as a form of reciprocation. To outsmart them, be aware of this trojan horse and how they may use it to manipulate you by appealing to your desire for love and care.

Treat their positive remarks the same way you treat their negative ones; do not react. If you fall for their positive remarks, you may also fall for their negative ones because it’s coming from the same person. When they offer a compliment or gesture, simply say “thank you” and stop there; do not engage further. There’s intention behind their every move.

“Caring” is their trojan horse to get back into your life and continue their abusive ways. By closely observing their actions, you’ll be far ahead in the game and may even benefit from some “free gifts” without feeling indebted to them.

6. Set and Enforce Clear Boundaries

Outsmarting a narcissist won’t succeed if you don’t understand your boundaries — what you’re comfortable with and what you won’t tolerate. With healthy boundaries, you recognize your worth, and you’ll be unfazed when the narcissist attempts to manipulate you.

Boundaries protect you from being taken advantage of by the narcissist or those around you who side with them. They enable you to walk away without guilt because you deeply understand your values. Boundaries also help you discern what’s within your control.

Often, we subject ourselves to unnecessary abuse by focusing on things beyond our control, such as the narcissist’s actions. Having boundaries means not compromising on things that violate your values, even when the narcissist resorts to extreme measures. Boundaries help you understand what’s outside your realm and prevent external factors from affecting your well-being.

7. Become Self-Reliant

The final step in outsmarting a narcissist is to become independent and avoid relying on them in any way possible. A narcissist thrives on making you reliant on them, whether spiritually, financially, intellectually, or emotionally. The more you depend on them, the more they can control you.

A common dependence that holds people back in relationships with narcissists is financial. If you’re financially dependent on them, breaking free can be challenging as they’ll use money or promises to sway you. If you’re physically capable, consider finding a side job, saving money, or secretly building a business to gain financial autonomy. Seek ways to be less financially dependent on them.

They may use finances to frustrate you, even when co-parenting. Strive to achieve a point where you can support yourself and your children without relying on them. Additionally, establish alternative sources of support, such as friends or family, instead of the narcissist. Gradually reduce dependence as you work toward full autonomy. When a narcissist loses their influence over your life, you’ve effectively outsmarted them, as you regain control over your decisions.


Outsmarting a narcissist is challenging without embarking on your healing journey. Healing helps you shed the trauma bond and operate from a place of emotional clarity. As you heal, your confidence grows, and you understand your own worth.

The key to outsmarting them lies in recognizing them for who they are now, not who they once were. While understanding strategies to outsmart them can mitigate their abusive impact, true protection comes from inner healing. Ultimately, healing renders the narcissist powerless in your life, as you become deeply secure.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns (in less than 2 months) , then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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