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How To Win The Narcissists Game

Written by: Lisa Sonni, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Have you ever felt like a narcissist was playing a game with you? This game is often disguised as “love” and can leave you feeling manipulated, exhausted, and frustrated. Narcissists will use tactics such as performance-based love, breadcrumbs of validation, unmeetable expectations, and punishment for “misbehavior” to keep you in this cycle. But what if there was a way to win this game? Let’s explore 4 ways how you can take back your power from these manipulative tactics.

A photo of happy man wearing a crown.

Set Boundaries and Stick To Them

Setting boundaries with the narcissist in your life is an important first step toward reclaiming your power. This means clearly communicating what you will and won’t tolerate, both verbally and through body language. For example, if the narcissist in your life is constantly belittling or criticizing you, make sure they understand that this type of behavior is unacceptable and let them know that any further instances will result in serious consequences. Before you say boundaries don’t work, I want you to know that the only part that doesn’t work is when you do not action the consequences. Boundaries are for you, not them. A narcissist will never follow boundaries when there are no consequences. Here’s a tip: don’t make the consequence that the relationship is over unless you really mean it. Start with smaller consequences if you aren’t ready. An example might be that your boundary is that you won’t be spoken to disrespectfully. The consequence could be that you hang up or end the conversation. Your boundary may be that you will not get in the car if they have been drinking. The consequence could be that you take the car keys and leave without them or that you take an Uber home. Confidence is key when dealing with a narcissist. You can work with a coach to learn how to set boundaries with these toxic personalities. A narcissist feeds off of other people’s insecurity and weaknesses; don’t give them anything to work with! Stand up for yourself and maintain eye contact during conversations–this shows that you aren’t afraid of them and are confident in yourself.

The JADE Technique

One way to win the narcissist's game is by using the JADE technique. JADE stands for Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain. The idea behind it is that when dealing with a narcissistic person who is trying to manipulate or control you with their words or actions, do not justify yourself or argue about why you are right and they are wrong – don't even try and explain yourself. Instead, focus on your own feelings without giving into their emotional manipulation. For example, if the narcissist says something hurtful like "you're not doing enough," instead of trying to justify why that isn't true or arguing why it should be different ‒ just say "I feel overwhelmed" (or whatever emotion it brings up). You can also express what it is that you need from them ‒ "I need help/support/encouragement right now." This technique helps limit the power dynamic between you two since you are not justifying yourself nor engaging in an argument with them – instead, you are taking back control by focusing on your needs without giving into their manipulation.

Seek Support

You can’t do this alone! Reaching out for help from trusted friends or family members can be incredibly beneficial when dealing with a narcissistic partner or family member. Having someone who understands how you feel can help provide emotional support which will make it easier to take back your power from the narcissist in your life. Additionally, seeking professional help such as therapy or coaching may also be beneficial if the situation becomes too overwhelming to handle on your own.

Leaving the Cycle

Another way to win the narcissist's game is by leaving the cycle altogether. It can be incredibly difficult and overwhelming to break away from a relationship with a narcissistic person because they tend to create trauma bonds that keep us coming back for more even though we know we shouldn't stay in these damaging relationships. If possible, seek out professional help and create an action plan for how to safely leave the situation while avoiding further manipulation or abuse. Even if leaving isn't an option right now due to financial constraints or other reasons ‒ remember that there are still ways to protect yourself against further manipulation so that one day when it is safe for you, leaving will be easier than before.

Narcissists often employ manipulative tactics such as performance-based love and punishing misbehavior in order to gain power over us and make us feel powerless in return ‒ but there is hope! By using techniques such as JADE or seeking professional help so that one day we can safely leave these toxic relationships, we can regain our personal power from these manipulators rather than endlessly trying to prove our worthiness for their love which will never come anyway. Ultimately ‒ don't play their game at all. It may seem impossible at first but take small steps each day until one day when you can finally break away from this cycle of manipulation forever.

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Lisa Sonni, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Lisa Sonni is a survivor of domestic assault and narcissistic abuse, and her first hand experience led her to where she is today ‒ a certified Relationship Coach specializing in abuse education and trauma bond recovery. She helps clients from all walks of life overcome challenges stemming from traumatic partnerships. She is the author of the Trauma Bond Recovery Course, The Trauma Bond Recovery Journal, and Rebuilding After A Trauma Bond: A Self-Love Journal, as well as a popular content creator known as Stronger Than Before across all social media platforms.



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