To victims of narcissists, it may seem crazy how they are able to constantly provide excuses their their behavior. But, narcissistic justification follows a consistent pattern that once you know you can use to your advantage. Here are seven justifications used by narcissists.
Narcissist: “Everyone loves me, and you should love me too.”
A classic excuse used by narcissists. They will excuse their behavior by stating that people love them for what they do. Narcissists love this line of reasoning, because it stokes their ego and comforts their insecurity.
This excuse is also an attack. What is wrong with you that you can’t love me like everyone else? Just let it go!
How to counter. Redirect their statement to the things they actually do well. “People love you because you … Not because of …”. Take the wind out of their sails by refusing to by in to their narrative, but give them an out. A narcissist responds best when they have a clear path to regaining your approval.
Narcissist: “I have no need to apologize and you are being intolerant.”
This excuse is the flat out denial coupled with accusations that you are, in fact, the one at fault.
Narcissists have great difficulty admitting any form of fault. And, they constantly project their failures on to others. So, this justification is very much in line with a narcissists core mode of operating.
How to counter. Back off and re-approach later from a new angle. This justification indicates you have come on too strong, and the narcissist feels threatened. Trying to gainsay and force them to admit wrong never really works. The best option is to stop the conversation there and return to the topic later with a less aggressive or even roundabout approach.
Narcissist: “I am one of the best. Find someone who can measure up.”
Better than an outright denial. With this excuse, the narcissist partially concedes that they have done wrong. But, they back up their case by asserting overall they are still far above anyone else.
By comparing themselves to others favorably, they erase any sense of guilt of failure in there mind. “Everyone does this, or worse. While there may be a few people who can do better, where are they? Can you find someone better than me?”
How to counter. The best counter is an appeal to their vanity. Tell them that someone as good as them should do better. That they have done better in the past. And that conceding defeat lowers them from their high esteem in people’s eyes. The primary emotion of this counter is disappointment.
Narcissist: “You need be to lead. Without me you would be a disaster.”
A narcissist sees their actions as justified because you need them. They may have been at fault, but that just goes with the territory. It’s not like you would have done any better.
Narcissists always see themselves as invaluable. They have two made up narratives about their lives that they always follow — I am the hero saving you or I am the victim being abused by you.
How to counter. This justification is best countered by playing in to their hero narrative. Allow them to lead, but show them how other people in their role have accomplished it correctly.
Narcissist: “Your rules don’t apply to me. They are meant for average people.”
All narcissists feel that they are somehow different from everyone else. On one hand they, often unconsciously, feel that they are somewhat less than everyone else. On the other hand they overtly place themselves above others. They develop a lack of empathy and compassion that allows them to take advantage of their victims without remorse.
Narcissists make the best workers when they are given a wide leeway for action, with their behavior driven by results.
How to counter. Direct confrontation, punishment, or consequences for breaking rules usually don’t cause a narcissist to reform their behavior. Positive rewards for rule following, while cutting off rule breakers from attention, works best for a narcissist.
Narcissist: “You should be thankful for everything I’ve done for you.”
This is the narcissistic guilt trip. In this phase, they are reverting to their victim or martyr fake life story. And, are trying to make you the bad guy.
Once you are the target of narcissistic abuse, it is difficult to avoid further persecution and attacks in the future. The best you can do is stay out of their way. Or, make it clear that their attacks are not going to work or get them the emotional reaction that they require.
How to Counter. Refuse to meet them on their own terms. Focus on facts. Keep out of their way as much as possible. Do not respond with strong emotion to any of their attacks.
Narcissist: “I’m fine with being arrogant, because it’s justified.”
When a narcissist is acting better than everyone else, they will often justify their behavior by stating that, based on their skill and ability, it is totally justified. This is not only a way to excuse their bad behavior, but an opportunity to talk themselves up as well.
Avoid trying to take a narcissist down a peg. The best thing you can do if a narcissist is tooting their own horn is to ignore them or be completely unimpressed by their actions.
How to Counter. Best if you can ignore them, or refuse to hear the good things they are saying about themselves. Playing in to their fantasy of superiority only makes more likely to use this justification again.