Narcissists tend to know they are narcissists, but they do not want you to know that they are narcissists. Once you know and they realize you know, you may wonder what to expect. You may want to out them and let them know you figured it out, but this will never go down the way you want it to in real life. A narcissist will not cower in shame or finally be reasonable just because they are outed. They will not allow you closure because their whole personality is based in having the upper hand in all interactions. When a narcissist knows you are onto them, things will go from bad to horrendous before you even process the first change. This is a typical strategy of a narcissist.
If you are committed to exposing a narcissist, read through the list below before you make any moves. In many cases, it will backfire and things will get worse for you, not them. This does not mean you should put up with the abuse, but weigh out the pros and cons of telling them you know what they are. Narcissists are the definition of reactionary and when they know you see their truth, they dial all their worst, toxic behaviors up to top levels. This means your first step is to plan your exit strategy and then decide if the worst narcissistic rage you have ever seen is worth exposing the truth. Read on to know what to expect.
- Gaslighting – Gaslighting is a narcissist specialty. As you start to expose them, they will do everything to try to convince you that you are wrong and remembering things incorrectly. This is a first line of defense.
- Baiting – Narcissists rely on trauma bonding to keep you attached to them. When they know you are onto them, they will bait you into a fight that insults your character. The goal is to get an emotional reaction to show you still care. Do not fall into the trap, stay emotionless around them.
- Fear/Manipulation – Narcissists spend months breaking down your identity so they know more about you than you know about yourself. They will turn your deepest fears and flaws to break you down and manipulate you into giving up.
- Projection – They will try to convince you that you are a narcissist by projecting their abusive qualities, flaws, and insecurities onto you. The narcissist knows you are not like them, but assume you will accept it and then apologize.
- Leveling – Narcissists will often resort to leveling once you are on to them. This means they will try to bring you down to their level by pointing out things you have done wrong or telling you that you are not qualified to call them anything. They will make their abuse seem normal and you have no leg to stand on.
- Devaluation – Devaluation tends to happen continually in a narcissistic relationship, but when they are confronted with the knowledge you now have, the gloves are off. Expect to have every possible slur and insult hurled in your direction. In some cases, even those who have never been physically abusive may become so.
- Victimization – Narcissist will try to make themselves a victim and if you try to expose them, they will attack you for pointing out their flaws. They will find a way to become the victim.
- Blackmailing – If you refuse to cave to a narcissist, they may resort to blackmailing. They are not above making you homeless, emptying your bank account, posting intimate photos, keeping your children from you, or crashing your car because you want to expose them.
- Smearing Your Character – If you go public to expose a narcissist, be prepared to do damage control because they will try to destroy your name. They will tell blatant lies to your friends, family, and anyone who will listen. These reactions will be extreme and are why you need to carefully think about exposing a narcissist.
- Discarding – In some cases, a narcissist will simply decide you are not worth the effort when they know you are onto them. They will discard you, spread lies about you, then find a new victim.
Remember, if you are exposing a narcissist, stay calm. They will use every trick possible to make you believe you are wrong. You need to cling to your support system because you will need them as the narcissist implodes. You need to leave and never look back, focusing only on what you need without any form of contact with the narcissist. Exposing a narcissist does nothing except give them an opening to hurt you. If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, walk away and start your own healing journey. It will be tough, but your life will be better for it.