How To Deal With A Narcissist Without Playing The Victim Card | Dr. Isaiah Hankel How To Deal With A Narcissist Without Playing The Victim Card | Dr. Isaiah Hankel

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How To Deal With A Narcissist Without Playing The Victim Card

dealing with a narcissist | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | how to recognize a narcissist

“Stop pointing fingers and placing blame on others. Your life can only change to the degree that you accept responsibility for it.”

Steve Maraboli (Scientist and Author, Unapologetically You)

“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.”

Wayne Dyer (Speaker and Author, Your Erroneous Zones)

“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”

(W.C. Fields, Comedian & Actor, Pool Sharks)


I was in a very serious relationship.

The person I was with was confident and classy.

I had worked really hard to become a priority in her life.

We hit our stride for a few years and life was great.

Then we started having problems.

Nothing big at first, just the usual little problems that creep up.

But the problems got bigger.

Our paths started to diverge.

We started having ugly arguments.

She would threaten to leave.

I would threaten to leave.

We entered this awkward ‘push-pull’ period of trying to convince each other to stay and then pushing the other to leave.

This back-and-forth went on for months.

There was a period of time within those months that I tried my hardest to fix the relationship.

I tried to get things back to the honeymoon phase.

I tried to turn back time.

But the more I tried, the less she seemed to try.

The more I made her a priority, the less she made me a priority.

To be fair, the reverse of this occurred at times too.

I remember thinking during these times, when I was really putting myself out there, that she was so selfish.

She was so obsessed with herself.

She was such a narcissist.

The truth was, she just wasn’t into me anymore.

I wasn’t a priority to her anymore and that was her decision to make.

Once I stopped blaming her and labeling her, things got better.

Once I took responsibility for myself and took action to better my situation, my life improved.

Is It Their Narcissism Or Your Self-Victimization?

Your ex-relationship partner is not a narcissist.

At least, the odds are against it.

The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry published a very large-scale, peer-reviewed scientific study of 34,653 adults and found that the prevalence of ever experiencing Narcissistic Personality Disorder was only 6.2%.

Only 6.2% over the course of a lifetime.

That means that at this moment, your ex-relationship partner is likely not a narcissist.

Instead, you’re just playing the victim.

You’re taking the easy road of labeling someone else with your words instead of doing the hard work of taking responsibility for yourself and taking action to change your life.

Look—calling other people names might make you feel better about the fact that you’re no longer a priority to them, but it’s not going to make your situation any better in the real world.

A better strategy is to take action to remove these people from your life.

If you’ve made someone else a priority and they’ve refused to do the same, get surgical.

Cut them out of your life.

Drop them.

Don’t call ten friends and whine about it.

Don’t complain and research personality disorders online.

Instead, take action to remove people who you’ve prioritized and who treat you like you’re only one of their options in life.

how to deal with narcissistic personality disorder | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | people with narcissism

5 Things To Do Before Calling Someone A Narcissist

The key to living a self-reliant, successful, and happy life is to take responsibility for the way you handle everything that happens to you.

Someone may have done something unjust to you but that doesn’t mean you have to get stuck playing the victim.

Just because you’re not a priority to someone doesn’t make them a narcissist.

Just because someone is not a priority to you, doesn’t mean you have to be a selfish jerk.

There are absolutely people with clinically diagnosed narcissistic personality disorders, but the incidence of this is very rare.

So before labeling others as negative, manipulative, or narcissistic, first ask yourself, “How can I take responsibility for myself?”

Ask, “How can I change the situation with my actions, not label people with my words?”

Here are 5 things you should do to deal with a narcissist…

1. Quit begging them to confess their wrongdoing.

Any time you spend trying to hold up a mirror to show someone they’re wrong is a complete waste of time.

It’s a waste of time because no one will ever see themselves as a bad person.

Sure, they might see that they’ve made a mistake.

They might see that they’ve hurt you.

But they’ll never see that they unjustly hurt you.

They’ll never see themselves as inherently unjust.

They’ll never see themselves as evil.

Most importantly, they’ll never admit to being evil.

So let it go.

Quit wasting your time trying to get a confession.

Besides, what’s on the other end of a confession?

A few good feelings?

Sure, you might feel good that you won an argument or got someone to confess to something, but these feelings are not going to bring you close to improving your life.

These feelings aren’t going to remove a negative person from your life.

Instead, your whining and complaining is going to create more obstacles for you.

2. Expect less from them and more from yourself.

Most of the pain you will ever experience in life is due to your own mismanaged expectations.

Of course it’s going to hurt when you expect people to give you the world and they don’t deliver.

Stop expecting other people to live and die for you.

Stop expecting others to fix whatever is broken in your life.

You’re not the center of anyone’s Universe.

If you want something done, look to yourself.

If you want to feel better, look to yourself.

Quit waiting for Prince Charming or some fairy godmother to drop into your lap and solve all your problems.

They’re not coming.

3. Stop relying on them for your own happiness.

Every time you rely on someone else to make you happy, you’ll be disappointed.

No one can make you happy.

No one can reach into your brain and force you to feel a sense of happiness.

They can’t experience happiness on your behalf either.

You are responsible for your own happiness.

If you’re not happy, it’s because you’re too lazy to decide to be happy.

Decisions are hard work.

Especially when life isn’t going the way you want it to.

Still, you need to find a way to decide to be happy each and every day.

Fake it before you make it and force yourself to be happy even before the happiness feelings show up.

Eventually, you’ll turn choosing happiness into a habit and that’s when your life will start to open up.

4. Realize they are not secretly working against you.

It’s easy to feel like everyone is working against you.

Like other people are secretly meeting and planning out intricate ways to keep you unhappy and unsuccessful.

The truth is, no one is holding secret meetings.

No one is plotting ways to ruin your life.

There’s no conspiracy.

Other people don’t care about you and your problems as much as you care about you and your problems.

Sure, people might care enough to listen to you complain for a few minutes.

Or their interests might be aligned enough with your interests to help you work through something.

But they won’t care enough to put your life in front of their life, nor should they.

So, quit obsessing.

Quit being needy.

Realize you are in control.

Instead of fabricating conspiracy theories and labeling other people as manipulative or narcissistic, take responsibility for yourself and take action to improve your life.

No more finger-pointing.

No more blaming others.

Just self-reliance and self-directed action.

5. If somebody doesn’t like you just the way you are, show them the door.

There are people in life who will never like you.


The end.

No matter what you do for these people, they will resent you.

They will subtly try to hijack your focus and drag you down.

They will play the part of a bully and try to control your options and actions.

They will play the victim and try to make you feel guilty.

They will poke holes in your dreams.

Forget these people.

Quit begging and pleading for them to like you.

Quit groveling.

Instead, focus on the people who already like you.

Focus on the billions of other people in the world who haven’t met you yet and might like you too.

If someone doesn’t like you exactly the way you are, drop them.

Eliminate them from your life forever.

Compromising on who you are at your core will just make others like you less anyway.

So, stop compromising.

Have enough self-respect to break things off and walk away forever.

If you want to be happy in life, stop wasting your time labeling people with personality disorders. Stop obsessing over what’s wrong with them and instead, focus on what’s right with you. Have the guts to cut people out of your life if you’re not a priority to them. Take responsibility for yourself by taking action to improve your situation, instead of just running your mouth and complaining about your situation. Do this and you’ll live a more confident and focused life. Until next time, live like a lion.

To learn more about dealing with narcissists without letting yourself become the victim, and to get instant access to exclusive training videos, case studies, insider documents, and my private online network, get on the Escape Plan wait list.


You Comment, Isaiah Responds

  • Andrea Robinson

    BOOM!! So true!! I believe that I had an experience with a narcissist, but the label doesn’t matter. Over the course of the relationship, I began to see the goodness in myself despite all the negative feedback, and that had a very freeing effect. The person didn’t like that and ramped up control efforts to include physical abuse, but for some reason I still felt really kind of liberated. I understood that what the other person said, did, or was could not be the basis of my life and my decisions — and it was sayonara, buster.

    Sometimes when someone hands you your head on a silver platter, you need to stop mourning the loss of the friendship, or relationship, or potential relationship and instead just see it for what it is — you graduated! You have become so healed and so competent, and so ready for a good life that the other person can’t stand you anymore!

    Does it matter what labels are on you or the other? Not really. Just go for it! Get your own life. Do whatever you have to do. I had things to look forward to, and I also realized that I had played my part in sticking around unnecessarily. And I knew I could change my life, without needing anyone else to do anything right.

    When you claim your responsibility, it is the most freeing thing in the world in my opinion.

    • Dr. Isaiah Hankel

      Great comment, Andrea! It is so great to hear how you turned your negative experiences into an opportunity to grow stronger.

      • Andrea Robinson

        Reading this article was a very important postscript to the whole drama, because I finally realized just the other day that I’m completely okay with dropping all the labels. As long as I could label the “other” (and myself), I felt like I was somehow defending myself or justifying what I was going through. It’s been awhile since all this happened, but when I was driving around yesterday, I suddenly realized that your point of view has helped me make peace with it. You said it best – it really doesn’t matter if you just set yourself free.

  • Theo

    I think that the prevalence of Narcissistic Disorder is so low that they removed it from the DSM.

    The point is that you nailed it on the head – is the other person being a narcissist, or are you just playing the victim?

    If you’re not happy with your life, either decide to be happy or change it. Don’t play the victim – you won’t help yourself or anyone else around you, including the person that you’re blaming all the time.

  • Monica and Willy Hill

    I can see this from two points of view. From the shrink’s point of view, they would want to protect the victim. But from this article, I’m seeing a point of view that the person who feels ill-treated can and should just get up and leave.

    Even though I know some people can make it really hard to leave, I think there’s some truth in letting other people know that they’re strong enough to do it.

    Besides, if you zoom out a little bit, you’re going to find out that most people are in relationships where they’re labeling their spouse or boss, or whoever it is, but they’re not acknowledging that they, too, play a role in the negativity. Especially labeling them with a word like “narcissist,” which is a medical condition, serves no purpose when the person doing the labeling is not a doctor. So maybe it does turn into an excuse of sorts.

    Maybe it’s an unhealthy relationship. And maybe your personal “diagnosis” is right or wrong, but that still doesn’t change anything.

    You’re still in charge of your own life.

    “When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.”

    • Dr. Isaiah Hankel

      Great comment, Monica. People are often stronger than they think.

  • Maggie Sue Smith

    Waiting for someone else to see the error of their ways is a waste of time. They’ll never get it.

    I think #1 and #3 are the most important points. Quit expecting anyone to really get it, even if they did something really incredibly stupid. If they do, that’s great, but I’ve seen it way too many times before. They really don’t get it. If they’re inconsiderate people in general, they’ll just keep going on doing that until life throws them a loop that makes them WANT to be more humble.

    #3 seems like the meat of the coconut to me. You can’t rely on anyone else to make you happy, even if you married. It might seem like a good thing if they do, and sometimes they do, but everyone has their own life. Nobody can pay attention to you 24/7.

    I’ve seen friends who were insecure drive away guys who really loved them. The girls just weren’t secure enough to believe the guy loved them, and eventually the guys realized they couldn’t do enough to prove it, and the relationship petered out. This happened twice.

  • Julian Holst

    It’s easy to get really paranoid and think people are plotting against you. Usually, they’re just trying to figure out what to get for lunch or something equally earth-shattering like that. Truthfully, you have more power than you think if you find yourself afraid all the time. True, it doesn’t feel like that, but seek out people who make you feel good and you’ll find yourself feeling a lot better. After a while, you’re going to find out that you can make new friends and you really don’t have to rely on anyone else to make you feel good about yourself.

    • Dr. Isaiah Hankel

      Exactly, Julian. You make yourself happy, no one else can do it for you.

  • Madeline Rosemary

    I love the idea of simply showing someone the door if they don’t treat you right, don’t like you, or whatever. You don’t have to get into a name-calling party. Just let them go.

    I was friends with someone who needed me to play nice but she didn’t do the same. I realized over time just how negative she was, even though I barely noticed at first. Did she get more negative over time, or was I just noticing it more? The point is, it doesn’t matter.

    She’d let me call and then trash me on the phone. I just stopped calling her. She never initiated a call to me. It was like I was the only one whose job it was to call. That turned out to be the end of the relationship. I felt disloyal for not calling, but it was a relief.

  • Sonja Luther

    I think it’s interesting that you’re talking about that push-pull thing that goes on just before ending a relationship. It’s like we try to manipulate people into liking us or loving us, especially when they said they did before and apparently change their minds. It’s like we want to hold them to their word. But you can’t force a person to love you, respect you, or appreciate you.

    It took me a long time to get used to that idea. People change. Their interests change. Sometimes you’re that interest that got changed out.

    • Dr. Isaiah Hankel

      Truth, Sonja. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • Charisse Cappello

    If you can master relationships, you can master anything. We spend so much time beating ourselves up (or beating up on someone) because we don’t like the way our relationships are going.

    To really let someone go, you have to think that you’re capable of standing on your own. I think that’s what keeps so many bad relationships together.

    • Dr. Isaiah Hankel

      Great thoughts here, Charisse. Relationships are often more complicated than we give them credit for. Having successful relationships definitely starts with having a successful relationship with yourself.

  • Beverly Green

    Isaiah, I hope a lot of people can take courage from reading articles like this. It seems to me that people stay in abusive or even boring, misguided relationships because they don’t feel that they have whatever it takes to move into their own lives and power. Sometimes, I know they stay in bad relationships because they think society tells them they have to. Either way, whether they’re afraid to stand up to a partner or afraid to break the rules of society, they’re not following their hearts and not only do they suffer, but the people who do love them suffer by seeing them live less than what they deserve.

    You have a way of framing things that lets people know it’s okay to live like a lion instead of falling back, afraid, like a sheep.

    But I guess if people are too afraid of those big teeth, they could just live peacefully, like a dog, but still not be afraid like a sheep! 🙂

  • Willow Sampson

    It’s always good to hear of people throwing off a bad relationship and learning to value themselves more. I truly want to be like that, too. 🙂

  • Katie

    I believe my dad has narcissistic traits, my therapist is the one who mentioned it first. It’s taken me 30 years of life and almost 2 years of therapy (started for other reasons) to realize the problem is him and not me. As an adult, I’ve limited contact, but anyone under 18 dealing with a parent like this isn’t necessarily “playing the victim” if they are forced to stay in the relationship and are abused as a result. Telling the truth about being legitimately victimized in any way is only playing the victim if you milk it.