Don't give into them!
"Abuse victims are always the best actors. They have to be, to live their whole lives with the pain and shame, pretending there is nothing wrong. It's the greatest performance of all."
Richard Dreyfuss in "Silent Fall"
People who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder need attention to the point where they will do almost anything to get it. Perhaps this is why we fall into their clutches; at first they are charming and intriguing with a certain 'star' quality that attracts us. Like the moth to the flame, some of us are programmed to respond to them, throwing ourselves into their inferno and then wondering why we get burned. Even the most intelligent and wise person can be seduced, or hypnotized, by a NPD because the NPD is constantly trying to find people's weaknesses. The noted author, Dr Oliver Sacks, wrote in a book about collecting ferns (Oaxaca Journal published by National Geographic) that just as there are parasitic plants, there are parasitic people. NPD's are parasites. The most efficient parasites are the ones that get their victims to do all the work.
How does a NPD train his or her victim to supply them with what they need? If the NPD is lucky, a mother or father who was NPD may already have trained the victim. Sometimes the NPD has to give their victim a training period when they dole out positive and negative feedback, until the victim will do whatever the NPD wants; think of training a pet. Sometimes society provides the peer pressure which a NPD boss, parent, friend, or lover will use. Perhaps the most insidious way a NPD can play with their victim's emotions is by acting as the victim themselves; a physical cripple, a broken heart etc. I met someone who was crippled, and they used it to get their way - to be the center of attention (sometimes a NPD will use their children to gain attention: Munchausen syndrome).
Ultimately, the end result is what some people call 'narcissistic supply'. My own metaphor for this is the treadmill. People who exercise on a treadmill machine keep running in place, going nowhere, but exerting a lot of energy; a bit like hamsters in a cage. They feel as if this is a worthwhile effort, and when they do it in a gym they have the feedback of others doing the same thing. NPDs want their victims to also have this feeling, they want the victim to step onto an emotional or physical treadmill and they want them to stay there, never questioning what they are doing. The NPD controls the speed of the treadmill. I have heard victims of NPD say how tired they are from dealing with NPDs, how the stress is physically tiring.
Only by jumping off or stopping the treadmill completely, can the victim escape the NPD. I am NOT suggesting physical violence, instead the victim must walk away. This can be difficult in a work or family situation. Another way of stopping the treadmill is to seek professional care. If you understand what makes them tick and why you need to please the NPD, then you can protect yourself.
I have received countless emails from victims who say how they have suffered, and are better because they walked away. This is the first step, because the NPD tries to train their victims to be repeat offenders. Once the treadmill mind set is installed in the victim they are like addicts who seek abuse again and again. How can you get off the treadmill? NPD's hate people who ignore them or laugh at them, who see through them. They will become aggressive. I have received emails from NPDs who are in Narcissistic rage, angry at being unmasked. I have never seen a NPD give up a source of supply willingly. A NPD on a rampage is dangerous, they are calculating and vengeful - any slight they feel they have suffered has to be punished. Think of how a spoiled child acts and you will understand NPD rage.
Only by learning as much as possible about how a NPD operates, only when the victim changes and becomes stronger, only then can you get off the treadmill. If you think you can reverse the table. Forget it. You are only playing their game. Remember, the treadmill can be sex, money, power, being with the in crowd, etc. The NPD will use anything to get you on the treadmill of supplying them with attention (NS). Walk away. And you don't have to explain to them why and you don't have to feel guilty. They are the ones who are wrong and crazy - not you.
It is easy to say just walk away, but some victims are in situations where they can't (work or family). Another way of dealing with them is by walking away from them mentally - you are bound to meet many NPDs over the years - thus creating a mental buffer where their manipulations can't get to you. To stay sane while dealing with them is one of the toughest things to do in life. It requires that you act in a mature manner and not sink down to their level; in a way NPDs are good for people because they force you to grow stronger. They will try your patience as they try every way to get you in their fold. Knowledge is power, and once you understand why they do what they do - because they are sick - and then see how they do it, you will suddenly feel more powerful. Just don't think you can win by playing by their rules - they make up the rules to their games.
How to deal with Difficult people: criticism, idiots, control freaks