When the Narcissist Knows You Have Figured Them Out

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The narcissist’s biggest fear is being found out.

They have built their entire lives around a false facade, which they plan on upholding to the death. So, anyone who dares to challenge the fantasy dreamland that they paint as reality is in for a rude shock.

They must wield complete control over those around them in order to maintain that false reality and when the narcissist knows you have figured them out, things don’t bode well.

Ultimately, the narcissist will recognise that they have lost (or are losing) their control over you. Since their whole agenda only functions the way they need it to when others believe their storyline, maintaining absolute control is essential.

Knowing that you have figured them out will result in a torrent of abuse and manipulation. Their reactions are all in the name of getting you back under their tyranny to eliminate the threat of you unmasking them for good.

It may feel like sweet justice will be served once you show the narcissist that you’re onto them and not falling for their BS games anymore. However, unfortunately, that’s not how things will go down. Letting on to the narcissist that you see the truth of who they really are is not going to give you your desired outcome. In fact, you’ll just be lining yourself up for even more abuse.

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Understanding Narcissism

Calling Out a Narcissist, Expose

To identify why they react with such vindictiveness when the narcissist knows you have figured them out, it’s important to understand what’s really going on underneath their charade.

Narcissism stems from trauma in childhood. Ultimately a set of circumstances (neglect or abuse on an emotional and/ or physical level) left them with deep feelings of absolute shame, self-loathing, unworthiness and rejection.

The child was so deeply disturbed by those feelings of who they were deep inside, that they decided (unconsciously) to take the path of narcissism.

By choosing that pathway, they severed the connection with their True Self. It was the True Self that was responsible for making them feel their deep wounds (shame, unworthiness etc.) and they didn’t like that, therefore they discarded it.

So, all that was left to take the steering wheel was their ego. There is nothing real or authentic about the ego, it purely functions through an illusionary False Self. For this False Self to get ahead in the world, it needed to create a grand facade to fool everybody into thinking that it’s more special and superior than all others.

For the ego to stay strong, it needs constant attention and validation that it truly does exist and that it really is the best. If the ego stops being fed, it diminishes away into nothingness.

Since the narcissist completely relies on the grandiosity of their ego to keep their storyline of, “I am special and superior” alive, they have sentenced themselves to a life of being a drug addict. Their drug is attention (narcissistic supply), which delivers what the ego truly desires – life force energy.

READ: Narc Supply Explained

You see, by severing the connection to their True Self, they also cut off their access to the divine life force energy, which non-narcissists have full access to. Their ego craves life force energy as it’s the only way for them to gain relief from all that is truly left inside of themselves – a gaping black hole where their authentic self used to sit.

But that relief is only ever temporary, meaning that the narcissist is forever on the hunt for their next hit.

When a narcissist is low on supply or is left alone to sink inwards, that’s when the reality of who they are oozes out of their very pores – seething anger, resentment, contempt, bitterness and utter self-loathing. If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to witness this for yourself, you’ll notice that their eyes turn black, as though they are soulless creatures.

This is why the narcissist will protect their False Self at all costs. Without that false image, they are unable to feed the ego’s insatiable hunger for attention and inadvertently extract life force energy from whole souls.

The narcissist has been left without a conscience or the ability to experience love, empathy, kindness, compassion or authenticity. If they ever portray any of these things to you, know that it’s just a stage show to get what they really want from you – attention, supply and life force energy.

So, anyone who comes along and questions the narcissist’s narrative in any shape or form becomes a threat to the narcissist’s very (false) existence. In their dog-eat-dog world, they think that if they don’t exterminate you first, you’ll expose them and take them out. And that is not a risk their ego can afford to take.

It’s through coming home to our True Self that we are able to meet our deep inner wounds and heal them in order to grow beyond our current patterns and beliefs. Since the narcissist no longer has access to their authentic self, they will never have the resources to acknowledge their own wounding and heal themselves (without a lifetime of therapy). They have taken the path of absolute denial.

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What to Expect When the Narcissist Knows You Have Figured Them Out

There are a variety of reactions you can expect when the narcissist knows you have figured them out. They’ll want to mess with your mind to change your memories and perspectives to suit their agenda, plus they’ll use all sorts of manipulation tactics to try and get you back under their reign.


Manipulation, Gaslighting

Narcissists are masters at using gaslighting to subtly warp and control a person’s sense of reality. You can go in strong, stand your ground and hold your truth, only to come out completely questioning everything.

They’ll use word salad conversations to mess with your perception until you end up thinking that there’s something wrong with you, not them! Then, when you’re defences are down and you’re sitting in self-doubt, they’ll swoop in to control your mind once again.

You can expect gaslighting to be one of the first and regularly called upon tactics when the narcissist knows you have found him out. They will want to change the entire storyline in your mind so that you no longer view them in the truth of who they are, but instead, as how they want and expect to be perceived.

Here’s how a narcissist will gaslight:

  • Counter your memory of how things happened
  • Deny that entire conversations and events ever existed
  • Withhold conversation, affection and acts of service to punish you for daring to question their reality
  • Invalidate your feelings and concerns to make you feel stupid, needy and insecure
  • Divert the focus off themselves and flip the blame back onto you
  • Generalise with statements like, “you women are all the same,” so that they can avoid accountability
  • Exhaust you with lengthy word salads that leave you feeling confused and worn out
READ: 100+ Gaslighting Examples


Narcissists use a tactic known as ‘baiting.’ This is where they will intentionally antagonise you, push you and entice you into an argument because they want to get a heavy reaction out of you.

Attacking your integrity and honing in on the things that they know will hurt you the most is how they will get you to bite. They’ll get you so riled up and feeling the need to defend yourself against their attacks, that the stage has been set.

Now that they’ve baited you into a fight, they’ll switch to cool, calm and collected, while you’re left standing there yelling, crying and feeling totally out of control. What’s really happening is that your reactions hand them the very ‘evidence’ that they want to make you look like the crazy and unhinged one.

Baiting gives the narcissist Grade A narcissistic supply for two reasons:

  1. They smugly think, “Man, I must be so incredibly important and powerful to induce such a wild reaction out of this person.”
  2. Your highly-charged emotions feed them life-force energy through the psychic cord, which they have plugged into you.

To avoid being baited, limit your contact with the narcissist to an absolute minimum and do not engage with their seemingly innocent communications.

READ: 72 Common Things Narcissists Say


Levelling, Manipulation

Levelling is a strategy you can expect when the narcissist knows you have figured them out. It’s essentially where the narc plays tit for tat and counters any claim you have against them with something they say you’ve done equally as often if not more than them.

It doesn’t even matter to them whether the things they’re levelling with are real or fictional, as long as they support their agenda.

Levelling is a way for the narcissist to avoid responsibility and say, “See, you’re just as guilty as I am, so don’t you dare cast judgment upon me!”

Basically, they’re aiming to bring you down to their level, because lord knows they’ll never be able to meet you up where you are!

The most powerful thing about levelling is that when the narcissist subtly attacks your morals (of which they have none), a person with integrity will be mortified. The thought of being accused of behaviour, that you know is not in line with who you truly are will have you outraged and keen to defend yourself.

This is where it’s so important to not engage with their eye for an eye game plan and hold firm in your truth. Easier said than done, I know!

Stonewalling & Silent Treatment

When the narcissist knows you have figured them out, they may very well give you the famous silent treatment. This is a refusal to communicate with you as punishment for daring to call them out or even subtly question their false reality.

Stonewalling is another variation of the silent treatment where they block you. They might rage at you or rattle off a big long list of things that you’ve done, then walk away or hang up the phone to obstruct you from being able to respond.

You will be left feeling frustrated, invalidated and alone by being shut off from expressing your truth. The more you try to express yourself to them, the more they punish you by not responding.

This will lead to you totally losing control and chasing after them, desperate for communication or closure on the topic.

The narcissist wants to be chased because it makes them feel powerful and special. And with you chasing them, you’ll be running straight back into their cycle of abuse, which is right where they want you.

READ: 4 Phases of Narc Abuse

Trauma Bonding

Narcissist Trauma Bond

When the narcissist knows that you have figured them out, they’ll want to further strengthen the trauma bond, which increases the stronghold they have on you.

Understanding the trauma bond is imperative for breaking free of the narcissist’s toxic cycle and it’s not something many of us even find out about until after the fact.

Trauma bonding is where the narcissist gets their victim to feel so loyal and emotionally connected to them, that the thought of leaving, even if they don’t love them anymore, is too hard to fathom. I can attest to this one myself after staying in an unhappy marriage for seven years longer than I wanted to!

The subtle way that the narcissist gets their victim bonded is through intermittent punishments and rewards. They will punish you by withholding the things they know you crave the most (affection, communication, money, help around the house etc.).

This leaves you confused and anxious, wondering, “What have I done?”

Then the narcissist will ‘reward’ you whenever they feel like you’ve been punished enough (keeping it all rather random). The reward could be something as simple as talking to you again and pretending like nothing even happened. Or, it could be a cuddle or offering of money or assistance with something.

You will so thankful for their breadcrumb and that everything is ‘okay’ again, that you’ll be flooded with relief. This relief releases the ‘feel good’ chemicals in your body, making you feel way more amazing about this scrap of attention than what the action is worthy of.

Throughout this subtle punishment and reward process, which happens completely unbeknownst to you, your body becomes addicted to the highs and lows. Your body learns that the narcissist is the bringer of relief for your anxiety… even though they were the very ones to have created the anxiety in the first place.

Sound abusive? It 100% is. Trauma bonding is very similar to Stockholm syndrome, which is where the victim emotionally bonds with their captor.

There are 7 stages in the trauma bonding process:

  1. Love bombing
  2. Trust & dependency
  3. Criticism
  4. Gaslighting
  5. Resignation
  6. Loss of self
  7. Addiction
READ: All About Trauma Bonding


The narcissist relies so heavily on the false world their ego has created, that they genuinely see their world as the truth.

Any perceived criticism that comes the narcissist’s way cannot be taken on board or be allowed inside that false world. Narcissists absolutely cannot take responsibility for any of their negative words or behaviours, because acknowledging those things would totally unmask what lies beneath.

To acknowledge that “Yes, I said and did those hurtful, negative things,” would be to admit that they’re indeed not special, nor perfect.

So, how does a narcissist handle accusations or being called out on their behaviour? They project it all right back onto you, the victim.

What’s really happening with projection is that the ego sees the attack, but simply cannot take it on board. It deems that since you are the one to have brought the attack to them, you must be the problem. You are the reason they are being made to feel bad. So, it superimposes the very things that the narcissist was doing right back onto you, like a hologram.

Now the ego truly does see you as the doer of all the bad things. The ego decides that to feel better again, they need to locate the threat and exterminate it.

This is where you get lined up in the ego’s crosshairs and attacked for causing these fleeting feelings of shame, guilt, anger, resentment, unworthiness etc. The ego must annihilate you in order to feel better and to make sure that the threat no longer exists.

By projecting what they are doing right back onto you, the narcissist truly sees and believes (in their warped reality) that you are the one who’s done all of the awful things, not them.

READ: Why a Narc Will Never Accept Accountability

Playing the Victim

Playing the Victim

Narcissists are masters at playing the victim, because the truth is, they forever think they are the victim. It’s mind-boggling how a narcissist can perform the most horrendous acts and still manage to come out the victim of it all.

They feel entitled to you and all that they want to harvest from you, whether it be money, sex, status, the appearance of ‘family’ life or having a slave/ emotional punching bag on hand at all times.

Since the narcissist put their ego in charge, they believe that there is no higher power than themselves. Therefore, they are a God, while everyone else are mere pawns to be moved around their game board as they see fit. People are simply tools for them to use and get what they want.

No matter what it is that the narcissist is gaining from you, they have no appreciation for it because they expect you to be handing those things over.

So, when you stop supplying the narcissist with the resources they’re mining, they will slip straight into victim mode.

“How dare you cut off my supply! I am your Lord and you must provide for me whenever I demand it.”

Intriguingly, the narcissist will see you as being the abusive one for not allowing them to abuse you! To really drive home that they are the victim, they’ll pull on your heartstrings to make you feel bad so that you hand yourself right back over to them again.

READ: 3 Reasons Narcs Cry

Emotional Blackmail

As much as narcissists don’t have the ability to feel true empathy or compassion, they sure know how to manipulate others with it.

Given that most of us who ended up entangled with narcissists are people with high levels of integrity and empathy, our own best traits ended up being used against us as a weapon.

Narcissists use the love bombing phase to build trust and get their target to open right up to them. While the person is falling for the narcissist’s charm, they are handing over all of their deepest hopes, dreams, desires, fears and insecurities. Little do they know that the narcissist will use all of those precious things against them later.

When the narcissist needs to emotionally blackmail you into staying in their cycle of abuse, they will try and get you to feel sorry for them instead of trying to hold them accountable.

Guilting you into doing what they want to do = emotional blackmail.

They know exactly which tactics will play on your compassionate side and will use those to make you feel guilty for leaving them or questioning them.

Examples of emotional blackmail:

  • “Go on, leave me, just like my father did when I was a child!”
  • “How could you do this to me? I would never do that to you!”
  • “I’ll kill myself if you leave.”
  • “After everything I’ve done for you.”
  • “How dare you!”



When the narcissist knows you have figured them out, they will almost always resort to blame-shifting. This is where the narc will divert all responsibility for their actions onto you, the dog, their boss, the lady at the grocery store… anyone but themselves.

“If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have done all of the things I’ve done!” This is the ultimate avoidance of responsibility.

Examples of blame-shifting:

  • “Maybe if you paid a bit more attention to your appearance I wouldn’t have to cheat on you.”
  • “If you would just do as I say, things wouldn’t always end in an argument.”
  • “Stop bringing up the past, just let it go already.”
  • “Why can’t you just accept me as I am? You say you’re a nice person, but that’s not what I’m seeing.”
  • “You’re the one with the problem, not me.”

When a person utterly refuses to take responsibility for their actions and continuously puts it all back on you, the effects can be quite damaging. It takes solid resolution within yourself to confidently know who you are and recognise that the narcissist is again working to manipulate the situation.

READ: Blame-Shifting Tactics


When a narcissist loses control, gets called out or has a narcissistic injury (triggering a deep wound), expect them to fly into a rage.

Narcissistic rages can be extremely scary to witness because they really have lost control and can be capable of horrendous acts in that moment as a result.

This is when narcissists with a violent tendency will punch the wall, throw things, slam doors and sometimes even get physical with people. Verbal abuse is often prevalent with a narcissistic rage.

Passive aggression can also be used in a rage, which is often used by covert narcissists. This is where they will malevolently insinuate with their hurtful words, without directly saying them outright.

Ultimately, the narcissist’s entire False Self is feeling threatened and under siege. They’ll be feeling the full fear of being exposed and as a result, fly into a rage.

Another reason behind their rage is to put the fear of God into you (literally because they think they are a God). It’s a huge outward display of intimidation, much like an overgrown toddler who’s throwing a tantrum when they don’t get their way. They want to snap you back into line by playing on your fear and anxiety around chaos, anger and upheaval.

Narcissistic Fauxpology

Narcissist False Apology, Hoover

If the narcissist thinks an apology will work to hook you back into their delusion when you’ve figured them out, they can easily dish one up. However, it won’t be authentic. There won’t be any meaning behind the words and most importantly, they won’t feel any remorse.

The only true apology is changed behaviour, which is where the narcissist will fail every, single, time.

It’s important to go with your intuition when someone is giving you an apology. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s not right.

Examples of non-apologies:

  • “I don’t know why I do these things.”
  • “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
  • “I’m sorry you’re so sensitive.”
  • “I’m sorry, but…”
READ: Narcissistic Apology


Narcissists love to make you feel like you’re worthless because ultimately, that’s how they feel deep down about themselves. But they are repulsed by feeling those things, therefore they dump them onto you to wear for them instead.

Can you see just how little responsibility narcissists take with everything?

Devaluation is all about breaking you down and making you feel like you need them to survive, even though the truth is actually the opposite. Narcissists cannot survive without a host to leech off, but their superiority complex cannot stand the idea of anyone cottoning on to that fact.

So, if you’re building yourself up to become stronger when the narcissist knows you have figured them out, they will aim to tear you right back down again.

Examples of devaluation comments:

  • “No one else will ever want you.”
  • “I’m the reason you’ve gotten where you are. You’d be nothing without me.”
  • “No one will ever love you the way I do.”
  • “Your cooking is awful, how do you plan on feeding yourself?”
  • “That dress would look better on you if you laid off the chocolate.”


Narcissist Hoovering

When the narcissist knows you’ve figured them out and you decide to walk away and go ‘low’ or ‘no contact,’ they will try every trick in the book to hoover you back into their toxic cycle.

Why would the narcissist want you back if you’re onto them?

  • To abuse you further, then be the one to discard you as punishment for daring to leave them
  • To retain control over you so that you can’t reveal their true identity to anybody else
  • You still have something that they want (money, accommodation, sex, acclaim by association, property etc.)
  • They want to extract more life force energy from you
  • They haven’t secure another solid supply yet

Hoovering can be very similar to the love bombing phase where they are super nice to you, showering you with gifts, flattery, attention and so forth.

They may offer false apologies and profess that they love you and that they’ve changed. Remember, words mean nothing without consistently changed behaviour.

Even if you maintain ‘no contact,’ they will still try to break through (i.e. disrespect) your boundaries and invite themselves back into your life in the most (seemingly) innocent of ways.

It’s all a hoax to get you back in their grip. There’s one thing you can be sure of, if you allow them back into your world, the abuse will only get worse as time goes on. They will intend on punishing you for escaping, plus they will know that your tolerance level of their behaviour has just increased.

READ: 12 Hoovering Tactics

Smear You Publicly

When the narcissist knows you are onto them, they’ll want to control the storyline in every possible way. They cannot afford to have anyone hear your side of the story and potentially be unmasked.

Smear campaigns are common narcissist tactics, where they will talk to everyone they possibly can before you have a chance to. They’ll paint themselves as the poor victim while making you out to be the abusive one, who’s treated them terribly. The narcissist will stop at nothing to make sure no matter what you counter with, you will be left looking like the crazy one.

If the narcissist thinks you are a massive threat to the existence of their False Self, they will actively drag you through the mud, smearing you to all and sundry so that you will be utterly destroyed. Their ego cannot risk being exposed, so they must annihilate you before you have the chance to do it to them.

They couldn’t care less that you’re a kind, empathetic person who wouldn’t do that to them. In their world, they believe that everyone thinks and acts the way they do – which means kill or be killed.

Often, flying monkeys will be enlisted by the narcissist to spy on you and take information back to them, plus to help spread false rumours about you and do the narcissist’s abuse by proxy.

Devastatingly, flying monkeys will often be your own friends and family who have no idea that the narcissist is a pathological liar.

READ: Do Flying Monkeys Know What They’re Doing?

Discard You Before You Can Discard Them

Narcissist Discard

Finally, when the narcissist knows you have figured them out, they will want to discard you before you have the chance to do it to them.

Remember, the narc’s ego is on the line, so if people see that they’ve been dumped, they will feel completely rejected in a public way. That amounts to utter humiliation, which the narcissist cannot bear.

To save face, they’ll discard you first, then replace you as quickly as they can (if they haven’t already got another supply waiting in the wings).

Then get ready for the honeymoon phase with the new supply to be splattered all over social media, just to rub it in your face and show the world that they’re good without you. In fact, they want to paint the picture that they were always the ones who brought all the goods to the table and you’re nothing without them.

I cannot recommend enough to block them in every way so that you do not have to be triggered by their public displays of falsity to the world (who will believe their BS and infuriate you even more).

If you must remain in contact with the narc due to children, property or work commitments, still block them but just keep the most minimal amount of factual contact that is necessary.

READ: Is the Narc Preparing to Discard You?
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What Should You Do Once You’ve Figured the Narcissist Out?

Once you’re onto the narcissist and you’ve figured them out, you’ve got a big decision to make. Are you going to continue allowing them to be a part of your life and carry on being sucked into their cycle of abuse? Or, are you going to break free and reclaim your life without the toxic drama of an energetic vampire?

Do Not Confront Them

I get it. You’ve totally figured the narc out and you want more than anything to confront them and finally bring their whole game down.

“I see right through you. I know what you really are and you will never, ever manipulate or abuse me again!”

Unfortunately, the type of response you’re hoping to gain from the narcissist will never happen. They will not suddenly be remorseful of their terrible behaviour, nor will they shrink in the truth you’ve just brought to them.

The narcissist will actually do the opposite – they’ll dial up their abuse to max capacity. You have now revealed that you are the biggest threat to them and they must completely annihilate you in order to protect their False Self.

If you confront a narcissist, you can fully expect them to embark on a rampage against you. Get ready for a heavy smear campaign to utterly destroy your reputation, your business (if you’ve got one) and your relationship with your friends, family and possibly even your own kids.

A much more powerful (and safer) way to move forward when the narcissist knows you are onto them, is to take your power back, heal yourself and stand in your full light and truth. Honestly, when you are in full alignment with your True Self, the narcissist will totally dissolve in your presence. Their darkness cannot stand to exist in your light.

The best part is, you don’t even need to say a word to them.

Empathy, Compassion, Enabling

Low Contact

I understand that in some circumstances it’s not always possible to rid your life of the narcissist. If they’re a family member, co-worker or parent of your children, unfortunately, they’re still going to be around in some sense.

In this instance, I would recommend reducing your contact with the narcissist to an absolute minimum. Only communicate about the essentials based on the relationship with them and do not deviate from the facts.

You’ll have to be on your guard to never get caught up in lengthy conversations, which they will use to harvest information out of you for potential future ammunition.

Practice ‘grey rocking,’ which means being as uninteresting and boring as possible, so that the narcissist is too bored with you to bother.

Set Your Boundaries

If the narcissist is still going to be somewhat in your life, you’ve got a task ahead where you need to set your boundaries one by one and stick to them. Don’t be too hard on yourself if they manage to break through and you have to reset boundaries, it can be a process. Especially if you’re a codependent people-pleaser (which many of us are) who is completely uncomfortable with boundaries.

Now is the time to work on your self-care and self-worth so that you can be firm in your truth and not let them railroad you into going along with their agenda.

READ: Make a Narcissist Miserable (14 Ways)

No Contact

However, if you don’t need the narcissist in your life, it’s time to go ‘no contact.’ This is where you block all forms of access and communication with them and do not allow them back into your world.

It may be difficult especially if you’ve still got a trauma bond to break, which will leave you feeling guilty as hell for cutting them out. Not to mention, the narcissist will try every which way to regain control over you, even just to maintain the control.

You can’t heal in the environment in which you were hurt.

Going no contact is the quickest way for you to heal and move forward into the healthy, abundant life you were always meant to live.

READ: Will They Return After No Contact?

Heal Yourself

Whether you’re going low contact or no contact, it’s imperative for you to turn within now and focus on healing your inner wounds. Narcissists are experts at locating and opening up your deep wounds and watching you fall apart into a million pieces while handing them much of your life force energy.

The silver lining is that now you’re fully aware of what your wounds are, or if not, you have many triggers to draw upon to help you pinpoint the exact traumas.

Your higher self is crying out for you to meet each and every one of those wounds and shift them out of your consciousness for good.

As you work on healing yourself, you will grow stronger with fewer and fewer traumas that any narcissist can use against you. As you grow more solid in yourself, you’ll become who you were meant to be all along – your own source of love, approval and security. You’ll realise that never again will you hand your power over to anyone outside of yourself, no matter how well-disguised they are.

READ: Self-care After Abuse
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3 thoughts on “15 Reactions! When the Narcissist Knows You Have Figured Them Out”

  1. This article was very insightful. It explains my situation to a T.
    I have learned from reading it. Thank you

  2. How do you get the verbal and emotional abuse out of your head. It’s there everyday and I get let it go.

  3. I hear you, it’s so hard when they’ve been verbally dismissing you and beating you down for such a long time. You get to the point where you subconsciously start to believe what they’re saying and think that there must be something intrinsically wrong with you. But the truth is, every single time they did that, they were dumping how they felt about themselves onto you to deal with instead. Of course, it was wrapped up in a way that sounded like it was yours, not theirs, otherwise you would never have taken it on. A method I’ve found helpful is the ‘Mirror Technique.’ Basically, every time you hear the narcissist berating you in your head, imagine holding up a mirror to them, so that all they see is the mirror, not you. Now, all of the words they’re trying to direct at you, cannot make it through the mirror anymore – they’re saying the words to themselves in the mirror, which is exactly where the words should rightfully be directed. This takes practice because you’re now reprogramming your subconscious, but it’s a good visual way to stop taking on the narcissist’s wounds (even after the fact). Good luck, you’ve got this!

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