Narcissists thrive on drama and chaos. They feed off of the reactions of others during times of stress, difficulties and tribulations. It's no wonder then that they love to pick fights.
Their goal in picking fights is solely to elicit a reaction from us. To get us to display any kind of emotion. It doesn't even matter if the reaction is positive or negative. They need the fuel (aka supply) to propel them towards their goal of making us look like the unstable ones.
When they pick fights
Narcissists don’t just pick fights at any old time. No. They actually calculate WHEN to pick the fights. They pick the fight so that it’ll give them the best outcome. For example, perhaps you and the Narcissist go out food shopping or to a local mall. The fight may begin with nitpicking how you park the car. It can escalate into how you push the cart down the aisle or how you walk. The more they nitpick, the more frustrated you become.
When you have had enough of the nitpicking or whatever it is that the Narcissist is doing (to cause the fight), you release your pent up anger. The Narcissists can then stand back and watch the result of their efforts. If this occurs in a public place, they’ll play innocent and give a knowing glance at a passerby and roll their eyes as if to say, “See what I have to deal with?” In fact, my NX has said that to people on numerous occasions.
I remember getting quite frustrated at his public humiliation tactics. He’d make me the butt of his jokes in front of his military buddies. When I’d protest, he’d say, “Geez, lighten up. It’s only a joke” or “Wow, someone can’t take a joke” or he’d turn to a buddy and say, “See what I have to deal with?”
You see, the Narcissists nitpick and poke and prod until it causes us to lose our cool. They WANT a reaction out of us. They NEED that reaction out of us. They MUST have that reaction out of us because it will help them reach the goal that they are trying to accomplish - to make us look like the unstable and crazy one.
Narcissists pick fights (and subsequently play innocent) because they cannot afford to look like the fool in public. They must win these arguments at all costs. Even the arguments and drama that they create! They are attention-seeking toxic individuals who cannot stand to be on the proverbial back burner.
Topics don’t matter
Narcissistic people do not care what they pick the fight about. It could be about politics, religion, education, the children, what movie to go see, what to have for dinner, household duties, etc. It doesn’t matter. They will use their arsenal of tactics (word salad, diversion, blame shifting, etc) to entice and lure you into the argument.
My parenting style. That’s one topic that my NX loved to always come back to. Even when he was deployed, he’d tell me via Skype that I was doing it wrong. I would also follow the directions he gave me on how to cook a steak, yet he still told me I did it wrong by saying, “Someday you’ll get it right.”
Another topic he’d love to continue to pick at was my one-time diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. That diagnosis came from a doctor who I saw ONE time for a mere 30 minutes. He was an old crotchety man who said, “I am the doctor. You are the patient.” He brushed aside my very vocal concern of being emotionally abused. He told me that he had all he needed to know about me in my file. To solidify his argument, my NX once told my daughter (who was only 3 when I was discarded), “Mommy is sick in the head. That’s why she went away. So she could get better.”
Narcissists are quite adept in the art of picking fights. They will say or do whatever they feel is necessary to draw you in. My NX frequently loves to bring my now-husband and my father into his debates because he knows I love them both dearly. He thinks that by saying disparaging things about them that I will rush to defend them. In the beginning, I would. But I learned that him saying those things was only to lure me into a fight.
You too must learn how to spot the ways the Narcissists try to reel you in to fights. Only then will we stop the Narcissists in their tracks. Well, at least slow them down, anyway. When we don’t engage in their nitpicking or drama-inducing fights, we deprive the Narcissists of the very air they need to survive.
What have you noticed about how Narcissists pick fights? Comment below. And as always, I appreciate you for sharing your stories with me.
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Greetings, my warrior survivor friends! Welcome to my blog. I'm Julianna, the owner and creator of this site. Check out the My Story section to read about why I started this blog. Thanks for stopping in. And feel free to comment on any post, share your own thoughts and stories. I would love to hear from you!
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The content of this site is told from the blog author/owner's personal experience of dealing with a male Narcissist. Narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths are both male and female, and come from all walks of life. Furthermore, the content contained herein is not intended to be a replacement for medical or legal counsel. This blog's sole purpose is to provide support to those who have endured Narcissistic and Emotional Abuse.