Turn the Tables on the Narcissist

Use the cycle of abuse to your advantage

Your worst day of PMS is nothing compared to a Narc throwing a FIT. Having someone agree to something one minute and taking it back the next is just part of communication with a narcissist. They can be sweet(uh, maybe?)when they want something from you, and then when you stand your ground they will do whatever they can to retaliate. Boundaries are something they think should be broken not respected.

The only contact I have with the narc I was married to is through email and he still uses the cycle of abuse. He will agree to what I ask or offer to make child exchanges easier. Then he gets upset about something and the attacks come about my character or he refuses to allow something he had previously agreed to. Next up is the silent treatment where he doesn’t respond to any emails I send and then he starts kissing butt again.

I noticed during the most recent silent treatment that I wanted to reach out to him and see if he would like to talk so maybe he could get over some of his problems with me. After a few minutes of pursuing that insane thought process I realized I was doing what I had been trained to do during our marriage; try to make things peaceful between us again. I quickly admonished myself for falling for his trick and moved back into freedom and peace.

I take advantage of the cycle of abuse by asking for things I want while he is in the fake-nice stage and then I hold him to what he agreed to do in writing during the abuse stage. It’s amazing to me that it took me so long to realize how this works and how to work it to my advantage.

Here’s a simple explanation to use the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse to your advantage if you must be in communication and would like to try it.

Step 1: Observe how the narc uses the cycle with you

Take notes, reread emails and texts and see if you can find a pattern. Once you are tracking communications you will see more clearly and be able to find the subtle cues your narc uses. You can see how your words and actions trigger him and how to steer him in the direction you want him to go.

Narcissists are clever and usually five steps ahead of everyone they are in a relationship with so be sharp and careful poking this snake. Think of communication with him as a chess game. Always know your end game and be aware of all the moves he can make. He is out for your blood so protect yourself.

Step 2: Make a list of what you want from the narc

Choose something he is likely to agree to for your first round. The narc may eventually catch on to what you are doing and change the game so be prepared to mix things up once in a while.

Step 3: Watch for the butt-kissing stage

When he cycles back to playing nice ask for what you want and don’t give him anything first. You can offer a trade for something you know he wants that you don’t care about, ask for something without giving anything which plays into his need to be the victim later, or ignore the butt-kissing this time and see how far he will go with it before becoming angry and beginning to abuse you again. Sometimes you just want him to put his abuse on record if you are in the middle of a court case.

Step 4: Document and keep records of what you asked for and his agreement

It is also helpful to start a journal to record what he does after he becomes angry again and how it relates to court dates and other relevant events. Documenting a pattern of behavior for others to see will help you build your case if needed.


Is it wrong to take advantage of the Cycle of Abuse? I don’t think so. It will exist whether you use it or not. I am trying to make life easier for my children and get them the help and care they need so I will use my observations of his behavior to be a successful single mother.


Keep him guessing and always be alert.

Think of anything you plan to write as being read by a judge before you hit send.

When they are being their most abusive selves ramp up the “good mornings” “hope all is well” and “thank yous” in your replies to show a greater contrast between your behavior and theirs.

I believe no contact with a narc or abuser is the best policy. If you must be in communication with them you may as well take advantage of the patterns you see.

If you decide to try working your narc’s cycle of abuse to your advantage please let me know how it goes. I think of dealing with the narcissist/abuser as an experiment and the more data we share with others helps all of us live a better life.

Thanks for reading,

Julia Freeman, an anonymous survivor

I write from my experience of being raised by a narcissist and being married to an abusive narc for over twenty years. I hope my experience helps others live free.



Julia Freeman, Trauma Recovery Coach

I believe survivors of narcissistic abuse and domestic violence deserve to live in freedom and peace.