How to be Cool, Calm and Collected When Narcissists Push Your Buttons

Written by Angela Atkinson

“You could be a really great and fabulous person, but if your method of communication with a woman doesn’t trigger her physical attraction by “pushing the right buttons,” you will only ever be “just a friend” in her eyes.” ~Sahara Sanders

If you have ever dealt with a malignant narcissist, whether diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder or not, you already know they’re especially skilled at pushing your so-called buttons.

Worse, since narcissistic abuse involves gaslighting, the narcissist often INSTALLED said buttons – or at least solidified them and rearranged them.

So, a narcissist who is your parent likely did the so-called installation of your buttons – also known as your triggers.

And if you’re dealing with a narcissistic partner or close friend, this person became aware of the “buttons” or the triggers you had initially and then exploited them.

By doing so, they also learned the “layout” of your buttons; by now, they can push them in their sleep. 

Why Narcissists Push Your Buttons

Narcissists become very knowledgeable about who we are and what makes us tick. They also know what to do when seeking a reaction from us – and perhaps more frustrating, they get narcissistic supply from driving you crazy. 

They NEED narcissistic supply to feel alive; they are emotional vampires

For the record, emotional vampires are incredibly toxic people who drain us of our energy. Not all emotional vampires are narcissists, but they’ll all leave you feeling empty and emotionally exhausted.

They are like parasites who intentionally provoke our emotional reactions, allowing themselves to feed off our emotions, energy, and resources.

So, until you can finally go no contact and end the relationship with the malignant narcissist in your life, you’ve got to learn some new techniques to deal with it.

What to Do When the Narcissist is Pushing Your Buttons

So, how does a person with a reasonable amount of emotional intelligence deal with a narcissist?

Start with these tips on what you can do to remain cool, calm, and collected when the narcissist pushes your buttons and is waiting for a reaction.

1. Try Ross Rosenberg’s Observe, Don’t Absorb technique.

Learn how to use the technique from Rosenberg himself in this video

2, Use the gray rock method. 

Maybe you already know how to use the gray rock method, but if you don’t, watch this video for tips, techniques, and best practices.

3. Treat Them Like a Toddler.

3, Treat them the same way you’d treat a toddler who needs a nap. Yeah, I’m serious. Narcissists tend to have the emotional capacity of a toddler, so treat them in kind. This video will explain exactly what I mean and how to deal with narcissists with toddler-level emotional intelligence

 Please note: These techniques are meant to be temporary measures to get along – and most survivors can only tolerate this behavior for so long before it causes longer-term damage.

On the plus side, when you regain control of your feelings, something else happens: you’re no longer being manipulated by the narcissist. Instead, it’s as if those buttons now activate themselves—you’ve re-wired them!

If you don’t have a plan to leave the narcissist, you might want to start thinking about it. Here’s a resource to help you start planning your escape

More Resources for Dealing with and Understanding a Narcissist

These resources might also interest you if you struggle with a difficult narcissist.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today


  • Angela Atkinson

    Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own. Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves. Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse here at and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.

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