Narcissists use a variety of tactics to avoid answering questions. This can be seen in both face-to-face conversations and in virtual settings like text messaging, emails, or video chat. To understand why narcissists avoid answering questions, it’s important to look at the person’s underlying motivations.
Narcissists have an exaggerated sense of self-importance and a deep fear of being exposed as inadequate or vulnerable. They use a variety of defensive behaviors – often referred to as “narcissistic supply machine tactics” – to maintain control over their environment and obtain the validation they desire. One tactic used by narcissists is deflection or redirecting attention away from themselves and onto someone else. This is done by either changing the topic or avoiding the question altogether.
Aside from wanting to protect themselves, another reason why narcissists may avoid answering questions is that they do not want to feel obligated to explain their actions and opinions. Narcissists can be extremely controlling and want nothing more than for their desires to be met without any resistance or opposition. When faced with difficult questions, they may become frustrated instead of offering genuine insight into their thoughts and feelings. Additionally, narcissists tend to prefer binary answers—yes or no—and will refuse to answer anything more complicated than that, as this allows them greater flexibility while also preventing uncomfortable conversations that could reveal too much about them.
Reasons why narcissists avoid answering questions
Narcissists often avoid answering questions to keep control in the conversation and maintain power over their victims. They may be evasive, or they may even lie in order to avoid having to provide an answer. This behaviour is often a result of their own insecurities and fear of being vulnerable or exposed.
Let’s dive deeper into why narcissists avoid answering questions:
Fear of being judged
Narcissists often avoid answering questions because they are afraid of being judged or facing criticism. They may also withhold information to maintain the upper hand in a conversation. Their lack of openness can cause difficulty in a relationship or professional setting, as it can lead to misunderstandings and confusion.
Narcissists may also be afraid of revealing too much information, as this would make them vulnerable and expose their weaknesses. For example, if someone asks them a question about their thoughts and feelings, they might be concerned about showing emotional vulnerability or being exposed for something that could be seen as a fault. Answering questions honestly means allowing yourself to be open and truthful, something many narcissists fear.
Not wanting to appear ignorant is another factor that may keep narcissists from responding to questions. Narcissists often have an overinflated sense of self-importance, so they may be hesitant to admit that they don’t know the answer or admit defeat in an argument. Ignorance on a subject can also threaten their image, reputation or sense of superiority, which they strive hard to protect.
Fear of judgment by others and an unwillingness to reveal any deficiencies are two key issues why narcissists avoid answering questions – though there could be other underlying factors as well depending on the person’s specific situation. Additionally, remember that it’s important not to take it personally – though difficult at times – when a narcissist doesn’t answer your question; it is more about their own need for control than anything else.
Feeling of being exposed
Narcissists often avoid answering direct questions because they fear feeling exposed. Being asked something gives them the same feeling as being questioned by an authority figure, and this can be a highly uncomfortable experience for them. Narcissists want to be perceived as perfect and will go to extreme lengths to keep the facade up. Answering questions can put that at risk, so they choose to remain silent rather than risk providing anything that could potentially threaten their reputation or undermine their self-image.
In addition, narcissists may not answer questions because:
- They don’t think the person asking deserves an answer.
- They might see it as a sign of weakness on their part to comply with someone else’s request, especially if the question is posed by someone lower on the hierarchy.
- It relieves them of any responsibility or accountability for what they have said or done in the past.
- By not acknowledging certain topics exist, they are able to absolve themselves from any moral obligation towards others and evade discussion about topics that could make them look bad in front of others.
Fear of being wrong
For a narcissist, being wrong or making mistakes is the ultimate sign of weakness. Allowing someone else to provide an answer could mean that their own is wrong, which may suggest inferiority or incompetence. At their core, narcissists are driven by a sense of insecurity and fear that they are not enough.
As a result, they might avoid answering questions rather than risk being wrong and having their deficiencies exposed – even if it’s only to themselves.
When it comes to conversations, narcissists want to be in control and win arguments by any means necessary – from making others feel unsafe by displaying aggression and using manipulation tactics to using double-speak and deception. This desire for superiority keeps them from engaging in dialogue or responding to questions in order to maintain their fragile self-image, often devolving into the silent treatment when prodded too strongly.
The avoidance of answering questions can also come from a place of envy instead of fear if the topic is something that they cannot have control over. If a narcissist has not achieved something spectacular yet finds another person has accomplished what they strive for, they may be filled with envy instead of admiration – wanting what’s out of reach while also resenting it at the same time – leading to their complete dismissal of inquiry in order to protect their ego from further damage and pain.
Hiding behind avoidance allows the narcissist an escape route where all attention goes away from them – much preferred than having a discussion about why an answer was wrong because it implies weakness on their part. Facing facts does not become easier as time passes either; on the contrary, as one’s life drifts away from personal responsibilities made impossible due to narcissistic behavior patterns, this tendency can amplify itself up until nothing matters anymore other than preserving the faux power given by lack of acknowledgement no matter how difficult life may become because of it.
How to deal with a narcissist who avoids questions
Narcissists are often known to avoid answering questions in order to maintain control and appear more powerful. They may do this by deflecting, redirecting, or even ignoring the person asking the question.
In order to effectively deal with a narcissist who avoids questions, it is important to understand why they do this and how you can approach the situation in a respectful manner.
Ask open-ended questions
When dealing with someone who is a narcissist and tends to avoid answering questions, one strategy you can use is to ask open-ended questions. An open-ended question allows the person to provide an answer in their own words and provides them with more freedom to express themselves. Rather than posed closed-ended questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no, open-ended questions encourage involved discussions as they require practitioners to explain their position.
Additionally, reframing your questions from why (dealing with judgement) to what (purposes of gathering information) can also make it easier for the narcissist to actually engage in conversation and answer your question without feeling defensive.
For example, instead of asking “Why are you late?“, try asking “What made you late for our appointment?” This will allow the narcissistic abuser more autonomy as well as give him or her a sense of control. In addition, it shows that you are not judging them but simply seeking an explanation for their behavior. Asking open ended rather than judgmental or closed ended questions when engaging with a narcissist will help keep the lines communication open and allow both parties involved in the discussion to be heard better.
Don’t push for an answer
It can be difficult to manage an interaction with someone you suspect is a narcissist. One of the challenging aspects of dealing with a narcissist is that they may evade your questions and avoid giving you any direct answers. It’s important to keep in mind that questions should not be seen as confrontations, but rather as requests for information.
When faced with a narcissist who avoids answering questions, it’s important to remain calm and even-tempered. This will allow the conversation to remain civil without escalating into an argument. Additionally, it’s important to remember that it is the right of the person being questioned not to answer – regardless of whether they are a narcissist or not. As such, it isn’t productive (or polite) to push them for an answer if they don’t seem comfortable sharing it.
Instead of pushing for an answer, try:
- Asking your questions in different ways or using more specific language that is less likely to put them on guard.
- Emphasizing care over confrontation which will make them far more likely to open up and answer honestly and openly.
- Redirecting your conversation by changing the topic or taking time away from each other until they come around and feel ready to have a productive dialogue about their emotions and experiences.
Be aware of their triggers
Although it may seem impossible to deal with a narcissist, there are some steps that can help you better handle a narcissistic individual. One of those ways is being mindful and aware of the narcissist’s potential triggers. A trigger is an activating event or stimulus that leads to the symptom or behavior of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). A trigger can be anything from an argument happening in their presence to a simple question they don’t want to answer.
Since NPD revolves around attention-seeking behavior and elusiveness, attempting to engage in dialogue with a person suffering from the disorder can be especially difficult. Questions surrounding achievements, sense of importance, relationships or recent activities may cause the narcissist to avoid conversation altogether or go on the defensive – resulting in verbal abuse, evasion and refusal to address topics.
It is important not to get caught up in these traps; a passive response is recommended in order not to fuel their desire for attention or expend more energy than necessary on dealing with them. This can involve addressing their perspectives without actually engaging in what they are doing wrong – such as speaking about how you understand why they might feel this way instead speaking directly about the issue at hand. Additionally, dependent on how you perceive their state of mind, it could be beneficial for both parties if you offered suggestions for useful outlets or activities for them – such as:
- Meditation for stress relief and problem solving instead of delving into deeper discussion about one’s own emotions and feelings.
- Offering external resources for relaxation or distraction, such as music, it will allow them to regain control over themselves and take away from focusing all attention on themselves which could potentially cause further anxiety beyond what was already apparent due to the question asked which lead up this point.
In summary, narcissists avoid answering questions to protect themselves from feeling overwhelmed by uncomfortable feelings, appearing vulnerable and not maintaining control of the conversation. The longer a narcissist can avoid answering hard questions, the more likely they will try to keep their sense of power and superiority intact.
By refusing to answer questions or not speaking on difficult topics, they can maintain a veneer of confidence and avoid feeling exposed or embarrassed by revealing too much about themselves and possibly relinquishing control in the conversation.