The most effective of all the narcissists manipulative strategies is “Induced Conversation.” Especially when breaking down a no-contact initiative or when trying to hoover (suck back into the relationship) the codependent. For codependents to not get sucked back into the relationship that has nearly destroyed them, they must have a potent counter-measures to survive the narcissist’s induced conversation strategies.
ODA & The Wrestling Ring
The meaning behind the George Bernard Shaw saying, “never wrestle with a pig, you’ll get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it!”, goes hand-in-hand with my Observe Don’t Absorb (ODA) technique. And this approach requires filtering out the power of narcissists over their codependent or SLD (Self-Love Deficient) prey.
Any sort of reaction to a narcissist whether you are fighting or just defending yourself can cause you to end back up in that wrestling wring. Remember, the narcissist wrestler lives and breathes the wrestling ring. They know every square inch of it. In fact, their ability to manipulate people requires them to bring other people into the wrestling ring to outmaneuver, out power, out manipulate, and outthink anyone who tries to defend themselves from their attacks.
Let’s examine how you can stay out of the wrestling ring once and for all.
How to Stay Out of the Narcissist’s Wrestling Ring
As a counselor I teach people to how to stay out of the wrestling ring. In this case, we are mainly talking about the emotional wrestling ring, but also the physical wrestling ring. The physical wrestling ring includes the things you do or do not do to engage the narcissist. The emotional wrestling ring is what goes on in your head and heart.
One way you can stay out of the physical wrestling ring is simply by not talking to the narcissist. Avoiding all contact through emails, text messages, etc. is one of the best ways to reduce contact. However, you can still keep them in your head, hearing their gaslit narrative, including their comments about you, over and over, with or without them around.
If they stay in your mind, your strength and ability to break free from the relationship and survive narcissistic abuse is weakened.
So, how can you overcome this?
The primary defense strategy that I teach people when introducing the ODA technique is to fully understand the power of induced conversation.
Induced Conversation & How It Affects You
Induced conversation is the primary weapon that the narcissist wrestler uses to maintain their power and control over you. As you begin setting boundaries, breaking off the relationship, and even utilizing the ODA technique, you will fail if you do not understand what is at stake for the narcissist. Remember, their number one goal is to keep you in the wrestling ring.
Narcissists are nothing by themselves, despite what they may tell themselves. They need you like they need oxygen to live. Internally, they are filled with insecurity, shame, and dread, regardless of if they are conscious of it. Most narcissists can’t become aware of these internal battles. There may be rare moments where they can connect with their shame, such as moments when they meltdown, beg, plead, and promise you everything so they can keep you in their life. However, that window closes quickly and is unlikely to reopen. They simply are oblivious to their darker sides and their shame.
Induced conversation is what keeps them in control of the relationship. It is how they command their powers and control strategies. After all, if they can get you to respond, defend yourself, or argue, you will be right back in the wrestling ring with them.
To wield this power, the narcissist has to get you to talk to them first. If you try to go no-contact, the only way for them to get back into your life is through induced conversation.
Ways Narcissists Do This
Deceptively simple, induced conversations are the number one power move that narcissists use. If you think about how many times you have attempted to free yourself from a narcissist, setting boundaries, or completely freeing yourself from the relationship, feeling confident and resolute to finally end the insanity, and how many times this hasn’t worked, you’ll realize the power of this technique. Your narcissist knows your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. They understand the ins and outs of codependency addiction more than you ever could.
There are a few ways they can do this. Sometimes it is as simple as, “Hey I just want to let you know that you left your toothbrush at my house and I would love to give it back to you, let me know when is the best time to drop it off”.
Other times, it is more antagonistic, “You have no idea how much you’ve hurt me, and I deserve a chance to explain to you how much I love you and I think we can work this out”.
It could also be more deceptively manipulative. They can use your children, by saying, “Bobby’s teacher called me, and he said that we should talk, and I think it’s a good idea for us to talk, don’t worry about our problems, I respect your boundaries”.
Their strategy will be to induce conversation by connecting with your vulnerabilities. They know that all they have to do is just give you a little pinprick of the drug and the drug comes from the conversation. Never underestimate the power of conversation.
Why Induced Conversation Works
Let’s remember when we finally get to the point when we are done. That place comes out of anger. So as long as we stay angry, we can stay away from the narcissist. But then, the narcissist can talk to you and somehow you remember all the sweetness and kindness they love-bombed you with, and you are back where you started. This, quite simply, is insanity.
They know that there will be a point when you will unconsciously crave their company. Regardless of whether it is rational for you to do so, or not. They are aware of that you are going to find a way to be around them, whether in conversation, through an emotional or even a sexual connection.
I look at the narcissist the same way I look at a terrible addiction, like nicotine. I understand this process because I am a certified addictions counselor and certified sex addiction treatment provider. Just like you cannot help but pick up a cigarette and smoke, you cannot help but get back into conversation with a narcissist if they prompt you.
To apply the Observe Don’t Absorb technique, and my other techniques, I urge you not to forget the importance of neutralizing induced conversation. You must stay on alert. Do not talk, respond, or reflexively interact with them. Narcissists know what they are doing and will try to get you back in their wrestling ring. They want to stay in the dysfunctional codependent narcissist dance forever. That is all this takes.
Stop Induced Conversation & Heal
To tie this all together, if and when you are ready to leave your narcissist abuser, whether that’s your boss, friend, family member, or partner, you must remember to avoid the pull of induced conversation. This technique will suck you back in and leave you right back where you started.
For more information about induced conversation and strategies to protect yourself from narcissists, check out Ross’s seminar Escaping Narcissistic Abuse.
Ross Rosenberg M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, is the owner of Self-Love Recovery Institute. He is a psychotherapist, educator, expert witness and author. Ross is known globally for his expertise in codependency (Self-Love Deficit Disorder™), Pathological Narcissism, Narcissistic Abuse and Trauma Treatment.
He is a keynote speaker and educator who has presented in 30 States/70 cities and abroad. Ross has been regularly featured on national TV and radio. His “The Human Magnet Syndrome” books sold over 120K copies and are translated into 10 languages. His YouTube Channel has amassed 19 million video views and more than 200K subscribers.