Narcissists( or at least my one anyway) tend to shift the conversation towards the personal(from article 12 Classic techniques the narcissist uses to manipulate you.)
Boy did I fall for that one every time. I would bring up an issue, thinking we could talk about things sensibly and before I knew it I would be fending off a personal attack.
No I am not a blankety blank blank blank.
Then like an idiot, I would try to explain patiently that if there were issues, they would be more likely to be resolved, if he explained things without calling me any of a delightful range of ridiculous names. Then when this had got me nowhere, I would often end up losing it too, displaying the worst aspects of my personality, which was of course his aim all along (to drag me down in the gutter with him.) If you are one of those honourable souls, who never stoop to their level, I envy you. I had eventually developed stock answers (becoming as repetitive as he was) to his various insults, like
An example of one of my stock answers.
Before you look at the speck in my eye, look at the log in your own.
so he had often given up, as he knew what was coming.
The main weapon in my armoury was not my words, it was my actions. As I realised he was materialistic, every time he displayed clearly toxic behaviour, I had removed items from the house and placed them in the shed. I would refuse to have them in the house ever again. Whatever the fight was about, would be ejected from the house never to return. Sometimes this would be tough. We had an epic battle which had ended with him sulkily taking the expensive vacuum cleaner to work, from where it had never returned. No don’t ask about the flooring. Things eventually reach a level where the floor does not seem to get any worse. His only response was positive when I had eventually started dealing with the floors again. I had the same approach to people who had appeared to cause problems. No I did not put family members in the shed but I had refused ever to visit them or to entertain them in future. Toxic people only understand actions not words
I realise that in a way he has done me a favour, as I am so used to dealing with bullies, that when somebody had overheard me dealing with a manipulative estate agent today, they had come up to congratulate me.
However I have since learned that whilst I had to some extent, managed to keep things relatively stable, the underlying issues were never going to be resolved. I was just sticking a bandaid on a huge gaping wound. I have also now, had to spend several years recovering from the debilitating effects of dealing with a narcissist on a daily basis, for two decades. There is(I have learned) a difference between merely managing a situation and actually resolving a situation. I might have been keeping afloat but I certainly wasn’t going anywhere.
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.