Taoism is a philosophy that models the world in terms of the interaction of two complimentary and opposing forces – Yin and Yang. The Yang is that which is manifest; it is what we see on the surface, the Yin force, meanwhile, is its reciprocal- that which lies concealed beneath the surface, the latent force. Tai Chi is a martial art that is an application of Taoism to physical combat. It is an ideal framework for us to use in playing the players.
The narcissist lives in the Yang world. They only see what is overt, tangible, and concrete. Their obsession is with status and looking good. What lies beneath is of little interest to them. This obsession with the overt makes them blind to the subtle, the implied, the covert, which is the Yin realm. Therefore in our encounters with the narcissists it is far better to remain in the shadows and only show our hand when the time is propitious.
This is true for a number of reasons. Firstly they travel in packs and they don’t fight fairly– if you are skillful or lucky you may win a few battles, but ultimately you will lose the war. Therefore if you can finesse them in such a way that they are left with no idea how they have been bested, or for that matter that matter, beaten at all, so much the better.
The narcissists’ worldview is that life is a zero sum game. This means that they look at every interaction with another person as a competition, one in which there are no ties, and one can only win or lose. They are very skilled at concealing their agendas beneath a very engaging veneer, nonetheless their agenda, to gain the advantage or dominate, is relentless, leaving no chance of a happy compromise. In this ongoing war with the Players, victories are rare and the best you can realistically hope for is a kind of standoff or stalemate.
This is best achieved by putting them at ease and luring them into a kind of trap, where they cannot act against you without harming themselves in the process. This is done by leading them to believe their position is far stronger; inducing them to overplay their hand. Then when you have them out on a limb, you spring the trap. Now you have one of two choices: finish them off, or allow them to return to safety while retaining leverage over them.
This may all seem a bit dark in draconian, but with narcissists is very much a case of ‘live by the sword and die by the sword’. Being incapable of experiencing any enduring guilt, or remorse, if you show the mercy they will only redouble their efforts to exact revenge for the humiliation they suffered at your hands.
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