Facts You need to know to protect Yourself

Growing Self Awareness

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Why you need to Disengage

If you’re the person on the receiving end there is really only one effective way of bringing it to an end.

You have the right to disengage, as often as you need to, whenever you choose and in whatever ways that you choose, no matter what an NBP player may tell you. They have a different rule book. Ignore it. Their rules are about disempowering you anyway.

Disengaging is more than just refusing to talk or walking  away. Disengaging needs to happen inside you, in your heart as well as in your head.

If it’s possible, disengage, totally, completely. If you leave even one line of contact, one communication channel open, that’s the communication channel an NBP player will keep using it as they seek ways to re-engage with you. See case Study D

Warning! They can be so convincing

When you try to disengage from them an NBP player's first response is often more anger and unjustified blaming to keep you engaged.

But if that fails they can switch to intense charm. Promises are given that everything will change from now on.  NBP players have the capacity to be incredibly seductive, almost hypnotic, in their ability to convince their target that “this time it really is going to be much better.”

Yet at the same time they can run a subtle guilt trip that it is you who once again have misjudged the poor, ever-loving NBP and therefore you need to make up for this now, by re-engaging.

You have the power to choose to stay partly connected with an NBP player but only on your terms

Sometimes you need to stay in some level of contact with an NBP player, for example they may be your boss at work, or they have control over property that is rightly yours.

Total disengaging then would not be in your best interests. Staying connected means you communicate impersonally but you don’t engage emotionally. You need to operate behind strong boundaries that shield you from their powerful energy.

You need to remain impersonal (more protected, less connected) no matter how hard they try to draw you back into the more personal energetic linkage that would restore their power over you.

You know that if the NBP player sees you as useful (in their eyes) they will not want you to disengage. So, control the ways you are useful, just how  much and how long you choose to  be useful.

You can choose how and when not to be useful which reminds the NBP player when they are dependent on you.

That way the connection level stays where it suits you and gives you a powerful advantage. Stay impersonal (more protected, less connected) with strong boundaries because they’ll keep trying every trick they know  to get you back to the more personal energetic engaged level they want.

You have the ability to cease defending or trying to reason with NBP negative “you” labels because you know now that will have no effect.

Remind yourself that continuing to defend, explain, or reason when you know from past experience that it cannot work is a sign that, to some extent you still believe the NBP player and their labelling of you. They can be very convincing and you need to work hard to get yourself to the point where you can reject those labels, completely, totally and instantly instead of defending (which is actually what the NBP player likes you to do. It keeps the drama going!).

You know the problems they face inside

Your real power includes your awareness that an NBP player player's emotional age is stuck at a young level, typically around early adolescence, no matter what the calendar says.

They  have no way of getting out of this or developing an aware grown-up personality. NBP players are PYRO driven. You know this. They don’t.  

You are awake to the lure of NBP promises of gifts or pleasures (always in the future)

Just being aware of the way the NBP player makes promises to get what they want is a powerful protection for you. If you hear a promise from an NBP player you can immediately set up your own warning system to avoid giving too much away and getting to little in return.

You know their masks are only masks

They see the degree of attention they get from others as essential because it’s the way they reassure themselves. It is how they  measure  “..... who they are and how much they matter in the world”.  They believe their mask as working. Your power is that you know this is based on a false belief. They can’t see that clearly. You can.

You know you are capable of facing reality even when it’s painful. You have ways of handling it. They don’t.

You as an authentic grown up will face the struggles and problems that come with handling reality. You know it’s hard work but it pays off. An NBP player is terrified of facing the world, terrified of reality. They are stuck at an emotional age of 11-15 years.

They use their most powerful masks to present a “pretend face to the whole world”. But they are not authentic and they can’t say  grown up things like “I made a mistake” ; “I was wrong”;  “I should not have said that.”;  “I’m sorry”

You can be authentic and show it to the World. They can’t

You are aware that real personal power includes showing yourself to the world in an authentic way, acknowledging your vulnerability but balancing it with your grown up life skills.

Your ability to balance the two is part of your special nature that makes you authentic and real but also more  lovable. It’s one of your key qualities, your real strength.

You understand their deeper issues, their real vulnerability, their pain

You are much more aware of what is really going on. Your higher level of self-awareness gives you the power to protect yourself.

Your real power includes your awareness about what is really going on inside them. They seldom have a good grasp of reality so yours is much more powerful than theirs. That’s one thing about you that they fear, the thought that you understand more than they do about their real issues.

Be very careful not to display your power too openly. NBP players can bite hard when fearful.

You are aware that the tragedy for you is a much worse tragedy  for them

If you are dealing with anyone who exhibits strong NBP behaviour it’s important to recognise that deep inside they are haunted by a fear that they are not adequate, not good enough, not successful enough. But this is not just an ordinary fear, for an NBP player it is extreme!

While NBP players may inflict massive damage and cause terrible pain to those around them, they are actually very badly damaged individuals themselves, rather than just mean and nasty. They experienced some kind of on-going severe childhood abuse or trauma.

As a result of that constant trauma, deep inside each NBP failed to develop empathy, boundaries and a healthy sense of self-esteem. They failed to grow up emotionally and you are aware of this.

In childhood the NBP player did not develop a healthy sense of self-esteem. Instead they created their own complex defences based on denial and creation of a ‘false self’, a safe public mask. Wearing that mask is emotionally exhausting, it also means that an NBP player must stay constantly on guard to avoid being found out.

You know that deep inside they are suffering deep emotional pain, an unhealed emotional wound from childhood

They are stuck with a childlike belief that if they are hurting it will somehow help them if they can cause other people to feel emotional pain or experience hurt as well.

Remind yourself. “That’s the reason they do the things they do.” Remember Pia Mellody’s observation. “Just bein’ who they are may be punishment enough!”

You have a much stronger sense of emotional age issues

You have your Powerful EA coloured wheel (below) to help you see all this more clearly. They don’t have that.

You are  aware when they are using their PYRO Pretend Parent Power

It is very hard for an NBP player to move into STAR or WING zones although they may do a very convincing pretend version.

On the other hand their PYRO pretend parent will be on duty regularly to blame you, label you, tell you what you have done wrong, how much you have hurt them, why it’s all your fault.

Your understanding about the different emotional ages will protect you.

Don’t try to do all this alone

This is one time when you really need to have a support team backing you. Dealing with NBP is much, much harder if you tackle it alone. It’s really not a do-it-yourself task.

Seek other people who are dealing with similar NBP problems. Start a group. Just having one or two people who feel as you do the deep emotional pain that NBP targets go through is a help. Together you can develop a stronger sense of reality to counter the NBP player blaming and guilt tripping.

You may be able to find a counsellor who is experienced with NBP. However many professionals are not trained to work with NBP. They may themselves become engaged with the NBP player and you end up on the outside again!

You do have some real Power over NBP Players

You have the ability to Disengage - on your terms, not theirs


Recommended websites

Good understanding of NBP Player


Six Signs of an NBP Player


Victims of NBP Player (Australian site)


Also on this website

More Pages on this website and in your free book:


Introduction to Narcissistic Behaviour Patterns and NBP Players

NBP Explained

Checklist - Signposts that indicate Narcissistic Behaviour Patterns

Facing Reality about  NBP Players - Five areas where you are powerless

Where You do have some real Power over NBP Player games

Games NBP Players like to Play

NBP Player Case Studies and Stories

How NBP Players are created

Back to NBP Players top Page