Why does a narcissist play mind games?
The narcissistic personality disorder is on a spectrum, so the levels they will go to depends on the narcissist you are dealing with.
Why do they manipulate? The main reason is it all comes down to control. They have to manage everything and everyone around them. With their games, they put you under their spell. They put you into a state of a trance. Hence, you become paralysed within your own mind, no longer knowing reality. Therefore you end up going to the narcissist for reality so that they can control you further. If you start to realise that something is not right, they will often up those mind games to send you into a further trance.
Narcissistic abuse causes cognitive dissonance within your mind, where you live the reality of the narcissist’s admiration face, where they genuinely seem to love, care and empathise with you, they shower you with affection and support. You do them, and they adore the attention they get. Unfortunately, this can not last as we are all human, we all make errors in judgment, we all make mistakes, and at times we can all disagree with those we are close to. Yet, healthy people can see each other points of view, have a two-way conversation and reach some form of compromise. With someone who has NPD, when you disagree, they class this as criticism. You are not obeying them, as you are most likely love and care for them at this point. This is when they change the game. When you say no, when you don’t agree, outcomes their entitled, envious face, as the narcissist classes this as you going against their superiority and their entitlement, as they have not got control over you, so they might sulk, silent treatment, project, triangulate, blameshift, guilt trip or gaslighting you to get your boundaries down and get their needs met. Gaslighting plays a significant role in all of these, and it’s designed to confuse you and distort your own sense of reality. Most of the tactics they use will leave you full of self-doubt and self-blame. As you’ve lived through the admiration face and with all their twisted manipulation methods, like baiting you, to get a reaction out of you, to blame it all on you for something they started, so they can escape responsibility and place all the blame onto you, as they’ll downplay or miss entirely out what they did, and exaggerate what you did, so instead of two people being accountable for their own actions, the narcissist takes no blame. You are left thinking it’s all down to you. Then you work harder to make it up to them and earn their forgiveness. This all leaves you confused and often losing your beliefs and boundaries, trying to make it up to them for what they actually did to you.
They have to manipulate to keep control over you, some as I once believed say it’s to keep up the appearance of their false self, in my reality, both the admiration face and the envy face is who they are, to confuse, control and manipulate you, remember you did not cause it, you can not control it, and you can not change it, that’s who they are, and with most after the Love-bombing , you will never know which side of that face they will show from one day to the next, often leaving you walking on eggshells around them, as they are like walking across a land mine, one small step out of place and they will go off, yet you never know what will set them off from one day to the next, it depends what mood they are in, with their games and staying in control of you, they stay calm most of the time around others, or if they believe they will suffer any form of consequences, those on the lower end of the spectrum are not always in control enough to do this all the time with others, yet you are still often left confused and agitated, often with anxiety, so you look to others like the crazy one. They look like they are doing so well putting up with you and trying to help you, and this allows them to show others how good they are, making it harder for you to tell others what’s really happening and get the help you need. It helps them with their smear campaigns against you when you do break free.
Narcissists use mind games and manipulation to get attention from you, to draw emotions and reactions from you. If you become upset, distraught, angry, annoyed or frustrated, because of the mind games the narcissist is playing, they are just enjoying the emotional reactions and attention they are getting from you.
They believe they are above everybody else, and they feel entitled to do as they please and do not have the emotional empathy to care for the effects it has on others, so with all their mind games, it often ends up leaving you upset, angry, hurt and confused, it gives them the power to control you and makes them feel powerful.
If they feel criticised in any way, they use mind games to defend themselves from criticism or accusations, and they will lie, deny, blame shift, deflect and project. It benefits them by confusing you, also protecting themselves from and accountability, avoidance of the problems. As most are lacking in cognitive reflection skills, if not all narcissists are lacking in this thinking ability, they can not look back and reflect on what they have done, so never learn from their own mistakes or errors of judgment to them, it’s always someone else’s fault and never their own.
They want to exhaust you, so you can no longer think clearly and have less resistance, so you can not work out what they are doing, also, so you give in to their demands. When you have anxiety, CPTSD, feeling depressed, coming down with illness after illness, you become weak. It’s much easier when you’re exhausted for the narcissist to apply further manipulation and get their needs met when exhausted. We are less able to think clearly, we give in easier to their truths, just to try and end the emotional pain, as we are in such devastating emotional turmoil. They take further control over our minds and our lives to sink us further under.
Mental abuse is harder for people to see what’s happening than physical abuse. Psychological abuse is harder to recover from, as you often don’t see it until your mindset has been reprogrammed in such a way, it takes a long time to un program all the manipulation,
A bruise is a bruise and raises questions. Mind games, the narcissist can deflect it back onto you. If you break an arm or have a black eye, you can carry on with most Day to day activities, mind games grind you down, drain you, to the point you struggle to think straight, find it difficult to get on with day to day living.
It’s hard to plan for the future, as they give you the false hope with future fakes, so when they discard you, it hurts, or if you work out what they are and leave, they smear your name and label you as the crazy one, their mind games give you a confused, hazy state of mind, that makes it easier for them during the smear campaign against you that your behaviour demonstrates to others that you are the crazy one. It’s a learning curve to protect yourself from the narcissist’s mind games in the correct way. Most of us are left dazed, trauma bonded, anxious, and the narcissist will bait you into appearing to others as crazy.
If you take them to court or call the police, they can act as the calm, reasonable one while you look crazy.
Because of your empathy, you are more suspectable, to manipulation, because of your traits of honesty, kindness, sympathy, willingness to forgive, keenness to help others and to understand. Wanting the truth and emotional responses, you will also try harder to change yourself to please them, believing it’s because of something you did with the help of the never-ending narcissist twisting of word salad.
Those narcissists who don’t find it easy to manipulate the narcissist who has less control of their rage will also use physical violence, from pulling hair, strangling you and much more, those on the higher end of the spectrum are more calculated in what they do and are far less likely to use physical violence, they will rarely use violence that leaves marks.￼
Putting your own reality back in, creating distance from them so you can begin to think for yourself again, will help you recover from this mental torture.
You can, and you will recover from this.
Why a narcissist can not see your point of view.
Disarming a narcissist.
12 narcissistic mind games.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.