How narcissistic people manipulate you through social media.
Social media is a fantastic resource for narcissists to play more mind games with others. Some will do all, some only do one or two, and some will not be interested in social media at all. It all depends on the narcissist.
They can and most will use social media through each stage of the relationship, the idealisation, the devaluation, the discard and the hoover, or re idealisation and the smear campaigns. So just how exactly do narcissistic people use social media to play more mind games with us, to leave us hurt, angry and confused, and what do you need to look out for.
1. In the idealisation stage of the relationship. A narcissist will happily use any form of social media to find new people, from dating sites to Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest, etc. if you did or didn’t meet them through social media, most will use it as part of their idealisation phase by gathering as much information about you as possible, so they can easily mirror you, share your likes and dislikes, your points of view, finish your sentences. When you first start dating the narcissist, the idealisation stage is when most will raise us up so high, making us feel so special and treating us better than anyone ever has. How do they use social media to idealise us?
- When you first start dating, they might be regularly posting pictures and updates of you both, wanting to change their relationship status quickly to in a relationship with you.
- You might get to wake up and see something amazing on your Facebook wall from them that they’ve written about you.
- You could be going about your day to day and see a notification of a picture they’ve put up of the two of you or another fantastic comment they have left you,
- You most likely might start doing this in return, sharing your happiness with your loved ones.
- You might then start checking your social media to see what lovely comments they’ve left you today, as it gives you that boost of inner happiness from the external comments and likes. Healthy couples can also do this, just out of love and affection and creating happy memories; narcissists do this for more sinister reasons. I shall add signs of a narcissistic person at the end.
Narcissistic people use it to triangulate people when you first meet them. They may want you to be the one to send them a friend request, or they might send it to you. They might be playing all the mind games with the exes that one day they will play with you. They can also do this, as once you are both posting about how lovely your life is, when it starts going wrong, we can then find it harder to speak up through our own pride and ego. Speak up. You have nothing to be ashamed of, and it helps others through these times. Those not active or wanting to keep you hidden from other partners they have that you don’t know about, they might tell you they rarely go on. They only use it for messenger. They prefer being with people. Real-life matters to them more. This is only to impress you, so you think that they are real and admire them when it’s just to protect themselves.
2. Then comes the next stage, when they begin to devalue us that leaves us full of uncertainty, questioning what has changed, who have they become, changing ourselves, time and time again, to please them, learning to walk on eggshells around them to avoid, the silent treatment, the projection, blame-shifting and everything always being our fault, to avoid their anger and their rage. With the constant gaslighting, we can not see what’s truly happening to us. The narcissist gets us to start overanalysing everything, think about what their intentions are towards us, even questioning our own instincts, thoughts and feelings. They were once so loving, so kind, so helpful. We want to stop worrying, yet you can not help yourself. Anxiety becomes more often, yet, All the fantastic things they’ve said and done, all the beautiful things they used to put all over social media. For now, they have stopped.
You don’t want to worry, yet your instincts are telling you that all is not right. Either you’ve not been with them long, so you don’t want to bring up any concerns, don’t want to come across as insecure, or you’ve been with them a while, and for fear of their reaction, you don’t want to discuss your feelings with them. So you put more self-doubt into yourself. Are you overreacting? Are you reading too much into everything?
So If you see any of these signs, if you’re still in a relationship with someone you believe is a narcissist. Do not react or questions them. Trust your instinct as they just want you to react and walk away, follow and listen to your instincts. A narcissist will not validate your feelings. They are playing these games to make you feel insecure, to distract you from the other games they are playing. Here are a few other mind games they play on social media during the devaluation.
- They may start to remove some of their tags on posts you’ve tagged them into, not many to begin with. As time goes on, they remove more and more. So you start getting anxious and may start checking your profile more to see if any more have been untagged. If you ask them, they’ll either know nothing about it, blame it on your eyesight, say it’s some sort of mistake. “ you’re insecure. Stop reading into things.”
- They may block you for an hour, then unblock, and they may prevent you from looking at their social media for a day or two, then unblock. If you ask them, they will act all surprised and say it’s the website’s fault. They will re-add you. Leaving you wondering whether it was a mistake or not.
- They may cause an argument, go into the silent treatment, disappear and block you.
- Frequent likes on someone else’s profile. That someone else being of the same sex as you. There might not be any comments left at the moment. More than likely, this will be someone you do not know or haven’t even met. If you start to look through this person’s personal profile, you’ll discover that recently they’ve liked a lot of their photos or status updates, the narcissist might be trying to triangulate, or they may be lining up your replacement. If you ask the narcissist, it’ll be, “we’re just friends. Am I not allowed, friends.”
- They may suddenly add one of their crazy exes as a friend. You find this very strange because of everything they’ve told you about them and how toxic the ex was, but do not want to ask as you don’t want to look insecure or cause rage in them. You see no messages or no likes between them, but you’re left thinking, who asked who? And what’s this all about?
- You wake in the morning before they go into social media, you notice they were active a few hours ago, which leaves you with so many questions such as. What were they doing at that time in the morning? Or who were they talking to? They may have been, or if they know you’re looking at stuff, they might have just set the alarm to go on, knowing you’ll be up before them and looking, just to play more mind games with you.
- Then you may start to notice the narcissist leaving nostalgia comments on someone’s wall. Yet they’ve never mentioned this person or things they did with them.
- They may start posting things like, “ I’m not alone, so why do I feel so lonely?” Or ” feel like I’m going crazy, yet I’m not crazy.”
- There was a time when you did something together. They tagged you on social media, now, they never tag you on anything, yet they are still active. It’s not a case of life getting busy. You settled down as a couple and just rarely go on. They are always on commenting on others people’s posts.
- If you post something tagging them, it doesn’t appear on their timeline. They’ve changed their settings, so they have to approve it first. Social media platforms do like to update things, so if the person you are with isn’t abusive mentally, physically or emotionally, it could be genuine.
- Their phone is on lockdown, codes so you can not get in, settings changed, so messages don’t show and if you see one, it only states notification, or their phone is always with them or place screen down because they have things to hide.
- They tell you to remove your pictures because they don’t think you look good. “Are you really going to post that?”
They do these mind games and others as they want you thinking about it, stuck with that thought of wanting to know, not wanting to overreact. They want you to spend time, looking and seeing what happens to keep you in a state of confusion and fear, so your thoughts are on them. Then the narcissist might just go completely quiet on things like Facebook.
If the narcissist in your life likes Facebook and other social media, then you’ll probably have spotted some of these patterns. They do enjoy the power of Facebook, the power of social media and the power of playing games with your mind through anything they can, including Facebook.
- When you first met them, their once a Facebook main page was updated regularly, always sharing stories, tagging you, frequently changing profile pictures, including you together at the start, then just themselves, or them and their children.
- Then suddenly, all goes quiet. The profile picture stays the same; the timeline goes quiet. They no longer update the status of their achievement. The only thing on their posts from months or years ago, birthday wishes from others, often without reply, might be the odd thumbs-up. Their Facebook has gone silent.
- Why do they do this? They might not be doing anything on their profile page, yet they could still use Facebook to watch other people and calculate their next move. To spy on you and to spy on others, to gather as much information as they can about those around them. To see what you’re doing if they want to hoover, or what they could come in with to suck you back in, or looking for someone new to line up for themselves if they are devaluing you, ready for the discard.
- They may have gone quiet on the page you know about, yet they may have another profile set up that you don’t know anything about.
- They can also do this as they believe you are less likely to block them on discard as you think you know they don’t use it, so they can still check in on your profile after the discard is ready for the hoover. Some will block you. Some keep it and don’t block you as they know. You might have a look at them.
- Some will randomly block you during the relationship or during silent treatment to keep you questioning and guessing what’s happening.
- They use it to deny accountability, so you question yourself when you ask about cheating. They may say. “ how can I meet anyone? I never go online, look at my Facebook,
- They might let you check the messages because, of course, they’ve deleted them all. They’ll then shift blame onto you for doubting them and treating them how you do. To provoke a response from you. To get you to apologise for accusing them of things they are actually doing yet hiding from you.
Once you’re left feeling vulnerable, they can start with the discard. Doing this to you through social media with everything else they do, is just another tactic to draw you in, then leave you with self-doubt.
3. The discard and the smear campaign. When they feel you are no longer of use to them, or you’ve started to wake up to their horrific games, if they have discarded you, or if you have safely walked away, ended the relationship and left them.
- When they meet someone new, or they most likely will have already been with that person before discarding you, they’ll be on again, show their new relationship to the world, to give that new person the social media hook they did with you in the start.
- To show everyone what a healthy, loving relationship they are in to hide their own insecurities.
- Some will use social media on the discard to cause you more discomfort, pain and questions within yourself. Often posting pictures with their new partner, looking all perfectly loved up. Leaving you questioning “what was wrong with me” there’s nothing wrong with you, or ” what’s so special about them.” We are all special in our own way, yet to a narcissist, there is nothing special about the new. It’s just someone they can use, Abuse and triangulate others with.
- They might post pictures of them visiting places with the new supply places that they always promised to take you to, to rub salt in your wounds, photos in your home with your children, to leave you feeling hurt and confused that the new is not only living the life the narcissist promised you in the idolisation stage and never delivered but to twist the knife that they are doing it with your family, leaving you out in the cold. Leaving you with the questions of “why me.” or “what did I do wrong.” You did nothing wrong; it’s who they are—posting statuses updates of how they’ve never been happier.
- They are just idealising the new like they once did you. They have a Disorder. That is who they are. They only see in black and white, and they will continue their life cycles, and life patterns only get worse with age. You and the new are not competing with each other as the narcissist gets most people thinking. You have both just been fed lie after lie. A narcissist is a con artist. They start off by selling people dreams of happily ever after and delivering a living nightmare to those closest to them.
4. The smear campaign is further manipulative mental torture that has kept us locked in the abuse and in their hiddious games.
- They will be posting all the pictures of the new relationship to prove to themselves and others that they can be in a relationship and that they are healthy.
- They will have flying monkeys and enablers checking out your social media if you’ve blocked the narcissist, so they can check out what you are up to and go all out to destroy it.
- If you have business pages, they will and most often get enablers to leave negative feedback and remarks.
- They will post about just how crazy you are. Now the healthy person can share quotes and memes to raise awareness and help others, and they do it to destroy your good name.
5. The hoover, even if you think you’ve blocked them on everything, if you haven’t altered your settings so only friends can see, they might just set up false profiles to check in on you, see what info they can gather, some have been known to reach out through YouTube and eBay when you’ve blocked them from all other social media.
- They might set up new accounts and send you friend requests and messages.
- They might set up new accounts or have other accounts to spy on you to see if they can find a way back into your life.
- They might send pictures to your inbox of Facebook memories to pull on your memory and caring side of that idolisation stage. And if you left them back in, they will hit that pattern of repeat as they cycle around their life story, exploiting others to meet their own needs.
So what can you do? My best advice is to block all social media contact if you can, also blocking mutual friends and family. The hard part is not blocking. It’s feeling guilty. Remember, you’re not doing this to hurt anyone or with wrong motives. You’re doing it for your protection, sanity, and leaving the past behind. Break the cycle and move forward onto a much happier life. I shall add no Contact at the end. You do not want them having information about you. They will only use it against you. As much as some people might want to see what they are doing now, if you see something, it’ll only bring up past hurts and past pain for you. If you’ve already looked, don’t worry a lot do. Now is the time to make the change and block them. It can be challenging to start. Human nature to check in on someone you used to be close to. There’s a difference between the narcissist checking in on you. They do this to spy, to find ways to suck you back into their games when you look. You often do it for answers to try and give yourself that closure, yet often you end up feeling much worse, acknowledge that you want to look, then tell yourself you will not, as you’ll only be left feeling worse, find something, anything to do to keep your own mind busy and avoid checking in on them.
Learning about the disorder, who they are and what had happened to you helps give you the closure you need to move on. You might get your answers and walk away altogether, breaking that cycle working on you and living a much happier life. You might learn what you need to, break the cycle and create a new experience, yet still look the disorder up now and again, purely because you are fascinated by the psychology behind the human mind, so long as you leave the past behind, both are normal, healthy and whatever works best for you. You will get to a point where you see their games, understand what they do, and get busy working on yourself and your life, so you are no longer interested in focusing on that in a negative, hurtful way, more just gaining knowledge and awareness, you might be one that joins groups as you have a passion for helping others through, or completely walks away from it, do what is right for you. As it becomes just memories of the past, and that’s where you want to leave it, where it belongs in the past, yes, those dark cloud moments of painful memories can hit from time to time, often becoming less over time, yet when they come, depending on how they make us feel, we might question, are we over it? Are we healed? When these hit, you must remember that it’s your past. You lived it. That those memories are to remind you of the strength and knowledge that you have gained, to show you how far you have come, and to remind you of a life you no longer live and don’t want to live again, remember you of the happiness you have built up for yourself now, to be grateful for what you have achieved, and how you used your most significant hurt of the past, to drive you to make your most significant gains of your future, remember forgiveness is for you so that you can walk away heal and move on. If you are at the start, it’s ok to feel anger, resentment, pain, normal human emotions with what you have been through. Keep working on yourself, and you will move past it. Keep going, reach out to talk to good people. It does get easier. Keep going, you can, and you will recover from this.
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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.
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Walking on eggshells.
how to detach your thoughts from the narcissist.