Twelve mind games those with narcissistic personality disorder play to keep their games hidden from you and to stay in control over you.
Looking for red flags is great; if you know people like this exist, looking for red flags is great, unless you don’t know what they are. If someone tells you on a first date, they’ll always let you down, they’ll ignore you for days, they’ll stop you from seeing friends and family, they’ll up and leave you, they’ll make you cry, they’ll cause you pain, you’d walk, but no they come with all the charm, and as you think people think like you, you believe what they say, and once they have us hooked, their games begin. Their games actually start in the beginning when they treat you better than anyone has, that illusion in the idealisation stage, so when they treat you worse than anyone has, you’re always living in the hope of getting that admiration face narcissist back. They’ll be back long enough to give that reinforcement that it’s your fault. It is never your fault, abuse is abuse, and there is no excuse.
If narcissistic parents raised you when you meet others, you look at your childhood role models and although it hurts, make what are within your mind, valid excuses for someone else’s behaviour, ‘they don’t mean it they’re tired, men like to toughen kids up, women are high maintenance.’ As there is no wrong in helping kids handle emotions and no wrong in having standards, we don’t see that the problem is their behaviour behind those standards and toughness. Like when they tell you they delete all messages because it’s easier that way, some people like to keep messages organised. Some people do delete once they read, so you don’t want to push it, as what they say makes sense; it’s what they’re covering that often makes no sense because of all the games they play to keep you from the truth.
A Narcissist feels entitled and wants control over your life. They want to train you to do, as they say, make all your life choices through them. It’s a battle of wills between you wanting to please them and be you. They want all the power, dominance and control over you, and when we don’t understand what they do, as it’s done so underhand, the narcissist often wins. Yet, when we know what’s happening, we have the power to take back control of our lives, our thoughts, and our feelings, by being ourselves, by no longer letting their opinions of us define us, and no longer giving them reactions or attention. Most narcissistic behaviour is done covertly. Most narcissists like to do their abuse hidden, in secret, under the radar.
A narcissist wants you.
- To react by provoking you, so you question your own actions.
- To blame yourself while they play the victim.
- Live in hope by promising a fake future so that you think they will change, and you give them yet another chance.
- To justify all your decisions through them, by gaslighting, to get you to question reality and your sanity, so you go to them for support, believing you are going crazy.
- To play you off against others so they can divide, conquer and control.
- To doubt yourself by Invalidating you, to sabotage you from achieving your true potential.
- To have no support system, they isolate you, so you feel you have no one other than the narcissist.
- To fear them, they punish you with silent treatments, smear campaigns and more mind games, so they have control over you because you fear the consequences if you don’t do as they say.
- To feel like there’s no way out by controlling your Finances.
- To be full of self-doubt, feel like you’re going crazy and to live by their reality only.
Top twelve mind games narcissists use to control you.
1. Baiting. Where they will intentionally make you hurt, confused or angry by saying or doing things to upset, annoy or taunt you deliberately, to hook, trap or entice you, and getting you to do what they want you to do. They use baiting to provoke reactions from you, to cause reactive abuse, so you question yourself, you doubt yourself, and you blame yourself for things you didn’t even start. The narcissist will finish it with you feeling bad and doing all you can to make it up to them.
How to disarm.
It’s human nature to want to defend ourselves. To explain our intentions when we think someone has perceived us wrong, to explain ourselves if someone presents a false opinion of us, to compromise and find a middle ground. Learning narcissists don’t want to compromise. They want to control and to win at all costs to those around them. It helps us recognise there is no point in defending ourselves to them, no contact or grey rock, be monotonous, be boring, be dull, what they say about you does not define you. As difficult as it is, stops taking what they say personally; that’s why they are saying it, not because it’s true, to get a reaction out of you.
2. Blame shifting. Switching the story onto us. When anyone confronts them or tries to set boundaries, they will change the whole focus onto the other person. So they can escape accountability and not take responsibility for their actions. Putting all the attention and blame onto you. If they have your reactions, it makes it all the easier for them to do this, as you can recognise your own errors in judgment, and you can feel remorseful and guilty. With a narcissist who will exaggerate all your behaviour and downplay all of theirs, we are the ones who then question ourselves, and start overlooking their character flaws, and focus on improving ourselves to suit them, which is an impossible task as soon as a narcissist gets what they want, they want more. We place all the blame on ourselves. The narcissist is then at an advantage to further their control, to coercive control you, guilt trip you, and generally make you feel bad, so you make up to them for things they did to you.
How to disarm.
Radical acceptance, we have to stop fighting reality, understandably that’s difficult when we don’t see it; however, once we know the extent of the reality that’s been hidden from us through many manipulative games, we have to start to recognise it in its entirety, we have to stop making excuses for them, we have to be responsible for our own actions provoked or not, and learn how to handle ourselves, at the same time we have to pass responsibility back to the rightful owner for their actions, why no contact or distance is a must, to clear the fog, the cognitive dissonance, from our mind, that their gaslighting causes, so we can start to think clearly and put the reality of the dire situation we were in back together correctly and not the narcissists distorted controlling way.
3. Future Faking. When the narcissist gives us false hope of a future that they’ll never deliver, future faking is when the narcissist fakes a future with us. They will make fake promises about our future together to get their needs met in the present, to hide how horrible it is in the present by getting us to focus on the future promises they’ll never deliver. They build up our hopes to miss the mark. They will gaslight, which is psychological manipulation in itself to distort our reality, but not only do they distort our present reality, they use the present to distort our future, to hide what they are doing to us in the present, they lie in those idealisation stages, to sell us an illusion of something that was never meant be. They might even deliver on some of those promises to keep us more confused when we question those they haven’t. It’ll be “Don’t you remember when I? ” so you focus on the little they have done, see they are capable and forget what they haven’t, or blame yourself for why they haven’t.
How to disarm.
Create your dreams where yes, you might need help or support, or guidance. Still, the only reason they’d not be attainable is if you stopped trying. Almost anything in life takes practice, patience and consistency, don’t quit on yourself because it got hard. Work through the pain to enjoy massive gains. If you can see someone doing something you like to do, it’s possible. Keep going. Don’t share with those who’ll knock you down, and those who knock you down, those who tell you that you can’t; use that as motivation to show them you can. Quit on those who wish to see you fail but never quit on you.
4. Gaslighting. This is an insidious form of psychological abuse where they sow seeds of self-doubt into others. Hence, we lose our own reality, our sanity, our memories and our perceptions. They undermine our mental state at every turn. They lie and give false information through projection, blame-shifting, and triangulation. Saying, “That never happened.” “I told you last week.” “You’re sensitive.” Or the classic “you’re crazy.” They brainwash us into believing their reality.
These phrases disable your Self-Trust, and your ability to trust in others, and it slowly distorts your reality, events that did or did not happen, and who you indeed are. With prolonged gaslighting abuse, we are often are left with inner conflict, and we can potentially end up gaslighting ourselves, as gaslighting causes Cognitive Dissonance, within our minds.
How to recover from gaslighting.
Write things down, keep notes of everything you need to until you can see what the narcissist does to you, then observe their behaviour, don’t absorb. Don’t look to the narcissist for any reality checks, answers or closure. Listen to your instincts, online support groups or trusted friends.
5. Mirroring, when they copy who you are and reflect all your likes, dislikes, hobbies, hopes and dreams back to you. When they are mirroring us at the beginning, they treat us better than anyone ever has; they understand us like no one has understood us before. We connect with them. Their mirroring of us opens our attachment system. Which drives humans to bond with other humans; the attachment system is an emotional bond. Something a narcissist is often lacking is why they find it so easy to walk away, they either never had that attachment growing up, or they shut it down. Through mirroring, they also find something out about you, to then use it against you to create self-doubts within your mind, so if you were cheated on in a previous relationship, they’ll happily cheat on you and use ”You’re too hung up on your past.” to Gaslight you into not looking at what’s genuinely happening in your present and instead focus on your past, they will reinforce with things like ”You’re insecure.”
How to disarm.
Healing your insecurities, so they can no longer use you against you. Write down a list of the things you enjoy doing for yourself, and start looking into ways to ease yourself back out there doing what you enjoy when you’re feeling lost and wondering who you are. As the narcissist has taken everything from you, ask yourself. “Who am I.” And “What do I enjoy doing.” Then start taking baby steps in doing those things again. When someone seems too good to be true, slow it down to a pace you are comfortable with, as them what they enjoy.
6. Projection. Pushing their own feelings, thoughts, actions, beliefs, opinions and traits onto someone else, the narcissist will blame others to escape accountability. They will accuse others of what they are actually doing. From “you’re a liar.” “You’re cheating.” “You’re insecure.” Projection is the narcissist’s defence mechanism not to take responsibility for their actions, to place their toxic, negative, hurtful and sometimes dangerous actions onto someone else, to avoid accountability and not accept responsibility. They are unwilling and often unable to ever see themselves as the problem; whatever they do wrong, someone else always makes them do it. They will not acknowledge their faults, flaws or wrongdoings. Instead of admitting or apologising or working on their inner selves, they would prefer to pass it all over onto someone else. They will blame and shift everything onto other people. The only time they will apologise is when they believe it will meet a need of their own, and it is often done by blaming the other party. “If you’d have done this, I wouldn’t have done that.” Or ” because you didn’t let me, I had to do it.” They will change the subject on you to avoid any responsibility for their actions.
A narcissist’s projection is a mix of their manipulative Gaslighting and their manipulative Blame-shifting. As they go all out, distracting you from the truth, as they do their best to cover the fact with distorted lies, as they hide the truth of their toxic, hurtful, negative behaviour from you. At the same time, they get you to doubt and blame yourself and take on the responsibility for the narcissist’s actions. They get you to defend yourself to them for how you think or feel due to their hurtful ways, so they escape accountability, so they remain in control, and so they get away with their actions time and time again while slowly sinking you forget under their trance.
How to disarm.
Don’t project your good caring, empathetic nature into them, as they will only ever take you further under, and you can not help them; you can help yourself. Don’t listen to their toxic words. Observe. Don’t absorb; they are admitting their wrongdoings with what they are trying to blame you for. The closest you’ll get to the truth from a narcissist is the things they accuse you of or what they are accusing others of. If possible if you can just cut all ties with them and go no contact?
7. Silent treatments. This is another form of psychological manipulation the narcissist uses against others. It is another form of emotional abuse to keep power and control over you, to avoid taking accountability for something they have done, avoid responsibility for their own actions. To maintain their dominance over you. It’s used to punish you for something you have or haven’t done. They believe you are beneath them, and they want to do it, so you conform to their demands. It’s used to make you beg, plead, apologise and make it up to the narcissist for things you didn’t even do, the present silent treatment in the home where you’re left walking on eggshells, or where they just disappear on you.
How to disarm.
Recognise it, see what they are doing, don’t look inwards for answers, see this is their problem, that they only do to hurt you. If they want to be silent, they are entitled to be silent. You are allowed to leave them to it, remember you’re not the problem, look for what they are trying to hide, what they are trying to achieve in doing this, what they want or need from you and don’t give it to them. Become at peace within yourself. Don’t let others take you down; remove negative people from your life. Saying no to someone over something you don’t like is a significant deal-breaker.
8. Triangulation. Where they use others to get us to question our beliefs, challenge our boundaries, to give in to the narcissist’s demands, or it is used to isolate us from any support network. To keep the truth hidden from us. Through making lies up and informing one of something another said. To divide and conquer. To dominate all others. They create competition between others, so people work harder to please them. They will even play their own children off against each other.
“Everyone else is doing it. My ex used to let me, my friend’s partner lets them.” “You’re brother/sister would.” Again making you feel guilty or inadequate to get you to break down your boundaries.
How to disarm. Remember, first, the others probably aren’t, and even if they are or did, they are not you; if they put their ex down, then say their ex would have done it for them, they have no respect for the ex, and none for you. You are entitled to live your life your way; with good intentions, there is no wrong way or right way to live your life exactly how you want to; you need a million ways to say no, and once you’ve said it, stick to that no. You do not need to explain or even continue the conversation.
9. Word Salad. A mixture of words and phrases lacks any meaning to the original topic. The narcissist can talk a great talk. Yet they don’t walk a great walk. The narcissist’s actions rarely match their words. Most often, with just how convincing they are with their lies, as their lies are their truths, they confuse those around them; only once out of the situation do you truly see just how unbelievable their words, conversations and arguments genuinely are. A conversation with a narcissist is crazy-making. They will provoke you. Switch the topic, talk over you, and play the victim. Gaslight you, Triangulate or fall silent. Anger and rage, especially when they don’t get what they want or what they believe they are entitled to.
How to disarm.
The best recovery to put your reality back in place is writing down all their false promises and lies, then next to it, writing out the truths.
10. Intimidation. People with narcissistic personality disorder use threats against others to put fear into others to keep them trapped and make them do as the narcissistic person wants. Simply because they believe they are entitled to do so, they can not understand other people’s points of view or empathise with others on a deeper level; some can not empathise at all; anyone that doesn’t do as they say the narcissist will view this as war, and they take that mental warfare to the next level; anyway, they can to get their own needs met. They will threaten people to take control back over them when they get their own way; it helps raise their damaged self-esteem, and it lowers yours.
How to disarm.
Always take any threat seriously, but not to keep you trapped, to find a safe way out, and stay safely out; they don’t change for the better; once we take them back, they change for the worse.
11. Invalidation. This is when your job, relationships, memories, thoughts, parenting, feelings, opinions, weight, and shape, it can be everything about who you are and what you do is rejected, ignored, criticised and judged by the narcissist. By putting others down, this then makes them feel superior, and when they feel superior, they feel in power and in control; they want to be your puppet master and to use your empathy and emotions against you is how they achieve this.
How to disarm.
What we all need to learn, as hard as it is at times, it’s up to ourselves to make our worlds work for us, to raise ourselves back up, to contribute to ourselves and others in positive ways, to know ourselves well enough to validate ourselves and those around us, so we have the help and support from good people, to achieve what we want from life and when that support network isn’t there, we can give ourselves the get-up and go, we can say no to the naysayers and those who Intimidate or invalidate us. Instead, we can show them it is possible. For a narcissist to change, they would have to raise their own level of self-awareness, face guilt, pain, insecurities, and so many more. As they are unable to see any faults or wrongdoings within themselves, it’s highly unlikely, yes they can falsely change at the moment to meet a need of their own, again that change is only surface level and not getting to the route cause they are only temporarily changing to manipulate others into getting their own needs met.
Narcissists use false hope, then hurt, then withhold any emotional support and a ton of criticism, followed by no emotional support, and they’ll cycle around their two faces to get their needs met. When you study narcissism, you’ll notice this pattern in almost everything, if not everything, they do. You are a hostage, and you need to find a way out. Or if you’re out, you need to stay out. Why do they do this? To gain control so they can exploit people to get their own needs met. They lack the empathy to care for those they hurt. They feel entitled to do as they please because they have a disorder, the narcissist personality disorder. It’s who they are. You can not change them. They often lack in cognitive reflection skills, so they don’t see within themselves the mistakes they’ve made. Instead
How to disarm.
Reach out to those who tried to warn you that you might now be isolated from. They cared enough to try and warn you. Reach out to support groups, therapists, or whatever you need that’s right for you.
How to outsmart a narcissist.
Trust your instincts always; you don’t need confirmation from the narcissist; listen to your instincts, those who are willing to discuss have nothing to hide, those who make excuses or call you “insecure.” Are keeping you from the truth.
No reaction; reacting puts us right where they want us. Retreat when you feel yourself go, rethink, and then only if you need to respond, respond, but ask yourself, do you need to respond?
Know their behaviour is on them, not you. That’s who they are. If they wanted to change, they would, and they do, lies, partners, manipulation, also more often than not, the more we forgive them they change for, the worse their behaviour gets worse.
Mind Games Narcissists Play To Control You.
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The narcissists mirroring.
The narcissist word salad.