People on the narcissistic personality disorder spectrum lack empathy, so they do not care for the damage they cause to those around them. They lack feelings such as guilt or remorse. Most narcissistic people are extremely good at treating you better than anyone ever has by mirroring all your likes and all your dislikes, then learning all your weaknesses to use them against you.
As narcissists are extremely good at mirroring others’ personality traits, we often don’t know what we are getting into until we are into deep, as we slowly accept the behaviour as normal over time and adjust ourselves to accept what we should have never accepted, yet because narcissists can play nice so well it’s challenging to spot what you don’t know.
This is to help you understand what happens if you are out of the relationship, if you are thinking of leaving, or when getting into a new relationship, what to look out for.
The games a narcissist plays with you.
1. Narcissists want to know everything about you. When you first meet them, they don’t talk about themselves. They ask all about you. They want to know everything about you. Unless they’ve managed to suss you out over social media and asking your friends, they’ll sit and listen to you for hrs. This makes you feel heard, special and important to them. This makes you trust them. They do this so they can like all your likes and hate all your dislikes to make you think you’ve met somebody who truly understands you. Narcissists find out about any insecurities or weaknesses and use them against you later on.
How to notice this? Keep strong eye contact at all times when they are asking you questions. Those who counter your gaze pause for a two-way conversation and speak about themselves when asked don’t want to hide anything. Those who bombard you with questions and divert any you ask them or seem to exaggerate their answers, watch their eye movements and see if you feel comfortable with them or not. Your instincts will try to tell you something even if you’re unsure what it is.
How to disarm, ask them questions about them, and try to strike up a two-way conversation.
2. They want everyone to know they are better than others, and that they are superior. Most narcissistic people want to show off about any skill they have, the knowledge they know, and the achievements they’ve made. They feel superior to all others. They might lie about homes or cars they own. They might bombard you with information you know nothing about, so you don’t know if they are right or wrong.
How to notice. A Narcissist doesn’t like being questioned, so when you ask things like. “Wow, what job do you have to earn money for that.” Or asking them, “How do you know that.” You’ll see them either change the subject, get angry, or their lies will escalate.
How to disarm. Slow down the conversation and try to make it a two-way conversation. Ask questions, any words they use that you don’t understand, ask them the meaning. Manipulators hate being interrupted and hate having to explain themselves, especially if they don’t know the answer.
3. They overwhelm you with negativity. They want you to be sad and scared. They do this to further their control over you, as they find it easier to control those who are scared or sad. They do this by manipulating methods of silent treatments, threats, gaslighting, anger, and triangulation. They might speak in a loud voice, speak over you, or show bad manners.
How to notice, this one is tricky as you’re usually in the relationship deeper than you should be, and you like to give them the benefit of the doubt. When someone becomes overly aggressive or negative or twists things onto to you, when they are getting an opinion across, remain positive, add jokes if you can.
How to disarm. When dealing with this, stay calm and unaffected, ignore if you can, write down and focus on your reality. Focus on the positives. Take control back of your own mind.
4. They feed on your insecurities. Whatever your insecurities are, a narcissistic person will smell them from miles away. It seems they learn every weakness you have, then they rip them wide open and watch you bleed out. They will use them in conversation. They will prod and poke away at them. If one person’s fear is being cheated on, they’ll flirt with others right in front of you. If you’re not interested in that and wouldn’t put up with that, they wouldn’t do it. If one person’s fear is being isolated, they will go all out to isolate you, if you would never accept that or don’t fear that, they wouldn’t risk doing it, if your insecurities are on your own quality’s if being a parent, they will take you down, if you are happy with your parenting skills they’ll not use it, if it’s your weight they’ll use that and so one, they will use a person’s insecurities against that person’s first. They will try to make you insecure about other things.
How to notice, they almost look like they get a real kick out of your insecurities and pain most people would try to make you feel better, a manipulator will make you feel worse, they bring it up in front of others without it being directly about you, others will not know, yet you will know, see the narcissists reactions and change in energy, your instincts are telling you they almost look pleased, genuine people wouldn’t be pleased about your insecurities they’d want to help you feel better within yourself.
How to disarm. Work on yourself, control your own thoughts, write down your insecurities, then write the truth, (it’s usually a thought someone else put in your mind,) or fear of judgment, learn to listen to your instincts even if you’re not sure what they are telling you. Face those insecurities head-on, face the pain and deal with them, eliminating all your personal insecurities from your mind, no matter how hard.
“Your mind controls your emotions and you control your mind.”
5. They’ll act innocent. A narcissist is always the hero or victim yet never the villain. A narcissist is a con artist. Those who are extremely good at manipulation, they will convince others by deflecting, gaslighting and blame-shifting that they are the innocent party even when you have evidence to prove otherwise.
How to notice. They might act as if they appear sorry, yet they will tell you why it wasn’t their fault or find fault in you. They might act as if they are taking responsibility to meet their own needs, yet they’ll not learn from it, and they will do it time and time again. They will play victim, so others tell them it was never their fault. They will use reasoning, so you excuse their behaviour. So they escape accountability.
How to disarm. Write down the facts for your own reality check. Listen to your instincts. Become a private detective and investigate the truth without letting the narcissists know. Don’t show evidence alone, as some can be extreme in their reactions.
6. They twist all information. They will always twist words, facts and reality. They will create stories they will triangulate. They will provoke. They will play the victim and blame others. If you’re not careful, they will manipulate you into believing their stories. They will use gaslighting with words like. “That didn’t happen.” Or “I never said that.” Or “you’re crazy.” They will use triangulation ” my friend was allowed to do it.” Or “My ex didn’t mind.” To again make you doubt yourself and feel guilty for questioning them about something.
How to notice. Look for the credibility. If your instincts are telling you something isn’t right, listen to them.
How to disarm. Again write events down to keep your reality in check, gather evidence of triangulation, is used, try asking the other person about it in front of the narcissist.
7. They will put pressure on you. Manipulators will do their best to drive you crazy, to confuse you, to give you brain fog, to wear you down, so you give in. They prey on all your emotions, provoke fear and then give you relief. They will put so much into your mind. They will provoke you until you can no longer contain it, and you explode. Then they will blame you for your reactions.
How to notice, after an emotional outburst, when you are at your weakest, they will not support you, so it’s hard for you to make logical choices. Then they will ask you to do something for them, or give them something as you are more likely to agree as you feel you’re to blame, they will then play nice, lift you back up, to reinforce and control your mind it was all your fault, they gain control of your mind and slowly break down your boundaries.
How to disarm. Write down what they do to trigger an emotional reaction. If you react to them, write down what they ask for next. Learn to not react to them, learn to see what insecurities they used again, then work on finding ways to heal those insecurities so they can no longer trigger them, taking back control of your thoughts and your mind.
Narcissistic people don’t like those they can not manipulate or take control of their minds. So strengthening your mindset is key, controlling your emotions, finding ways to realise them if needed in a healthy way but never to the narcissist, until you do have control over them. Always retreat, rethink and only respond in needed. Keep taking those baby steps each and every day to get your life on track and take you on new adventures without negative, toxic, narcissistic people.
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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.