There are many manipulative underhand ways a narcissist will try to coercively control your life to suit their needs of you. Most try to sabotage you without you even knowing what they’re doing to you or to make you feel like you’re the problem, so you don’t realise they’re causing your problems.
1. Sleep deprivation.
Sleep helps with our ability to think clearly, our memory and our ability to make choices wisely. It helps with our happiness, our immunity and our ability to regulate our emotions. Not getting enough sleep can be dangerous, from our lack of concentration to our emotional and physical health, leading to poor choice-making, depression and illnesses.
Being around a narcissist can cause sleep deprivation in many ways, from the stress and anxiety making it difficult to sleep to the narcissist controlling when and where you sleep. The narcissist might request you stop up with them. If you say no, they might guilt you by saying, “if you loved me.” so you feel bad and obliged to stop up with them. The narcissist could start waking you in the night for special favours, and if you say no, there’s hell to pay. To the narcissist keeping you so busy running around after them even when you’re resting, you’re not rested.
2. Playing the victim.
Narcissists are out for attention. One criteria of the disorder is seeking excessive attention, and another is exploiting others. When you feel bad, guilty or sorry for another, it can lead you to make poor choices because you’re coming from an emotional place of thinking and not a logical one. When a narcissist does something, and you call them out, they fire back, “ oh, I knew it would be my fault. I forgot you were perfect.”. Hence, you end up explaining yourself to them, so they don’t have to explain themselves to you, or they can say things like “what about when you.” so you feel bad for something that is irrelevant to the current topic of conversation.
You can let them know weeks in advance that you’re going somewhere, then when it comes to you going, a narcissist will claim that you never told them or simply state, “well, what am I supposed to do.” making you feel bad for doing things that make you happy.
3. Regularly breaking arrangements.
We are all capable of making arrangements with someone, and then life seems to get in the way. We might wish we hadn’t said yes to something; however, most genuine people will try to stick to their promise. A narcissist will make a promise in the present moment to get their needs met then fail to deliver on that promise, yet they’ll not take responsibility for this; instead, they’ll pass the blame, “it wasn’t my fault, you forgot to remind me.” so you feel bad for not reminding them as due to your own sleep deprivation you know how easy it is to forget things and can understand them, yet when you remind them they’ll claim, “I never said that.” or “you must be imagining things.” to get you to question your memory and not their lies. A narcissist will still sabotage, delay, deny and lie, it’s always a tomorrow away or that was never said. A narcissist will make a promise to get their needs met, fail to deliver on the promise made, and then lie, deny or blame someone else. Narcissists don’t do responsibility. They hurt others and fail to take accountability
4. Losing things.
We can all lose things, misplace things and forget things, especially when drained and running on empty, so when a narcissist loses something or forgets something, we can show understanding and compassion, not knowing the narcissist is using our understanding against us, gaslighting by hiding things from us then helping us look for the very things they took, a narcissist will take your mental health, claim you’re going crazy and then get you on antidepressants for the problems you don’t see they’re causing you, so you’re grateful for them supporting you. Meanwhile, they’re behind your back telling everyone just how crazy you are and gaining sympathetic attention from those around you, so when you finally wake up from the trance a narcissist put you under and speak up, no one believes you. Everyone looks at you like you’re the crazy one. Reinforcing the belief within your mind that you’re the problem helping the narcissist further their control over you and what those around you think of you.
5. Deliberately hiding information.
A narcissist doesn’t leave out information to protect your feelings. They don’t tell you to protect themselves. Narcissists don’t hide information that’s personal to another person. Narcissists can be very forward in telling you other peoples business that’s none of yours or telling others yours that’s none of theirs, such as letting others know you’re forgetting things, drinking more, your struggling when you’ve told the narcissist not to inform others, narcissists don’t tell you things that would lead you to make a choice that isn’t in that narcissist’s best interest. When you find out and ask them, while you’re emotions are understandably all over because you’re worn out, stressed out. You discover you’ve been lied to. A narcissist is going to come at you playing the victim, claiming, “I didn’t tell you because I knew you’d act like this, because you’re depressed.” as you can be feeling depressed as you’re reacting. The narcissist is stood all calm, saying, “you’re overreacting. You need to calm down.” you can find yourself in a position of apologising to the very person who should actually be saying sorry to you.
6. Deliberately disclose
Just like telling you other people’s business, a narcissist will be telling everyone yours, any mistakes, insecurities, problems, a narcissist shall be out there twisting the story, smearing your name so the narcissist can gain enablers to feel sorry and support the narcissist in your downfall.
7. The narcissist’s invalidation.
A narcissist will use your thoughts, feelings, opinions, weight, shape, Job, hobbies, dreams, and relationships. It can be as severe as everything about who you are and what you do against you. They will reject, ignore, criticise, blame, shame and judge, so you don’t feel enough, as a narcissist doesn’t want to see you succeed. They are usually envious of others and want to see you fail. Sabotaging your dreams by invalidating them is the quickest way for a narcissist to sabotage your happiness and then blame you for their unhappiness. As you feel unhappy, a narcissist will project with you. “No wonder I’m so miserable being around you all the time.” so again, you’re left doubting yourself, working harder to change yourself to please the narcissist, not realising that they are destroying you.
8. Fail to give direct answers.
As we can all have moments where we need time to gather our thoughts, we can appreciate and understand when another needs to gather theirs. However, with a narcissist, it’s a repeat pattern of behaviour when they don’t want to be called out on something they definitely did do or when they don’t want to admit that they don’t want to do, something they promised to do. A narcissist will not give a direct answer to doing something with you, to stop you from making arrangements without them, to stop you from doing the things you enjoy. If you do it without them, you can find yourself saying, “I asked you, can you not remember.” as a narcissist gaslights with, “first I’ve heard, you never asked me.” then pity plays with. “Well, what am I supposed to do.”
9. Changing plans.
To cause resentment and frustration within you, narcissists will let you down, changing plans at the last minute and denying they ever agreed to something that they definitely agreed to. A narcissist will go all out to gain an emotional reaction out of you, so the narcissist can claim, “well, if you’re going to be like this, I don’t want to go with you.” again, you end up apologising and changing to suit the narcissists and not you.
10. Sabotage your relationships.
To gain further control over you, a narcissist will try to isolate you. Not only will the narcissist be telling others private information about you, but they’ll also be telling you. “I don’t trust them.” as you trust the narcissist who’s seemingly helping you through a bad patch when you go to talk with the other person who gives you funny looks, you question if you can trust the other person, not realising the narcissists is setting you up, either lying to them about you or setting situations up for you to trip into so the narcissist can tell others to use against you. The narcissist’s triangulation.
11: Ruin occasions.
A narcissist will go all out to sabotage any occasion that isn’t going their way or that they’re not the centre of attention.
As we can all have moments of not feeling like going to the party, a narcissist will play on this by bringing your mood down before an event or making snide remarks, “are you wearing that,” then, if you ask what is wrong with it, the narcissist will claim. “I was only asking, why do you have to turn everything into an argument.” if you say nothing and go get changed, the narcissist will say. “that’s just like you holding us up, making everyone late. “if you mention why you’re getting changed the narcissist will turn into the victim right in front of you. “Oh, I knew it would be my fault.” they might then project with. “you think you’re so perfect, you never take responsibility for anything.” once the narcissist has baited you into the argument, they’ll turn it around with. “if you didn’t want to go, you only had to say.” once the narcissist has you in a mood, they’ll head to the party happy and tell every “see this is what I have to put up with.” smearing your name to those around you.
The narcissist is envious, and as they feel entitled and deserving of all the attention, they feel great envy if they think others are getting something they’re not. They want to be in control, and when they feel like they’re losing control, they go through major child-like tantrums to ruin it for others or bring the attention back onto themselves, as they lack empathy to care for how their behaviour affects others, they believe they’re in the right to behave how they do, and they will project and pass the blame onto those around them.
The narcissist doesn’t enjoy not being the reason others are happy, so they’ll find an explanation as to why others have made the narcissist unhappy to justify the narcissist then bringing others down to feel better about themselves.
Narcissists enjoy being in the driver’s seat of other people’s lives and emotions.
When it comes to dealing with narcissistic people, the best advice is don’t. Instead, deal with your emotions to the best of your capability, see the narcissist for who they are and what they do, and then look at what you can do to make your life work for you.
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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.