The narcissists biggest mind games to manipulation you!
Have you ever found yourself in a relationship or friendship with someone who seems to always put themselves first, belittle your feelings, or make you doubt your own sanity? If so, then you may have encountered a narcissist.
Narcissistic manipulation is a tactic used by people who have a narcissistic personality disorder. These individuals have an excessive sense of self-importance and a lack of empathy for others. They often feel entitled to special treatment and will do whatever it takes to get what they want, including gaslighting, guilt-tripping, and other forms of emotional manipulation. People suffering from this disorder can often be manipulative, using their charm and charisma to control those around them.
One of the most common tactics used by narcissists is gaslighting. This is where they will twist the truth or deny events to make you doubt your own memory or perception of reality. They may also use guilt-tripping, constantly reminding you of all the things they have done for you, to make you feel obligated to do what they want.
So why do narcissists manipulate in the first place? Simply put, they do it to get what they want. Narcissists have an insatiable need for attention, validation, and admiration, and they will do whatever it takes to get it. This can include manipulating, lying, and criticising others to get what they want.
But it goes beyond just seeking validation. Narcissists often feel entitled to special treatment, and they see those around them as tools to help them achieve their goals. To them, other people are there to serve their needs, and they will use any means necessary to get what they want.
Another reason why narcissists manipulate is that they have a deep fear of being exposed as a fraud. Narcissists often have an inflated sense of self-importance, but deep down, they know that they are not as great as they think they are. As a result, they will do whatever it takes to maintain the illusion of their superiority, even if that means manipulating and controlling those around them.
It’s important to recognise the signs of a narcissist and to protect yourself from their manipulative behaviour. Remember that you have the right to set boundaries and say no when you’re not comfortable with a situation. And always remember that you are a valuable person who deserves to be treated with respect and kindness.
This article is to explore 12 common narcissistic tactics that you may encounter when dealing with somebody who is exhibiting narcissistic behaviour. Narcissism is a personality disorder that affects up to 6.2% of adults in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Remember, This disorder is characterised by a lack of empathy, a grandiose sense of self-importance, and a need for attention and admiration from others. Narcissists can be difficult to deal with, as their behaviour is often manipulative and self-centred.
- Gaslighting: This is a type of emotional abuse that narcissists often use to manipulate those around them. It involves planting seeds of doubt and confusion in someone’s mind, making them question their own perceptions, memories, and sanity. Narcissists use gaslighting techniques to control and dominate others, making it difficult for their victims to trust their own instincts and emotions. The effects of gaslighting on those around a narcissist can be devastating. Gaslighting can cause a person to doubt themselves and their own abilities, leading to feelings of anxiety, self-doubt, and low self-esteem. The constant questioning and denial of reality can also make it difficult for a person to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Gaslighting can also cause physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach issues, and insomnia. Victims of gaslighting may also experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental health conditions. If you suspect that you or someone you know is being gaslit by a narcissist, it’s important to seek help from a trained professional. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that should not be ignored or dismissed. With the help of a therapist or counsellor, victims of gaslighting can learn how to recognise and respond to gaslighting tactics and regain their sense of self and confidence.
- Projection: Have you ever encountered a person who always seems to blame others for their own mistakes? That person may be a narcissist. Narcissistic projection is when a person with narcissistic characteristics, instead of taking responsibility for their own actions, projects their negative traits or behaviours onto others. For instance, if a narcissistic person is always late to a meeting, they may accuse their colleagues of being late. Or if they are constantly talking about themselves, they may accuse others of being self-centred. This projection can be challenging for those around the narcissist because it can feel like walking on eggshells. It can also lead to feelings of frustration, confusion, and self-doubt for those who are being projected on. Another effect of narcissistic projection is that it can lead to a breakdown in interpersonal relationships. When one person is projecting their negative traits onto someone else, it can create a sense of distrust and resentment. Over time, this can damage the relationship beyond repair, leading to a cycle of broken relationships and isolating behaviour in the narcissistic person. Overall, understanding and recognising narcissistic projection can help individuals come to terms with the behaviour of a narcissist. While it may be challenging to deal with, it is important to remember that projection is a reflection of the narcissistic person’s issues, not something that others need to internalise. Stay strong, maintain healthy boundaries, and seek support from trusted friends or a mental health professional if needed.
- Triangulation: This is a common manipulation tactic used by narcissists. Triangulation is when a narcissist creates a triangle between themselves, their victim (or target), and another person. For example, let’s say a narcissist is in a relationship with someone. They may start talking about their ex-partner to their current partner, bringing up old memories and comparisons. This puts the current partner in a position where they feel like they have to compete with the ex for the narcissist’s attention and affection. The effects of triangulation on those around the narcissist can be damaging. Victims may feel like they’re constantly walking on eggshells, never feeling secure in their relationship or their standing with the narcissist. They may also feel jealous, anxious, and paranoid. Triangulation can also cause rifts between friends and family members. The narcissist may pit two people against each other, causing tension and conflict. And if one of the people involved begins to see through the narcissist’s deception, they may become a threat, and the narcissist may turn them into the new target. Overall, triangulation is a sneaky tactic narcissists use to control and manipulate those around them. It can cause serious psychological damage and is something to be aware of if you suspect you or someone you know may be dealing with a narcissist.
- Love bombing: Have you ever experienced a whirlwind romance where your partner showered you with compliments, gifts, and undivided attention? This phenomenon is known as love bombing, and it’s a classic technique used by narcissists to manipulate their victims. Love bombing is when a narcissist overwhelms their partner with affection, attention, and gifts in the early stages of a relationship. They use this tactic to create an intense emotional bond and mask their true intentions, which often involve power and control over the other person. For example, a narcissist might take their partner on extravagant vacations, send them daily love letters, or constantly touch or compliment them. They may also be extremely persistent in pursuing the relationship, making their partner feel like they are the centre of the narcissist’s universe. However, once the victim is hooked, the narcissist’s behaviour often shifts drastically. They may become distant, critical, or even abusive. This can have devastating effects on those around the narcissist, causing them to feel confused, anxious, and emotionally drained. If you suspect that you or someone you know is a victim of love bombing, it’s important to seek support and professional help to break free from the cycle of abuse. Remember, true love, involves respect, honesty, and mutual trust – not grand gestures and empty promises.
- Devaluation: When a person with narcissistic personality disorder feels that they are no longer receiving enough attention or admiration from those around them, they may resort to what is known as “devaluation.” This means that they begin to view the people in their lives as inferior and worthless, often projecting their own insecurities and faults onto others. For instance, a narcissistic boss may criticise and belittle their employees for not meeting their unrealistic demands, despite their hard work and dedication. Or a narcissistic partner may constantly put down their significant other’s appearance, intelligence, or achievements to feel superior. The effects of narcissistic devaluation on those around the narcissist can be devastating, leading to feelings of shame, low self-esteem, and even depression in the victim. The constant criticism and devaluation can make them feel like they are never enough, and they may begin to doubt their own worth and abilities. In conclusion, narcissistic devaluation is a destructive behaviour that can cause damage to the victim, leading to strained relationships and a negative impact on their overall well-being. It’s important to recognise these patterns of behaviour and seek professional help if necessary. Remember, we all deserve to be treated with respect and kindness, always.
- Silent treatment: The Narcissist’s Silent Treatment is a behaviour often used by individuals who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. It is a manipulative tactic aimed at controlling others by withdrawing communication or affection without explanation. This form of emotional abuse can be devastating to those around the narcissist. Imagine this – you’ve just had a disagreement with a narcissistic friend or partner. Instead of talking it out, they suddenly stop responding to your texts, calls, and emails. They ignore your presence when you walk into the room, leaving you feeling helpless and unsure of what you did wrong. You feel like you’re walking on eggshells, wondering when the silent treatment will end and what you can do to “make things right.” The narcissist’s actions can leave you feeling anxious, hurt, and alone, and questioning your own worth. The effects of the silent treatment can also have a ripple effect on those around the narcissist. Friends and family may notice the narcissistic behaviour and try to intervene or provide support. However, their efforts are often met with hostility or indifference from the narcissist, making it challenging to maintain healthy relationships. In conclusion, the narcissist’s silent treatment is a toxic behaviour that hurts both the victim and those around them. It’s essential to recognise it early and take appropriate action to protect your mental and emotional well-being. Remember, you deserve to be treated with respect and empathy.
- Blame-shifting: If you ever interacted with a narcissist? You may have noticed that they have a tendency to blame others for their mistakes and shortcomings. This behaviour is known as blame shifting, and it’s one of the most common traits of a narcissistic personality. Let’s say a narcissistic friend is always late for appointments. Instead of admitting their own fault, they might blame traffic, the weather, or even the person they are meeting with for causing them to be late. This kind of behaviour can be frustrating for those around them, who are left feeling like they are constantly being blamed for things that are not their fault. The effects of narcissistic blame-shifting can be far-reaching. It can damage relationships, create tensions in the workplace, and even lead to legal problems if it causes harm to others. Sometimes, those around the narcissist might begin to feel guilty for things that are not their fault, which can lead to a loss of self-esteem and confidence. Overall, if you find yourself dealing with someone who is constantly blaming others for their own mistakes and shortcomings, it’s important to recognise that this behaviour is a manifestation of their narcissism. It’s up to you to decide how you respond to it, but remember that you are not responsible for their behaviour and actions.
- Victim mentality: Narcissists are known for their difficult personality traits, one of which is playing the victim. This manipulative tactic involves using situations or circumstances to elicit sympathy or attention from others. For instance, a narcissist might exaggerate a problem to make it seem worse than it is. Then, they will use this as a way to gain attention and recognition from others. They might also shift the blame onto someone else, even when it’s clear that they were at fault. This helps them avoid taking responsibility and allows them to be seen as a victim. The effects of this behaviour on those around the narcissist can be quite toxic. It often results in the narcissist’s loved ones feeling used and manipulated. People close to the narcissist may start to doubt their own perceptions and question their own sanity. They might even start to feel guilty or responsible for the narcissist’s problems. In conclusion, it’s important to recognise the narcissistic tactic of playing the victim and to set healthy boundaries with those who engage in this behaviour. Remember, you’re not responsible for someone else’s behaviour, and it’s okay to step away from someone who consistently plays the victim for their own gain.
- Emotional blackmail: This is when someone uses emotions to manipulate another person into doing what they want. This can take many forms, from guilt-tripping to threats to using personal information to embarrass or shame the other person. When it comes to narcissists, emotional blackmail often takes the form of making the other person feel responsible for the narcissist’s feelings or actions. This can be incredibly damaging, because it puts the other person in a lose-lose situation: either they give in to the narcissist’s demands and feel like they’re being manipulated, or they stand up for themselves and risk being blamed for the narcissist’s problems. For example, a narcissistic parent has a child who wants to move away for college. The parent might use emotional blackmail by saying things like, “How could you do this to me? Don’t you know how much I need you here?” This puts the child in a difficult position: they want to pursue their own goals and dreams, but they also don’t want to hurt their parent. The effects of emotional blackmail can ripple out from the narcissist to those around them. Those who are frequently subjected to this type of manipulation may start to feel anxious, depressed, or even resentful toward the narcissist. It can be hard to maintain healthy relationships when one person is constantly trying to control the other through emotional means. So, what can you do if you’re dealing with emotional blackmail from a narcissist? First and foremost, it’s important to recognise what’s happening. Make sure you’re not internalising the blame or feeling like you’re responsible for the other person’s feelings. You are not responsible for another person’s emotional state, and it’s okay to set boundaries and stand up for yourself. It’s also important to seek support from trusted friends, family, or therapists. Sometimes it can be difficult to recognise the subtle ways in which emotional blackmail is occurring, and having an outside perspective can help you see things more clearly. Remember, you deserve to be treated with respect and compassion. Don’t let emotional blackmail from a narcissist make you feel otherwise.
- Intermittent Reinforcement: This concept is commonly used in psychology to describe a behaviour modification technique that involves rewarding someone at unpredictable or irregular intervals. However, in the case of narcissists, it takes on a much darker dimension. Narcissistic individuals often use this technique to subtly control those around them, including friends, family, and loved ones. They might shower their partner with attention and affection one day, only to withdraw it completely the next, leaving the other person wondering what they did wrong. This creates an emotional rollercoaster for the person on the receiving end of the narcissist’s behaviour, keeping them hooked on the possibility of receiving validation or affection again, even if it’s only sporadic. The effects of intermittent reinforcement on those around the narcissist can be extremely damaging. It can lead to feelings of insecurity, confusion, and self-doubt and may result in the person losing their sense of self-worth and identity. It can also create a dependency on the narcissist, as they become the only source of validation for the victim. For example, a narcissistic partner might give their partner lavish gifts and praise one week, only to withdraw affection and communication the next. The partner will be left wondering what they did wrong and chasing after the feeling of validation they received before. In conclusion, understanding the concept of narcissistic intermittent reinforcement and its impact is essential for people to identify and break free from the patterns of abuse and manipulation. It’s important to be vigilant and recognise when we are being controlled by someone else’s actions. Remember, you deserve to be in a healthy and respectful relationship where love and support are consistent and real.
- Dry Begging: This is a term used to describe a type of behaviour exhibited by narcissists. Dry begging occurs when a person makes a plea for attention or sympathy without directly asking for it. Instead, they use passive-aggressive cues to make others feel sorry for them. For example, a narcissist is feeling lonely and wants someone to reach out to them. Instead of simply asking for company, they might post on social media about how they’re having a terrible day and could really use some support. This post could be vague and lacking any details, but the narcissist hopes that someone will take notice and reach out to them. Dry begging can have a negative effect on those around the narcissist. People may feel manipulated or confused by their behaviour, and it can be draining to constantly have to navigate their indirect requests for attention. In some cases, it can even damage relationships if the person feels like they’re being emotionally blackmailed or pressured into giving the narcissist what they want. Overall, while dry begging may seem like a harmless way to get attention, it can have far-reaching consequences. If you suspect someone in your life is engaging in this behaviour, it’s important to set boundaries and communicate openly with them about your needs. Remember, healthy relationships are built on honesty and mutual respect, not manipulation and games.
- Hoovering: This is a tactic used by narcissists to draw people back into their lives, even after they have intentionally pushed them away. Think of it like a vacuum cleaner sucking up dirt – the narcissist is trying to suck you back in. One example of hoovering could be a narcissist reaching out after a long period of no contact with an apology or a seemingly genuine interest in catching up. They may even offer gifts or compliments to try and lure you back in. However, the effects of hoovering can be detrimental to those around the narcissist. It can create confusion, anxiety, and even trauma. Those who have experienced hoovering may feel manipulated and unsure of the narcissist’s true intentions. It can also make it difficult to move on from the toxic relationship. So if you find yourself being hoovered by a narcissist, remember that their actions may not be genuine, and it’s important to set boundaries for your own well-being. Don’t be afraid to seek support from loved ones or a professional therapist. Remember, you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness, and hoovering is not a healthy or acceptable behavior.
These are just a few of the tactics that narcissists may use to manipulate and control those around them. If you are dealing with somebody who exhibits narcissistic behaviour, it’s important to set boundaries and prioritise your own mental health and well-being. Remember, you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness.
There are several effective ways to counteract the effects of narcissistic tactics:
- Set clear boundaries: Narcissists thrive on controlling others, so setting clear boundaries and maintaining them can help prevent them from taking advantage of you.
- Practice self-care: Taking care of yourself, both physically and mentally, can help build your resilience and prepare you to handle narcissistic behaviour.
- Seek support: Surrounding yourself with supportive friends, family, or a therapist can help validate your experiences and provide you with the necessary tools to navigate challenging situations.
- Keep perspective: Remember that the narcissistic behaviour is not about you, and try to maintain a sense of perspective on the situation.
- Limit your interactions: If possible, limit your interactions with the narcissist to prevent further emotionally draining interactions.
- Focus on your strengths: Maintaining a focus on your own strengths and goals can help you maintain a positive mindset and regain your confidence in the face of narcissistic tactics.
It’s important to remember that narcissistic manipulation is not your fault, and it’s not a reflection of your worth as a person. If you suspect you are in a relationship with a narcissist, it’s important to seek help from a professional therapist or counsellor, as they can provide you with the tools you need to break free from the cycle of manipulation and reclaim your life.
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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.