The Art of Manipulation: Unmasking the Narcissist’s Play Nice Tactics

The Art of Manipulation: Unmasking the Narcissist’s Play Nice Tactics.

Narcissists possess a unique set of manipulative skills, often hidden beneath a facade of friendliness and charm. These individuals capitalise on their ability to play nice, utilising tactics that enable them to exploit and control others for their personal gain. Understanding the strategies employed by narcissists is crucial in safeguarding ourselves against their manipulation. In this article, we will delve into eight ways in which narcissists disguise their true intentions and assert control.

Flattery and Excessive Praise:

Narcissists are well-versed in the art of flattery. They possess an innate ability to shower others with excessive praise, aiming to charm their way into people’s lives and inflate their own egos. By boosting individuals’ self-esteem through constant compliments and accolades, narcissists lay the foundation for future manipulation. This excessive flattery often blinds their subjects to the true nature of their intentions.

Doing Things for You Then Using Them Against You:

A manipulative tactic frequently employed by narcissists is performing favours or acts of kindness. However, they do so with an ulterior motive. By offering assistance, narcissists create an indebtedness within their victims, hoping to exploit their vulnerability and extract favours or concessions later. The narcissist manipulates from the position of being the rescuer, exerting control over the individual they helped and making them feel they owe something in return.

Selective Hearing:

Narcissists use selective hearing as a means of controlling conversations and subtly asserting dominance. They often choose to ignore or distort information that doesn’t align with their self-centred worldview. This tactic serves to dismiss valid concerns or opinions, leaving those on the receiving end feeling invalidated and unheard. By manipulating what they choose to hear or acknowledge, narcissists maintain their sense of superiority.

Excessive Gift Giving:

Another method employed by narcissists is the excessive giving of gifts. These gifts are strategic in nature, aimed at drawing in their victims, creating a sense of obligation or even guilt. Through the act of gift-giving, narcissists hope to create a bond with the recipient, fostering dependence and control over their emotions and actions. By creating an imbalance of power through generosity, they manipulate others to serve their own needs.

Charm Offensive:

Narcissists often possess an undeniable charisma and the ability to charm those around them. This charm offensive appeals to people’s desire for connection and validation, drawing them into the narcissist’s web. By strategically identifying and leveraging others’ vulnerabilities, narcissists successfully manipulate emotions, gaining trust, and establishing themselves as the centre of attention.

Shifting the Blame:

A common manipulation tactic employed by narcissists involves shifting blame onto others. They excel at deflecting any responsibility or accountability for their actions by resorting to tactics such as gaslighting, denial, or projecting their faults onto innocent parties. By distorting reality and casting themselves as the innocent victims, they manipulate the perception of others, evading consequences and maintaining control.

Playing the Martyr:

Narcissists often engage in playing the martyr to draw sympathy and attention. They will portray themselves as the long-suffering victims, exaggerating or fabricating stories of their misfortune. By successfully eliciting the sympathy of those around them, narcissists manipulate others into catering to their needs, further reinforcing their perceived victimhood and positioning themselves as deserving of special treatment.

Playing the Victim:

One of the most potent manipulation tactics employed by narcissists is playing the victim card. They present themselves as the unfortunate victims of circumstances, appealing to the empathetic nature of others. By manipulating emotions and guilt-tripping their targets, narcissists gain control over their victims while absolving themselves of any blame. This manipulation technique serves to perpetuate the cycle of abuse, ensuring the narcissist remains in a position of power.


Recognising the various ways in which narcissists play nice is crucial in protecting ourselves from their manipulative behaviour. By understanding their tactics, such as flattery, selective hearing, excessive gift-giving, charm offensives, shifting blame, playing the martyr, and playing the victim, we can assert our boundaries and refuse to be exploited. Awareness coupled with empathy towards potential victims of narcissistic manipulation can help create an environment where healthier relationships and personal growth can flourish.

Click the links below to join Elizabeth Shaw – Life Coach on social media, for more information on Overcoming Narcissistic Abuse.

On Facebook. 

On YouTube.

On Twitter.

On Instagram. 

On Pinterest. 

On LinkedIn.

The online courses available by Elizabeth Shaw.

For the full course.

Click here to sign up for the full, Break Free From Narcissistic Abuse, with a link in the course to a free, hidden online support group with fellow survivors. 

For the free course.

Click here to sign up for the free online starter course. 

To help with overcoming the trauma bond and anxiety course.

Click here for the online course to help you break the trauma bond, and those anxiety triggers. 

All about the narcissist Online course.

Click here to learn more about the narcissist personality disorder.

The narcissists counter-parenting.

Click here for more information on recovery from narcissistic abuse, and information on co-parenting with a narcissist.

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.

Click here for Elizabeth Shaw’s Recommended reading list for more information on recovery from narcissistic abuse.

Leave a Reply