Mind Games Exposed: 7 Manipulative Tactics of Narcissists.
Narcissists are known for their ability to control, manipulate, and exploit others for their own gain. They employ a variety of mind games to maintain power and control over their victims. Understanding these tactics is crucial as it empowers individuals to recognise and protect themselves from falling prey to these manipulative tactics. In this article we will delve into seven manipulative tactics employed by narcissists, namely love bombing, gaslighting, triangulation, projection, guilt-tripping, blame-shifting, and the silent treatment. We will explore each game, provide an example, and discuss the profound impact it has on the victim.
Love bombing is a manipulative tactic in which a narcissist showers their victim with excessive affection and attention in the early stages of a relationship. This overwhelming display of affection can make the victim feel adored and cared for, often leading them to overlook red flags and warning signs. For instance, John met Lisa, who seemed perfect in every way. She constantly reminded him of her undying love and showered him with extravagant gifts. However, as the relationship progressed, he realised that her affection was merely a facade. John now feels trapped and suffocated due to Lisa’s insincere behaviour.
Gaslighting is another destructive tactic used by narcissists to manipulate and control their victims. Gaslighting involves making the victim doubt their perception of reality, memory, and sanity. An example of gaslighting is when Sarah confides in her partner, Mike, about an argument they had, only for Mike to adamantly deny it ever occurred. He insists that Sarah is exaggerating or making things up, making her question her own memory and sanity. Over time, constant gaslighting can lead to decreased self-esteem, feelings of confusion, and increased dependence on the narcissist.
Triangulation is the manipulation tactic where the narcissist involves a third person to create a sense of competition, jealousy, or insecurity within the victim. For instance, Jane is in a relationship with Mark, and Mark consistently mentions his “friend” Emily, who he insists is just a friend. However, Mark often compares Jane unfavourably to Emily, creating feelings of inferiority and jealousy within Jane.
Projection is a manipulative tactic where the narcissist projects their negative traits, emotions, or behaviours onto the victim. For example, Kate is known for being unfaithful in her relationships. However, when her current partner, Dave, confronts her about her infidelity, Kate retaliates by accusing him of being untrustworthy and cheating on her. By projecting her own guilt onto Dave, She deflects attention from her own flaws and manipulates him into doubting himself.
Guilt-tripping is a manipulative tactic used by narcissists to invoke feelings of guilt or shame in their victims. A narcissist may use phrases like, “I can’t believe you would do this to me,” or “You’re hurting me by not doing what I want.” For instance, Emily’s mother constantly guilt trips her for pursuing a career rather than taking care of her. Emily feels immense guilt and struggles to assert her own desires, sacrificing her own happiness to satisfy her mother’s expectations.
Blame shifting is the manipulative tactic of deflecting responsibility for one’s actions onto another person. A narcissist will go to great lengths to avoid accountability and shift blame onto their victims. For instance, Scott manipulated his coworker, Sarah, into taking on a project outside of her job description. When the project fails, Scott instantly blames Sarah, calling her incompetent and inconsiderate despite orchestrating the scheme himself.
The silent treatment is a manipulative tactic where the narcissist withdraws all communication and attention from their victim. This tactic is used to punish the victim and maintain control. For example, after an argument, Michael’s girlfriend, Emma, completely ignores him for days, leaving him feeling anxious, confused, and desperate to regain her attention.
To protect oneself from the manipulation of narcissists, it is essential to establish healthy boundaries and maintain self-awareness. Recognising the manipulative tactics, such as love bombing, gaslighting, triangulation, projection, guilt-tripping, blame-shifting, and the silent treatment, is the first step to reclaiming power and control over one’s own life. Seeking therapy or support from trusted individuals can also be beneficial in recovering from the emotional trauma inflicted by these manipulative tactics. By taking these self-help strategies, victims can arm themselves against the destructive influence of narcissists and regain their emotional well-being.
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