The kings of manipulatorships
The inner, toxic thinking of the narcissist, as you might imagine, results in some pretty abusive behavior toward the people in their life. They are such master manipulators that some people refer to relationships with a narcissist as “manipulationships.” To deal with this, it’s helpful to understand the manipulative tactics that a narcissist uses. We’ll go over them briefly here, Here are a few manipulative behaviors and some general guidelines for how to handle them.
- Verbal Abuse: This can take many forms, but typically involves blaming, shaming, and devaluing you. The goal is to shame you into falling in line with the behavior they want from you. When this kind of treatment begins, the best thing you can do is walk away. Let the narcissist know that you’ll be happy to have a calm discussion with them when they can do so respectfully.
- Gaslighting: This is a very common tactic that narcissists use to make you doubt your own perception of reality. They will flat out deny that something happened when you know it did, tell you they didn’t mean it the way you took it, or say you’re just overly sensitive. Trust your gut here because you can easily begin to wonder if it happened the way you think it did. It can also help to document interactions you have with them right after it has happened.
- Deception/Lying: This is another go-to tool for the narcissist. They will lie regularly without compunction. Remember that to lose control of a situation is something they see as extremely threatening to their carefully crafted image. You can’t necessarily know they are lying, but know that they will, and double check anything that doesn’t sound right.
- Emotional Blackmail: Again, because the narcissist is so focused on projecting a certain image, if you threaten that in some way, they will use anything they can to make you feel as though you must do something to make it up to them. They will also try to make you feel guilty as if you owe them. If you give into this kind of tactic, the narcissist will use it again and again.
- Competition: Because the narcissist believes themselves to be superior, they will get very competitive in order to prove that fact. They will compete with anyone. Narcissistic parents will even compete with their own children. They believe they must prove themselves, and they feel they must crush you in order to do so. The best thing you can do here is simply to refuse to compete with them. Just do what you need to do for yourself, not out of competition.
- Comparison: Narcissists will compare you to themselves or someone else, and you won’t come out on top. They are constantly negatively comparing the people in their life to other people. It’s part of proving they are superior and devaluing others to keep them in line. To combat this tactic, you have to work on knowing your own worth and refusing to buy into the comparison.
- Withholding: Narcissists can be withholding in many ways. It might involve emotional or financial withholding. They might refuse to give you something you need or share something with you. They can even withhold things like communication, and they will often refuse to give you what you want or need unless and until you do what they want. If they have something you want or need, the best thing you can do is look elsewhere, but that won’t always be possible. Another tactic is to comply with their wishes, but you might not want or be able to do that. The only option you may ultimately be left with is to remove yourself from the relationship until the narcissist can agree to compromise with you.
- Sabotage: Narcissists are so desperate to ensure that they are seen as superior that they will use any technique they can to make sure their carefully crafted image is maintained. That includes sabotage. They may sabotage your work or your relationships. They will stop at nothing to ensure their image is safe. This is another tactic that you simply have to be aware of and look out for when dealing with a narcissist. If you’re at work, document everything you do with witnesses if possible. If they are attempting to sabotage a relationship you have, you might need to talk to the other person and let them know there’s a problem.
- Neglect: This is often the case with narcissistic parents. They are so focused on their own needs and desires that they simply can’t see the needs of others, including their own children. Since they can’t empathize with other people, they are not capable of understanding what they are going through, and thus, it’s easy for them to become neglectful. It’s something to be aware of and check on if the narcissist in your life has children.
- Boundary Crossing: Narcissists see you as an extension of themselves, and thus, they don’t understand that you have boundaries. They believe they should be able to simply do what they want without even thinking about it, let alone asking your permission. To defend against this tactic, you’ll need to set and maintain strong boundaries with consistent, well-enforced consequences for crossing them.
- Isolation: Narcissists will definitely seek to isolate you from friends and family. They don’t want you to have a support system to turn to because it will make it easier for you to see their manipulations. This is something you don’t want to allow. You need to have and maintain contact with a strong support network of people whom you can turn to when needed.
- Financial Abuse: Narcissists will definitely try to control you through financial domination or by leaving you without any resources. They might even steal from you or accrue debt in your name. You need to maintain control over your own finances to keep this from happening.
- Violence: Narcissists are not above using violence as a way to manipulate your behavior. Of course, not all narcissists are violent, and not all physically abusive people are narcissists, but it’s a relatively common tactic for narcissists. The physical abuse can take the form of beatings, but it can also involve blocking you from moving around or going where you want. They might also destroy your property or throw things at you. You should not tolerate violence in any form. It will only get worse, so if this starts, you should get yourself to someplace safe once you can do so safely.
This is part of my book «What Narcissists Don’t Want You To Know». There is more information about narcissists and their manipulations. As a certified psychotherapist, I’ll be glad to help you on your narcissistic abuse recovery path. The short introductory meeting with me you can book here.