Narcissists are bullies in the truest sense of the word. They want to feel superior and so they devalue others- just like the kid in middle school. Some are more overt about it than others, but all narcissists bully using one tactic or another. Covert narcissists tend to be more passive in how they bully but, trust me, they are still bullies. Narcissists do everything in a toxic and manipulative way so their targets feel devalued, like there’s something wrong with you, and so that they feel powerful. Everything that they do is so that they can get the narcissistic supply that they crave. Here are some ways that make narcissists such emotional bullies.
One of the ways that narcissists bully is through gaslighting. Gaslighting is a tactic that they employ to make you think that you’re crazy. Here’s an example of gaslighting:
The Narcissist: ”Me and the boys are going away for the weekend.”
The Target: ”Oh, when did you decide you were doing that?”
The Narcissist: “Oh, we talked about it and you agreed.”
The Target: ”Oh, I don’t remember having that conversation.” (The conversation never actually happened)
Another example of gaslighting is:
The Target: ”I thought you said you were going to take care of the bills.”
The Narcissist: “No, what I said was that I would put money in the account, and you would take care of it.” (They said they would take care of it).
They will constantly change things around so that the conversation you thought you were having isn’t that conversation at all. Even if you show them proof of a conversation- whether it be through email or text, they will still deny. You will find yourself constantly questioning reality. Constant gaslighting can drive victims of narcissists crazy.
If you try to call a narcissist out on their behavior, they will ALWAYS attempt to project responsibility off of themselves and on to someone else. They will either try and blame it directly back on to whomever they are talking to if called out or a third party. They emotionally bully their victims and others by never accepting their faults and by always pointing out their victims or other’s.
Playing the victim
Similarly to projection, narcissists will constantly play the victim. Covert narcissists are especially good at doing this in a believable way. So if you are dealing with a covert narcissist, I feel for you. If anyone ever tries to talk to them about something that might rub them the wrong way, the conversation will always turn into how they are being attacked. This can psychologically affect their targets because when everything is about the narcissist, there is no room for their victims to feel, behave, breathe, let alone- exist.
Narcissists might also emotionally bully through other various devaluing tactics. They might withhold sex. They may just outright insult you. Their narcissistic rage may come flying out in an explosion. They may start threatening you.
Once a client referred to her emotional state as “scrambled eggs for brains,” because emotionally bullying literally feels like you’re just constantly on edge and constantly questioning yourself – always wondering what’s real and what’s fake- if you’re wrong or if you’re right. That’s right where the narcissist wants you to be. If you’re here, you are more vulnerable to the other tactics that they employ to get narcissistic supply.