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Narcissist Manipulation Tactics

Do you suspect that you may be the victim of a narcissist’s manipulation? I’ve been there too and it is no fun. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to spot and see the exact tricks that narcissists use to try to manipulate people into doing what they want them to do.

Now, if you’re dealing with that pesky narcissist who’s probably quite the pain in the neck in your life, then here’s what you need to be looking for because they, anybody who either has narcissistic personality disorder or just narcissistic traits or tendencies, they tend to employ the same types of tricks to try to manipulate people into controlling them. It really doesn’t matter if they are a covert narcissist or an overt narcissist, they still use the same kinds of tricks. So, here are the things that you should be looking for.

So number one is shaming and belittling. This is a very, very classic narcissistic trait because remember that narcissists inside are actually the most insecure, they have absolutely no self esteem. So they look for it all externally. And so they’re looking for people to, of course, make them look good and tell them how wonderful they are. But in that process, they also need to try to make everybody else look good worse because they feel like that that’s the only way that they’re going to end up looking better. So they shame you, they belittle you, they do it both in public and in private and sometimes they’ll do it under the guise of, “Oh, I’m only joking,” or “Can’t you take a joke?” or “I’m just trying to help you.” They use these hurtful words and you rely on the fact that maybe one day you will be good enough. But trust me, you are already good enough.

Number two thing that they do is try to gather a team. They gather a team against you. It’s also called triangulation. And here is where they’re going to try to go to the people that they especially think that you think a lot of or that you might go to for your own advice or help and they immediately try to get that person on their side. So, they try to make themselves look good. They try to make you look bad. They try to gather this whole army of people to make it seem like the whole world is against you and therefore if you go against this narcissist, then you’re really torpedoing yourself because all these people are going to think badly of you too, because all these people love this particular person. So triangulation or trying to gather people against you is a very typical thing that narcissists do.

So the third thing that narcissists do is they try to minimize or undervalue you. And this can often be very, very confusing because what narcissists typically do is they start off telling you how amazing you are, how wonderful you are, how beautiful you are, how smart you are or how gorgeous you are or how handsome you are, whatever. And so you’re sucked in to this feeling that this person thinks that you’re the most amazing thing that ever walked the earth. And so what happens is you’re constantly trying to find that place again. Like where, how did I have that? How can I get back to that?

Negotiation with a Narcissist

Because what happens is, the relationship starts to erode and they start to belittle you. They start to say, “It looks like you’re putting on weight,” or “Maybe you’re not that smart,” or they just start to undervalue you. So let’s say you’ve done a lot for that person and they’ll minimize your contributions or the things that you’ve done that make it seem like it’s not that big of a deal or they could have done it themselves, something like that. So it just never feels like you can catch back up to whoever that person was that loved you or thought you were amazing back in the beginning.

So the fourth thing that they do is they try to play the victim. And this can also feel confusing because they start off seeming so strong and that they can really take care of themselves. But then they’ll start to say things to make it seem like you’re doing something to them. Like, “See, I can never get through to you. You never understand me.” Things like that. And this is especially something that covert narcissists do. And I have a whole video on covert narcissism in relationships and I will post a link to that below. You’re definitely going to want to check that out if you think that you’re dealing with a covert narcissist. But remember that playing the victim, they’re always sicker than you. They always have more on them than you do. They’re always put upon and oftentimes you’re the one who’s doing it or it’s your fault for not doing enough or doing too much or whatever. But they are always the victim in whatever it is.

The fifth thing that they do is gaslighting and what gaslighting is, if you don’t know, I know this is one of those terms that gets thrown around quite a lot, is that they say things or do things to make you think that you were crazy. It came from a movie and the husband was blowing out these gaslights and the wife would say, “Oh, wasn’t that just that lamp just lit?” And he would say, “No, it wasn’t.” And so he was trying to make her crazy. So that’s where the term comes from. And so what narcissists will do is they’ll say things to you like, “Oh, we discussed that and you agreed.” Or, “We had that conversation. I’m sorry, there must have been a misunderstanding on your part.” And you know that there was never a misunderstanding or you didn’t have that conversation.

But sometimes when people are saying that to you over and over again so many times, you really do start to question your own sanity, which is exactly what they want you to do because the narcissist wants you to be fully reliant on that person for your self-worth, for your self-esteem, for everything so that they have total control over you.

The sixth thing that they do is controlling behaviors. So, if you’re in a relationship with this person, they usually want to be the one to pay the bills or they want to control all of the aspects of everything. How things look in your home, how the bookshelves are organized, just really everything, they might want to control what you wear, something like that or who you’re seeing. Everything about you. And the reason why they do that is going back to the gaslighting conversation. And that is that they want total control over you and over everything that you’re doing so that you are completely reliant on them for all of your needs and all of your self-esteem, which of course they’re going to strip from you. You end up feeling like you’re losing yourself in these relationships.

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The last thing they do, and remember this is just a menu of the main things they do. There are many others, but these are the main things that narcissists do to try to manipulate people. The last thing, number seven, is the project and deflect. In other words, basically they’re going to blame you for all of their own behavior because they have to remain flawless and they’re never wrong. So, if you ended going the wrong way in the car and then it’s definitely your fault. If too much money was spent that month, then that was your fault too. Or if you’re working with this person, and a project didn’t get done on time, then that was your fault. Even if it was their fault because they didn’t give it to you on time or whatever, they’ll never see that, narcissists generally don’t apologize and they never take responsibility for their actions. So they’re going to project it onto you so that you can be the one that’s the target and you’re the problem and you’re the one that’s triggering their anger and so.

Honestly, it’s like a black hole that you will never fill because you’re always going to be the problem. And they’re always going to have problems. So you’re constantly trying to catch up, to fix things that are never going to be fixed, there’s never going to be an end to what needs to be fixed in you or for them. So if you are dealing with a narcissist, first of all, I’m sorry, I’ve been there too. It totally sucks. And the thing that I really need to tell you, and I’ve dealt with them in my own personal life in business and in other areas and also as an attorney, I’ve represented them, I’ve had them on the other side. So I understand this personality very, very well.

You is you have to take appropriate measures to try to get them out of your life. Because it’s going to start affecting your health and not only your mental health but your physical health as well. I mean, it’s so difficult to get over having this person in your life. It’s almost like having PTSD. So I mean your cortisol levels go up, you get ulcers, heart attacks, all kinds of things can happen to you. So you’ve got to start figuring out a way to get this person out of your life. So, whether it’s going to be physical barriers, whether it’s a divorce, whether it’s, find a different job or whatever it is that you need to do. And I would try to work this person out of your life, whether it’s distant, maybe you limit the communication in a certain way. Maybe you create barriers that you need to in order to protect yourself. But do what you need to do to protect yourself from this person.

If you are dealing with a narcissist and you want to know more about how to communicate with them, come join me at my FREE Webinar, the 3 MUST HAVE Secrets for Communicating with a Narcissist. You can sign up for that RIGHT HERE.

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