In order to better understand the narcissistic strategy of divide and conquer, it is important to first understand where it originated.
The term “divide and conquer” comes from Julius Caesar’s strategy for defeating his enemies. He would break them up into smaller groups, and then defeat them one by one.
Why narcissists use this strategy
This same strategy is often used by narcissists in a family setting, between friends, and at work. By creating an environment of competition and mistrust, narcissists can weaken their victims and isolate them from support. This can make it difficult to know who to trust or confide in, enabling the narcissist to control and manipulate them more easily.
How narcissists divide and conquer victims
One way narcissists use the divide and conquer strategy is by splitting people into groups and playing them off against each other. They often pit family members against each other, creating an environment of distrust and hostility. This manifests as ambient abuse, which is difficult to notice, but very damaging in its toxicity.
Narcissists also often use the divide and conquer tactic at work by pitting co-workers against each other. They will target the people they consider to be their competition, isolating them to make them feel like they are not valued or appreciated, or that they are being ignored or left out. As a result, their targets might transfer to another department, or even leave the company.
Sometimes narcissists will also use this evil technique to split up their friend group. By creating drama and gossip, they can cause friends to take sides and turn against each other. This can leave the narcissist’s target feeling isolated, alone, and without any support.
How to counter a narcissist’s divide and conquer efforts
Divide and conquer is a strategic way that narcissists weaken and isolate their victims. If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, it is important to be aware of this tactic and how to protect yourself from it.
Do not listen to gossip and do not let the narcissist manipulate you to do their dirty work for them. They will try to recruit you as their flying monkey, and involve you in their psychological games of abuse by proxy, but you must not allow that to happen.
And if you are friends with a narcissist, it might be time to consider ending the friendship. The most important thing is to protect yourself from further harm.
By understanding how narcissists operate, we can arm ourselves with the knowledge and tools we need to protect ourselves from their abuse.
Do you have any experiences with narcissists using the divide and conquer strategy? Let me know in the comments below.
For Further Reading:
You might also want to check out the following posts about the different abuse tactics in the Narcissist’s toolbox:
- Abuse by Proxy
- Ambient Abuse
- Coercive Control
- Divide and Conquer
- Flying Monkeys
- Future Faking
- Love Bombing
- Narcissist Discard
- Narcissist Hoovering
- Narcissistic Triangulation
- Narcissistic Abuse
- Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome
- Narcissistic Family Roles
- Narcissistic FOG
- Narcissistic Grooming
- Narcissistic Projection
- Narcissistic Rage
- Narcissistic Smear Campaign
- Narcissistic Word Salad
- Parental Alienation
- 7 Types of Narcissistic Abuse with Practical Examples
- The 10 Stages of Healing After Narcissistic Abuse
- 13 Warning Signs of Narcissistic Abuse: How to Deal with It and Get Help
- Flying Monkeys in the World of Narcissism: What They Are and How to Deal with Them
- Gaslighting Defined – How Can You Tell If Your Partner Is Gaslighting You?
- Why Narcissists String Along their Exes and Never Cut Them Loose
- Understanding the Cycle of Emotional Abuse – The Red Flags of a Toxic Relationship
And finally, this is my story. I was the scapegoat daughter of a narcissistic father.
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