10 Ways to Manipulate a Narcissist – How to Beat Them at Their Own Game

Dealing with a narcissist can be a challenging and draining experience. They have an inflated sense of self-importance and often lack empathy for others. However, with a little bit of thought and a pinch of malice, there are effective strategies you can use to manipulate a narcissist and beat them at their own game. In this post, we will explore 10 ways to manipulate a narcissist and come out on top.

Whether it’s in your personal or professional life, these tips will help you navigate the tricky waters of interacting with a narcissistic individual. So read on to discover how you can take control and beat the narcissist at their own manipulative game.

10 Ways to Manipulate a Narcissist - How to Beat Them at Their Own Game

The Main Characteristics of Narcissists

Narcissistic Personality Disorder manifests as an inflated sense of self-importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.

The following are some of the main characteristics of narcissists.

While these characteristics provide a general overview of narcissistic personality disorder, it’s important to note that not all narcissists display all these traits.

The intensity of these traits can also vary from person to person.

Grandiose Sense of Self-Importance

Narcissists have a grandiose sense of self-importance, believing they are superior to others and viewing themselves as special and unique.

They will boast incessantly about their accomplishments, inflate their abilities, and demand recognition as exceptional individuals, even without any noteworthy achievements.

This sense of entitlement can manifest in various ways, such as expecting others to comply with their demands without question, insisting on having the best of everything, or becoming angry when they don’t receive the special treatment they believe they deserve.

beating a narcissist

Need for Constant Admiration

Narcissists have an insatiable need for admiration and validation from others. They crave recognition and praise in order to validate their self-perceived superiority.

They will fish for compliments by subtly or overtly bragging about their achievements.

This relentless need for admiration often drives them to actively seek out relationships and situations where they can be the center of attention.

centre of attention

Lack of Empathy

While it is a common misconception that narcissists are incapable of understanding the emotions of others, the truth is somewhat different.

Narcissists often possess a keen sense of emotional intelligence and can accurately perceive what others are feeling. They are typically quite adept at reading emotional cues and understanding the emotional dynamics in play.

However, despite being able to comprehend these emotions, they choose to disregard them.


This is primarily because their focus is solely on their own needs and desires.

In other words, their lack of empathy does not stem from an inability to understand emotions but rather from a self-centered perspective that prioritizes their own feelings over those of others.

This selective disregard for the emotions of others allows them to manipulate situations and relationships for their own benefit, without being encumbered by guilt or concern for others’ feelings.

narcissistic entitlement - how to beat a narcissist

Manipulative and Controlling Behavior

Narcissists are manipulative and controlling. They use others to meet their own needs and will not hesitate to resort to manipulation to maintain control over their relationships.

This use tactics such as guilt-tripping, gaslighting, or exploiting their target’s weaknesses to get what they want.

lack of accountability - how to beat a narcissist

Difficulty with Criticism

Narcissists are also hypersensitive to criticism. Any form of critique, no matter how minor or constructive, is seen as a personal attack.

This can result in defensive reactions, rage, or attempts to belittle the other person to regain their sense of superiority.

How to Manipulate a Narcissist

These 10 ways to manipulate a narcissist will help you to navigate challenging situations with the narcissist and achieve your desired outcomes.

1. Flatter Them

Narcissists thrive on the admiration and praise of others. They have a constant need for validation and attention, which makes flattery an effective tool for manipulating them.

When you compliment a narcissist, it reinforces their sense of self-importance and makes them feel good about themselves.

However, it’s important to note that flattery needs to be used strategically.

how to manipulate a narcissist - flatter them

If you overdo it, the narcissist may see through your tactics and become suspicious or defensive.

It’s also important to make sure that your compliments are genuine and believable, or else they may have the opposite effect.

One effective way to use flattery is to tie it into something that the narcissist values or is proud of. For example, if they are successful in their career, you might say something like, “I can’t believe how successful you are! You’re amazing at what you do.”

This not only strokes their ego but also reinforces their belief in their own abilities.

Overall, flattery is a powerful tool when dealing with narcissists.

By using it strategically, you can manipulate the narcissist into doing what you want, while keeping them happy and pacified.

10 Ways to Manipulate a Narcissist - flattery

2. Play Up To Their Need For Attention

Narcissists have an unquenchable thirst for attention and crave constant validation. They thrive on the feeling of being the centre of attention – the sun around which all others orbit.

By providing them with the attention they so ardently seek, you can strategically position yourself to influence their actions favorably towards your objectives.

One practical method to achieve this is through affirmation and agreement.

Narcissists believe that they are always right. Therefore, when you echo their sentiments and validate their beliefs, it enhances their sense of importance and self-worth.

By appeasing them you increase the likelihood that they will fall in line with your objectives.

narcissists have a massive superiority complex

3. Appeal To Their Sense of Superiority

Narcissists are known for their inflated perceptions of self-worth and superiority. They thrive on admiration, respect, and the reaffirmation of their perceived dominance over others.

To manipulate a narcissist effectively, try to appeal to these core traits.

The goal is to make them believe that they are the most intelligent, competent, and indispensable individual in any given situation. This can be achieved by subtly feeding their ego and tapping into their inherent desire for recognition and importance.

One practical method would be to seek their advice or assistance, thereby acknowledging their expertise and reinforcing their sense of superiority.

You might phrase it something like, “Your experience and understanding in this area far surpass mine. I could really benefit from your insights on this issue.”

Such an approach not only compliments their intelligence but also elevates their status.

It makes them feel important, valued, and, above all, superior. This is likely to motivate them to cooperate with you, as it aligns with their need for validation.


4. Make Them Feel Indispensable

Manipulating a narcissist might seem like a daunting task, but understanding their psychological makeup can serve as a potent tool in this endeavor.

Central to a narcissist’s personality is their inflated sense of self-importance and an intense craving for admiration. They thrive on feeling indispensable and irreplaceable.

Therefore, by making them feel that they are essential to your life, you can subtly manipulate the narcissist in your favor.

One way to make a narcissist feel indispensable is by expressing your dependence on them in a calculated manner. You could articulate how their presence or inputs have been instrumental in your life.

For instance, you might say, “I’m at a loss. I need your guidance.”

This approach strokes their ego and makes them feel valued, satisfying their need for validation. It also reinforces their belief of superiority, making them more likely to respond to your requests positively.

Another strategy is to frequently seek their advice or opinion on matters, further emphasizing their indispensability. This not only gives them a sense of control but also provides an avenue for them to showcase their ‘expertise.’

However, it’s crucial to maintain a careful balance while using these tactics.

While you want to make them feel indispensable, you don’t want to appear excessively reliant or submissive, which could potentially empower them to exploit the situation.

10 ways to manipulate a narcissist

5. Play On Their Fears

Narcissists, despite their outward display of confidence and superiority, often harbor deep-seated fears and insecurities.

These vulnerabilities can serve as leverage points if you’re looking to influence their behavior subtly.

One common fear among narcissists is the dread of not being unique or the best.

To play on this fear, you could employ a technique known as triangulation. This involves introducing the idea of another person who shares similar interests or competencies.

For instance, you might say, “You know, I met someone else who has a remarkable understanding of this topic, just like you.”

This statement does two things.

First, it subtly challenges their perceived uniqueness, stirring a sense of competition.

Second, it could ignite a spark of jealousy, making them more eager to assert their superiority by proving they are indeed the best.

Another effective strategy is to insinuate that others might be capable of filling their role.

You could say something along the lines of, “I understand if you’re too busy to help me with this. I’ve spoken to Mr. X, and they seem more than capable of doing a good job.”

This plays on their fear of being replaceable and could motivate them to step up and reclaim their perceived indispensability.

While utilizing this tactic, it’s essential to exercise extreme caution. If misused or taken to the extreme, it could inadvertently cross into the realm of emotional abuse. While it may sometimes seem that the only way to combat fire is with fire, it’s critical not to let your actions eclipse the narcissist’s behavior.

10 Ways To Manipulate a Narcissist - 5. Play on their fears

6. Use Their Own Words Against Them

Among the myriad of strategies to manipulate a narcissist, one particularly effective method involves leveraging their own words against them.

This strategy is not only subtle but also allows you to navigate the delicate narcissistic ego without triggering defensiveness.

Here’s how you can implement this:

Reflect Their Self-Praise

Narcissists have an intense craving for admiration and validation. They often self-praise to solicit affirmation from others.

By echoing their self-congratulatory remarks, you can feed their need for validation while subtly influencing their actions.

For instance, if a narcissist boasts about being an exceptional salesperson, you might respond with, “Indeed, your sales skills are truly unparalleled. I’m confident you’ll close this deal effortlessly.”

This reaffirms their self-perception and can nudge them towards the action you desire.

10 Ways To Manipulate a Narcissist - 6. Use their own words against them

Align with Their Linguistic Style

Narcissists toften have unique way of expressing themselves. Mirroring their language can create a sense of similarity and alignment, making them more likely to trust you.

For example, if a narcissist frequently uses the term “winning”, incorporate it into your conversation.

You could say, “I understand how vital winning is to you. In this situation, I believe there’s a way for us both to come out on top.”

This statement not only validates their perspective but also suggests a cooperative approach, making them more receptive to your suggestions.


Use Their Words as a Mirror

Narcissists can be unaware of their contradictory statements or actions.

By tactfully reflecting their own words back to them, you can highlight these inconsistencies without direct confrontation.

For example, if they’ve previously stated a commitment to fairness but are now acting unfairly, you could say, “I remember when you spoke about the importance of fairness. It really resonated with me. How do you think it applies in this situation?”

This can prompt them to reconsider their actions without feeling attacked.

carrot on a stick

7. Give Them What They Want… But Not All At Once

An effective strategy in dealing with narcissists is to gradually provide them with what they desire, rather than satisfying their wants all at once.

Narcissists often crave things that seem elusive – whether it’s success, public admiration, or material wealth. By strategically doling out what they want, you can manipulate their actions in your favor.

This approach works primarily because narcissists thrive on the thrill of anticipation and the exhilaration of achieving their desires.

Offering them a hint of what they yearn for, without fully satiating their desires immediately, cultivates a sense of yearning in them.

This heightened anticipation can make them more amenable to fulfilling your requests, as they perceive it as a step closer to their ultimate objective.

For instance, consider a scenario involving a narcissistic colleague vying for a promotion currently out of reach. Instead of promising the unavailable promotion outright, you might suggest smaller opportunities for advancement or recognition in the interim.

This could involve delegating tasks that highlight their skills, offering them a chance to lead a small project, or publicly acknowledging their contributions.

These minor victories serve to keep the narcissist motivated and engaged.

Simultaneously, they encourage the narcissist’s cooperation in other areas, making them more willing to contribute to team tasks or projects.

how to manipulate a narcissist

8. Threaten To Withdraw Your Support

Another useful strategy that you can use when dealing with narcississts is the threat of withdrawing your support.

Narcissists are dependent on others for bolstering their self-esteem and meeting their needs, which puts you in a position of leverage. When you threaten to withdraw your support, make sure to present it in a way that appeals to the narcissist’s self-interest.

Instead of coming across as hostile, you could emphasize the benefits they stand to lose if they don’t cooperate. For instance, you could underscore how valuable your partnership or relationship is to them, highlighting the gains they’ve made thanks to your support.

This might involve reminding them of the times you’ve helped them succeed or achieve recognition, or pointing out the ways in which your skills or resources complement theirs.

Threaten to withdraw your support

Reframe the situation, making it clear that working with you, rather than against you, is in their best interest.

This approach isn’t about issuing an ultimatum or being punitive – it’s about communicating the potential consequences of their actions in a way that motivates them to change their behavior.

By presenting the withdrawal of support as a potential loss, rather than as a threat, you increase your chances of influencing them.

Narcissists are generally motivated by self-preservation and fear of losing their status or power, so this tactic can be quite effective.

Threaten to withdraw your support

9. Play Hard To Get

Narcissists often yearn for what they perceive as unattainable, making ‘playing hard to get’ an impactful strategy for manipulating their behaviour.

This tactic can be particularly potent when dealing with a narcissist, as it taps into their inherent desire for exclusivity and validation.

When you adopt a stance of being hard to get, you craft an illusion of being highly sought-after and not easily swayed.

This could entail maintaining an air of detachment, being noncommittal, or even appearing dismissive towards their advances or requests.

Creating this aura of mystery and allure around yourself feeds the narcissist’s craving for attention and affirmation. It subtly communicates that your attention, time, and resources are valuable and not readily available to everyone.

Consider a scenario where a narcissistic co-worker seeks your assistance on a project.

Instead of agreeing outright, you might respond with something along the lines of, “I’m unsure if I can commit to this project at the moment. I’ll need some time to consider it.”

This response indirectly conveys that your assistance is valuable and sought after, which can amplify the narcissist’s desire to secure your support.

It creates a dynamic where they feel they need to earn your favor, making them more likely to comply with your requests or expectations.

 Play hard to get

10. Be Patient

Patience is indeed a virtue, especially when dealing with narcissists.

A narcissist is impatient and craves immediate gratification, so being patient can be an effective way to manipulate them.

Avoid rushing into decisions or actions, instead, wait for the narcissist to make the first move.

This strategy not only gives you time to evaluate your options but also allows you to craft a plan that will work to your advantage.

By letting the narcissist initiate, you place them in a position where they feel compelled to prove themselves or negotiate with you. This tactic subtly shifts the power balance in your favor.

The narcissist may feel the need to offer concessions or agree to your terms to win your approval or cooperation. This measured approach also demonstrates your confidence and self-assuredness, traits that narcissists often respect.


Final Thoughts On How To Manipulate a Narcisst

Dealing with narcissists can be challenging, but understanding their behaviors and motivations can equip you with the necessary tools to navigate these situations more effectively.

Remember, it’s crucial to maintain your self-esteem and boundaries when interacting with a narcissist.

While strategies such as playing hard to get, threatening to withdraw support, or exercising patience can be effective in certain situations, they should be used judiciously.

It’s essential not to lose sight of the importance of healthy communication and mutual respect in any interaction or relationship.

It’s also worth mentioning that manipulation should never be the go-to method in dealing with others, including narcissists.

While these tactics can help you establish boundaries and protect your interests, they should not be used to exploit or harm the other person.

Ultimately, the goal should be to foster healthier dynamics where both parties feel valued and heard.

If you find yourself constantly needing to use manipulative tactics in your interactions with a narcissist, it may be worth seeking professional advice or considering whether the relationship is beneficial for your mental and emotional well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions about Narcissism

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Manipulate a Narcissist

What does it mean to manipulate a narcissist?

Manipulating a narcissist refers to the strategic approaches one can take to navigate interactions with a narcissist, often with the aim to establish boundaries, protect personal interest, or maintain balance in the relationship.

Why might someone want to manipulate a narcissist?

Interacting with a narcissist can be challenging due to their intense need for admiration, lack of empathy, and tendency to exploit others.

Manipulation strategies are sometimes used to protect oneself from such behaviors, gain some control in the relationship, or encourage healthier interactions.

How can I manipulate a narcissist using the ‘play hard to get’ strategy?

This involves creating an illusion of being highly sought-after and not easily swayed.

You can maintain an air of detachment or noncommittal attitude towards their advances, feeding into their desire for exclusivity and validation.

How can patience be used as a manipulation strategy with narcissists?

Narcissists often desire immediate gratification.

By exercising patience and waiting for them to make the first move, you subtly shift the power balance in your favor.

This gives you time to evaluate your options and create a plan that works to your advantage.

Is it ethical to manipulate a narcissist?

While these strategies can be helpful in dealing with narcissists, they should not be used to exploit or harm them.

The goal should always be to foster healthier dynamics where both parties feel valued and heard.

What if these manipulation strategies don’t work?

Not all strategies will be effective with every narcissist, as individuals differ.

If you find these strategies ineffective or if interactions with the narcissist are causing emotional distress, consider seeking advice from a mental health professional.

What should I do if I constantly feel the need to manipulate a narcissist to survive in a relationship?

If you find yourself constantly needing to use manipulative tactics in your interactions with a narcissist, it may be worth re-evaluating the relationship.

It’s crucial for your mental and emotional well-being that relationships are based on mutual respect and understanding, not constant manipulation.

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