A narcissist will very often use manipulation and underhanded tactics to control their victim.
Manipulation is the use of deception to get what you want. Such tactics are often effective, but they can also be very harmful.
If you’re dealing with a narcissist, it’s important to know how they manipulate people and how to safeguard yourself from their abuse.
In this blog post, I will discuss different manipulation tactics used by narcissists and how you can protect yourself from them.
The dark art of narcissist manipulation tactics
Narcissists are master manipulators. They use a variety of tactics to control and manipulate their victims.
Some of these tactics include:
The narcissist will try to make you question your own reality. They might say things like, “You’re imagining things,” or “You’re being paranoid.”
Gaslighting is also very effective at invalidating the victim’s thoughts, feelings, or experiences. The narcissist might say, “That didn’t happen,” or “It’s not my fault you feel that way.”
Narcissists will also use minimization, which is another way of invalidating the victim’s experiences and emotions. I’s also a way of deflecting responsibility away from the narcissist and onto the victim.
They will try to make your experiences or feelings seem small or unimportant. They might say things like, “It’s not a big deal,” or “You’re overreacting.”
Sometimes the invalidation is so effective that the victim ends up apologizing to narcissist for having the temerity to get offended when abused!
This is when the narcissist projects their own qualities and faults onto you. For example, they might say, “You’re so selfish,” when they are the ones who are actually selfish.
Projection is one of the ego defence mechanisms first identified by Sigmund Freud. It’s a way of dealing with difficult emotions by denying they exist within ourselves and attributing them to someone else instead.
Narcissists use this tactic extensively because it allows them to avoid taking responsibility for their own behaviour.
The Silent Treatment
This is when the narcissist ignores you or gives you the cold shoulder in order to make you feel bad.
Ignoring someone is a very painful form of abuse, making the victim feel invisible and worthless. It’s also a way of exerting power and control over the victim.
Playing the Victim
This tactic is in use when the narcissist tries to make you feel sorry for them or tries to garner sympathy from you.
It’s an important part of the DARVO response, which is an acronym for “Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender.” This response is often used by abusers and perpetrators when they are confronted with their behaviour.
Narcissists often bring another person into the picture in order to create drama and make you feel jealous or insecure.
They will attempt to play you off against the newcomer, or make you feel like you are competing for their attention. They then sit back and enjoy the show while you become increasingly anxious and jealous.
This is when the narcissist blows things out of proportion in order to make you feel like you’re always doing something wrong. This narcissist manipulation tactic is often accompanies by narcissistic rage, in an attempt to terrify the victim into submission.
Emotional Blackmail and Guilt tripping
The narcissist will use your emotions against you in order to get what they want. For example, they might say, “If you loved me, you would do this for me.”
Narcissists will also try to control their victims through intimidation, threats, or even violence.
They want to control who you meet and what you do in your free time. Their ultimate goal is to isolate you so you will become fully dependent on them.
Shaming and Denigrating
The narcissist aims to make you feel bad about yourself by shaming and denigrating you. They might say things like, “You’re so stupid,” or “You’re worthless.” They want to destroy your self-confidence, so you will be less likely to push back, or to try to break free from their abuse.
Narcissists also use a variety of other tactics, including love bombing, flying monkeys, and abuse by proxy. All of these tactics are designed to control and manipulate you so the narcissist can maintain their power and control.
What you can do to protect yourself from these narcissist manipulation tactics
If you’re dealing with a narcissist, it’s important to be aware of their manipulation tactics.
Here are some things you can do to protect yourself:
Set boundaries and stick to them: It’s important to set boundaries with the narcissist and to be firm in sticking to them. This will help you to avoid being manipulated or taken advantage of.
Keep your communication concise: When you’re communicating with the narcissist, be direct and to the point. Don’t give them any room to manipulate you.
Document everything: Keep a record of all the times the narcissist has manipulated or abused you. This can be helpful if you ever need to take legal action against them.
Build a support system: It’s important to have a support system of friends or family members who you can rely on. These people can provide you with emotional support and help you to see things more clearly. They are also an important source of validation when the narcissist’s gaslighting starts to cloud your perception of what you are going through.
Seek professional help: If you’re struggling to deal with the narcissist in your life, consider seeking professional help. A therapist can provide you with additional support and guidance, helping you to come up with strategies to protect yourself.
Final Thoughts on Narcissist Manipulation Tactics
Dealing with a narcissist can be difficult, and it’s very important to be aware of their manipulation tactics.
If you’re being manipulated by a narcissist, remember to set boundaries, keep your communication concise, document everything, build a support system, and seek professional help if needed. These things will help you to protect yourself from their abuse.
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
- Narcissistic Abuse Examples – How to Recognize the Toxic Signs of Narcissism
- What Does Gaslighting Mean – The Ultimate Guide
- What Is Narcissist Abuse Syndrome and How Do You Recover from It?
- Manipulative statements a narcissist will say to pressure you to stay
And finally, this is my story. I was the scapegoat daughter of a narcissistic father.