What is Narcissistic Grooming?
Narcissistic grooming is the process of shaping a certain image in the target’s mind about who the narcissist is, what they’re like, and what their intentions are. This usually happens in relationships where the narcissist is trying to control or manipulate the other person.
Narcissists will go out of their way to make themselves look good in the eyes of the person they are pursuing. They will be at their most charming to try and win the person over. This is all done in an effort to get the person to see them in a certain light – one that is usually far from reality.
The grooming process is usually gradual, and it can be hard for the victim to understand or even notice what’s happening. Narcissists are like chameleons and they can be very convincing, which makes it easy for them to suck their target in. They start out slow, with small requests or favours, but over time they will start to ask for more and more.
Before long, the victim is completely under the narcissist’s thumb. The relationship becomes toxic and one-sided, with the narcissist taking everything he can while giving nothing back.
Wearing a mask to hide his true self
The narcissist will never reveal his true self. When he meets someone he wants to manipulate, he will put on a false persona. The mask he uses will be carefully calibrated based on what he perceives to be important to you.
If you are kind-hearted and love animals, he will make it a point to tell you a sad story about his heartbreak when his dog died. But if you are scared of dogs, his childhood best friend will be a cat.
If you are looking for a strong and confident man, he will convince you that he is your knight in shining armour. “It is my mission in life to protect and cherish you,” he will declare.
If you love to read, he will wax lyrical about being a bookworm. But if you tell him you hate books and love the great outdoors, he will share anecdotes about his hiking adventures.
His goal is to make you think – “I found my soulmate!”
The narcissist is an expert at reading people and knowing what they want to hear. He will use this knowledge to his advantage by telling you what you want to hear.
The narcissist is also an excellent actor and can convincingly play any role that he needs to in order to get what he wants from you.
The narcissist’s true self is always hidden behind the mask. He wants you to believe that he is charming, successful, and handsome. He wants you to think that he is the perfect partner for you.
What is actually happening is that the narcissist is grooming you. He is shaping your relationship to manipulate you into doing what he wants.
Narcissistic Grooming techniques include:
Future faking – This is when the narcissist tells you about all the wonderful things he is going to do for you in the future. He will make grandiose promises that he has no intention of keeping. These promises will make you hang on when you should be running for the hills.
Love bombing – This is when the narcissist smothers you with attention and affection in the beginning of the relationship. You will be bombarded with romantic dates, flowers and grand gestures. He will do whatever it takes to make you feel special and loved. However, once he has you hooked, he will start to withdraw his love and attention, leaving you feeling confused and abandoned.
Isolating you from family and friends – The narcissist will try to isolate you from your support system. He will do this by making negative comments about the people in your life in an attempt to turn you against them. If that fails he will make it difficult for you to see them.
The narcissist wants you to be dependent on him and only him.
Making you feel guilty – The narcissist will make you feel guilty for any wrongdoing, real or imagined, gaslighting you into doing what he wants.
Manipulation – Narcissists are experts of the dark arts of manipulation. Initially they will use guilt or flattery, but once the honeymoon is over they will resort to threats to bend you to their will.
Playing the victim card – The narcissist will play the victim in order to gain your sympathy and support. He will lie about his past to make you feel sorry for him. He could claim his ex-partner was unfaithful and broke his heart, or that he was abused as a child. Of course, the story will be a lie from beginning to end, designed to make you feel sorry for them and create an emotional bond between you.
They often escalate the narcissistic grooming by claiming that they have never shared these painful secrets about themselves with anyone. They will say that you are the only person in the world they feel comfortable talking to about it, because you are special.
What is the narcissist’s end game?
The narcissist uses these grooming techniques to gain trust and manipulate his victim into doing what he wants. Ultimately it is all a game for these predators, and their goal is to win. They do not care about the pain and damage they inflict on their victims. The only thing that matters to them is that they get what they want.
If you think that you may be in a relationship with a narcissist, question everything that you have ever been told. Narcissists are experts at lying and manipulation. Don’t be fooled by their charms and empty promises.
My advice would be to get out of the relationship as soon as possible, because narcissists never change.
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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