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:
Narcissistic Grooming Technique: 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. This can make it difficult for their victims to see the reality of what is actually happening, as they are caught up in the false idealistic vision of the future.
On top of that, narcissists use future faking as a way to keep people hanging on even when they should be moving on. The promises give them hope and create an illusion that things will get better, even when all signs point to the contrary.
Narcissistic Grooming Technique: Love bombing
This is when the narcissist smothers you with attention and affection in the beginning of the relationship. They will start off the relationship with lavish displays of affection, love and attention. You may be showered with romantic dates, flowers and grand gestures. This is all done to make you feel special and loved, giving you a false impression that this person is perfect for you.
However, once they have you hooked their behavior often changes dramatically. They may start to withdraw their love and attention, leaving you feeling confused and abandoned.
Narcissistic Grooming Technique: Isolating you from family and friends
The narcissist will often try to isolate you from your support system, by attempting to turn you against them. This could involve making negative comments about the people in your life or actively trying to make it difficult for you to see them.
The goal of this behavior is to create a situation where you become completely dependent on the narcissist, and they become the only source of support in your life. As such, they can easily manipulate and control you with little pushback or accountability.
Narcissistic Grooming Technique: Guilt-Tripping
The narcissist often utilizes guilt tripping as a tool to manipulate their victims. They will make you feel guilty for any wrongdoing, real or imagined and then use gaslighting tactics to convince you that it is all your fault and that you must do what they say to fix the problem.
This serves two purposes for the narcissist, First of all it feeds their ego, because it gives them a strong sense of being in control. Secondly, it prevents the victim from standing up for themselves or getting help from outside sources, since they become convinced that it is all their fault.
Narcissistic Grooming Technique: Manipulation
Narcissists are true masters of manipulation. They will start out by using guilt or flattery to get what they want from you, but once the “honeymoon” period is over and you are trapped, they will resort to more extreme tactics such as threats and emotional blackmail in order to bend you to their will. These techniques are designed to make you question your own worth and feelings, leaving you vulnerable and unable to make decisions independently.
Narcissistic Grooming Technique: 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.
Posts About Narcissistic Abuse Tactics
Abuse by Proxy – How to Identify and Deal with this form of Psychological Abuse
How to Detect and Escape Ambient Abuse – A Survivor’s Guide
Blaming the Victim – The Narcissist’s Insidious Strategy to Avoid Responsibility
Divide and Conquer – A Strategic Way of Isolating Victims
Enmeshment in Narcissistic Families – Trapped in the Narcissist’s Toxic Web
The Fauxpology – a devious weapon of the Narcissist
Flying Monkeys – the narcissist’s army of goons
Future Faking – Narcissists make hollow promises about the future
Narcissistic Grooming – How Narcissists Brainwash and Condition their Victims
What is Narcissist Discard and what are the signs?
Narcissist Hoovering – How to Deal With It
Narcissist Triangulation – What it is, why Narcissists do it, and how to deal with it
Narcissistic Abuse – How Narcissists Manipulate and Hurt their Victims
Narcissist Gaslighting with Examples – How to Identify this type of Narcissistic Abuse and what to Do About It
What is Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome and How Can I Get Better?
Narcissistic FOG – How Narcissists use Fear, Obligation and Guilt as Weapons
7 Types of Narcissistic Abuse with Practical Examples
What is Narcissistic Projection? The Narcissist’s toxic blame-shifting tactic
What you need to know about Narcissistic Rage
Love Bombing – The Narcissist’s Trick to Keep You Hooked
Narcissistic Smear Campaign – How To Spot It and What To Do About It
Narcissistic Word Salad – One of the Tools in the Narcissist’s Toolbox
The Definition of Triangulation in Narcissistic Abuse – A Closer Look
2 thoughts on “Narcissistic Grooming – How Narcissists Brainwash and Condition their Victims”
Watching this grooming happen to someone else is absolute torture for a survivor of narcissistic abuse. They don’t want to hear you and the more you try to tell them, the more they don’t believe you and begin to view you as the villain. It’s like helplessly waiting for someone to get hit by a car they can’t see.
Unfortunately the only way that most people learn is through experience. I know that it is painful to watch, but they have been primed to tune you out. The only thing you can do is be there when things go haywire. Because it will, it always does.
Hang in there Erica