Narcissistic manipulation comes in many different forms. In order not to become a victim of this dark personality type, it’s important to know which manipulation techniques narcissists use.

If you have ever been in a relationship with a narcissist, you might have wondered how on earth you got involved with someone so self-absorbed, one so selfish and so wrapped up in themselves? Narcissistic manipulation is to blame.

A narcissist uses many tricks of manipulation in order to trap their so-called victims. The truth is that if we ever knew their intent, we would all run a mile.

However, there are signs of narcissistic manipulation to look out for. You just need to know how to recognize these sneaky manipulation techniques that narcissists use.

Here are 8 sneaky tools of narcissistic manipulation these individuals use in order to manipulate us:

1. They use shaming in public and private

It doesn’t matter to the narcissist whether you’re in a public or private place. They will use every opportunity to shame you and belittle you. Why? Because it lowers your self-esteem and makes you hungry for their praise or validation.

A narcissist wants you to hang off their every word. They will say things like “I was only joking” or “I’m just trying to help you” to excuse their awful behavior. This keeps you clinging to the hope that one day, you’ll be good enough for them. But of course, you never will.

2. They control everything

From the topic of conversation (usually themselves) to the money, where you eat, literally everything to do with your relationship, they control everything. Even if you manage to slip something into the conversation about you, they won’t hear it. They will ignore you and you will pay for bringing it up later.

A narcissist you are dealing with will immediately turn the conversation back to themselves and make you feel bad about mentioning yourself. Soon enough, you will stop doing things you love doing and forget all about your needs.

3. They were super-charming at the start of the relationship

Were you swept off your feet at the start of your relationship by the most charming person you’ve ever met? Have those compliments stopped now and is the charming nature out the window?

A narcissist will try everything in their playbook to ensnare you and trap you so they have a victim to play with. If someone you have just met is so charming, so over-the-top with their comments and compliments that you think it’s too good to be true, guess what, it probably is.

4. They play the role of the victim all the time

Had a bad day? Your narcissist partner will have had a worse one. Literally anything that happens to you, something worse will have happened to the narcissist. Despite them victimizing you, they will appear to be the victim because it gives them the platform for attention. Eventually, you’ll start questioning whether you really do have problems or you are just being over-sensitive about things.

Narcissists love to play the role of the victim because not only do they get extra attention, they use it as a tactic to be nasty to you and get away with it. By you focusing on their problems, you are more open to narcissistic manipulation tactics.

5. They use other people to back them up

Narcissists sometimes use other people to help with their mind games. They will bring in a third person for back-up if they feel you slipping away from their clutches. They will then pit you against the third party to draw attention from their acts. This other person is also there to manage the narcissist’s massive ego.

This needs frequent stroking and if you are not complimenting them enough, they’ll get someone else in to do the job.

6. They play mind games or use ‘Gaslighting’

Gaslighting is where a person plays mind games in order to upset a person’s sanity. This is a typical tactic of narcissistic manipulation because they want you in the role of the helpless victim, with only themselves in the picture, ready to carry on the mind games until you are totally under their spell.

Gaslighting makes you feel as if you are going crazy and can be particularly damaging to your mental health. This is why it’s perfect for the narcissist.

7. They downplay your achievements

Narcissists have to be on the top of the pedestal. This means you cannot have any success yourself because it detracts from their achievements. When you first meet a narcissist, they will be over-complimentary about your successes.

But soon afterwards, they’ll show their true colors and start demeaning anything you’ve done. This is because it gets you working harder to make them notice you, which leads to them getting more attention.

8. They make everything your fault

It doesn’t matter if it is totally obvious that something is the fault of the narcissist. They will always turn it around so it is your fault. Their bad behavior will be down to something you have done. It doesn’t matter what the situation is or what has happened – the narcissist will blame you.

If you are experiencing any of the above signs of narcissistic manipulation, then do not lose heart. It is not you that is crazy, things are not always your fault and you shouldn’t keep on doubting yourself.

The narcissist you are involved with is only concerned about themselves. So if you do recognize any of the above signs, it is time to free yourself from their control and live the life you were meant to.

References:

  1. psychcentral.com
  2. journals.sagepub.com
Janey Davies, B.A. (Hons)

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This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Dikeledi

    Thank you very much…I now admit that I’m a victim and have to do something about it. I even thought I was crazy.

    1. Avatar
      Anna L Allen

      I am super glad you know that you are just fine👍 sometimes we question ourselves because others are so toxic. Thats NOT your fault. Have a wonderful afternoon

  2. Avatar
    Ps

    Amazing, it’s like you’ve picked up everything mrs H does… thank you fo the validation

  3. Avatar
    Lana

    How about suggesting your narcissist partner to look for professional help? In this article, you paint the narcissist as a devil that does all of this at the peak of his sanity. No. Narcissists don’t realize they are damaging the ones they love. So when your partner is sick you just abandon him? People don’t need to take the burden of their beloved ones, but trying to offer help is being humane.

    1. Avatar
      Anna L Allen

      Have you ever lived with a narcissist? I have. They dont seek help. They are destructive of everyone around them. The only thing u can do is remove yourself from them.
      Theres also a thing called being responsible for your actions. I have had to be responsible for my parents and grandparents actions since i was in diapers

    2. Avatar
      Desdes1

      Do you have a Narcissist in your life? It seems like you do, because I do, and I use to make excuses for him. I used to think he learned it in childhood how can I blame him?
      As time went on, and on and on and on, I was observing things I chose not to see before.
      It became very clear that this man knew exactly what he was doing in certain instances…
      Even now I struggle because I love him. I struggle bad. I know he loves me, yet somebody who loves you doesn’t treat you like garbage. He loves me but…This Narcissist I speak of is also a drug addict…An active drug addict….active drug addicts and alcoholics do not have the capacity to love anybody but themselves. I’m praying he gets the help he needs. Thank you for your comment.

    3. Avatar
      Toph Muir

      NPDs are well aware that they are hurting you. 100%. Easy way to tell, did they hide it from the rest of the world? Yes! Can’t hide what you are unaware of.
      You never see one of these unaware NPDs expose their abusive behaviours to the public because they were unaware!!

  4. Avatar
    Mea Nardella

    Narcissists rarely come to therapy. They do not see the concept of change for themselves. They have a shell of themselves that they protect at often any cost. Often too much shame for them to address. So here in lies the problem Lana. Those who are mildly affected and highly motivated then support and healing is possible…but hard and long treatment needed.

  5. Avatar
    Anna L Allen

    The worst situation is when you are dependent upon them

  6. Avatar
    Anonymous

    They do not think that there have a problem. It is always every one ele. They would never seek therapy. If they do agree, it is a way to manpulate the system to make it seem that they are / have addressed the issue in order to get out of trouble (jail, etc,). These people ruin lives and have never been held accountable for what they have done. One victim after another. Family, friends, strangers. The list goes on and on. They have done this all their lives, and unfortunately, have been good at hiding / masking the behavior from others, until those people become their victims. It is a sad cycle. I have a sister and brother that are narcissistic psychopaths that have wreaked havoc on my family. This has been generational as my aunt and uncle were also narcissistic psychopaths. I could write a book on it.

  7. Avatar
    Anonymous

    Advice I would give is to disown them and completely remove them from your life, with absolutely no contact with them or the people that they associate with (family, etc) because they use and manipulate those people and turn them against you rhrough lies, etc.

  8. Avatar
    Rosi

    I recently figured out this person was manipulating me. Whenever something started going good in my life, he called me up asking why I shorted him $30. He said I gave him $24. He called me up and immediately started calling me an idiot. How stupid I am that I can’t count. Well, he’s done this once before and that’s when I started making money in stock trading. I told him that if you do something more than once, people catch on. I figured out the similarities and put it all together. I’m not talking to him anymore, as I write this.

  9. Avatar
    Tina

    I am now totally depended on my narcissist. I have no way to get there no money to get there now I am only getting to eat it’s elective things because I do not have enough team to get out of the house need to talk to someone he has parent controls on my phone I need some support someone I could call or talk to online thank you so much feeling crazy

    1. Avatar
      Donna

      Hello Tina. Please give me your contact info. Thanks!

  10. Avatar
    Cece Dubra

    Hello Donna,
    I can’t leave too much on here, because I’d be writing a book, but I could REALLY use your help right about now. I don’t know how to contact you or I would directly.

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