Narcissists are notorious for many things, but the worst thing they are known for is their manipulation tactics. While some may be easy to detect, most tricks are deceiving, disguised in the name of love - but most of these tactics are abusive and are harmful to your mental and physical health.
Here are eight common narcissistic manipulation tactics. If you find them in your loved ones, take action immediately.
A powerful tool at a narcissist's disposal is gaslighting. Gaslighting will make you question your own reality to the point where you doubt your own self. When confronted about their own wrongdoings, narcissists tend to get defensive, and they twist the victim's reality by presenting lies and false information and denying the truth. This leads to frustration, confusion, and anger, eventually leading to you questioning your memory and perception. With simple questions like, "Why are you acting crazy?" "Why are you getting paranoid?", you are likely to be convinced you are the one who's going crazy.
2. Playing the victim card
Narcissists love playing the role of the victim anywhere. They crave attention and sympathy, and the best way to win in any situation is by acting like they are always right and that it's your fault that they're hurting. This also ensures that they don't have to take any responsibility for any actions. To manipulate people into thinking they are the victim in any situation, they guilt everybody around them and pin their issues on others to inflate their egos. Their convincing nature, fake tears, and harsh words might seem convincing, but the intentions are rather flawed - it's essential to identify them whenever there's a pattern.
Narcissists always have to be right. To prove this, they will do anything, including involving a third party to prove their point. This cunning tactic, known as narcissistic triangulation, aims to break your friendships and turn people against you by providing the third party with just their side of the story. Healthy relationships are built on communication and productive conversations, but manipulative relationships with narcissists are built on trivializing your feelings. It's not just in relationships that triangulation can happen- it happens in the workplace, too, when a coworker or a boss brings a third party to side with them during a conflict to deflate their actions or wrongdoings.
Physical, emotional, and psychological aggression is a common narcissistic personality trait. Narcissists usually fail to control themselves in difficult situations and show strong aggression and anger towards their victims. While physical anger may be straightforward, psychological aggression may disguise itself in many ways that can't be recognized. Some ways can be insults in the form of advice or teachings. Other ways of mental or psychological aggression can be controlling your behavior, pressure, or intimidation. The need for aggression is to demean their victim, to appear as a bigger person in the picture.
5. Conversations are monologues
Most conversations with narcissists are monologues because narcissists believe that everything is about them and that your feelings generally do not matter. They tend to dominate any conversation and make it about themselves. Even if the conversation is about simple things such as 'what you ate for breakfast today,' a narcissist will easily find a way to cut you off mid-sentence and turn the topic towards themselves. This lack of empathy will make you feel unimportant.
Narcissists never admit that something is wrong with them and will project their worst qualities onto you. They are usually unable to acknowledge their bad behaviors or partners, due to which they resort to the blame game. For example, if they are the ones that are needy or jealous, they will reflect and blame you for being jealous because they believe that they can never have any flaws. Many studies focussing on narcissistic behavioral patterns have shown that partners who accused their loved ones of cheating are actually the ones who are being unfaithful.
Putting somebody down for how they look, dress, talk, or their social class or education level is another trick in the narcissist's manipulation book. Belittling people for dispensable details is a way of inflating one's ego, and narcissists feel better by comparing themselves to the ones they are picking on. If not shaming someone to their face, narcissists often engage in gossiping or spreading rumors - this makes them feel important and in control of the environment that they are in.
Narcissists can naturally lie about anything and everything, no matter how big or small, to make themselves the bigger person in any situation. They lie about accomplishments, goals, and capabilities to appear more successful than usual. They also lie about their hardships, struggles, and problems to attract sympathy from others. Lying is a common tactic that narcissists use to gaslight their victims, as discussed earlier, to manipulate them into thinking that the reality they perceive is actually false. Narcissists are great at role-playing 'victim,' which comes with years of expertise in lying.
Dealing with a manipulative narcissist:
Manipulative narcissists are deceitful and harmful and can cause you serious trauma. To avoid this, the first step is to recognize the signs and give the person no more chances to hurt you. Set firm boundaries for yourself, and seek professional help if you feel like you are emotionally drained from the relationship you have had with your narcissist.