Wondering how narcissists manipulate and control others, here are 27 tricky ways narcissists subject others under their control.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a psychological condition characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, and a distinct lack of empathy for others.
However, individuals with this disorder often use a variety of manipulative tactics to maintain control and power in their relationships.
In this post, I will reveal to you, 27 manipulative strategies employed by narcissists, with detailed insights into their characteristics and effects.
How Narcissists Manipulate
1. Labeling: The Power Game
One of the most potent strategies narcissists employ is labeling. They derive a perverse sense of power by assigning derogatory labels to others, effectively diminishing their self-esteem.
Such labels might include “loser,” “failure,” “stupid,” or “weak,” among others. However, this tactic often uncovers more about the narcissist’s insecurities than the targeted individual.
1.1 Defense Mechanism: Projection
Projection, a frequent defense mechanism employed by narcissists, involves attributing one’s feelings or judgments to others.
For instance, a narcissist who often labels others as “stupid” may be revealing a deep-seated fear of inadequacy. Similarly, a narcissist who frequently refers to others as “weak” may be betraying a deep-rooted fear of vulnerability.
Related: How to deal with a narcissist
2. Displacement: Offloading Emotional Baggage
Narcissists often struggle with tolerating uncomfortable feelings. As such, they tend to displace these feelings onto those around them.
For instance, narcissists often carry a significant amount of shame, which they unconsciously offload onto others by attempting to make them feel inferior.
3. Exaggeration: Grandiosity Personified
Narcissists often hold distorted views of themselves and the world. They tend to exaggerate their achievements and possessions, labeling them as the “greatest,” “perfect,” or “the best.”
This exaggeration extends to their evaluation of others, often belittling their accomplishments or features.
Related: How to Manipulate a narcissist
4. Stonewalling: The Unyielding Fortress
Stonewalling, or refusing to communicate or cooperate, is a common tactic used by narcissists. They stubbornly refuse to back down, even when they’re wrong, often leading others to give up and concede to their demands.
5. Scapegoating: Shifting the Blame
Narcissists often assert power by blaming one person for group problems, thereby evading responsibility and ostracizing their target. This tactic serves as a warning to others who might challenge the narcissist.
6. Intimidation: Bullying Tactics
Narcissists are often bullies, using verbal, psychological, or emotional force to get their way. It’s crucial to recognize and report such behaviors, as they are illegal in most jurisdictions.
Related: How to Hurt a Narcissist
7. Gaslighting: Undermining Reality
Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic where narcissists deny or distort the truth to destabilize and confuse their victims. For instance, they may deny events that occurred or insist that their victims are imagining things.
8. Dehumanizing: Dismissal and Denigration
Narcissists often dehumanize others, classifying them as inferior, unworthy, or evil to justify their oppressive behavior. They may use dismissive remarks, and hostile humor, or treat others as “other,” aiming to make them feel subhuman and isolated.
9. Monopolizing Conversations
Narcissists often dominate conversations, turning them into monologues. They show no interest in others’ experiences and will quickly steer the conversation back to themselves at every opportunity.
10. Idolizing Dictators
Narcissists are fascinated by power and control. They often admire and quote historical figures notorious for dominating others, showing no remorse for their actions.
11. Blame Shifting: It’s Always Your Fault
Narcissists are never wrong, at least in their own eyes. Consequently, they always manage to blame others for everything that goes wrong, even if the other party is entirely innocent.
12. Projection of Negative Traits
Narcissists often project their undesirable traits onto others. For instance, they might accuse their sober partner of being an alcoholic or their faithful partner of infidelity.
13. Practicing Double Standards
Narcissists are notorious for their hypocrisy. They lack accountability and often engage in behaviors they condemn in others.
14. Sabotaging Relaxation
Narcissists often sabotage moments of relaxation or happiness for others. They might start an argument when their partner is trying to sleep or do something disruptive to prevent them from relaxing.
15. Inability to Give Compliments
Narcissists rarely acknowledge the achievements of others. They might make hurtful remarks about others’ accomplishments or simply show no reaction, making the person feel insignificant.
16. Overemphasizing Minor Issues
Narcissists often blow minor issues out of proportion, using them as a tool to assert control and dominance.
17. Humiliation and Threats
Narcissists often try to humiliate or intimidate others, using this as a tool to assert control. They might threaten to reveal embarrassing information or use humiliation to keep their victims in line.
18. The Silent Treatment
The silent treatment is a common manipulation tactic used by narcissists. They completely ignore their victims, making them feel powerless and frustrated.
19. Taking Things Out of Context
Narcissists are known for taking things out of context. They twist the truth and reinterpret situations to make others look bad or themselves look good.
20. Jealousy of Animals
Surprisingly, narcissists can even feel threatened by the affection people show toward their pets. They might interpret this affection as a sign that they’re being neglected or overlooked.
21. Competing with Children and Adolescents
In their quest for constant attention and validation, narcissists might even view children and adolescents as threats. They might try to outdo them or belittle them to assert their superiority.
22. Flaunting Infidelity
While infidelity is not uncommon, narcissists often flaunt their affairs, using them as a tool to manipulate and control their partners.
23. Assuming Others are Jealous
Narcissists often believe that everyone else is envious of them, even when they have little to be envied for. They use this belief to reinforce their inflated self-image and dismiss any criticism or disagreement as mere jealousy.
24. Disinterest in Others’ Experiences
Narcissists show little to no interest in others’ thoughts, feelings, or experiences. They’re primarily focused on themselves, and anything that doesn’t revolve around them is often dismissed or ignored.
25. Poor Losers
Narcissists despise losing. If they lose at something, they will instantly blame someone else for their failure, refusing to recognize their own shortcomings or mistakes.
26. Responding to Questions with Questions
Narcissists often respond to questions with questions of their own. They twist the original question to their advantage, either to evade answering it or to assert control over the conversation.
27. Adapting to Different Social Environments
Narcissists are social chameleons. They’re capable of adapting to different social environments, changing their behaviors to fit in, and often dominating the social setting.
Understanding and recognizing these manipulative tactics narcissists use can provide invaluable insights into their behavior.
This knowledge can help you protect yourself and navigate interactions with narcissistic individuals more effectively.
However, if you find yourself in a dangerous situation involving a narcissist, don’t hesitate to seek professional help or contact law enforcement if necessary.
Remember, everyone has the right to feel safe and respected in their personal and professional relationships.
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