Most of us think of ourselves as witty savvy humans who would certainly spot and consequently avoid getting into a relationship with someone who likes to use manipulating tactics. Sadly, it is not always the case, and if the heart overrules the brain, you could end up entangled with someone that is too busy with self-love, doesn’t believe in other peoples’ feelings, and will lie to seem stronger, more powerful, and smarter, even at the risk of your well-being and happiness.
There are two types of narcissists. The first is a self-absorbed person who is infatuated with their attire, hairstyle, and other matters related to material possessions. This version of narcissist exists on a gamut, and for the most past, are harmless. The second type exists as psychiatric disorder, and if you are not prepared you will find yourself entangled in a web and victim of narcissistic manipulation.
Those who meet the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder have impairments in personality. When dealing with personal relationships, they use extreme manipulative tactics to make themselves feel better. It’s a bizarre self-soothing technique. They are dishonest and tend to be outwardly scheming. They lack capacity for empathy because they are too self-absorbed with an inflated view of self. Their moral compass is completely skewed, so they take advantage of vulnerable people.
Narcissists tend to gravitate towards people who have low self-esteem. These people are easier to manipulate, and the narcissist feels like the hero for “rescuing them.” A wounded person will most certainly assume the faults of the relationship as if they were their own. If not, the narcissist will help convince them of their wrongdoing to keep them off balance.
One of the most harmful and obscure behaviors of a narcissist is that they can be extremely generous. If they are wealthy, they will always be the one wanting to pay. Sounds like an oxymoron, no? How can being generous be harmful or obscure? Well, simple. As long as the receiver of their “kindness” continues to be pleased, rapt, and continue to do what the narcissist wants, then there will not be a problem. However, should you decide to show disagreement or autonomy, be prepared for the nastiness that is coming your way because being accused of being ungrateful will be the least of your problems. Be prepared.
Being aware of their harmful influence, removing yourself from the situation and hold of the narcissistic manipulation is the best thing you can do for your mental health. It is not always easy, as narcissists can be subtle, and you might not be able to recognize their negative impact until you’re in too deep. This makes it much more difficult to “extricate yourself from the spider’s web or the gilded-cage,” but not impossible.
So, how do you know if you are entangled in a relationship with a chronic narcissist? Well, that will depend on the type of manipulation tactics being used. Here are a few of the worst and most toxic ones:
They Minimize your Worth
At the beginning of the relationship, the narcissist probably complimented you and made you feel as if you two were the perfect couple. You were probably very happy, or at least think you were. Then things start changing. Suddenly all those compliments turn into things you must change about yourself to be “acceptable” or “worthy of their love and company.” Everyone loves your spunky personality and daily puns, except your partner. He thinks their dumb and inappropriate. Your hair that was one liked is now dull and outdated. If you stay with this person, you will never feel like you are worth more than what they say you are.
Controlling Every Aspect of Everything
From bills to meals, from conversations to friends, from clothes to educational choices, and even family, the narcissist will try to control all matters they feel are at the center of the relationship to them. If you want to share your day, it won’t matter. That conversation will go unnoticed, will be unwelcome, or will simply end up in an all-encompassing summary of their day. This is no way of living this wonderful life we were given, and if you continue this path you will eventually forget who you are and everything that is wonderful about yourself. More importantly, you will forget what you want and what you can accomplish. When the relationship reaches this level of manipulation, you must stop and ask yourself what the heck you are doing and where you can go to find change and grow into the magnificent human you know you can be.
Public and Private Shaming
At home or at a public setting, the narcissistic person will always make belittling and diminishing comments directed at you. There is a sick sense of pleasure they get out of making others look weak, appear less intelligent than they are, or make others feel small. This is a dangerous form of manipulation you probably won’t recognize because you believe the “I’m just kidding” excuses, or “You can’t take a joke?” If you have hope that you will one day be “good enough” for them, you’re wasting your time. Please understand that you are good enough already.
The Perpetual Fake Victim
Although you are the one who is being victimized, the narcissist will want to turn it around to appear as if they are the victims. If you try to tell them that talking to them is like talking to a brick wall, their reply will be something like “See, I cannot get through to you.” Confused yet? It’s okay, none of it makes sense at all, and their words and way they reply will have you wondering if you are to blame. Perhaps you didn’t use the right words or weren’t clear enough in your message. None of it is accurate, and you cannot fall for this kind of manipulation.
This is my most hated manipulating technique, and the most dangerous one. How can someone manage to manipulate every aspect of our lives? Well, the manipulation techniques, especially if you have been in that relationship for a long time, can seriously damage your mental and emotional health. Gaslighting is particularly harmful because it’s a silent killer. It is the systematic psychological manipulation into believing that you and only you are insane. You spend so much time doubting yourself and your sanity that you even begin to question if what you are seeing, living, and hearing from your partner is something only you see, or if other people see what you see. It doesn’t matter. Unless someone cohabits with the narcissist, they are not going to see what you see. So, am I crazy? No, you’re not. Gaslighting is an exceptionally successful tool for narcissists because there is zero proof of what is going on. After all, how do you show to someone else that your partner is making you crazy? How do you show the world that you are not the one acting irrationally? At this point, you can’t. It all boils down to the narcissist making you fully rely on them for your sanity, your worth, accurate view and basis for reality, and in some cases, financially. It you don’t find this dangerous, then you are not reading the correct article.
As expected, the narcissist needs back up. Their massive egos are incredibly fragile, and no matter what you say, whether you have facts and logic for your argument, you will always lose. To make matters worse, unbeknownst to you, the narcissist has already influenced friends, colleagues, and family to take their side. Now it feels like a death trap.
Narcissistic manipulators fall under a special category of a shifty kind of toxic. They believe they are smarter than everyone else, especially their partners. They are confident in their superiority. To them, their perfection is simply a matter of fact, just like their height or eye color. Any intention to prove otherwise is incorrect, unwelcome, and immediately dismissed. Narcissists are incapable of admitting fault. If something does not go their way, it must certainly mean there is someone else to blame. You cannot expect admission of guilt or an apology. The best you will get is something like “I’m sorry it upset you,” or “I’m sorry you feel that way,” because they don’t believe other peoples’ feelings are important.
Narcissist are deeply wounded people whose upbringing involved learning how to be the “golden child” and have their needs met, always. Nothing is more important to them. To a narcissist, the world is their servant.
An important point to make and to remember is that narcissists don’t learn from their mistakes. To do so, they will need insight into their own character and admission that they made a mistake in the first place, and that is never going to happen. The difference between an impulsive, ignorant, or destructive person and a narcissist is that the latter will never be able to outgrow their condition; it’s chronic.
You can stay and try to love and support a narcissist, but you will risk losing yourself in the process, as you will never be able to help them change. You will accomplish more in life by leaving this toxic relationship and finding out that, after all, you were not that crazy, that wrong, that disliked, and most importantly, you were not wrong all the time.
Get up. Get out. Grow. Blossom. Help others.
This article was written with the help and guidance of others who Run with the Wolves. Thank you NDW.