How Narcissists use micromanipulations to control you

If you have ever interacted with Narcissists, then you know that manipulation is their key strategy when it comes to taking advantage of others.

When these toxic individuals want something, they stop at almost nothing to get it. Hence, being manipulative helps them deceive those around them and achieve the results they desire much more effortless than they would by being truthful.

Unfortunately, when the manipulation comes from someone you love, it is not as easy to recognize. And when you finally do, it is usually far too late. Because with love comes vulnerability. Your weaknesses, insecurities, and fears are exposed to someone you trust blindly. And if that someone comes with no good intentions, you inevitably end up heartbroken.

How does manipulation look like? 

Experts describe the act of manipulation as using sensitive information to distract the victim in order to make them do whatever you want. It usually requires an already established emotional bond with the target. This allows the manipulator to play with their prey’s feelings and trap them inside their own minds by altering their reality.

Although it sounds simple in theory, manipulation can be extremely difficult to identify. That’s because narcissists, and other toxic people who use this approach to control those around them, are skilled enough to sugarcoat their true intentions. What’s more, some of them also use blame-shifting as a way to make their target feel guilty for everything that goes wrong, even though they are actually the victim.

Interestingly, even though narcissists lack empathy, they are aware they can use other’s compassion in their favor. When nothing else works, they usually play the victim card, blaming the other person for pushing them into doing whatever they did to hurt them. Some even go to extremes, threatening with suicide if they are at risk of being left alone.

As per Psychology Today, a former victim of a narcissist shares:

“My ex threatened suicide many times during our three-year relationship. Any time I attempted to leave the relationship, or he felt I wasn’t catering to him enough or caring enough, he would go on a monologue about how he was going to die because no one cared.

He claimed to even have a plan, and that he attempted it once, but he lived. At first, the threats worked, and I yielded and stayed. But finally, I realized it was just a ploy to keep me close. He never got help, never went to a doctor or counselor. We’ve been broken up for a year and he’s still alive.”

What about micromanipulations?

Sometimes direct manipulative strategies don’t do the work. In such cases, narcissists use micromanipulations – intentional ways of redirecting the narrative and regaining control over the other person’s thoughts and feelings.

This is a form of psychological abuse that attracts the victim right into the manipulator’s trap. By tossing little comments here and there that pile up with time, they create one grand deception that pushes their prey exactly where they want them to be.

Dani from New England recalls:

“My former partner would consistently send messages that supposedly weren’t meant for me, and then she would say ‘whoops, sorry, sent that to the wrong person.’ Or she would send and then unsend a message and all I would see is, ‘Jane unsent a message.’ The first few times I fell for it and would ask her what she wanted or what was the problem, and it would turn into a full conversation. A friend finally told me I was giving my ex what she wanted: attention.”

How to protect yourself from manipulators? 

Being aware that narcissists take advantage of your empathy should help you recognize whether you are being manipulated or not. Just look out for the signs.

Is someone trying to make you feel guilty for something they did? Are they holding you accountable for what might happen once you leave them? Are they constantly saying little comments that drive you crazy but claim they didn’t mean to affect you?

If you suspect someone in your inner circle may be a narcissist, questioning their intentions should help you reveal their true colors. And if you happen to be right about their emotionally-abusing nature, make sure you don’t let their lies get to you. Although cutting off a manipulator of your life is not an easy task, your freedom and peace of mind are worth the effort.

Have you ever exposed a narcissist? How did you spot their manipulations? What did you do to break free from their toxic influence? Leave a comment to let us know!

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