Narcissists exhibit a pattern of grandiosity, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. In their relationships, they frequently resort to abusive tactics to maintain control and power over the victims. They’re like: “You are mine, and I can have you whenever I feel like it.”
Understanding these tactics is crucial in recognizing and breaking free from the cycle of narcissistic abuse. Suppose you are in a long-term abusive relationship with your narcissist. In that case, you might need to learn these patterns to protect yourself.
Here are the top 5 abuse tactics narcissists use:
Number 1: Gaslighting – distorting reality to maintain control.
In the abusive hands of a narcissist, gaslighting becomes a powerful tool used to control and manipulate you. They systematically distort your reality, making you doubt your memory, judgment, and sanity. They deny events or experiences you clearly remember, questioning your recollection of what happened. Narcissists twist the truth, manipulating facts to suit their agenda and confusing you about the narrative. They boldly lie, fabricating falsehoods to serve their interests, further blurring the lines between truth and fiction. They project their flaws onto you, making you believe you possess negative qualities and deflecting attention from their shortcomings.
Narcissists also invalidate your emotions, dismissing or belittling your feelings, making you question their validity. They create confusion by changing their stories, contradicting themselves, and introducing inconsistencies. Narcissists manipulate the perceptions of others and your loved ones, turning them against you and isolating you from support. Gaslighting aims to undermine your self-esteem, control your reality, and keep you dependent on their distorted version of the truth. Recognizing these abusive tactics and seeking support are essential steps toward reclaiming your truth and breaking free from their manipulative grasp. Remember, your experiences and emotions are valid, and you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
Number 2: Emotional manipulation – exploiting vulnerabilities for personal gain.
Emotional manipulation is another insidious tactic employed by narcissists to control their victims. When it comes to emotional manipulation, narcissists have a knack for exploiting your vulnerabilities and emotions for their benefit. They play with your feelings, using guilt, fear, and shame as powerful tools to gain control over you. Narcissists may present themselves as victims, evoking pity and sympathy while manipulating your empathy to meet their needs. They employ emotional blackmail, using threats or ultimatums to manipulate your behavior and keep you in line.
Narcissists will often shift blame onto you, making you feel responsible for your emotions or actions and twisting situations to make you doubt your intentions. By exploiting your emotions, narcissists maintain a position of power, making it challenging for you to assert your needs and boundaries. Recognizing their emotional manipulation and seeking support is crucial to stop the cycle of abuse you get from them and helping you reclaim your emotional well-being. Remember, you deserve to be treated with respect, kindness, and empathy, and your emotions are valid.
Number 3: Devaluation and discard – eroding self-worth.
Narcissists specialize in tearing down your self-worth, leaving you small and insignificant. They belittle your accomplishments, criticize your efforts, and undermine your abilities. Their constant devaluation chips away at your self-esteem, making you doubt your worth and capabilities. They may mock your dreams and aspirations, dismiss your opinions, and highlight your flaws to reinforce their superiority. Narcissists aim to keep you dependent on their validation and approval through relentless criticism and negative reinforcement.
This abuse often leaves you feeling unworthy and undeserving of love and respect. Recognizing this abuse and remembering that your judgments do not define your self-worth is crucial. Rebuilding your self-esteem and seeking support from trusted sources can help you break free from their grip and rediscover your inherent value as a person deserving of love and appreciation.
Recommended Book: How To Kill A Narcissist: Debunking The Myth Of Narcissism And Recovering From Narcissistic Abuse (A Guide To Narcissistic Abuse Recovery And Healing From A Narcissistic Relationship)
Number 4: Triangulation – creating chaos and isolation.
Triangulation is a manipulative tactic employed by narcissists to create tension and competition in your relationship. They introduce a third person into their dynamic, often someone they portray as more favorable or desirable, to fuel jealousy, insecurity, and competition. By doing so, they undermine your self-confidence and create a constant sense of uncertainty and instability. Narcissists may also compare you unfavorably to the other person. This form of abuse often creates feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt in you. Narcissists might withhold attention or affection, giving it to the third person instead, leaving you isolated.
The narcissist thrives on this power dynamic as it allows them to maintain control over their emotions and keeps you constantly striving for their validation. Recognizing this manipulation is crucial to breaking free from their grasp and fostering healthy relationships based on trust and mutual respect. Remember, relationships are supposed to uplift and be your support system. You can always free yourself from the toxic tactics of triangulation.
Recommended Book: Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men.
Number 5: Hoovering – pulling victims back into the web.
Hoovering is the narcissist’s attempt to reel you back in after a period of separation or when they feel their control over you is slipping. They may reach out with messages or gestures of false remorse, love, or promises of change, making you believe things will be different this time. Narcissists exploit your vulnerabilities and emotional attachment to them. They often use sentimentality and nostalgia to make you question your decision to distance yourself. And if you want to know more about the signs that a narcissist is hoovering you, read this article here.
Related: What Narcissists Say To Their Victims.
This tactic preys on your hope for a healthier relationship and expresses your desire for closure or resolution. However, the abusive patterns tend to resurface once they have regained your trust and re-established control. You will soon start to notice them repeating the harmful cycle. Hoovering is a manipulation tactic, and seeing it for what it is is essential to protecting your well-being. True change and healing come from within, and you deserve to be in relationships that respect your boundaries and promote your emotional well-being.
Narcissistic abuse is a harmful and manipulative phenomenon that can have severe and lasting effects on its victims. By understanding the tactics commonly employed by narcissists, you can better recognize and break free from this cycle of abuse. It is crucial to seek support from trusted friends, family, or professionals who can guide and assist in navigating this challenging situation. Remember, you deserve to be treated with respect, kindness, and dignity. Don’t let anyone trample on you, especially people like narcissists.
Read More: 6 Weird Habits of a Covert Narcissist.
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