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The manipulation tactics of narcissists

The manipulation tactics of narcissists

Narcissists are known for their ability to manipulate those around them to get what they want. Their manipulation tactics can be subtle or overt, but they all have the same goal: to control and dominate their victims.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common manipulation tactics used by narcissists and how to protect yourself from them.


Gaslighting is one of the most well-known manipulation tactics used by narcissists. It involves manipulating someone’s perception of reality to make them doubt their own thoughts and feelings.

Narcissists might deny that something happened, blame their victim for their own behavior, or twist the facts to make themselves look like the victim. The goal is to make their victim question their own sanity and rely on the narcissist for guidance.


Projection is another common manipulation tactic used by narcissists. It involves projecting their own flaws and insecurities onto others, often blaming their victims for the very behaviors they exhibit.

For example, a narcissist who is cheating might accuse their partner of being unfaithful, or a narcissist who is controlling might accuse their partner of being too controlling. This tactic is used to deflect attention away from the narcissist’s own faults and make their victim feel guilty or ashamed.

Love Bombing

Love bombing is a manipulation tactic used by narcissists in the early stages of a relationship. It involves showering their victim with attention, gifts, and compliments to make them feel special and loved.

The goal is to establish a strong emotional connection with their victim and make them dependent on the narcissist for validation and affection. Once the victim is hooked, the narcissist may begin to withdraw their affection or use other manipulation tactics to maintain control.

Silent Treatment

The silent treatment is a manipulation tactic used by narcissists to punish their victims for not meeting their expectations. It involves ignoring or withholding communication and affection, often for an extended period of time.

The goal is to make their victim feel guilty and anxious and to force them to work harder to earn the narcissist’s approval and affection.


Narcissistic triangulation is a common strategy used by individuals with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) to maintain power and control in relationships. Narcissistic triangulation is a manipulation tactic that involves the narcissist using a third party to create tension and conflict in a relationship.

The third party can be anyone, such as a friend, family member, romantic partner, coworker, or even a pet. The narcissist uses the third party to gain control over the other person and to create a sense of competition or jealousy. The narcissist will also use this third party to gain attention. Narcissistic triangulation can be emotionally and psychologically damaging, causing feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and even depression.

Narcissistic Compassion

Narcissistic compassion is an oxymoron, as narcissists are often incapable of expressing genuine empathy or compassionate feelings. Contrary to genuine compassion providers, narcissists use their so-called compassion as a means to control, manipulate, or use others for their advantage.

Narcissists often spot and capitalize on scenarios that allow them to show compassion in order for them to be the hero. This is yet another example of a narcissist’s toxic and destructive behavior.

How to Protect Yourself from Narcissistic Manipulation

The best way to protect yourself from narcissistic manipulation is to educate yourself about the tactics they use and to set clear boundaries. Here are some tips for protecting yourself:

  1. Trust your instincts: If something feels off about a situation or relationship, trust your gut. Don’t ignore warning signs or make excuses for someone’s behavior.
  2. Set boundaries: Be clear about your boundaries and enforce them. Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated or pushed beyond your limits.
  3. Maintain a support system: Surround yourself with friends and family who support you and can provide perspective on your situation.
  4. Practice self-care: Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. This might mean taking a break from a toxic relationship or seeking therapy to process your experiences.
  5. Seek professional help: If you are dealing with severe manipulation or abuse, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can provide support and guidance as you navigate this difficult situation.


Narcissistic manipulation tactics can be damaging and hurtful, but by educating yourself and setting clear boundaries, you can protect yourself from their toxic behavior. Remember to trust your instincts, maintain a support system, and practice self-care.

If you are dealing with severe manipulation or abuse, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. With time and support, you can move forward from this experience and reclaim your power.

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