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8 Different Tactics The Narcissist Will Use To Abuse You

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Are you having intrusive thoughts about the narcissist in your life? If so, you are not alone. Many of the clients I work with have trouble focusing on their work, friends, and hobbies when they are currently in an abusive relationship with a narcissist or recently have gotten out of an abusive relationship with a narcissist.

Narcissistic Abuse Help
Narcissistic Abuse Help

Narcissists use manipulation tactics to disorient you and abuse you, similar to the ones which cult leaders use to brainwash their followers.

The following are 8 different tactics the narcissist will use to abuse and disorient you.

1. Gaslighting- Saying things that make you feel like you are crazy or things that make you question your own reality. For example: telling you that YOU are abusive or that YOU are the narcissist when really that’s what they are.

2. Triangulation- Narcissists use triangulation when they bring a third party into the picture who you care about and use them to take their side and also make you question your own reality. They do this to assert themselves and to stay into control. For example- you tell this third party that the narcissist is abusing you but the third party (often times a flying monkey) also gaslights you and tells you that you are “taking things the wrong way” or that you are “being too sensitive” or “they (the narcissist) would NEVER do that.” This third party enables the narcissist and makes you feel crazy.

3. Passive Aggressiveness- This is often what a narcissist uses to express negative emotions towards you in a way that makes you feel cornered. They do not express what they are feeling in a healthy way but instead come out sidewise at you to harm you emotionally.

4. Stalking- If the narcissist feels like they are losing control over you, they will stalk you or hire someone to stalk you. This is extremely predatory behavior.

5. Belittling- This is a control tactic a narcissist uses to make you feel less than and that you do not matter. Often times covert narcissists do this in a way that’s extremely manipulative so when you call them out on it they will gas light you and take zero responsibility. For Example: A narcissist will ask you questions about yourself but in a mocking way to make you feel insignificant. Often times they are jealous of you and this is why they try to belittle you in the first place – to make themselves feel more important.

6. Guilt Tripping- This is a tactic that narcissists use to punish you when you do not “behave” the way they want you to behave. This often happens when you start to set boundaries for yourself and create space between you and the narcissist. For example, they will say things like “The family had such an incredible time on vacation, you should have been there” if you decide to opt out of a family vacation due to their toxic abusive behavior.

7. Lying- This is pretty self-explanatory but the narcissist will flat out lie to you to cover up their bad behavior and to confuse you.

8. Cheating- If you are married to a narcissist, sometimes they will cheat or talk about another person they “have a crush on” to get you to obsess or think about a possible affair.

The good news is, once you are AWARE that the narcissist in your life is using these tactics, you can do things to take control back over your life and regain your sanity.

One tool a client shared with me is the JADE technique. When dealing with a narcissist DO NOT: JUSTIFY yourself, ARGUE with the narcissist, DEFEND yourself, or EXPLAIN yourself. Instead use the gray rock technique. This will help you conserve your energy and you will not have to waste your precious time arguing with someone who is delusional.

Talk to someone you trust to stay grounded in YOUR reality. Narcissistic abuse is extremely disorienting so do what you can to stand in your truth and lean on individuals who understand (join a support group). << I lead this one.

Take notes on what is going on in a journal. Take time to go back through your notes and remind yourself of all of the abuse and how YOU interpreted the events.

Call the police if they are threatening to kill you or harm you. (This is more antisocial personality disorder behavior).

Go no contact or low contact with the narcissist. If you can get out of the relationship (I know sometimes this is extremely complicated, I can help) or if you can limit the amount of time that you are around the narcissist this will help you regain your sanity.


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