A Narcissist’s greatest advantage is that their behavior is often contradictory, inconsistent and inexplicable to those closest to them. People remain stuck in these toxic relationships, because of the mixed messages they receive and the web of deceit and confusion they’re caught up in.
When we understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, we can make some sense out of the madness and recognize it for what it is. We can then also begin the process of extricating ourselves from the crazy making and bring ourselves back to a place of stability and peace.
People are constantly emailing me telling me just how amazed they are at the similarity of their experiences with Narcissists and there’s a reason for that. When you have a number of people playing the same game and hoping to obtain the same results, they’re going to share a lot of the same techniques, because well…they work.
There is no school that doles out Master’s Degrees in Narcissistology. Most Narcissists feel their way through life, honing their skills through trial and error. Many have been developing these skills since they were children and they’ve become quite good at using, manipulating and deceiving.
For the Narcissist there really is only one end game – control. Here’s how they do it.
Everyone tells a lie now and then. “You look great in that,” or, “Sorry I can’t make it tonight I have a thing.” People usually lie because they don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings, or to keep themselves from being inconvenienced. Narcissists lie to control their victims. In the first example it’s to cause confusion and doubt, but mostly it’s so they can get away with things they know you’ll be upset about. This type of lie comes so natural to the Narcissist that they don’t even think about. Many are so good at coming up with stories they should do improve.
Narcissist: “Oh you called me last night. Sorry babe I didn’t get it. I was at my Grandma’s helping her move furniture. She got a new sofa so we had to haul the old one outta there. Then she made us dinner and my phone was outta charge.”
This example is an actual text I got from my boomerang Narcissist – the truth was that he was at some girl’s house getting busy, but this type of lie has gotten him out of jams before and it was believable, so I felt bad and he lived to fight another day with me.
Some lies are meant to manipulate. These are deliberate attempts to confuse, mislead and control.
Narcissist: There’s this place outside, it’s so beautiful. That’s where I want to get married. I can’t wait to show it to you. You’ll love it.
The above line is a text I got from the same boomerang Narcissist. To the casual observer one would think that these two people were talking about their wedding. But in reality what’s really going on here is a form of future faking – intent to mislead one into thinking that there was a very serious future being mapped out. This individual had no intention of marrying me, this was a carrot he was dangling to control me and keep me from leaving.
Another type of lying is the puff up – where they blow up the reality of events to make themselves look good.
Narcissist: This guy was mouthing off and everyone was ducking out of his way. I walked up to him and told him to shut up and then I clocked him right in the face. That shut him up quick. The reality was more like – guy was a little loud – Narcissist sat there quietly brooding in the corner.
Lies are an excellent tool in the Narcissists tool box. It’s a versatile utensil used to deflect responsibility. It can get the user out of a quick jam, it can be used as a control mechanism, or it can be used to create the right image the user is trying to convey.
Projection is a handy tool for the mildly committed Narcissist. It’s another deflection technique, which allows him or her to escape having the spot light put on them by redirecting it back at you. This is my personal favorite If you want to know what a Narcissist is up to – pay attention to what they’re accusing you of.
Narcissist: What do you mean where was I last night? Where were you? I tried calling you and you didn’t pick up. Yeah I know where you were alright. You were with that Brad guy last night – weren’t you? I saw the way you were looking at him. That’s what you do when you go out it isn’t it? You go over to Brad’s. You’re such a sl*t.
Narcissists will commonly blame you for something they’re doing. This is a huge red flag, so if out of the blue and with absolutely no evidence, you are accused of something so outrageous and salacious, rest assured that your Narcissist is attempting to justify and reconcile their own horrific behavior.
“If she’s doing it then so can I,” they will tell themselves, even though they know you’re not doing anything. It allows them to deflect responsibility back to you, making sure that they keep none for themselves and at the same time it keeps you off balance. It has an important purpose, which is take you off of offense and put you on the defensive, so that you’ll think twice about accusing them again in the future.
A Narcissist’s utopia would probably consist of an endless supply of people all vying for their attention, eager to smoother them with love and affection. A Narcissist with options is a happy one. They know that when they are in a relationship they’re not supposed to act like they’re single, but for most this is an impossible expectation. When the potential to gain supply is right in front of them, they all have a hard time resisting. You could find yourself at a bar with friends and your Narcissist is paying way too much attention to all the new comers at the table. My long-term Narcissist was famous for this.
They would leave the night thinking he was interested in them, believing that I was no challenge to them even though they knew I was his girlfriend. I would be sitting there feeling utterly humiliated and angry, but he would come back with a story like, “I was just talking to them because they were strangers to our group and I’d want someone to make me feel comfortable if I didn’t know anyone.” This is another actual statement from my long-term Narcissist. The thing that should be obvious by now is that you can’t win. At the end of it, I felt bad, because he was just trying to be helpful. As if.
One of the things that would drive me crazy about my boomerang Narcissist was the constant beeping of his phone. It was always going off and he was always texting a secret someone. When your Narcissist is in demand he wants you to know it – sort of. Even if they deny that anything’s going on, your mind will be filling in the blanks making you act nuts. It’s meant to erode your self-esteem and keep you feeling insecure.
With this one technique, they have managed to keep you not only hooked and fixated on them, but fighting for them as well, angry not at your Narcissist, but at the other man or woman, trying to trespass on your territory. This is all good news for them. The more out of control you’re feeling, the easier you are to control.
Gas Lighting 104
My long-term Narcissist had a nickname for me. It was Altz, short for Alzheimer’s, a disease of the mind that consists of dementia and memory loss. I was in my twenties at the time, so the chance of me developing that disease was beyond improbable.
He would constantly say things like, “You don’t know what you’re talking about Altz,” “You don’t remember anything, so don’t try to tell me how it happened – Altz,” or, “Don’t listen to her, she has Altzheimer’s.” He would always call me that name, it was a preface he would always say to me and everyone around us to make sure we understood that my version of reality was misconstrued and his point of view was the only one we should be paying attention to.
I can recall conversations we would have were he would say something like, “The sky is blue,” only to say a few minutes later that he never said that. Narcissist’s love the confusion they create. They love the control it gives them and the smoke screen it allows them to hide behind. They mix lies with the truth, blame those closest to them and attempt to convince their nearest and dearest that there is something wrong with them. The more confused you are, the more in control they feel.
The moment my long-tem Narcissist walked out of my life I was surprised at just how quickly my Alzheimer’s cleared up and how good my memory had become.
All of these tools mentioned here are dangerous forms of mental abuse, used by emotional manipulators to control their victims. If you find yourself relating to anything here, start paddling for the shore, because the boat you’re on is sinking. Get yourself on firm, stable ground before you start to lose yourself in the madness. I promise you once you’re out of their toxicity you’ll realize just how ‘not crazy’ the air really is.
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Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at freedigitalphotos.net