Do narcissists manipulate people?

  • By BD
  • July 6, 2023
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A man with a beard who has been manipulated

Yes, narcissists commonly manipulate people as a way to fulfil their own needs, maintain control, and bolster their self-image. Manipulation is a key characteristic of narcissistic behaviour and is often employed by narcissists to achieve their desired outcomes or maintain their perceived superiority.

Narcissists are skilled at manipulating others through various tactics, including:

  1. Gaslighting: Narcissists may distort or deny reality, making others question their own perceptions, memories, or sanity. This tactic is used to gain control and undermine the confidence of the person being manipulated.
  2. Emotional manipulation: Narcissists may use emotional manipulation to exploit the emotions of others, playing on their empathy, guilt, or insecurities to get what they want. They may use tactics such as guilt-tripping, emotional blackmail, or playing the victim to manipulate and control others.
  3. Devaluation and idealization: Narcissists often alternate between idealizing and devaluing people in their lives. They may shower someone with excessive praise and attention (idealization) to gain their trust and loyalty, only to devalue and criticize them later as a means of control and dominance.
  4. Triangulation: Narcissists may create conflicts or involve third parties in relationships to manipulate and control the dynamics. By creating divisions or competition among others, they can maintain control and feed their need for attention and validation.
  5. Manipulative charm: Narcissists can be charming and charismatic, using their charm to manipulate and influence others. They may present themselves in a positive light, feigning interest, empathy, or support to gain trust and manipulate situations to their advantage.

It’s important to be aware of these manipulative tactics and set boundaries when dealing with narcissistic individuals. Recognizing manipulation is crucial for maintaining personal well-being and protecting oneself from emotional harm.