Web of Deceit.
Matt S September 9th 2016 Part 6.
The picture above shows a woman caught in a web with a large spider over her. The woman is well trapped and the spider is in control and able to feed at any time. This is to me an accurate depiction of how narcissists trap their victim and keep them bound up and controlled to use them as they wish at any time. For those who have been caught up in a relationship with a narcissist you will understand this depiction well.
In my last article (Part 5) I discussed something of the different types of narcissism and some the behaviours and characteristics that they exhibit. In this article I am going to focus on some of the main things that narcissists do to manipulate others around them.
I need to say that people can be manipulative without being narcissistic. We can all be manipulative or maybe we have learned to manipulate others through poor examples when were growing up. It is up to us to be aware of this and allow the Holy Spirit to show us the right way to interact with others that does not include manipulating them to get what we want. We all have needs but most normal interactions people have with each other are based on reasonable “give and take”. If you are giving of yourself to others, most other normal folk will respond in kind and give back in some other way. We all have needs as humans and sometimes we are able to give more and at other times we require more from others due to our circumstances. Narcissists just tend to vacuum everything up around them and leave a gaping void.
Manipulation and deceit are the main tools that narcissists use in order to get what they want. You will no doubt have heard the term “It’s all about them” or “It’s all about me” or “All roads lead to Rome”. Well the narcissist is “Rome”. They see the universe revolving around them and their needs, and will do whatever it takes in order to ensure they get what they think they need, or want, or deserve.
Internally narcissists build up a false perception of the world, that is based on a lie (or a collection of many lies) They construct a world that justifies their behaviour even though at some level they know it is wrong, they will have thinking in place that will help them justify their actions. I believe narcissists are different to psychopaths in that narcissists have some degree of conscience as they fear being discovered and will hide their activities from those that have the power to punish or expose them. If you know a psychopath! You know they just could not care less if people know about their horrible and manipulative behaviour.
First of all let me say that narcissists choose the people they want to manipulate (and at some point I will discuss things that people can do to become less vulnerable to narcissistic manipulation) They choose those that have some potential vulnerability. You may just be a really genuine nice empathetic person who cares for others and will offer help if you see a need. You may be like me and were raised by someone with a significant narcissistic personality disorder. This left me with a very large neon light flashing on the top of my head that attracted narcissists like flies. You may be a product of a family where the parents/guardians have had poor self esteem or other types of personality issues and this may have also made you vulnerable to being preyed upon by narcissists.
Let me be very clear that narcissists manipulate good healthy wholesome people on a regular basis; they just are not able to do it for long until these folk give them the big flick or the narcissist moves on before being exposed for what they really are. Narcissists have two faces; they have their private face and their public face. Sometimes when you are describing a narcissist’s behaviour to someone who may know them publically, you may often be met with disbelief. This is a cruel thing especially when you know how they behave privately.
Now to manipulative behaviours that narcissists use!!
Narcissists are “Boundary Violators“. What do I mean by that? We all have boundaries (i.e. the place we draw a line in the sand to stop others intruding into our personal places) Good healthy human relationships have good boundaries and people that respect those boundaries. Sometimes a good boundary is saying “NO” to something you don’t want or like. An example of boundary violation that is common in many even non narcissistic relationships is where people will use your “stuff” without asking your permission, they may just take it and use it all up, they may even trash it but they will feel entitled to use it. Because narcissists see others as “objects” (non thinking, non feeling) they feel justified in using your stuff any time they please, after all they think that you’re there to provide it anyway, because they deserve it!! Other boundaries that narcissists violate are your time, your finances, your body (sex), your friends, your home and your feelings/emotions. Narcissists are always testing how far they can go with you; they will push an area/boundary and see if you give in a little. If you do give in a little, they will push a bit more to see how far they can go. They will walk all over you if they can. Needless to say that if you have or develop good boundaries, narcissists will be much less likely to bother you for long.
Narcissists use a manipulative behaviour referred to as “Idealisation and Devaluation” (this may also be called “splitting”), this is a very common feature in personality disorders. In narcissists this thinking is used to manipulate and control others. With this thinking the narcissists (and personality disordered people in general) thinks in very black & white terms. They see people in either a good way or a bad way; they cannot see people in shades of gray. Narcissists use idealization and devaluation to get something from you and control you. They may praise you and put you up on a pedestal, they may lavish you with gifts and spend time being very devoted to you so you very much feel like the center of attention and their focus. Then they may put you down, ignore you, criticize you, and abuse you verbally/ physically. This does a number of things if you are the recipient of this behaviour. You feel good if you are being made to feel good and you are much more likely to give back in return. The narcissist knows this and will do this to get “stuff” from you. Alternately when they become abusive and negative you may wonder if you have offended them and may feel guilty as a result and try and make it up to them. The narcissist achieves three things from this; they will feel better from dumping their negative feelings onto you (projection). They will get you to respond to them by making them the center of attention and possibly rewarding them with some “makeup” gift. They will unbalance you psychologically so you will not ever be sure whether they will be in a good mood or a bad mood, this will put you on edge and you may “walk on egg shells” around them. This is a very controlling behaviour.
“Gaslighting” is a very common really crazy making form of manipulation from narcissists. In simple terms it is where in conversations or arguments they will deny they ever said or did something, all people do forget stuff occasionally; however with the narcissist it is deliberate. This achieves a number of things. It gets you to doubt yourself and once again psychologically unbalances you, it makes you look and feel like you are a little crazy/forgetful. It may make you look bad and may allow them to blame you for things going wrong because it makes you look inattentive. They can also accuse of being overly sensitive or making things up. This will in effect make you look bad and the narcissist wants this so they can deflect any blame away from themselves to keep their perfect image. Keeping you unbalanced helps the narcissist keep your attention off their imperfections and lies.
“Triangulation” is another common manipulative behaviour. The narcissist will use this tactic to keep your focus off any of their bad behaviour and keep you competing for their attention. They will play you off with another family member, close friend, lover or acquaintance. They will attempt to make you jealous and in competition with the other person. They will control the flow of information and will try to keep you from communicating with the other person (unless it is abusive), this will also make you look bad and keep any negative focus away from themselves. The narcissist will also be quietly and viciously running you down with the other person in the triangle. Narcissists also just enjoy the chaos they have created and I have watched them laugh after causing a great deal of interpersonal disharmony.
“Smear Campaigns” usually occur when the narcissist knows they are in danger of being discovered or exposed. I have very personal experience of this on a number of occasions and the damage that can be done as a result. Smear campaigns are conducted to discredit you in every way. They may be covert or very public and overt. They will character assassinate you to anyone who will listen. They will use some truth or complete fabrication and embellishment to make you look like the worst person on Earth. Once again this is done to keep the focus away from their bad behaviour and when you try to defend yourself it will make it look like “sour grapes”. This is a particularly nasty way of manipulating and damaging your reputation.
“Narcissistic Rage” is when the narcissist uses their deep seated anger and rage to frighten and control you. It is irrational and usually in response to some perceived criticism or slight. They may even become physically abusive and smash, break or throw objects. It is a complete loss of control and shows as a really nasty bitter rage. This type of rage generally scares people into submission and causes them to submit rather than provoke further episodes. Narcissists will generally have little control over this when it really gets going and this is a good warning sign that you need to terminate the relationship if that is possible as they can become unpredictable in this state.
“Obtaining Sensitive Information”. When you first meet the charming “butter would not melt in your mouth” narcissist, they will probe and ask questions and get as much personal information on you as they can. You may be lulled into thinking that they are actually interested in you however this is designed to get the “dirt” on you. This information will be held to bring back on you later to discredit you and embarrass you.
“Character Assassination” This is similar to the smear campaign except they do this to your face. I have also been subject to this wholly unpleasant experience and the narcissist will leave no dirty little stone unturned if you allow them to. This is again designed to destabilise you. The narcissist will plan this event in detail and will ambush you when you least expect with your lowest defenses. The narcissist will have assessed your ability to defend yourself in detail and will plan their attack accordingly, looking to head you off at every pass. This again puts you in an unbalanced position and not looking at what the narcissist might be doing elsewhere. They will get pleasure from putting you down and watching you try to defend yourself. The basis for this attack will have no good logical cause, there will be some contrived excuse from the narcissist to justify this character assassination.
For those of you familiar with narcissistic behavior you will know that there are also other things that they employ to get what they want and keep control over people for as long as possible. For those of you fortunate enough not to have encountered one of these individuals, you may be wondering if this is all true. How could it be that someone could be this evil! I would have trouble believing it myself if I had not experienced this thinking and behaviour first hand. Narcissists like to keep their behaviours hidden because they know that most normal folk find it detestable and just plain wrong. Like the picture above, they trap and manipulate and control people like a spider ensnaring its victim in a web. So next time I will discuss the “support crew” of the narcissist, after all, they will enlist others to help them in their conquests to reign supreme.
Thank you for reading, and this is going somewhere, I just need to build you a picture so that you can connect the dots. God bless you and protect you in all that you are doing this week.