Narcissists & Control (Explained)

Narcissists & Control (Explained)

When it comes to understanding narcissists and their behavior patterns, one key aspect that stands out is their need for control. Narcissists are individuals with controlling personality traits, always seeking to exert their dominance over others. Whether it’s in conversations, relationships, or everyday interactions, they employ various tactics to ensure they maintain control.

Key Takeaways:

  • Narcissists possess controlling personality traits and exhibit a strong desire for dominance.
  • They employ various tactics to exert control over others.
  • Understanding these tactics is essential for protecting oneself from their manipulative behavior.
  • Narcissistic control can have a significant impact on relationships and emotional well-being.
  • Recognizing and setting boundaries is crucial in dealing with narcissistic individuals.

How Does a Narcissist Control You? 5 Manipulation Tactics

Narcissists are notorious for their manipulation tactics, employing various strategies to gain control over others. These tactics are often subtle and can go unnoticed, making it crucial to understand the signs of narcissistic control. By recognizing these manipulation tactics, individuals can learn how to deal with controlling individuals effectively and protect themselves from their harmful effects.

1. Targeting Codependents and Reinforcing Shortcomings

A common tactic used by narcissists is to target individuals with codependent tendencies. Codependents often have low self-esteem and are more susceptible to manipulation. Narcissists exploit this vulnerability by reinforcing their shortcomings, making them believe that they are incapable or inferior. By keeping their victims dependent on them, narcissists can maintain control.

2. Flattery and Special Treatment

Narcissists are skilled at making others feel special, often using flattery and special treatment to manipulate their targets. They shower their victims with compliments and attention, creating a sense of validation and importance. This tactic makes it difficult for individuals to see through the narcissist’s manipulative behaviors, as they become emotionally invested and reliant on the narcissist’s approval.

3. Eliciting Difficult Emotions

Narcissists also control others by eliciting difficult emotions such as shock, awe, and guilt. They use these emotions as a means to gain power and control over their victims. By provoking strong emotional reactions, narcissists can manipulate their targets’ actions and decisions, making them more compliant and easier to control.

4. Gaslighting and Denying Actions

Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic commonly employed by narcissists. They deny their actions or distort the truth, making their victims question their own reality. By making their victims doubt their own perceptions and memories, narcissists can maintain control and avoid taking responsibility for their harmful behaviors.

5. Manipulative Hot and Cold Games

Narcissists often play manipulative hot and cold games to control their victims’ emotions and actions. They alternate between being affectionate and distant, creating confusion and insecurity. This tactic keeps their victims constantly seeking their approval and validation, ensuring their control over them.

Recognizing these manipulation tactics is the first step in dealing with controlling individuals. It is important to set boundaries, prioritize one’s own well-being, and seek support from trusted friends, family, or professionals when dealing with narcissistic control. By understanding these tactics and learning how to navigate them, individuals can protect themselves from the harmful effects of narcissistic manipulation.

Narcissistic Control Tactics: Understanding Emotional Abuse and Control Dynamics

Narcissists are known for their manipulative tactics in exerting control over others. When they encounter resistance or feel their control slipping away, their reaction can be intense and sometimes even aggressive. This section explores how narcissists react when they can’t control someone, shedding light on the emotional abuse and control dynamics at play.

When faced with someone who resists their control, narcissists often respond with anger and aggression. This reaction stems from their deep-rooted fear of losing control, which may have its roots in their own experience of being controlled in the past. To maintain their sense of power and dominance, they may resort to threats, intimidation, and other forms of abusive behavior.

It is crucial to establish firm boundaries when dealing with a narcissist who tries to exert control. By setting clear limits and consistently enforcing them, individuals can protect themselves from further emotional abuse. Additionally, prioritizing one’s own well-being and seeking support from trusted friends, family members, or professionals can help navigate the challenging dynamics of dealing with a narcissist.

Table: Signs of Narcissistic Control and Emotional Abuse

Signs of Narcissistic Control Examples of Emotional Abuse
Isolating the victim from friends and family “You’re better off without them. They don’t understand you like I do.”
Gaslighting and manipulating the victim’s perception of reality “You’re just overreacting. That never happened.”
Using guilt and shame to maintain control “If you truly loved me, you would do what I ask.”
Consistently belittling and demeaning the victim “You’re so stupid. You’re lucky to have me to take care of you.”
Threatening physical or emotional harm “If you leave me, I’ll ruin your life.”

Recognizing the signs of narcissistic control and emotional abuse is essential in safeguarding one’s well-being. By understanding these dynamics, individuals can take steps to protect themselves and seek the necessary support to break free from the grip of a narcissist.

Narcissistic Personality Traits vs. Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Understanding the distinction between narcissistic personality traits and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is crucial in comprehending the dynamics of narcissistic control. While narcissistic personality traits can exist in varying degrees among individuals, NPD is a clinical diagnosis that goes beyond typical personality characteristics.

Table: Comparing Narcissistic Personality Traits and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic Personality Traits Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)
Excessive self-importance Grandiose sense of self
Lack of empathy Limited empathy
Constant need for admiration Constant need for admiration
Manipulative tendencies Manipulative tendencies
Self-centeredness Self-centeredness
Inflated sense of self Inflated sense of self

Unlike narcissistic personality traits that can be observed in many individuals, NPD is a diagnosable mental health condition characterized by a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, lack of empathy, and an insatiable need for admiration. To receive a diagnosis of NPD, an individual must meet specific criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder often struggle with maintaining healthy relationships due to their narcissistic control tendencies and limited ability to empathize with others. The need for admiration and constant validation can lead to manipulative behaviors that seek to maintain their sense of superiority and control over those around them.

By understanding the difference between narcissistic personality traits and NPD, we can gain insight into the underlying psychological mechanisms behind narcissistic control. This understanding is essential in developing strategies to protect ourselves and navigate relationships with individuals who display narcissistic traits or have been diagnosed with NPD.

8 Devious Tactics Narcissists Use for Control

Narcissists are masters of manipulation and control. They employ a range of devious tactics to exert power over others and maintain their dominance. Understanding these tactics can help individuals recognize when they are being manipulated and take steps to protect themselves. In this section, we will explore eight common tactics used by narcissists for control.

Table: Devious Tactics Narcissists Use for Control

The table below provides a comprehensive overview of the eight tactics used by narcissists to manipulate and control others:

Tactic Description
Projection Narcissists project their own behaviors onto others, making their targets question their own reality.
Telling others their reality Narcissists twist the truth and create doubt in the minds of others by presenting their version of reality.
Badgering and pressuring Narcissists incessantly pester and pressure others to get what they want, disregarding the boundaries and well-being of their targets.
Infantilizing or demeaning Narcissists belittle and devalue their targets, making them feel small, inferior, and incapable.
Minimizing their own actions while blaming others Narcissists downplay their own wrongdoings and shift the blame onto others, avoiding responsibility for their actions.
Going nuclear with explosive reactions Narcissists unleash intense and explosive reactions, including anger, aggression, and emotional outbursts, to intimidate and control those around them.
Shaming Narcissists employ shame as a manipulative tool, using it to degrade and humiliate their targets in order to assert control.
Flattery to manipulate and create dependency Narcissists use excessive flattery and compliments to manipulate others and foster dependency, making their targets feel special and obligated to them.

Recognizing these tactics can empower individuals to break free from the grip of a narcissist and protect themselves from further manipulation. It is important to remember that no one deserves to be controlled or manipulated, and setting boundaries is crucial for maintaining personal well-being and autonomy.

“The narcissist’s greatest power lies in their ability to manipulate and control others. By recognizing their tactics, we can reclaim our freedom and protect our mental and emotional well-being.” – Anonymous

Recognizing Narcissistic Manipulation Tactics

When dealing with a narcissist, it is crucial to be able to recognize the manipulation tactics they employ. By understanding these tactics, individuals can protect themselves and take steps to distance themselves from the control of a narcissist. Here are some key narcissistic manipulation tactics to be aware of:

  • Gaslighting: This tactic involves the narcissist denying or distorting reality to make the victim doubt their own perception, memory, and sanity.
  • Love bombing: The narcissist showers the victim with excessive affection, compliments, and attention to create a sense of dependency and emotional manipulation.
  • Triangulation: The narcissist brings a third party into the relationship to cause jealousy, competition, and insecurity, thereby maintaining control.

Quote: “The manipulative tactics used by narcissists can leave their victims feeling confused, anxious, and trapped in a toxic cycle of control.” – Anonymous

Other manipulation tactics include projection, where the narcissist attributes their own undesirable traits onto others, playing the victim to elicit sympathy and deflect responsibility, smear campaigns that aim to damage the victim’s reputation, revenge seeking to punish and intimidate, guilt tripping to manipulate emotions, and hoovering, which involves the narcissist drawing the victim back into their trap after a period of absence.

Recognizing and Addressing Manipulation

Recognizing these manipulation tactics is the first step in addressing and protecting oneself from narcissistic control. It is important to trust your instincts, set clear boundaries, and prioritize your own well-being. Seek support from trusted friends, family, or professionals who can provide guidance and validation. Remember, you have the power to regain control over your life and break free from the grip of a narcissist.

How to Deal With Narcissistic Manipulation Tactics

Dealing with narcissistic manipulation tactics can be challenging, but there are strategies to help navigate these situations. It is important to set healthy boundaries to protect oneself from manipulation and regain control. Here are some effective techniques for dealing with narcissistic manipulation:

1. Clearly Define Your Boundaries

Establishing clear boundaries is crucial when dealing with narcissistic individuals. Make it known what behaviors are unacceptable and enforce these boundaries consistently. This helps to protect your emotional well-being and prevents the narcissist from exerting control over you.

2. Limit Communication

Minimize unnecessary communication with the narcissist to reduce their influence. Keep interactions brief and to the point, focusing on essential matters only. Avoid engaging in prolonged discussions or arguments that can be used as an opportunity for manipulation.

3. Choose Your Battles Wisely

Not every issue requires a response. Pick your battles wisely and prioritize your mental health. Learn to differentiate between situations that genuinely need your attention and those where the narcissist is simply attempting to provoke a reaction. By conserving your energy, you can better protect yourself from manipulation.

4. Consider Cutting Ties

In some cases, cutting ties with the narcissist may be necessary for your safety and well-being. Ending a relationship or severing contact can provide the space needed to heal and rebuild your life free from manipulation. Seek support from trusted friends, family, or professionals during this process.

Remember, dealing with narcissistic manipulation requires strength and self-care. By setting boundaries, limiting communication, choosing your battles wisely, and considering cutting ties when necessary, you can regain control over your life and protect yourself from ongoing manipulation.

Seeking Professional Help for Dealing with Narcissistic Manipulation

If coping with narcissistic manipulation becomes overwhelming or leads to trauma, seeking professional help is recommended. Therapeutic support can provide guidance and healing for individuals who have experienced narcissistic abuse. Online therapy platforms, such as BetterHelp and Online-Therapy, offer convenient and affordable options for accessing therapy from licensed professionals who specialize in dealing with narcissistic relationships.

Professional help can assist in validating one’s experiences, providing tools to cope with manipulation, and helping to rebuild self-esteem and a sense of identity. A trained therapist can offer a safe space to process the effects of narcissistic manipulation and provide strategies for setting healthy boundaries and breaking free from the control of a narcissist.

Therapy for narcissistic abuse typically involves cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), trauma-focused therapy, and other evidence-based approaches. These therapeutic modalities can help individuals gain insights into patterns of manipulation, develop coping skills, and work towards healing and recovery. It is important to find a therapist who specializes in narcissistic abuse and has experience in working with clients who have faced similar challenges.

Benefits of Seeking Professional Help for Narcissistic Manipulation Online Therapy Platforms
  • Validation of experiences
  • Coping strategies and tools
  • Rebuilding self-esteem and identity
  • Insights into manipulation patterns
  • Development of healthy boundaries
  • Breaking free from narcissistic control
  • BetterHelp
  • Online-Therapy

Seeking professional help is an act of self-care and empowerment. It allows individuals to gain support and guidance from trained professionals who can provide the necessary tools and strategies for healing and recovery. Remember, you are not alone, and there is help available for dealing with the effects of narcissistic manipulation.


Healing from narcissistic manipulation and recovering from narcissistic abuse is a journey that requires understanding, strength, and support. It is essential to prioritize your own well-being and take steps to regain control over your life.

By recognizing the tactics of narcissistic control, such as gaslighting and manipulation, you can empower yourself to set healthy boundaries and protect yourself from further harm. Remember that you have the right to prioritize your own needs and well-being.

If coping with narcissistic manipulation becomes overwhelming or leads to trauma, seeking professional help is highly recommended. Therapy can provide guidance and healing, helping you navigate the effects of narcissistic abuse and regain your sense of self.

Recovering from narcissistic manipulation takes time, but with self-compassion and the right support, you can break free from the grip of a narcissist and rebuild your life on your own terms. Remember, you deserve happiness and a healthy, fulfilling relationship with yourself and others.


What are some manipulation tactics narcissists use to control others?

Narcissists employ various manipulation tactics, including gaslighting, love bombing, triangulation, projection, playing the victim, smear campaigns, revenge seeking, guilt tripping, and hoovering.

How can I protect myself from narcissistic manipulation?

Setting healthy boundaries is crucial in protecting oneself from manipulation. Avoiding unnecessary communication and choosing battles wisely can also help minimize the impact of manipulation.

When should I consider cutting ties with a narcissist?

Cutting ties with a narcissist may be necessary for one’s safety and well-being, particularly if the manipulation becomes overwhelming or leads to trauma.

How can seeking professional help assist in dealing with narcissistic manipulation?

Seeking professional help, such as therapy from licensed professionals who specialize in dealing with narcissistic relationships, can provide guidance, support, and healing for individuals who have experienced narcissistic abuse.

How can I recognize narcissistic manipulation tactics?

Being aware of narcissistic manipulation tactics, such as gaslighting, love bombing, triangulation, projection, playing the victim, smear campaigns, revenge seeking, guilt tripping, and hoovering, can help individuals recognize and distance themselves from the control of a narcissist.

How can I cope with the effects of narcissistic manipulation?

Practicing self-compassion is important in coping with the effects of narcissistic manipulation. Additionally, setting boundaries, seeking support from loved ones, and practicing self-care can aid in healing from narcissistic abuse.

Is there a difference between narcissistic personality traits and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?

Yes, there is a distinction between narcissistic personality traits and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). NPD is a clinical diagnosis characterized by a grandiose sense of self, limited empathy, and a constant need for admiration. Meeting specific criteria is required for a diagnosis of NPD.

Can you recover from the effects of narcissistic manipulation?

Yes, it is possible to empower oneself and break free from the grip of a narcissist. By understanding their tactics, setting boundaries, seeking professional help if needed, and prioritizing one’s own well-being, individuals can recover from the effects of narcissistic manipulation and regain control over their lives.

Related Posts