Aha! Identifying and Coping with Manipulative and Narcissistic Relationships

Manipulate
verb (used with object), ma·nip·u·lat·ed, ma·nip·u·lat·ing.

to manage or influence skillfully, especially in an unfair manner: to manipulate people’s feelings.

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition characterized by:

  • an inflated sense of importance
  • a deep need for excessive attention and admiration
  • lack of empathy for others
  • often having troubled relationships

Things a manipulative or narcissistic person does:

1) Knowingly hurts you, but when in your presence acts as a confidante, or acts as if they did nothing wrong.

  • Manipulative people usually have a plan. They might seek information that seems harmless from you to use it against you. For example, if they feel like they’re losing power in their life, they will use something significant to you to cause you pain and or to gain control over you.
  • They may say things that lead you to think the way they want you to, or they might say things that will make them right and you at fault. Ex: If you really, really want to, I will… if you really, really need to, then I will… That’s up to you… Believe what you want…
  • If they do respond to your feelings being hurt, they will most likely say it wasn’t their fault, and was yours.

2) They do not feel bad about what they’ve done as they already have their own agenda.

  • Most people use manipulation as a way to have some sort of personal gain. It could be stroke their own ego, for fun, or to fill a void they have in life. Basically, in the end, it’s all about them.
  • They may think what they are doing is a little questionable, but not enough to get them to care. They may say they care or feel remorse – but they probably don’t.
  • Once you find out and confront them about their poor behavior, they will turn the tables on you.

This is where your reaction to their behavior comes into play. Most likely, this person wants to get an emotional response out of you, so they can have their “AHA!” moment. This is when they can say, “Aha! I told you ____ would act like this! They’re crazy! Here’s what they said…” They will make it seem as if you are the one that is doing something wrong – when, in reality, it’s you reacting off of their behavior.

Advice:

1) If your gut is telling you that someone is not trustworthy – believe it! Do not persuade yourself that someone is a good person when your body is telling you not to trust them. At the beginning of your relationship, it probably seemed like they were perfect for you, but that was a lie. Most times, they give attention and then slowly take it away until over time until it’s barely anything – which leaves you confused. Do not convince yourself that it’s anxiety, or blame it on your lack of trust in people.

Believe it! Trust your intuition.

2) Please do not give them the reaction they are looking for. Please do not call them out. Most likely, they will gaslight you. The only thing that will result in is another painful experience. Forgiveness is for you, but don’t forget that they have a manipulative personality. If you have already given an emotional response, it’s okay. The hardest but most effective option is not to be in contact with them. There’s nothing for them to feed off of if they can’t contact you.

3) Create boundaries that will help you. Perhaps cutting this person out your life is not an option, and it may not have to be one. This may make their behavior less hurtful to you.

Now, of course, every situation is different, and you cannot just make a list of things to do and not do – but I think it’s valuable to understand their mindset and to react accordingly. It’s important to remember you’re human and not a robot.

Realizing what is happening to you can be relieving, but it’s what you do with that information that matters. I hope you are able to get out of an abusive relationship, but if you are not able to, I believe you can be successful in creating boundaries. Rebuilding yourself may be hard, but it will be well worth it.



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