We all know that malignant narcissists like to provoke, taunt and destroy people – all with clean hands. But what are some of the sneakiest ways they manipulate and terrorize their victims? I asked over a hundred survivors what the most insidious way a narcissist has abused them and the answers were shocking.
Here are just some of the highlights of the sick and twisted things these pathological partners have done:
Lead a double life where he tried to destroy me and the people he had affairs with.
“All of his affairs – especially the final one in which he is still with his victim. I had no idea he was living a separate life after grooming and establishing a relationship with the very same young girl who got the job he believed he was entitled to. He told me he would destroy her life and her career. I had no idea the last 6 months with him was what is defined as the discard. It was pure hell on earth as he tried to destroy me to the point of wanting to commit suicide. I found out he was with this specific girl months after I escaped. She is in so much danger and she hasn’t a clue.” — Relle
Would invite me somewhere, only to abandon me and flirt with other people.
“I have a book worth of examples of the betrayal, lies, and manipulating he did. They are all cruel, heartless, damaging. But the worst was when he would beg me to go to a certain place to “visit” and then either leave me there or ignore me, or worse – flirt with whoever was there. This one incident sticks out in my mind – it was so so sad, painful, I can’t explain how badly it hurt and confused me. He brought me to his family’s house and left without telling me. When I asked his sister-in-law where he went she said, “The boys took the girls for a ride to the lake.” They were smoking pot together in a truck at the lake while I sat there waiting for him to return. When I called him, he didn’t answer the phone. I had to wait for him to come back. I was accused of being a jealous nagging bore. This is one of a million examples – and I am in intense therapy trying to figure out what happened to me.” — Mimi
Used spirituality as a cover for his hypocrisy.
“In the early part of our relationship he talked all of the time about integrity and his interest in Buddhism, it made me feel like I was getting involved with someone honest and gentle. What I actually had was a full-blown pathological liar that undercut me at every chance he had, with constant belittling, gaslighting, and double standards. I was so convinced I had a great man in the beginning that I stayed for 3 years looking for that guy to come back. Turned out my guy – someone who claimed to have integrity and said he’d never cheat because he had been cheated on and was ‘so painful’ had been cheating on me with his 20 years younger employee.” — Lisa
Played mind games with listening and hearing.
“He would bait me. I would say something and he would say “What? I didn’t hear you!” so I would talk a little louder. Then he would repeat the same thing. I talked a little louder, then he would put his hands over his ears and say “See, you are always picking on me and bullying me!” He would then walk out and give me the silent treatment.” — Patti
“Mine would say “I can’t hear you, you speak too low, speak a little louder.” Then, when I would repeat what I’d said a little louder, he would yell at me, saying, “You don’t have to yell. Why are you yelling?” — Carmen
“When he’d talk to me he would leave out a word here and there, mouthing the words but no sound coming out. He had me thinking I was losing my hearing.” —Pauline
“Said I mumbled and called it ‘drizzling the cheese.’ Then, when I repeated myself more loudly, he would say I yelled it and became angry.” — Crystal
Subjected me to covert put-downs about my body.
“He’d make jokes and insults about my weight. He’d even take small jabs that were small but you just know he’s insulting you on the sly.” — Sharron
Gave me intermittent praise followed by put-downs.
“By repeating a pattern of put-downs followed by a period of how great I am. Screwing with my mind and keeping me unbalanced so that I never know what to expect.” — Angela
Screwed my friends and screwed me over.
“He would screw my friends… and I would not have a way to prove it other than the intense energy and awkwardness between the two. To the point where my friend(s) couldn’t be around me or talk with me.” — Angie
Pathologized my emotions when they were actually valid.
“Being made to feel I was at fault for being unsupportive and jealous when actually my suspicions were correct and I was totally being lied to.” — Sarah