6 Tactics Narcissists Will Use To Silence You
An example of this would be someone turning the conversation to “crazy/off-track topics, or “escalating” the discussion to something more personal.
Instead, insist on keeping the topic of the conversation out in front. Resist the urge to respond to personal attacks; remain calm and focused, and you’ll be able to maintain control.
To make themselves seem more credible—and to dismiss their partner’s feelings—narcissists may bring another person into the mix in an attempt to “stack the deck” in their favor.
They might say, ‘Well it’s not only me who thinks this way.’
This is an especially insidious technique when the narcissist uses someone you personally trust or admire to diminish you.
‘They might say, ‘Well it’s not only me who thinks this way. Did you know that Mary said the same thing? In fact, she told me that she had reason not to trust you because…’ and so on,” Glass tells Urbo.
The narcissist may also use a third person who could be a threat to you—an ex-lover, for instance—in an effort to force you into submission. You may feel forced to compete with the third person.
Projection is the act of taking your own thoughts, feelings, or behaviors and pushing them onto others.
For example, a boyfriend who is highly suspicious of his girlfriend and who repeatedly accuses her of cheating, despite her having given no evidence to support his suspicions, may be projecting his own wandering eye or sexual indiscretions onto his S.O.
There are several different kinds of projection—neurotic, complementary, and complimentary. And while most people project on occasion, narcissists frequently employ projection as a means of psychological abuse.
This is another way in which the narcissist avoids addressing their own imperfections; rather than taking responsibility for their behaviors, they force their victims to assume that responsibility.
Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you—except when they do. Because they really do! Narcissists have caught onto this fact and will use it to their advantage.
Of course, there’s something undeniably childish about resorting to name-calling, and that’s typically not the approach you would expect from someone who has spent their life refining manipulation tactics.
Turns out, though, that this form of belittling is not too low for even the most sophisticated of toxic humans. And, in fact, there is something sophisticated about this tactic; it can be a powerful reminder of past bullying, pulling you back into a fearful, vulnerable mind space that you may have only associated with childhood.
A bad nickname affects your self esteem, and studies show that name-calling affects compliance. The narcissist may or may not be aware that he’s using this form of manipulation, but the malicious intent is usually clear to everyone (except, perhaps, the victim).
How to Get Out
If any of these situations are familiar, you might be dealing with a manipulative person. When that person is your partner, you may need to get out of the relationship.
That is, of course, easier said than done. Emotional manipulation can be extraordinarily difficult to overcome, and it’s much more common than most people know; one 1999 survey showed that 35 percent of women reported emotional abuse from a partner or spouse.
However, severe situations require immediate action. Realize that you cannot change or reason with an extreme narcissist, and that any attempts can lead to them working themselves back into your life.
If you decide to end a relationship with an extreme narcissist, Glass recommends making a clean break if possible.
“It’s the exact opposite of how they sell the lottery,” he says. “The only way to win is not to play.”
Use your support system and don’t allow the conversation to continue. Block the narcissist’s number and email address and cut off any communication outlets. While this might seem harsh, it’s the only way to truly keep them out of your life.
“You should rely on one or two close friends or family members. Tell them all that the narcissist has been doing to you,” says Glass. “Warn them that the narcissist will likely contact them to try to convince them that you are the person causing the problems.”
We should note that the suggestions in this article don’t apply to every situation, and severely abusive relationships often need to be handled differently to ensure your safety.
If you or someone you know is encountering abuse, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website or call 1-800-799-7233.
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