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Managing Interactions with a Narcissist can be a daunting task, but employing effective approaches is essential for maintaining healthy relationships and personal well-being.
Have you ever been with someone who made you feel like the centre of their universe, only to find out later that they were, in fact, the centre of their own universe? Narcissists are skilled at making others feel special and adored.
It’s no wonder that so many people fall under their spell and become enmeshed in what’s known as narcissistic supply, an unhealthy addiction to being idolized by another person. But how do you manipulate a narcissist?
Narcissists can be the trickiest people to deal with in any social situation, so knowing how to manipulate a narcissist is essential if you want to get what you need out of them without becoming too emotionally invested in their constant drama.
In this article, we’ll teach you exactly how to manipulate a narcissist using ten proven methods that have been shown to work time and time again.
For some people, relationships with narcissists are an unavoidable part of life. Because many narcissists are family members, coworkers or bosses, it is often difficult to avoid them completely. This makes their manipulation skills all the more dangerous because you can’t just walk away from them.
However, knowing how they manipulate and control their victims can help you protect yourself in your relationship with that individual as well as prevent others from being controlled by such a person in your life.
It is important to remember, however, that while there may be methods for protecting yourself against narcissists, there is no way to change someone else’s behaviour. If you know someone who exhibits narcissistic traits, try to limit your contact with them and keep any interactions short.
It may also be helpful to seek support from a therapist who specializes in helping people deal with personality disorders if you find dealing with a narcissist too overwhelming on your own.
Keep reading to learn more about these methods, as well as which ones are most likely to be effective in your personal situation!
Why understanding manipulation tactics can help you
If you’re currently in a relationship with a narcissist, then you probably feel like you’ve been turned into your own personal puppet. This can be particularly disconcerting if it’s all happening under your nose, without you even noticing that someone else is pulling your strings and moving your mouth.
Knowing how manipulation tactics work can give you a sense of agency over what happens in your relationship. It may also help you understand why things are so confusing for you right now.
Remember, though you don’t have to use these methods on anyone but yourself! These tips are for informational purposes only; please don’t go out there and try them on your boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse or boss or coworker unless you really have to.
How to Manipulate a Narcissist
1. Mirroring, also known as mimicry
By repeating someone’s actions and words, mirroring can be used for manipulation. Mirroring is effective because it builds trust with narcissists by demonstrating that you are just like them—you think, act, and feel like they do.
If you want to manipulate a narcissist, all you have to do is fake it ’til you make it! When dealing with a narcissist, try to mimic his or her mannerisms. If he or she likes to talk in an animated way, use similar body language; if he or she uses big gestures when making a point, copy those movements as well.
The goal here is not to become more like your target (that would be creepy), but rather to appear empathetic and trustworthy.
2. Direct verbal contradiction
Direct verbal contradiction will draw their attention away from you and disrupt their flow of thought. When they are speaking, respond with something completely opposite to what they just said. Do not interrupt them and wait until they pause to speak again before replying, even if it means listening patiently for several minutes without saying anything at all.
While there are many ways to manipulate a narcissist, most experts agree that there is no other way better than using direct verbal contradiction when doing so.
People love to hear nice things about themselves, especially narcissists. But be careful not to go overboard or they’ll notice your insincerity. Say something like your confidence and leadership skills is second-to-none but don’t say anything like You are so hot that I couldn’t take my eyes off you in that meeting today. Keep it professional and brief, but genuinely complimentary and specific.
4. Fake agreement
The easiest way to manipulate a narcissist is by using their arrogance against them. If you agree with everything they say and never offer up any kind of disagreement, it can throw them for quite a loop.
They’re used to being understood and praised at all times, but if you fake interest in what they have to say and feed into it, they may lower their defences. This will make them more susceptible to your suggestions later on.
5. Approval or disapproval
Understand that narcissists aren’t necessarily going to like everything you do. They are very invested in themselves and what they do, so chances are they won’t approve of everything you do. Even if you know their approval is important to you, don’t try and fake it with them.
Don’t lie about your interests or pretend to be someone you aren’t just because they want you to be. You have your own interests and personality, and if they don’t approve of those things, then let them go. If they can’t accept who you are as an individual, then that relationship isn’t worth having anyway.
6. Nonverbal cues
You can influence someone’s emotional state and encourage them to agree with you by paying attention to and mirroring their body language. For example, if they’re crossing their arms, do it too; if they fiddle with their watch, you do too.
If that feels uncomfortable or awkward, think about your intention behind doing it you want them on your side. You can also subtly mimic small things like facial expressions and gestures as well. Be careful not to overdo it though; you don’t want to be creepy!
7. Isolating the narcissist from others
Since narcissists tend to care more about their own needs than those of others, isolating them from other people especially their loved ones can be effective. To do so effectively, you’ll need to stop giving in to their demands; when they realize you won’t agree with them no matter what they say or do, they will eventually start giving up and getting frustrated.
This is where you should step in and try to persuade them that it’s time for some me time; let them know that they deserve a break after working hard all day, and encourage them to go out on their own or spend some time with friends instead.
If your efforts fail, don’t give up just yet! Instead, try coming back later on down the road (once you have gained some leverage) and trying again.
8. Guilt tripping
This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to manipulate a narcissist and it works especially well when trying to cajole them into doing something they may not necessarily want to do.
By targeting your frustrations on them, you can guilt trip them into doing what you’d like for fear of angering or upsetting you.
They might not want to take out their garbage, but if you’re upset by their procrastination, they might just do it before things get worse between you two.
9. Hiding and lying about your own opinions or feelings
A narcissist is unable to see any viewpoint outside of his or her own. This makes it easy for you to hide your true feelings from him. When he brings up an opinion or makes a suggestion that you don’t agree with, simply remain silent and keep your own thoughts about it to yourself.
If he continues to push you on it, simply tell him that you’re not comfortable talking about it right now. By avoiding confrontation in these situations, you can avoid conflict and keep peace in your relationship with a narcissist.
Applying any of these methods is risky, and there are no guarantees that you’ll succeed. The right situation, an unexpected favour or two, and some luck can help you turn things in your favour. The important thing is to be aware of what manipulation tactics exist, how they work, and when and why they’re effective.
Don’t go into battle without knowing what weapons are available to you! And remember, narcissists tend to play dirty. If you do decide to manipulate one, be prepared for them to fight back by doing everything from blaming you (and everyone else) for their actions to threatening blackmail if they feel threatened enough.