You are probably wondering how narcissists control you. But who are narcissists and why do they have this obsessive need for controlling people? Narcissists are people who are self-obsessed and like to control others for their personal gain. They use certain techniques to control other people, usually empaths and codependents.
Narcissistic personality disorder is a psychological condition where an individual requires constant praise, approval, and reassurance for feeling important. They need continuous validation to feel good about themselves. Many narcissists deliberately create toxic situations so that they can receive regular attention and importance from other people. They usually target people who are susceptible to their initial charm, unsuspecting to their manipulation, and vulnerable to their exploitation.
No matter where they go, they need a constant supply of narcissistic supply, AKA someone stroking their ego to make them feel good about themselves. The American Psychological Association found that 9.4 percent of Americans in their 20s had experienced Narcissistic Personality Disorder at some point in their life.
They usually feel empty inside and have fragile self-esteem which leads them to resort to dubious measures to make up for it. It is important to recognize how a narcissist controls you so that you can stay away from them, and protect yourself.
Here is a list of methods narcissists use to exercise control over their partners, spouse, and other people who are close to them. Let’s find out how narcissists control you and how can you recognize it.
11 Techniques Narcissists Use To Control You
1. Codependent–Narcissist Trap
They often target people who are codependent. Codependency happens when someone feels responsible for other people’s feelings. Codependents often find themselves in relationships with narcissists. The narcissist can easily manipulate the shortcomings of the codependent and make them believe that it’s their fault or they have to take responsibility to fix any issues in the relationship.
The partner becomes so afraid of the narcissist that they lose their sense of self by believing in all the mind games they play. The codependent is often found to fall for a narcissist because they love the attention they initially get from the latter. On the other hand, the narcissist works towards gaining complete control of the relationship when the codependent starts to sacrifice their personal desires and boundaries, to make the narcissist happy.
2. Making You Feel Special
They go out of their way to make their partner feel special. However, it’s not because they value their partner, rather, it’s only a means to manipulate them more. They use romantic manipulation to lure you into their trap. Narcissists control you by love bombing you at the beginning of the relationship just to make you believe that they are head over heels in love with you.
However, their ulterior motive is to make you helpless and vulnerable once a certain amount of time passes, and they show you their real face. They make you feel special in the beginning so that they can mold their partner according to their will.
3. Using The Guilt Trap
They try to gain control over their partner by using shock, awe, and guilt. In the beginning, the narcissists attempt to sweep you off your feet. Expect grand romantic gestures, sweet romantic talk, dates at a fancy restaurant, and whatnot. All these are done to manipulate you and bait you into their trap. Once the love-bombing phase is completed, the narcissist moves on to difficult emotions to maintain control. These emotions tend to erupt when you have done something to disappoint them.
Normal people find such extreme emotions strange and exhausting. Hence they tend to work hard to avoid such emotional outbursts. Guilt trapping is their only way to exercise control. The narcissist will make you feel guilty about the behaviors that they think are signs of disrespect. They never think twice before twisting your words against them and making you feel guilty.
Gaslighting is one of their most favorite weapons because they are master manipulators. Gaslighting is a form of verbal and psychological abuse used by narcissists to exercise control, and they do this by making you question your own sanity and reality. They usually use this form of manipulation for self-gain, and sometimes even for sport.
They usually deny they did something that you know for a fact that they said or did. They also use denial, accusations, lying, and mischief to make you feel crazy and guilty. This is done to gain control over the relationship and your emotions.
5. Playing Mind Games
For narcissists, relationships are transactional because the goal is to get what they want but with minimal effort, and they know how to play games. One of the ways narcissists control you is by playing manipulative games. So, one minute they will sweep you off your feet with gifts and romantic dates, and the very next moment, they will flip out on you aggressively. The negative moments are carefully covered with positive ones so that you don’t realize that you are being played.
The most important thing you can do is to not fall prey to their fake and superficial flattery and be cautious about the toxic mind games they try to play with you.
6. Having Only Two Options For You
Narcissists often give their partners only two options. It’s always an “either-or” or a “yes or no”. They view the world in either or terms and expect their partner to follow in their footsteps. They feel a sense of power from this approach because this lets them manipulate you in every way they can; this is a powerful means of trapping you in their mind games and making you do what they want you to do.
7. Trying To Label You
They love assigning negative phrases or attributes to a person’s characteristics or position. They love to humiliate you with harsh words so they can feel like they have the ultimate power to control you. For instance, they may use harsh words like “you are needy” or “you are a pathetic loser” to make you feel like they are in control of you and your feelings.
Narcissists will impose on you all sorts of horrible labels, to break your heart and spirit. They don’t care in the least how you feel, or how they are making you feel, and this can end up taking a heavy toll on your mental and emotional health.
8. Empty Promises
Narcissists try to control you by making empty promises they know they won’t keep. They promise to give you something without any plans or intentions of actually giving it to you. For instance, they might promise you that they will change themselves but their actions will never match their words. They might promise you that they will take you on a trip, but that will never happen.
Fake and empty promises are simply a way for them to be in control, and keep you in control. They know that you trust them a lot, and they take advantage of this trust to lie to you to make sure that you are wrapped around their fingers.
9. Ridiculing You All The Time
The narcissist often uses mockery and humiliation to their advantage. They tend to devalue your intentions and feelings by using dismissive remarks, sarcasm, or deprecating humor towards you. They never take you seriously when you try to talk to them about your feelings, especially the painful ones. Whenever you approach them and try to talk to them about how their actions are hurting you, they end up making fun of you and this makes you feel worse.
The sad truth is that they love making you feel like this, and they love seeing you broken and defeated. Seeing others in pain makes them happy because it makes them feel better about themselves.
10. They Think They Know It All
Whether it’s at work, or in a social group, narcissists think they know it all or consider themselves experts at everything. They also tend to be frequent conversationalists as well as interrupters in ongoing conversations. So, even when they are not criticizing someone’s views, they go back to what they were talking about as though what the other person was saying didn’t matter. They think that other people exist to boost their egos.
They will never let anyone else talk about what they want, and will always steer the conversation back to them. If given the chance, a narcissist can talk about themselves all day long, and won’t get exhausted at all.
11. Love Bombing You
Romantic manipulation or love bombing is a narcissist’s secret weapon to control someone. The whole agenda of love bombing is to make you feel as if you are the center of their Universe and the apple of their eye. They will make you feel special and on top of the world, but don’t think any of this is genuine. They do all this just to manipulate you and keep you in their control.
Love bombing includes flattery, compliments, romance, and promises of a beautiful future together. Once they gain your trust they are in control. They shape the relationship in such a way that you become the victim and them, your savior. They could care less about you because all they are want is complete control over you and the relationship.
To conclude, if you are in a relationship and you are not quite sure if you are dating a narcissist, then keep these techniques in mind, and trust your gut. If you feel like something isn’t sitting right, then it probably isn’t. The best way to protect yourself from toxic narcissists is by understanding that real love doesn’t happen overnight. It takes patience, time, and effort, and the one who truly loves you will never deliberately hurt you.