Rationalizing Manipulation: How Narcissists Take Advantage Of You

Rationalizing Manipulation

Relationships of all types are based on mutual respect, compromise, and sacrifice. It takes both parties to establish common ground with joint expectations of give-and-take. When there is an imbalance between partners, the relationship can become a breeding ground for resentment and abuse.

Narcissists and those with similar traits thrive in negative environments. A relationship hallmarked by abuse and tears ensures that the narcissist is in firm control. Narcissism wears down the victim while strengthening the abuser, creating and nurturing an imbalance of power. This imbalance is necessary for a narcissistic individual to have a relationship in the first place.

Manipulating Love Into A Weapon

At their core, narcissists are charming users and manipulators. They can turn a confident, productive, calm individual into someone who’s doubtful, high-strung, and codependent. If someone is perceived as better or stronger than the narcissist, that person becomes a target for takedown.

A narcissist can simultaneously be jealous of the stronger person and yet believe they themselves are, or should be, the focus of jealousy. If someone is perceived as “better” or “richer,” the narcissist will do their best to tear down that difference, take advantage, and maintain control.

Related: Manipulation Of The Charming Narcissist

Even the most settled and confident individuals can turn into different people in a narcissistic relationship. A relationship doesn’t have to be romantic to be abusive; trauma and pain cross over lines of all partnerships.

As with other forms of abuse, the pain inflicted by a narcissist is private and personal. Many victims are afraid to speak up or seek help. The following anecdotes are from narcissistic survivors who have shared their experiences to show that abuse doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

While some of these situations may appear normal for a relationship, remember that there is no give-and-take in a narcissistic connection. In a healthy relationship, there are clear and respected boundaries, positive reinforcement, and equal support. These stories reflect the result of being with a narcissistic individual and being worn down by the abuse and manipulation.

narcissists and manipulation
Rationalizing Manipulation: How Narcissists Take Advantage Of You

Real-Life Stories Of Narcissistic Abuse

“Gave him the password to my iCloud and home security because he said he was ‘worried about us’.”

“I granted access to my camera system and deadbolt passcode.”

“Co-signed for an auto loan.”

“Took on a huge bank loan, which he defaulted on and left me paying for…on my own.”

“My roommate moved out and left me hanging out to dry on the rent.”

“Paid off the credit card debt.”

“Gave him my money for anything he asked for.”

“He didn’t have a car, so I gave him mine…and gas money when I needed him to drive me places.”

“I was in a long-distance relationship right out of college. He lived with his mom at the time. He invited me to come to meet his mom and stay with them, but I stated that I felt more comfortable staying at a hotel. The day I arrived was the same day the power company came knocking to turn off the power. I was about to leave and pay for a hotel for the week when he convinced me it was just as much money to pay to keep on the lights. Plus, it was his MOM and I did want to make a good impression, right? I paid a fee for at-the-door service and the bill. I slept on the couch which was super uncomfortable. His mom wasn’t destitute. She liked to drink, smoke, and gamble. I often wonder if they scheduled the “at the door service” to put me on the spot. They were both very manipulative and I was eager to be accepted.”

Related: 15 Phrases A Narcissist Uses To Compel You To Stay With Them

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Kristy Lee Hochenberger

Kristy Lee Hochenberger is a doctoral student of psychology at Capella University and a member of Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology. A graduate of prestigious Wells College, Kristy Lee is also a licensed funeral director and co-founder of Salt City Legacy Scholars, Inc, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that awards scholarships and financial assistance to young women across New York State. In addition to her Bachelor's degree, Kristy Lee has an Associate's Degree in Occupational Services as well as a Master of Business Administration. A native of Queens, NY, she currently resides in upstate New York where she is an adjunct faculty member at Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) and University of the People.View Author posts