Micromanipulation: 5 Ways A Narcissist Controls You


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Micromanipulation techniques are dangerous mind game ploys narcissists use to gain or regain control over others. This covert manipulative tactic is often implemented by narcissists when they find their victim is trying to cut them loose. 

From gaslighting to coercion, the common narcissistic tendencies are somewhat easy to recognize. However, they also have some more nuanced tricks up their sleeve which are not so easy to identify. If you are entrenched in a relationship with a narcissist, watch out for these 5 subtle signs of micromanipulation.

Narcissists And Manipulation

Narcissists often twist facts and change narratives to maintain their grip over their victims. They use personal and sensitive information to take advantage of their partners, friends, or relatives and whenever a narcissist finds that they are losing the attention they used to receive earlier, they resort to manipulation. In most cases, the manipulation is direct; threats of committing suicide or any kind of self-harm, giving false hopes, or future faking, are all different kinds of manipulation tricks aimed to keep the victim trapped.

Micromanipulation: 5 Ways A Narcissist Controls You

What Is Micromanipulation?

Micromanipulation tactics are short and indirect in nature, making it challenging for the victim to recognize these behavioral patterns and figure out ways to avoid or counter them. These tactics are primarily aimed to appeal to the caring or empathizing nature of a victim, who is trying to slip away from the manipulator. Narcissists usually have an inflated ego and they tend to refuse any kind of rejection. So they adopt micro manipulative measures to portray their self-perceived hapless victim status, gain sympathy, and keep their dysfunctional relationships alive.

Related: 15 Lies A Narcissist Says To Keep You Around

5 Signs You Are Being Victim Of Micromanipulation

As it is easier to identify direct manipulation techniques, a victim of a narcissist can choose to leave or stay in the relationship, but when it comes to micro-aggressive behavior, emotional abuse is harder to notice. But if you pay close attention, you will see one or more of these 5 tell-tale signs of narcissistic abuse:

1. Short And Casual Comments With Serious Implications

One fine way to micro manipulate is to insert short and casual remarks that carry heavy undertones of allegation or any other serious emotion. A case to the point would be a narcissist singing the praises of his best friend’s girlfriend, only to make his own girlfriend feel guilty about not being supportive enough or not being cool enough, in short not catering to his toxic demands.

2. Innocent Yet Attention Seeking Actions

There can be acts that may seem harmless, yet can grab your attention and make you question the intention of the narcissist. For example, you get a text from your ex-girlfriend which was clearly not meant for you but has some nuggets of information regarding her current status. The message may read the said ex is miserable or in a relationship or something out of context. Once you get intrigued and ask her what’s going on, bam! You get roped back in the drama.

Related: Attention Seeking Behavior In Adults: Common Reasons And How To Deal

3. Arousing Sympathy or Empathy

Sometimes the person being micromanipulated ends up feeling sorry for the abuser. Like when a toxic mother wants to get invited to her estranged daughter’s wedding, she might drop in a message asking about the whereabouts of the daughter and cleverly slip a comment regarding how bad it is with her new boyfriend. Her intention is simply to arouse empathy and get her daughter to start talking with her again.

4. Making Easy Conversations Difficult

You will never suspect when a seemingly casual chat becomes a life and death situation with a narcissist. As if they have a superpower to link everything with their life incidents and somehow most of their life incidents have some kind of shock value. You might be having a discussion with your ex-husband regarding an upcoming field trip of your son and suddenly he will drop a bomb saying he might get fired from his job soon or lose an important client. Obviously, it will turn out to be a lie.

Related: 12 Markers Of A Decent Man That You’ll Never See In A Narcissist

5. No One Else Matters

When dealing with a narcissist the most common behavioral trend that would keep emerging time and again is that nothing and no one else matters. Narcissists love to be the center of attention in every area of their lives and the well-being of others matters little to them. Another sure sign of emotional abuse that you can’t miss is that the abuser demand to be the center figure of your every plan, thought, or life goal.

Related: What To Expect From A Relationship With Someone Who Has A Personality Disorder

Let’s Take A Look At Some Helpful Tips To Deal With Micromanipulation:

  • Find out whether the microaggression is an unintentional one time thing or it’s a behavioral pattern.
  • If it is a regular thing, leaving the person is the best option.
  • Don’t try to fix the manipulator; they will only take advantage of your love.
  • If needed seek help from family, friends, or support group to move away.
  • Consult with a mental health professional.

It’s Never Too Late

If you have been a victim of these above-mentioned mind tricks, don’t be hard on yourself. It is not easy to understand the twisted mind of a narcissist. Your insecurities and vulnerabilities would have remained safe in the hands of the right person but even if you have fallen prey to a narcissist and let them take advantage of your good nature, it’s not late. You can snap ties with a toxic person irrespective of the nature and duration of your relationship. Prioritize your well-being and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about choosing your own happiness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do male narcissists view women negatively?

Although narcissists tend to exert their dominance and superiority over all people, male heterosexual narcissists often particularly lash out and try to dominate heterosexual women.

How can you prove to others that you were a victim of narcissistic abuse?

It’s not easy to prove narcissistic abuse in the short run. Professional help can be sought for legal proceedings, however, for emotional support, therapy would be the best solution.

Who are some famous female narcissists?

Narcissism can’t be proved without a proper medical diagnosis. However, some might be of the subjective opinion that Kim Kardashian and Madonna display “narcissistic” traits.

Why am I sexually attracted to narcissists?

You might have been a victim of narcissistic abuse and repeating a dysfunctional cycle. Low self-esteem or codependency issues can also make you fall for the charms of a narcissist.

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