Micromanipulation: 5 Ways A Narcissist Controls You


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
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.

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Rose Burke

Hi everyone! I am a wandering soul trying to find my way in this matrix. I am into literature, movies, psychology, occult, tarot, mysticism, and all that jazz. I am an ambivert, love traveling and making new friends, yet very selective about who gets access into my energy bubble. Love pets, foods, rainy days, ghost stories, chocolate, and cancelled plans. Live and let live is my motto.View Author posts