Narcissists often consider relationships as transactional events that they want to work in their favor. Narcissists are people who are extremely self-absorbed, lack empathy, and do everything for their benefit. Narcissists, when they want something, they make sure to get it, no matter what the cost; they can go to any lengths to get what they want.
It is important to realize whether it is a genuine connection or whether the person is manipulating you to feed their ego. There are even several mind games that narcissists play while dating.
Narcissists are people who often engage in a pattern of deceptive, abusive, manipulative mind games to get their way in relationships. Narcissists look for specific things from a relationship and it is not love, intimacy, or connection.
They often use relationships as a means to boost their self-esteem or ego. Playing mind games while dating allows the narcissist to satisfy their ego successfully without any hassle of providing the things he is not interested in providing. Even though recovering from a relationship with a narcissist can be tough, but it is worthwhile.
The mind games do not begin in the initial phase of the relationship. One of the biggest weapons of a narcissist is love bombing, and it is with this, that they manipulate and ‘charm’ their preys.
Studies have shown that clinical narcissism is a personality disorder that affects almost 1% of the population. However, there are several people who share the characteristics of narcissistic personality to a greater or lesser extent.
They often play certain games in relationships to make the relationship in their favour.
Related: 15 Lies A Narcissist Says To Keep You Around
Here are 9 mind games narcissists play while dating:
1. Spontaneous romantic gestures game.
A narcissist always pushes their partner’s boundaries to test their partner’s limits. Narcissists fall in love easily. So expect candlelit dinners, weekend away or moonlight walks along the beach. These are called “love trappings”.
It is used to lure you into their trap. You become the source of their narcissistic supply.
2. The Blame Game.
When you are attempting to have a conversation regarding your feelings about a particular event or circumstance or even register a complaint, they immediately blame it on you. They are experts at playing the blame game when the situation is not in their favor. Somehow they will find a way to prove you wrong and themselves right from the start.
For example, your sensitivity might irk them, and they will try to gaslight you into believing that you are the culprit and you are the problem, not them. Very cleverly, they flip the whole situation and put you in the spotlight, and indirectly force you to believe that you are the one who should apologize, and not them.
3. Fear in favor game.
A narcissist has taken an interest in you because you are attractive and knows how to play your insecurities and fear in his favor. He plays emotional hide and seeks or becomes unavailable from time to time because he knows how anxious you will get if he removes himself from you. He uses your fear to his advantage to feed his ego.
4. The “Leave” game.
You want to build a good relationship that allows room to express each other. But when you tend to address your concerns or feelings, the narcissist’s go-to response is “if you don’t like it, leave”.
They know full well that you won’t leave despite what they say and this ultimately stops you from telling them how you feel. Well, you just fell into his trap and you are right where he wants you to be. Congratulations! you are now a victim of mind games narcissists play while dating.
Read also How do Narcissists think and work?
5. The Victim Game.
A narcissist always paints themselves as a victim in their story when telling their partners about the past. They highlight how they were betrayed or how things were unfair. They tend to believe that history will repeat itself each time.
So prepare yourself to always be the bad guy in their story and have your reputation down the drain to anyone who listens. Whatever happens, it will always be your fault even if that’s not the case.
6. The Divide and Conquer Game.
Well now that you are a couple, your friends or close members may have opinions or are too critical about your partner. Some are saying that he/she is an obnoxious brat or working too hard to make you fall in love. Despite knowing that your friends care, you find yourself pushing back because you are so in love with your narcissist partner.
On the other hand, your partner wants to spend more time with you and questions why you wish to spend time with your friends if they are always talking negatively about your relationship. So they use the divide and conquer game, a classic mind game that narcissists play while dating, where they tell you that you are special and are quick to criticize your friends and pointing at their flaws.
You know, of course, that your friends have flaws but he is portraying it in a different light. He disregards anyone who isn’t meeting his standards and all you can do is keep quiet because it feels easier.
7. The “No Commitment” Game.
Most narcissistic people often portray themselves as a commitment-phobe and claim to have a huge traumatic history behind it. They will tell you all kinds of stories like how their parents broke up or their ex-girlfriend or ex-wife broke their hearts and now they are just too damaged to commit. The traumatic heartbreak makes them fear commitment.
While for some people it may be a genuine fear, but for narcissists, it works as an escape strategy. So when you catch him with someone else, he can claim how he was honest with you from the beginning.
The narcissists always want all the power in the relationship and so he decides how far the relationship can go. He can shine a ray of hope for commitment when he feels that you are slipping away or be mean whenever he wants to.
8. The “Casanova” Game.
A casanova loves all the attention of the ladies. A narcissist with his natural charisma becomes a casanova and a cheater at the same time. So when you start dating it is important to pay attention to how he behaves with other women.
You may find him openly flirting with other women, paying too much attention to them, making them laugh, or lean in to whisper in their ear. This dating game is specifically designed to play on your jealousy and to portray he is attractive and desirable to other women too.
The Casanova game is directed to play on your insecurity and a fear of losing him. It’s just one of the things he does just to keep you in his game.
9. The “Love Bombing” Game.
Love bombing is a term often used to describe the initial phase of a relationship with a narcissist where they bombard their partner with affection to overwhelm and sweep them off their feet.
In the initial phase, they are extremely romantic, thoughtful, and passionate. They make you feel like you are the most important person in his life. However, it is more likely that you are not the first person to experience their love bombing.
Why do narcissists play dating games?
There may be several reasons why narcissists play mind games while dating or in relationships. They can include:
- It puts the relationship in their favor.
- A safe space to feed their ego.
- They are usually looking for someone they can feed energy from and when they find the right person they don’t let go so easily.
- In order to maintain control, they avoid close contact with their partner and prefer dominance over their partners.
- Compensation for their restricted emotional capacity.
Related: How to outplay a narcissist and beat them at their own game?
What can you do?
In case you decide to break the relationship, keep in mind that narcissists are cunning people who know how to condition you according to their will. Hence it is of utmost importance to evaluate the situation and stick to the decision you’ve already made.
Narcissists are often victims of trauma and there may be a certain event that made them the way they are. This has ultimately made them devoid of empathy, love, and the ability to connect with others.