12 Manipulative Strategies Narcissists Use To Keep You Trapped

Manipulative Strategies Narcissists Use To Keep You Trapped

You have lived through a life of gaslighting and now you are stepping out of it. You are ready to break up with the narcissist. You are escaping narcissistic abuse. Even with your preparation, even with your great Stage-4 work, and your mastery of Observe Don’t Absorb (ODA) and the strike rule, it is going to be difficult.

It starts with the narcissist becoming scared. They start to lose their power and ODA, and you start to see a scared, frightened, weak person.

But all of a sudden, they bluster the aggression that they used. The passive or overt aggression that they used to scare you into submission. You are starting to see the impact of Gaslight neutralization. You begin to realize they never were as strong as they claimed, and you were never as ‘bad’ as they said. This is when a rapid shift starts.

That shift is why Stage-5 requires so much preparation.

This is the point where they do not want to fight anymore because of the potential consequences. So, what do they do? They fight against this stage.

As you enter Stage-5, you will notice 12 predictable subsequent stages immediately following.

What Happens When You Break Up With A Narcissist

1. Turn Up the Gas – Manipulative

A common tactic used by narcissists as you enter this stage is to turn up the gaslighting. They will tell you that no one will believe you, the cops did not listen to you last time, you are just a hysterical woman.

For example, imagine a person is twenty pounds overweight. She is gorgeous and twenty pounds overweight. But she has been gaslit into believing that she is obese, or she is too short, or too tall or she did not graduate college, or whatever the case may be.

The narcissist gaslit her to believe that she is just not good enough to live on her own and she will fail. They will turn that up. This is where we observe instead of absorbing it, and this neutralizes their strategy.

Related: 5 Types Of Psychological Manipulation And How To Deal With Them

2. Aggressive and Threatening

If the gaslighting does not work, because it will not, because you are observing and not absorbing, and you know exactly what they do, then they start to get aggressive. They start to use bullying and threats. Now the aggression and the threats look different based upon the narcissist. That is why it is critical you know your narcissist.

For example, the borderline is going to act much differently to this than the person who is an ASPD (Antisocial Personality Disorder). ASPDs are calm as a cucumber, they do not have empathy, they are just doing everything calmly just so they can break you down. They do not have narcissistic tendencies, they might decide to hurt you, but it is not because of rage they just think they want to punish you because you deserve it.

The covert narcissist is the most dangerous, however, because they have survived by creating an exterior of being loved, respected, and liked. Typically, they are someone of power within the community. Perhaps a politician, teacher, or even a psychotherapist. These are the narcissists who have the strongest reaction to this strategy. This is because ASPDs are sociopaths.

I must repeatedly show my clients in these situations that there never was a connection, there never was love, and that this person is truly incapable of any type of connection or emotion.

As my clients begin to see that the narcissist they are with doesn’t have friends, is incapable of being in any other relationship, and doesn’t understand emotions, I then introduce the concept that ASPDs have to have a backstory to justify themselves. They do this to look normal in the world they exist within. This may require them to have a family, a husband, or a wife. Armed with this backstory, they can go forth and live the life they want.

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Ross Rosenberg M.Ed., LCPC, CADC

Ross Rosenberg M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, is the owner of Self-Love Recovery Institute. He is a psychotherapist, educator, expert witness, and author. Ross is known globally for his expertise in codependency (Self-Love Deficit Disorder™), Pathological Narcissism, Narcissistic Abuse, and Trauma Treatment. He is a keynote speaker and educator who has presented in 30 States/70 cities and abroad. Ross has been regularly featured on national TV and radio. His “The Human Magnet Syndrome” books sold over 120K copies and are translated into 10 languages. His YouTube Channel has amassed 19 million video views and over 200K subscribers.View Author posts