12 Manipulative Strategies Narcissists Use To Keep You Trapped

Manipulative Strategies Narcissists Use To Keep You Trapped

7. Agreeing to Go to Therapy

Many therapists do not understand narcissistic behavior. These individuals will present themselves as these aggrieved, misunderstood people, and they typically find a therapist who is unaware of what pathological narcissists do. These therapists will then sympathize with the individual and in turn, make them feel better about themselves and what they are doing.

The first time a therapist suggests that a person might be lying or being hypocritical the relationship is over. The therapy ends prematurely, or it just ends because it is difficult for a narcissist to talk about themselves.

8. Humanizing Themselves

If going to therapy fails to win you over, and you still want a divorce, the narcissist tries to humanize themselves. There are many situations where this works with SLDs.

Narcissists neutralize break-ups by humanizing themselves. All of a sudden, they emotionally recount horrific stories of childhood abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment. They will talk about how much they are hurting inside and beg you to understand them.

By triggering the SLD/Codependent’s caretaking, over-empathizing, and sacrificing tendencies, the resolve to flee the relationship is neutralized. And when the “sad” “victim” narcissist pleads like a child to not be abandoned, the hook is deeply set. For someone who is not fully immersed and dedicated to their SLDD recovery, this works.

Related: 7 Sneaky Things Narcissists Say to Get You Back

9. Begging for Another Chance

When this narcissistic tactic does not work, they beg for another chance. “Please don’t leave me, I need you, I love you, I will change, I will change baby…” etc.

10. Suicide Threats or Attempts

I previously mentioned that people with Borderline Personality Disorder will go there quickly. But other pathological narcissists will also talk about depression or suicide. They have no intention to do it and will not attempt it, but they will make it known to their partner.

It is like pretending to choke yourself to death and then finally on the final minute you let go. That is what a narcissist does with a suicide attempt. They threaten it to scare their partner into believing it to be real. That uncertainty generates fear.

breaking up with a narcissist
12 Manipulative Strategies Narcissists Use To Keep You Trapped

11. All Out Destruction

When suicide threats do not work, the last gasp is all-out destruction narcissistic abuse.

There are different versions of this based on the type of narcissist you are dealing with. If they are a covert narcissist, their attempt at destruction will be different than a garden-variety narcissist, as will a sociopath. If you have followed along you know all about this and you will not react to their attempts to destroy you.

12. Replacement

Finally, the narcissist decides to cut their losses and look for someone else. It is important to understand this and know that they will do everything they can to stop this process. If you can see ahead of time where things are going, you can keep yourself from being seduced into their behavior. You will eventually get at this step if you follow through.

Related: Narcissists And The Codependency Dance

The Hardest Maneuver to Avoid

Avoiding these behaviors is not rocket science. Of all the 12 maneuvers, number seven, or the humanizing, is the one that most often convinces codependents/SLDs to stay.

As a narcissist gets to this step, they portray themselves as broken or suffering. Remember they know that the SLD is empathetic, they know the SLD believes that everyone deserves a chance, everyone should be loved. This is what they prey upon, the SLD’s empathy, forgiveness, and accepting nature. They will disclose their child abuse, core shame, the fact they have no friends, or their self-hatred. This is a repeat behavior, and I see it with many of my clients.

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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