How to Manipulate a Narcissist ~ Surviving in a Narcissistic Relationship
This isn’t the post I started out writing. In fact, I began by writing a several hundred word tirade about how the Narc is acting like the poor hurt puppy in this narcissistic relationship and how dare he, after all he’s done. Then, I had to take kid one to school and came home again, a little mellowed out. The Narc apologized (hah) and I got to doing some research. I found my answer from others who have lived with Narcs longer than even I have, children of narcissistic parents (my heart goes out to you all! Mine included… ).
Turns out, I really am the perfect narcissistic supply. And even as I have the strength, empathy, and forgiveness innate to my personality that make me a perfect target, these traits are actually a double edged sword. Once the Narc no longer can control my emotions, I can use them to cut him down.
How to Manipulate a Narcissist
A Narcissist survives by eliciting a reaction from you, usually sadness or anger. They solidifies their sense of control over you when you lose control. This is actually not their primary preference, they would prefer you adore them, though they do not deserve it, and defer to them in all things, including your thoughts and feelings. They believe they can tell you how to think and feel and control your reactions to life and themselves, and in that they confirms, in their own mind, their god-like status. Do not forget, these actions are not based on logical thought processes, or even conscious thought processes, but on deeply embedded personality traits.
(WARNING: YOU CAN NOT CHANGE THE NARCISSIST. This is not intended to try and help you make him into the man you once thought he was. You cannot change another person based on your actions, no matter how many times they try and make YOU responsible for their behavior, you can only control your reactions to them. They themselves control their behavior and change can only come from within them. This is why it is so rare for a narcissist to improve, their very disorder makes it near impossible for them to recognize the damage being done is perpetrated by them. His world revolves around himself and you cannot force him to change his orbit. These insights are ONLY meant to help you manage your life and control what you can in your narcissistic relationship while you make your plans to leave. Staying will not benefit you!)
So, my natural reaction to my continued learning about narcissism and how its affected him and seeing the games he has been playing with me is this:
How To Manipulate a Narcissist: Method One
I do not mirror for him any longer, meaning, I do not reflect his moods back to him, I do not react to his rages (mostly, sometimes he does go too far and then I coldly and calmly point out that hes full of crap and here is the proof of why he’s lying and then he changes his tune), and I do not let him make me his emotional puppet anymore. In fact, that is now his primary complaint about me, and what he’s whining to me about almost daily, that I don’t love him anymore and what can he do to make me love him again? Obviously, he sees my tears, emotional outbursts, reactions to his anger, and attempts at making up (i.e. trying to get him out of giving me the silent treatment), as love. I can only conclude from this that he is (of course) feeding off my emotions because he is incapable of producing any real ones of his own.
I see him for what he really is. And I think somehow he can tell. I am no longer impressed by his stories, and I no longer flatter him endlessly about why he’s so good at his job, how he does so well with money, and “what can I do to help”. In fact, I am telling him “no” when he asks me to do something he could easily do on his own and calling him out on his crap when he complains that he can’t do something like make a simple phone call because he has to work, and he’s so busy with his job that he just cant do it. (Never mind that I also work and yet, since I am still at the house most mornings he expects me to do everything for the house as well, and take care of a 14mo old).
Beginning of the End
Now, for some people this will not solve your problems with the narcissist, indeed, I think this may actually end up being the spark that lights the fire under our divorce. He will probably go find someone else to adore him and then play the poor victim in our separation, saying I just stopped loving him and no matter what he tried, and he tried SO HARD, I would not give him another chance.
Ironically, with my Narc, my using this behavior has resulted in the rather unexpected result of him backing off with the anger and rages. He seems to be going back to trying to be charming and lure me back in. Situations where he would normally rage at me until I caved in, he is backing off and “apologizing” (I use quotation marks because its not a true apology), and though he usually follows up with reasons why he is hurt by my actions, it’s better than the anger.
Basically, in a way, I am giving him exactly what he needs to make all about him and let him play “poor little me” (incidentally, that is exactly the tactic he used in telling me about his girlfriend before me). And hopefully, then he will not fight me for a divorce, because honestly, who wants to live with someone who has no feelings? (The irony of that statement has not escaped me). So for me, I feel this is my best option of how to manipulate a narcissist and much easier to stomach than the next method, which I tried first, and was much too hard for me to deal with because I am simply not that good of an actress.