Narcissist Gaslighting Techniques: 9 Ways Narcissists Manipulate You

According to the Mayo Clinic, narcissism is a “mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.”

One of the ways in which a narcissist can feel more important is by gaining control of someone that he or she is in a relationship with.

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse through manipulation designed to allow the perpetrator to take control. The person will use many tactics to make you question your thoughts, your feelings, and your perception of reality.

You may become confused, questioning your own abilities to the point that you must rely on the abuser for what to think, feel, or believe. For the narcissist, gaslighting is a way to prove how important and worthy he or she is when you must turn to that person for guidance in every area of your life.

Because a narcissist has no conscience, this type of abuser lacks empathy and will have no remorse or guilty feelings for the way that he or she treats you. This makes the narcissist perhaps the most dangerous type of person to use gaslighting as a form of manipulation.

Although the narcissist can, and will, use any gaslighting technique at his or her disposal, there are a few tactics that someone with this personality disorder can master like no other. This is because these specific forms of manipulation will give the narcissist the sense of importance that he or she desires.

1. This person will lie.

At the very core of every gaslighting tactic used by a narcissist is a lie. This person needs to alter the truth to keep you questioning yourself. At first, the lies will be small, and they’ll be mixed with a lot of truth to make them hard to pick out.

For the narcissist, these lies will typically start as a way to impress you with false credentials, accomplishments, or standard of living.

As this person finds he or she can get away with telling lies, less truth will be mixed in. Eventually, anything the abuser tells you may be completely false, and you may not even be aware of it. It is at this point that the narcissist may begin using this tactic as a way to gaslight you.

For a typical gaslighter, this is a tool used to gain control over you. For the narcissist, this control is necessary so that you provide him or her with the attention that this person craves for his or her own self-importance.

2. The narcissist will make you insecure.

Someone with this personality disorder is envious by nature. He or she will be jealous of any accomplishments of others that may make this individual feel less important.

This person will need to regain his or her self-worth by becoming more substantial in some way. If you have a success, whether personal or related to your employment, the narcissist will undermine this accomplishment in any way possible.

Additionally, the manipulator will strive to make you jealous. Whether through having conversations with attractive people or comparing your physical traits or skills with others to make you feel somehow deficient, this person wants you to be more insecure than he or she is.

Again, this is a gaslighter’s way of controlling your emotions. By causing you to be even more envious than the narcissist, this individual becomes somehow better than you, at least in his or her mind.

3. Your abuser will undermine your importance.

Whether through belittling your accomplishments or specific actions or inaction, the narcissist will do or say things to make you feel like you’re not valuable enough to warrant his or her full attention.

This is a tricky maneuver as it seems like it would be obvious what this person is doing to you. However, you must remember that the gaslighter’s tactics are almost always subtle, especially at the beginning of any relationship.

This person may take a long time to answer your calls or texts if he or she bothers to respond. The manipulator may show up late to a planned event, or the individual may even blow you off completely without notice.

The gaslighter will keep you off balance, questioning whether you got the date and time wrong or if plans were changed that you can’t remember. The narcissist, on the other hand, just wants to prove how much more important he or she is than you.

4. This person will make you feel unworthy.

Gaslighters and narcissists place extreme importance on belittling, shaming, and blaming. Perhaps you never do anything right, or maybe you’re why things don’t work out as planned. The goal of the abuser is to make you feel like you’re not good enough in some way.

For a gaslighter, these behaviors are designed to make you more dependent on that person. Because you are somehow defective, you must rely on what the gaslighter says because this person is always right.

While a narcissist may not focus on the control aspect of these manipulation tactics, he or she will use these as way to make you feel like less of a person than the abuser is. Lowering your self-esteem, is just another way that the individual will boost his or her sense of importance and worth.

5. Anything hurtful is always just a joke.

Your abuser may say something negative about your appearance or your ability to perform a certain task. If you take offense, the person will claim that he or she was just joking. Consequently, both the gaslighter and the narcissist know that you won’t stick around if you’re obviously being verbally and emotionally abused.

Either one of these manipulators will be quick to point out that he or she was only kidding and that it was just a joke. However, it’s important to remember that there is always some truth to what either of these types says, so you should know that this is the way that the individual truly feels, or it is what the perpetrator is trying to make you believe about yourself.

A gaslighter will use this tactic to turn the focus off of his or her insidious behavior to make you believe that you’re too sensitive, too emotional, or overly dramatic.

When it comes to the narcissist, any way to cut you down is a way to inflate that person’s own ego. Because you have no sense of humor or don’t appreciate the level of wit this person is capable of, you are the one with the problem, making you not as smart or as good as your abuser.

For both the gaslighter and the narcissist, this deflection is just another way to prevent the person from having to accept his or her own terrible behavior, which would require the individual to have to change the way that he or she is.

6. A narcissist engages in magical thinking.

Because this person is so wonderful and amazing, anything good that happens in his or her world is a direct result of this. Consequently, anything good that happens to you is also because of something this person did to make it happen. In some cases, just the fact that you’re in a relationship with this individual gives you such great luck.

Alternately, anything bad that happens is due to external forces that are trying to undermine the abuser’s worth. As the partner in the relationship, this blame will typically fall upon you.

While a gaslighter who isn’t narcissistic doesn’t generally think this way, the person will use similar tactics as the narcissist to gain more power over you. This individual may not feel like he or she is better than everyone else, but the abuser certainly wants you to believe it.

7. The manipulator will make you question your mental health.

One of the biggest gaslighting tactics involves making you think that you’re crazy or losing your mind. This gives the person more control over you. Since you can’t trust your judgment, you must turn to the gaslighter for direction and to know what’s real. The abuser may recommend that you be put on medication.

In the alternative, this individual may even push you into using illicit substances to have better control over you and your new addiction.

The narcissist uses this as an ego-preservation tool. If this person feels like you’re becoming aware of his or her tactics and the type of person he or she is, the abuser will turn it around so that you focus on questioning your own sanity rather than his or her malignant behavior.

This type of manipulation can be so effective that it can actually make you think you have a true mental health problem. In extreme cases, a narcissist may push you over the edge so that you have a nervous breakdown. There have been cases where a narcissist has pushed his or her victim into committing suicide.

All of this work is done by the individual just so that he or she doesn’t have to face the truth about himself or herself and make the necessary changes to become a better person.

Because the narcissist is incapable of truly caring about another human being, the person will not take responsibility for the actions that led to this devastating ending, and he or she won’t feel guilty or remorseful.

8. The narcissist may paint you as the problem.

Whether a narcissist or not, a gaslighter will turn everything around to make you the cause of his or her behavior. You’re the one who’s to blame in negative situations.

You’re the one who caused the person to act the way he or she did. This person will never take responsibility for his or her actions. Because the individual does not have any weaknesses or any that he or she wants you to know about, the gaslighter is always in the right.

If a narcissist feels like you are questioning or belittling him or her, this person can’t handle to direct assault on his or her ego. To maintain a sense of self-superiority, the individual must blame someone else.

Although sometimes it might allegedly be because the person had a hard day at work or had a fight with a friend, the blame is most frequently placed on you.

A narcissist may even make you the abuser in the relationship. This can be a way for the individual to gain attention and sympathy from others, making him or her look so noble for taking the high road and sticking it out with you.

9. The relationship is hot and cold.

Even though it tends to be more often, it’s not always bad in your relationship with this type of abuser. This individual will wear the charm when necessary, especially if the person thinks he or she is losing control over you.

These crumbs of affection are generally meaningless, but once you feel worthless or undervalued, you’ll eat up this bit of encouragement. This intermittent reinforcement is a powerful form of control to keep you sticking around and longing for more.

For the narcissist, however, it’s not about the gift but more about the giver. Anything positive that this person puts forth in the relationship that makes you feel good is only given with the intent that he or she will get something in return.

While a gaslighter does this to keep you off balance, typically, the narcissist will require praise or thanks for anything he or she does for you.

If you notice any of these tactics, if you feel like something is wrong but can’t place it, or if you feel bad more than you feel good when you’re with your partner, it’s time to rethink your relationship.

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse used by narcissists, and it may eventually escalate into physical abuse or cause you severe emotional trauma. While possible, it’s difficult for a narcissist to change.

You should get help and leave the relationship if necessary for your safety and peace of mind.

Can a gifted therapist help you too?

If you struggle with anxiety, depression, high-stress levels, relationship issues, or other specific challenges, one-on-one support from a therapist can help a lot.

You don’t need to go through this alone. There’s no shame in getting help!

Thousands of people get tailor-made support from a kind, empathetic, helpful therapist when faced with difficult life situations.

I recommend BetterHelp, which is a sponsor of Personality Unleashed.

It’s private, affordable, and takes place in the comfort of your own home.

Plus, you can talk to your therapist however you feel comfortable, whether through video, phone, or messaging.

Are you ready to break the negativity cycle?

Personality Unleashed readers get 10% off their first month. Click here to learn more.

Similar Posts