5 Narcissistic Abuse Hacks – A Cheat Sheet for Decoding the Top Narcissistic Manipulations

By Kim Saeed | Narcissism

Jun 23

How many times have you engaged in frustrating arguments with your toxic partner, only to come to self-defeating “compromises” in which they made you feel utterly responsible for their relationship crimes (and possibly had you apologizing for their errors)?

Have you forgiven your narcissistic partner a ridiculous number of times for lying, cheating, watching porn, and frequent disappearing acts, yet came away with preposterous “resolutions” that you’d be mortified to share with your closest friend?

How often have you settled into a false sense of security after the narcissist apologized and hoovered you, only to get punched in the gut when you discovered they were still cheating, and in fact, never stopped?

If this sounds like your life, following are some Narc-manipulation hacks that you can use starting today:

Cheap shots and Blame-shifting

Narcissists are so good at getting away with blame-shifting because their targets actually spend time reflecting on how their own behaviors affect the people in their lives.  For example, if the person you love ruthlessly claims that they watch porn because you: gained weight, stopped working out, got pregnant, aren’t adventurous enough – then you probably believed them and started an action plan to correct your so-called flaws.

Narc-Hack – The reality is that cheating and watching porn are the average narcissist’s favorite things to do[1].  I’ve been working with narcissistic abuse victims for almost two years, and even those who look like models are cheated on, lied to, and experience the humiliation of their partner’s PIED.

Narcissists cheat because: they are devoid of morals; they get bored; they like having cyber-sex with an image from the internet catalog; they use sex as a tool to hook their targets.  As an added bonus, they use cheating as a form of triangulation to keep you in a perpetual state of fighting for their attention and working overtime to prove your worth.

Rehab, Counseling, and Yellow-Brick Roads

Whether it’s promises of getting treatment for their “sex addiction”, anger issues, or lack of employment, Narcissists promise all over themselves that they will change so that the two of you can “get back on track and live the life you’ve been dreaming of”.  It all seems so real when they pretend to eat humble pie after you point out how hurtful their actions have been.  When they believe you are serious about leaving, it’s all, “I care about you and don’t want to lose you.  Let’s find a good counselor so we can fix this.  You deserve better”

Narc-Hack – Narcissists agree to counseling for a few different reasons, none of them related to making your relationship better.  What typically happens in a “therapeutic setting” is that the Narcissist uses it as a stage to make themselves look like the victim, further invalidating their abused partner.  You can read more about why therapy with the narcissist is a lost cause in my article, Why Going to Therapy with the Narcissist is a Bad Idea.

Torn Between Two Lovers

Though Narcissists genuinely enjoy hiding their affairs, there’s another manipulation technique they often enjoy even more – shacking up with a new mistress whom he says he just met, but in reality has been seeing for the past few months behind your back.  He tells you he was so lonely when you broke up with him over his cheating, that he unsuspectedly fell into the arms of a new lover.  But, he still somehow loves you and wants to make it work.  He just has to find a way to let the new girl down easy because she’s fallen madly in love with him during the course of a whole three days (as he would have you believe – in reality, he’s been seeing her for some time).

Narc-Hack:  What’s happened is the new girl isn’t fully drinking the Kool-Aid.  Right now, she’s sipping it through a coffee straw and the Narcissist isn’t sure she’ll make good supply.

Another possible outcome is that he has absolutely no plans to leave her, and instead plans on keeping both of you in the “Pick Me” queue, wherein he can extract large quantities of narcissistic supply, while simultaneously having you believe he’s just a skip away from breaking it off with her.

Or, perhaps he simply wants to get in a good devalue and discard before leaving you in a heap of raw nerves on your living room floor.

That’s the extent of all possible outcomes.  Don’t fall for the “torn lover” act.

Facebook Fantasy Land

I’d be curious to know how many narc abuse victims have had to go on medications, or worse – lost their jobs – over the Narcissist’s FB postings.  Facebook is by far one of the biggest reasons people have a harder time letting go when trying to go No Contact.

There’s the Narcissist, smiling with his new partner in front of a little grass hut in Bora Bora while she flashes her fat engagement ring at the camera. 

Narc-Hack:  These posts are premeditated and designed to manage others’ impression of the Narcissist, as follows:

  • For You – See how he’s so happy with the new girl? So insanely joyful that he ran off and got engaged in less than a week?  Maybe the problem was you, after all?!  First of all, no healthy person meets, falls in love, and gets married in less than a week, save perhaps arranged marriages in third world countries.  This was all being thought out and planned before your relationship with the Narcissist was even over.
  • For Friends and Family – Look everybody! I’ve found the love of my life and we’re going to live happily ever after!  This is an act designed to complement the smear campaign that the Narcissist began waging against you before the two of you broke up.

Those without a conscience are able to get away with their sadistic stunts through impression management.  Sandra Brown, author of Women Who Love Psychopaths, describes how Narcissists are able to get away with their pathology in a believable way,

He social-climbs into everyone’s good graces using charisma, a good sense of humor, and an optimistic outlook (at least on the surface).  If his mask should slip a bit, he simply ‘impression manages’ his way right back into positive believability”.

What better way to do that than through everyone’s favorite social media platform?

Crickets and Tumbleweeds

The general modus operandi of the garden-variety, overt Narcissist is to hoover into infinity, as follows: He cheats, the two of you break up, he hoovers, you forgive…and the crazy cycle continues for sometimes decades unless you put a stop to it by detaching and going No Contact.

However, there’s another demographic who writes in to the forums because they’ve heard about how the Narcissist persistently hoovers, but they haven’t seen hide nor hair of them in eight months, so that must mean he wasn’t a Narcissist, after all.  Maybe he could have changed and I gave up too soon.

Narc-Hack:  The most common reason for this scenario is that the Narcissist in question was a cerebral narcissist.  However, overt Narcs may fit these criteria for other reasons including:

  • He no longer wants to put forth effort for damage control – ergo, he’d rather move on to new supply who won’t figure him out for a while
  • He had sufficient supply lined up before the two of you split, which may include numerous targets
  • You can’t be of benefit because he already drained you of everything

In closing, if these manipulations are being played out in your relationship, it’s crucial that you don’t internalize them to mean that you deserve this kind of treatment or in any way caused it.  Further, if you find yourself unable to leave your toxic relationship, it’s likely because you’re experiencing high levels of cognitive dissonance and C-PTSD and it’s vital that you get help by making an appointment with a licensed therapist.  Alternately, you can contact these organizations:

Office of Women’s Health Hotline – 800-994-9662

National Domestic Violence Hotline – 800-799-7233

Copyright © 2015 Kim Saeed. All Rights Reserved

Suffering from narcissistic abuse?  Join the Let Me Reach Facebook Community!

(No gender bias was intended in the creation of this article.  The pronouns “he, his, and him” were used for ease of reading).

[1] Narcissists Watch More Porn.  (2015, January 10).  In PsychCentral.  Retrieved 6/23/2015 from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/sex-addiction/2015/01/narcissists-watch-more-porn-enter-eroticized-rage/

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