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There is a reason why so many victims of Narcissistic abuse experience years of trauma and even PTSD after leaving the relationship.
If you are a victim of narcissistic abuse you have been dealing with months, years, or decades of manipulative mind games.
This is completely normal. If they play games they can gain control. If they gain control they can do whatever, or whoever, they want.
“They’re playing a game, and winning is the goal. This strikes the perfect balance to get their needs met from multiple people, without many demands on them to be emotionally intimate or to meet other needs of their partner.” -Psychcentral
Here are five examples of the most common mind games a Narcissist will use to manipulative their partner.
#1. They will distort your sense of reality
I’m sure by now you’re heard about gaslighting but I cannot stress how damaging and detrimental it can be for someone’s mental health.
Many people start believing that are developing early dementia because they become convinced their memory is incorrect.
Some examples of gaslighting are:
“You’re imagining things, that never happened.”
“Why are you so dramatic? You always exaggerate.”
“I didn’t say that I could hang out Friday, I said Saturday, you got it wrong.”
#2. They will hoover to get you back if you leave
Recently one of my best friends divorced a Narcissist. During the first month of the divorce, she was absolutely bombarded by messages. One day she woke up to 76 text messages and 10 voicemails. She showed me some of the messages and they were mostly hoovering attempts to get her back along with some random blaming/threats thrown in.
“Baby, you’re the love of my life. I’m in therapy and I’ve changed. I need you in my life.”
“You know what you did. I will expose you to all of your friends and family if you don’t respond. I will expose you!”
“Baby, you’re my queen. I can’t do life without you by my side.”
“I’ll die without you.”
#3. They will project everything on you
When I confronted my narcissistic ex for cheating on me I expected remorse/tears/apologies/the works.
Instead, I was met with no emotion and a shrug. “You weren’t giving me what I needed so I had to get it from someone else. It’s your fault I cheated.”
Although what had happened had nothing to do with me, my ex projected his actions on me and manipulated me into believing that because I wasn’t good enough, I had forced him to cheat on me.
Utilizing projection as a tool of manipulations means he was able to blame me and deny any accountability for his actions.
#4. They will respond with narcissistic rage if you confront them
Recently I was talking to a client who told me that he had confronted his wife and told her he believed that she needed to see a therapist after enduring over a decade of abuse.
She responded with narcissistic rage and for over a week she was both verbally and physically abusive and after that, he never wanted to cause such a reaction again so he kept his thoughts to himself.
A narcissist knows that if they respond when rage when confronted they aren’t going to be confronted again. After all, who wants to voice their feelings when they are met with a hurricane?
#5. They will launch a smear campaign to discredit you
My narcissistic ex had a group of friends that he introduced me into as his “tribe.” They couldn’t have been more warm and welcoming… until I broke up with my ex.
The girls in the group that I had become close friends with completely cut me off. I figured it was because we had broken up until I ran into the group of them one night at a bar.
“I can’t believe you cheated on him.” One of them told me.
“And stole his money!” Another one chimed in.
I was flabbergasted as they walked away and realized that my ex had smeared my name and lied to ensure I was completely cut out of everyone's lives.
Don’t be hard on yourself if you fell for these mind games…
I am constantly asked by victims of this kind of abuse how they fell for the mind games and tricks. There is a level of shame and disbelief that comes when you are a victim of narcissistic abuse.
The truth is that it is not your fault. You were fooled by a master manipulator. You were duped by the king/queen of their craft. You are not to be blamed or shamed, you were a victim.
Once you recognize these mind games you can guard yourself against ever falling for them again.