How to Manipulate a Narcissist ~
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 relationship and how dare he, after all hes 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.
A Narcissist survives by eliciting a reaction form you, usually sadness or anger. He solidifies his sense of control over you when you lose control. This is actually not their primary preference, he would prefer you adore him, though he does not deserve it, and defer to him in all things, including your thoughts and feelings. He believes he can tell you how to think and feel and control your reactions to life and himself, and in that he confirms, in his mind, his 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. That is NOT possible. 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 your situation 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 hes 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 hes so good at his job, how hes 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 cant do something like make a simple phone call because he has to work, and hes 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).
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 his out 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 and much easier to stomach than the other method, which I tried first, and was much to hard for me to deal with because I am simply not that good of an actress.
How To Manipulate a Narcissist: Method Two
The second method of manipulating a narcissist is pretty much the exact opposite of the first. Mirror everything positive back to him. Tell him how much you admire him, shower him with praise and affection. Build him up so high he cant even breathe because the air is so thin. Do everything he could ever think the perfect supply would do. Plan your escape in the background, and leave when hes least expecting it.
I would say this method is probably most dangerous for you, simply because it is in our nature to love our partner. We want that to be real, we want that to be forever. And to go through your days being so two faced goes against everything we have inside us as authentic, deep feelers. Narcs are very attracted to empaths, and I think, from my own personal experience, that attempting to live so falsely, is highly damaging to our psyche. In addition, we have already been forced by this monster to live our lives in a total act to the outside world, telling our friends and family we are happy, when in reality we are desperately unhappy and have not been able to understand why, until we learned of narcissism.
So I am taking the more self protective route, and planning as quickly as I can to get my things together, my life in order, my finances set up, and documents in place, so that when this all boils over, I am ready.