13 Ways Narcissists Turn The Tables Around And Manipulate You

God & Man

1. They make you think you’re the crazy one.

You play back something traumatic that happened. A fight you had, a falling out anything that left an emotional mark on you and when you mention it, they almost deny it happening. They say you imagined that in your head. You’re exaggerating. You don’t remember it properly. Now you’re conflicted with did this actually happen or are they right?

Any story or situation that paints them in a negative light they learn to forget about.

2. The endless cycle that comes with a narcissist.

You get into a fight. They turn into that version of themselves you hate. They go after you, emotionally or physically and then after that they snap back into a normal person. They feel guilty for taking it out on you. They need time alone to reflect. They come back around saying sorry maybe even giving you something. Then they end with the cryptic line of “I only want what’s best for you. I did it out of love.”

You learn to associate love with pain and mistreatment with it’s okay as long as someone says sorry.

They swear they will change but they don’t. They change for a moment only to lose it on you the next chance they get.

3. They control with fear.

Narcissists gain control by making people fear them. You become so afraid of who they are at their worst you just do what they want you to, to avoid it. It’s better just agree and let them control you then start another fight that isn’t worth it.

Narcissists need the control of someone else because so many things in their own life are outside their control.

Their emotions and temper they can’t control. Their toxic habits. They look for people who appear weak so they can manipulate them. They associate relationships with ownership.

4. They threaten you.

If you don’t do what they want you to you, they threaten you. They will take things away. They will do anything to manipulate you into doing what they want you to do. and if you don’t play by there rules you’ll pay for it.

5. They always blame you.

Had you not done XYZ they wouldn’t have reacted that way. If you only did this their way something wouldn’t have happened. Nothing is ever their fault.

They screamed at you and made you cry but it’s your own fault for causing them to react that way.

They ask you to do something and you don’t do it to their standard and they say something like “if I did this, it would have turned out right.” But instead of actually doing it themselves they’d rather blame someone else then even lift a finger.

Narcissists are never at fault for anything.

6. They pull away making you think you need them.

They disappear for moments at a time. They want you to know what life without them would be like. They want you to think you need them. And when they’ve groomed you and conditioned you enough, you get in your own head thinking you do need them. Even if it comes with the wrath and the emotional sometimes physical abuse that is having a relationship with them.

They set you on fire but then put it out. Saving you but also being the one who caused it in the first place. Breaking you down just to build you back up again is their motto.

Narcissists damage people so much they make them believe they are the only ones who can love them.

7. They enter fights with ammo ready.

When you fight with a narcissist you are never going to win. The fight will run in so many circles you’ll just eventually get tired of even trying. It might even get to a point you don’t even know what it is you’re fighting about anymore.

Narcissists go off in conversation with a simple objective of completely shutting you down. They thrive on winning even if it’s a stupid fight. They would rather fight until the end knowing they won even if it means damaging the relationship than ever admit defeat. They don’t lose. And they will pick any fight they can.

8. They talk to hear themselves talk.

A conversation with them isn’t a two-way street. It’s just you listening to what they are saying. If it’s a phone call you could almost put the phone down and walk away then come back and they are probably still talking.

Narcissists love people who listen because all they really want to talk about is themselves. They don’t ask about you and how you’re doing they always circle it back to making them the center of attention.

The conversation ends on their agenda and you realize you haven’t said much at all.

9. Your success is a reflection of them but it never feels good enough.

When you achieve anything, they are proud of you when it makes them look good. Something they can take ownership of. But regardless of how much success you may see in your life or how well you do something, they leave you with that feeling you could have done better or you should be doing more.

They criticize you and it’s little snide comments that make you question yourself. That promotion should have happened sooner. The apartment you live in isn’t nice enough. You look great but you could look better if you do XYZ. They aren’t some model person either but they put this pressure on you that no matter what you do, you should be striving for more.

Acceptance comes through their validation but they make you feel like you’re never good enough.

10. Your mistakes are also a reflection of them.

They don’t see you as your own person but rather an extension of them. So if you do something that makes them look bad they lose it on you.

And rather than try and understand and help you to learn from it they make you feel shame and guilt and horrible for how you might have acted.

They care a lot about playing this role of how people perceive them and if you do anything to shine them in a negative light you will get their wrath.

11. They ruin happy moments making it about them.

Holidays. Anniversaries. Achievements. They ruin every good day you might have, putting the spotlight on them. They cause some fight. They act out. They purposefully try to make people unhappy with their mood or attitude or losing it at the worst moment. Then they blame it on you. Well, if you didn’t do this they wouldn’t have reacted like that.

They don’t take control of their own happiness.

Narcissists look for reasons to be unhappy and unsatisfied and they try to bring everyone and everything down with them.

12. They thrive on gossip and drama.

Tell a narcissist something that you want to get to the person that is being talked about and they are your person. But only they tend to spin things. They never want to make themselves look bad so they use others and try and make themselves come out like the good guy.

They gain all the information then come at you dropping the bomb of what they already know, leaving you in the defense.

Whenever there is any problem or drama, it usually involves this person and some inconsistent story of telling people two very different things in hopes of manipulating and controlling them.

13. They emotionally, verbally sometimes physically abuse you.


They push you to your breaking point just to see how far they can go until you fall apart.

We all know physical abuse is wrong. There is concrete evidence and marks what someone did was wrong. But emotional abuse isn’t as easy to spot. Emotional abuse is what the victim might not even realize it themselves. Verbal abuse is something victims over time just get used to.

A snide comment or remarks that play on repeat in your head to a point where it’s you, yourself saying these things to the person looking back at you in the mirror.

It’s the little jokes that always mean something a little more. It’s constantly putting you down to a point where you stay there.

Narcissists thrive on the impact and control they have on someone else. They make you feel like you need the relationship yourself because they’ve manipulated you into thinking that. But it’s really them who needs you. They won’t ever admit that but they thrive in controlling others. And when they can’t control you anymore they try and control the way people think about you. TC mark

Kirsten Corley

Kirsten is the author of But Before You Leave, a book of poetry about the experiences we struggle to put into words.

This Book Is For You 👇

The cover and theme for my newest book was inspired by the concept of kintsugi. All that is dark or cracked within us has the capacity to be fixed, to be filled with light. We are never broken. We are always becoming. 

“Live a life that is driven; not by fear, but by love.” — Bianca Sparacino

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