Narcissistic thinkers routinely strive to employ psychological manipulation tactics on their victims.
The more extreme the Cluster B personality disorder, the more they tend to act like dirty used car salesmen, con artists, and corrupt politicians.
To manipulate means to control or influence other human beings’ thoughts or emotions using tactics designed to produce a specific desired effect.
Such mind control techniques are typically applied cleverly or unscrupulously, noting that the person engaging in manipulating typically strives to promote their own best interest.
Anyone who is manipulated without their express knowledge by people willing to lie, con, bully, or intimidate is considered a Narcissistic Abuse Victim. In domestic settings, Abusers might actually be abuse ENABLERS — people who for their own sake strive to convince others to overlook abuse by a stronger predator so the manipulative person themselves will have an easier time coping.
Abusers with Cluster B have no conscience or remorse when lying; in all reality, they see it as a sin NOT to lie or bend the truth in order to achieve their selfish or self-aggrandizing aims.
An Abuser manipulating might do something like strive to manufacture a triangulation between an ex and a new lover they are grooming as a NARCISSISTIC SUPPLY SOURCE.
By keeping other parties at odds with false or incomplete information and stoking fires of mistrust, they are able to manipulate BOTH parties’ emotions and thinking quite effectively in order to ensure they themselves NEVER GET CAUGHT pulling whatever abusive scam they have done.
Likewise, they might blame their spouse for the Abuser cheating on them with another mark.
Telling them things like they are not enough, blame-shifting to say if they were more willing to do what the Abuser wants them to do/be/say/act like that the Abuser would not HAVE to cheat, and or telling the betrayed partner that if they were not so XYZ that the Abuser would not be “forced” to do ABC is commonplace manipulative styles of vocabulary.
As the user uses word choice to influence other people’s impressions and to provoke random emotional responses, technically speaking, most MANIPULATION comes in the form of verbal abuse.
But they can also manipulate using passive-aggressive strategies like conveniently forgetting to feed a pet or pick up a child from school specifically to control a partner. Unable to trust the manipulative person to do what they say or to tell the truth, enabling partners learn to be responsible for 100% (rather than 50%) of the relationship responsibilities.
Meanwhile, as the victim takes on more than their fair share of life responsibilities, the person manipulating gets freed from having to do things like household chores, pet care, or common parenting responsibilities by simply “forgetting” or pretending they don’t know how to behave like a responsible, kind, or caring human.
Verbal manipulations are also common among people who strive to undermine others. Consider the wealthy parent or in-law who takes temporary custody of a child or children during someone’s divorce procedure… then refuses to give custody of the little ones back.
Their true goal is to leverage physical control of the grandchild to dictate things like the bio parent’s choice of romantic partners, their coming and goings, and or their career path.
In the eyes of the court or general public, a Covert manipulator might claim they are striving to do the right thing in the best interest of a grandchild — when really all they are doing is acting our power and control fantasies that are detrimental to both the adult child as well as the grandchild.
Or a grandparent babysitting a grandchild as a favor for a parent and doing things like feeding meat to a vegetarian child.
Or an ex who graciously asks to take a child for an extra custody visit when the co-parent has a big event at the office or is planning a special event like a wedding to a future step — then they show up at a court hearing claiming the person who trusted they were offering to do something kind and loving for a day is an unfit parent who refused custody of their own child and without making proper caregiver arrangements failed to show up to pick up or abandoned their own kid.
Meanwhile, children are left enormously confused, having seen one parent trust and the other lie to manufacture chaos for the co-parent. Or a teenage child that says they promise to be home by ten and they show up four days later after a mom or dad tries to cut them slack and let them off grounding for a few hours-long special event.
Or the deadbeat father who swears to a child they will come for a visit for a few weeks and take a child camping in the mountains — then fails to show up as arranged and lies to claim the reason they never made a visitation appearance is because the co-parent ex forbade them or only wanted them to come “because they were trying to get back together with them”.
Lying to their family and new romantic targets to make an ex look bad and avoid taking personal responsibility for the harm they have done to former love interests and their own children epitomizes the mindset of a socially manipulative, deadbeat parent. Or the person at the bar who tells tall tales to make themselves look more impressive.
People who are looking to “score” romantically as if they win some sort of booby prize are also commonly manipulative. They might use the aloof trick to enchant or simply will outright lie, telling the spouse at home they are the only person for them while telling every new romantic mark some other form of “separated” line or “being abused by their mate” false victimization claim in order to win their mark’s sympathy and trust by outright making up subjective story claims.
Then there’re the folks who do things like borrow money then disappear, who break promises, or who offer false apologies s platitudes to get victims to stop talking about past choices that were abusive behaviors.
People who make bargains with gods and spouses never to drink or do drugs then sneak — they are not only narcissistic and manipulative, they are commonly sociopathic.
Claiming to be doing something for one reason but actually doing things based on completely complex, hidden agendas is the defining hallmark of manipulative people.
Those who are persuasive because they are up front and fully disclose all pertinent information and their agenda as a speaker make trustworthy sales professionals and are typically upstanding members of society; those who present a public face looking one way, who have hidden agendas to use or abuse other people, or who place their own comfort or personal needs secretly above the best interest of others (especially when giving advice) are simply behaving in Machiavellian ways in the negative sense of the psychological term.
Since most manipulative people will all compulsively lie for personal gain or in order to save face when and if they situationally abused someone or made a mistake, they are the MOST dangerous people in a family, peer group, or professional organization.
The only thing you can truly “trust” manipulative people to do or say is they will, by free will choice, persistently strive to support their own aims. Being an effective speaker who is able to persuade others to join in a win-win scenario is simply NOT The same thing as someone lying, omitting truths, writing revisionist history, and striving to constantly WIN when engaging in everyday normal social interactions.
Bottom line, once you spot a person willing to lie, cheat, steal, blame shift, avoid taking personal responsibility for their own words, deeds, or actions, or who deliberately obfuscate truth or misrepresent themselves to gain social advantage, trust your gut.
Manipulative people are socially DANGEROUS.
The first time they lie or distort facts to their own advantage, the right way to deal with them is to go NO CONTACT.
Whatever the Abuser’s case, the manipulative person can be counted on to use emotional insight about what makes other people feel angst or anxiety on some level to create in their victim’s enough duress that they side with the manipulator or claim they themselves made the free will choice to agree to terms and do things the Abuser’s way.
« Back to Glossary Index