People ask if it’s possible to manipulate a narcissist. How do you manipulate someone who lies and manipulates? Psychopaths and narcissists are just like anyone else, you can manipulate a narcissist if you know what they need. That’s why they lie all the time. They’re determined from the beginning of any relationship to establish the upper hand.
To do that, they have to hide what they really need and want. I will tell you exactly what that is:
They need and desperately want to manipulate. Manipulation is their addiction.
They will always misdirect you into believing they want something else. Well-meaning advice books and blog articles will tell you that narcissists want sex, money, status, or power, but they’re wrong. Those are things that narcissists want to take, as a means to manipulate you. They can use them to manipulate your attention and your emotions if sex, money, status or power are what you value. Those are sideshows they use to distract you, evoke your emotions and keep you chasing elusive McGuffins.
Definition of a Narcissist: A person in an emotionally infantile state of arrested development.
Narcissists don’t value anything except the ability to manipulate and control others. This is because the narcissist is an emotional infant. What does an infant value? Although they want everything, they value nothing. Nothing, except control over their caretakers. The infant doesn’t think about why it needs to manipulate. It doesn’t have the cognitive process to reason why. The need to manipulate is inborn and it serves the helpless infant well. In response to its infantile behavior, its requirements are met with food and diaper changes. Any other need that arises is also addressed by those persons it can control. The infant feels safe and never has to anticipate any other needs except one: the need to manipulate. It’s the same with the narcissist.
The infant uses three basic methods to manipulate: charm, pity and rage. They will smile, cry or scream until their will becomes your will. Unlike the infant, the narcissist has developed additional strategies and methods to meet this one need.
First the narcissist is aware that you will expect adults to reciprocate when you meet their needs. So they won’t reveal what their needs are. They’ll always be vague about what they want and keep you guessing about what makes them happy. In fact, nothing makes them happy because no matter how much you’ve done for them, that was then, this is now. Even 5 minutes later, you still owe them. They’re entitled, like an infant.
If you can keep this one thing in mind, their manipulations won’t work anymore because you’ll always know what the narcissist really wants: to have you wrapped around their little finger.
But WAIT there’s MORE!
Yes, even having a slave is not enough for the narcissist. You must also be miserable in your servitude. That’s because the narcissist is pathologically envious. Like an infant, they covet everything that anyone else wants. I believe this derives from their lack of values. Like an infant, they don’t know what is valuable, what is good, or what they should want, so they simply want what others want and what others have.
Narcissists deduce what you want by the expression on your face when you win or lose. Your facial expression is the clue that you value something. Facial expressions are also the proof when they’ve succeeded in taking your valuables. This is what gives them a rush. If you’re still smiling, you still have something they need. By not allowing them to manipulate our facial expressions we take control. They won’t know what to target and they’ll default to money and attention as their goals.
The Mask of Sanity
They believe they must wear a mask to hide their own facial expressions so you can’t guess what they’re after. They have a paranoia that if you knew…you could manipulate them! Since they are constantly manipulating, they suspect others of trying to manipulate them. Because they’re disconnected from reality, it isn’t terribly difficult to manipulate them. Narcissists don’t know what’s real. They believe everything is fake news. Even when they know it’s not, well, it could be! The only thing real to them is the emotional expression on your face.
How Do You Divert the Narcissist?
Knowing that the narcissist wants our attention, our emotions and our facial expressions, we still have to consider the methods they will use to get them. They have no limits and they enjoy testing us for emotional reactions. What types of intermediate goals will they set to elicit an expression of loss from their victim? That depends on what they know we value. Usually, it’s money or love and affection. If you have a specific person or thing which you hold dear, then the narcissist will very likely know and home in on that.
The narcissist is a sadist. This is evident in their need to see people lose, to know when they’ve won. To deter the narcissist, we must convince them that our efforts will bring us greater benefits and happiness in the long run.
For example, one day my ex-psychopath was laying on the couch watching TV and complaining about a bad back. A commercial came on and he began screaming at me to get a credit card and order the back-exercise contraption being advertised on TV. He needed it NOW!
Of course it was a ploy. He was always looking for ways to get me to spend money so that he could continue to drive me into debt. It often involved emergencies.
At the time I thought he was just being needy. I never imagined his endgame, but I knew the machine wasn’t it. Obviously he was trying to make me miserable yet the extent of it eluded me. Years later I found out that he had been poisoning me with small amounts of strychnine which made my back spasm painfully and he never showed any concern or empathy. In his 180-rule logic, he was demanding that I respond immediately to his feigned back pain so that he would get all the empathy and I would get all the pain. This feels right to the infantile narcissist. It reflects their world view that mommy should give him milk and in return he gives her a dirty diaper. It’s the furthest thing from justice but that’s why it feels right to them.
The exercise machine he wanted was designed to be used lying down, placed between your raised thighs and then rocked so that it lifted your rear off the floor. I proposed that I could be the machine for him. He liked that idea and forgot all about ordering it. I sat with my back against his buttocks, his knees hooked over my shoulders, with my hands on his ankles. When I bent over in an ab crunch, his rear lifted off the floor. I asked him if he thought it was working. He said yes, it was. When I enthusiastically suggested we should do this every day, he agreed. Then I pointed out that while he was fixing his back I would be developing beach-worthy, six-pack abs. Immediately, he responded, “That’s enough. I don’t need it anymore.”
His aversion to seeing me benefit from my efforts, outweighed his desire to see me twisting into a pretzel to help him. That’s why psychopaths are easy to manipulate, they really don’t know what you value unless you tell them.
You can use this strategy in one of two ways. You could do as I did and suggest that you’ll benefit from their attack. The idea is to let them know that their manipulations will result in a transcendent benefit for ourselves. This will make them back off and look for something else to torture us with. Or else if the benefit is real, don’t say anything and reap your rewards. Then leave them sitting in the sand box playing their games alone while you get up and walk away to a better life.