22 thoughts on “How Narcissists Use Future Faking to Manipulate You

  • September 17, 2019 at 10:22 am

    This article explains a lot of my marriage to a narcissist for me. One step my ex-husband took before this future faking was learning about neglect and abuse in my childhood so he could target has cruelty. One of the many ways he used it was to say he’d support me through school. I dropped out of high school and had a dream of a university degree. I believed him and I went back to school when I was 50. He ‘changed his mind’ and I had no way to graduate without taking out student loans to support myself, $67,000 worth. At least I now have a good job and I’m paying on my loans. After graduation 8 years ago we divorced and I went no contact. He stalked and harassed me for 3 years trying to hook me again. No way!

    • September 19, 2019 at 8:59 am

      Excellent outcome in the end

  • September 18, 2019 at 6:38 am

    I have experienced this, both in my marriage to an overt Narcissist and later in a relationship with a covert Narcissist. It sounds like the answer to a cherished dream every time… and goes nowhere. At first I made excuses for that behavior… later I recognized it as simply manipulative lying, and made choices and plans based on reality, not on the Narcs’ fairytales.

  • September 18, 2019 at 7:19 am

    Right on Darius!
    Just another Narcissistic method of cultivating “supply”…house of cards…eventually collapsing, but not fast enough with a co-dependent target. And 9 times out of 10 the narcissist is ego-syntonic with his/her efforts to groom supply sources. Thanks

  • September 18, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    My ex girlfriend was an expert at. Future faking. It is painful and hard to break from but it can be done. Don’t accept excuses and lies. If behavior and actions don’t match the words. Run and cut your losses. It’s actually a gain for you. Dr Dave

  • September 18, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    How do you deal with future faking when an ex spouse uses it to their legal advantage? Example: Court says that mother has to “show the court” a certain behavior over a period of time. Mother obeys courts wishes until court is satisfied and then continues bi polar/narcissistic behaviors that affect/effect children. This has happened over and over again. ???

  • September 18, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    I am not so sure future faking is always a deliberate manipulation technique for people with narcissistic or sociopathic traits, as much as it is impulsivity. Many narcissists and almost all sociopaths are also
    ADHD, and have a hard time with future planning, but have grandeous ideas for what the future will be. This future will typically not manifest, as their long term thinking skills are lacking (deficits in the prefrontal cortex surrounding delayed gratification, etc.)

    Many people will lie/ and promise what they do not intend to deliver, but this isn’t always the motivation when people’s words and actions don’t mesh.

    • September 19, 2019 at 3:00 am

      Hi Cyne,

      The article doesn’t say that everyone who has lied or broke a promise is a narcissist or a malevolent person. This article talks specifically about how people with strong narcissistic tendencies and other dark personality traits do it. And since narcissism, like everything else, is on a spectrum (I’ve talked about that elsewhere), it doesn’t match every case 100 percent.

      I hope that helps!

  • September 22, 2019 at 8:25 am

    Excellent article. I hear this in my private practice from clients ALL of the time. I have never heard it described with a definition or name for the behavior. My clients will ask me, “How did I fall for this? How did this happen to me? What is wrong with me?” This is right on. I will share your article because it is so succinct with relatable examples that it will help open eyes!!! Articles with relatable examples help the damaged individual realize they are not crazy—-they are in an unhealthy relationship — probably with a narcissist.

  • September 22, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    Fantastic article, thanks so much. My ex did this time after time. Like when he coerced me into having an abortion, repeatedly reassuring me:. “I promise we’ll have kids in a year or two. It just isn’t the right time.”

    Having a term for these unhealthy behaviours really helps me to talk about them and articulate how I feel. It gives us a shared language for narcissism and makes me feel less alone (and stupid!) in being manipulated by a skilful narcissist.

  • October 6, 2019 at 8:19 am

    Hmm a very long marriage in which I appeared always to be in the wrong, even when I had the facts on my side to prove I was right, her adaptive illogicality was well I’m a woman and entitled to that, End of argument.
    Fortunately the wheels eventually came off, so after divorce, I kinda got hold of how INFP’s like me work and realised that boundary crashing by narcissistic types with whatever oily promises they offer were no go territory for my value system.
    True I have ADD type flaws, C PTSD and dyslexia, which a partner could find very irritating, but no way am I going to get involved with someone who rocks the boat in a relationship in order to keep claiming the high ground.
    What usually comes with INFP types is HSP an emotional eye with a mega pixel acuity…Aka built in bullshit detector.
    Please do not turn this off in the giddy wistful world of romance and fluff…you are compromising both your natural values and gifts, as I did.

  • October 7, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    This is incredibly helpful. Thank you for identifying and explaining this behavior. I was married to a man on the spectrum. Also a plain bully and manipulate with threats and fear tactics. Extremely emotionally abusive. It’s taken years for some of the repair and healing to occur and because we exchange children they are often just pons cought in a game, all strategic supply for his sick ego. I wish I could be better at not reacting. It just makes the supply that much sweeter.

  • October 8, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    Hello Darius- I want to thank you for your articles…whenever I feel horrible and bereft I read your articles so that I realize that it’s not my fault and there was nothing I could do to change or save my relationship. Something I think that I and women (some men too) in general do is we internalize the bad things that happen to us. Keep writing and helping people it is a selfless act on your part.


  • October 15, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Yes, at hindsight it was all so obvious. I wasn’t falling for her on first sight. I didn’t even liked her particularry. Then she stept up her game. First with indirect but explicit sexual suggestions that enclosed some promise to me in the future. I didn’t fall for it (even disliked it the way she expressed them) but she got me hooked somehow, put me off balance.
    Gradually she went into my live as a ‘friend’. Mirroring all my preferences and ideals.
    I started to feel more for her but I still had this gut-feeling something was off.
    She suggested we both will go on a long travel on motorbikes after she got her bike driving-lisence soon. Which was something I had done many times on my own and longed to do with someone same spirited especially a women.
    She got me dreaming of her and us together. What a manipulator.
    What a fake she turned out to be. Never took motorbike-driving lessons. Never shared any of my interests or values for real. Turned out she was just a very short-minded materialistic, opportunistic women. Not at all the one she presented to me.
    Let alone she had serious romantic interest in me.
    She had been just playing me to keep my attention/narcissistic supply and my support in her professional carreer.
    I cut off contact when it became quite obvious to me she was playing me around.
    Never allowed to get involved very intimid with her. I felt she was dangerous in a way.

    This all ended 6 years ago. Four months ago I learned that her partner for years (after me) killed himself. I’m not quite suprised. Feel very sorry for him (spoke to him once) but also gratefull I escaped that narcissists dance.

  • November 19, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    oh, I had a boyfriend. At first, I made excuses for that behavior and then later I recognized it as simply manipulative lying and made choices and plans based on reality, not on the Narcs’ fairytales.

  • December 25, 2019 at 11:27 am

    Stupidly spent 13 years with a man who future faked me so much and you’re right, about the time I was ready to give up, walk away he would step up the game, more promises etc then you make excuses for the behavior to others. Its so hard, I finally broke it off but its a hard emotional and mental recovery. I wish he felt the pIn I felt every day. I’m ok some days, but others I can barely function.

  • January 6, 2020 at 9:20 am

    11 years with my narc. The latest? He showed me my engagement ring on NYE — but said it was “my fault” I didn’t get it. He never proposed, after several weeks of talking about it, dropping hints, etc.
    Thank God I dodged that bullet. Finally walked away from this madness. Moving on to bigger and better future opportunities.

  • April 3, 2020 at 10:59 am

    Thank you for this article!! My boyfriend always brings up marriage. Asking me would I, “ever get married again,” or would I like to “live w someone.” I usually just laughter it off because I wasnt sure if he was serious. Well last weekend, when he brought it up; I started a real talk about us living together in the future. He became quite , backed down, and then said due to the pandemic we should not be taking about living together even though he brought up.
    On top of that, I have caught him in small white lies.. it makes me feel uneasy.

    • July 16, 2020 at 7:42 pm

      Run! And don’t look back. Those white lies are only the tip of a big lie iceberg!!!

  • May 29, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    Thank you for this article. This phenomenon is so familiar to me, in family relationships, friendships, and partners. One thing I will add: in my experience, not only do they future fake, but they blame the target for when they don’t reach/work toward the desired outcome. They always find a way to make my fault: the fact that they didn’t/couldn’t deliver, and the alleged pressure the expectation put them under. So, you end up hurt, disappointed, AND blamed for your own pain/hopes/dreams/trust.


Join the Conversation!

We invite you to share your thoughts and tell us what you think in this public forum. Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. A first name or pseudonym is required and will be displayed with your comment. Your email address is also required, but will be kept private. (Please note that we use gravatars here, which are tied to your email address.) A website/blog/twitter address is optional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *