43 thoughts on “6 Toxic Arguing Techniques Used by Narcissists and Manipulators

  • August 6, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    I enjoyed reading this article on 6 Toxic Arguing used by narcissists and manipulators. It so reminded me of my sister. She went ballistic on me at her home when my mother was on her death bed. I couldn’t calm her, understand where she was coming from, she said painful and hurtful things and told me she disliked me since I was a child. All the time I kept singing and humming to block her out. She kicked me out of her house and I didn’t get much time to visit with my dyeing mother. She told me she never wanted to see me again. I feel I should call her , then I think not. I feel awful and pray for her and wish her well. Should I contact her??????

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    • February 2, 2019 at 7:23 pm

      No Patty, it will only reinforce her belief that she is always right. Let her dwell in her self-inflicted misery.

      Reply
  • August 7, 2018 at 3:08 am

    I can’t even tell you how frustrating it is reading this article and knowing that my ex-wife is exactly this person and there is really nothing I can do about it. I live in a small town of about 2000 people and we’ve been divorced for over 6 years. We have two boys H 16 + 12 and I have shared custody, which I had to fight for without a lawyer Because the first one was basically just charging hours and I felt I could do a better job and do it for free. Our boys deserve better than this whole situation. From day one she has made it her mission to destroy my name and put a boot to my throat breaking me financially emotionally until I move away from town. But I can’t do that to our boys. They need their father. More than I need them. She told them we got a divorce because I was doing drugs which was not true. She also had her demons and I told our boys that we got a divorce because Mom and Dad could not act like adults. She had a new boyfriend after 3 weeks of filing for divorce I think I waited a year because I needed to focus on my own greeting process and the boys needs Above All Else. I don’t air my dirty laundry on social media like she does. I don’t bad mouth her in front of our boys. Or in public where their ears can hear. I don’t hate her. I feel indifferent towards her. I have forgiven her for everything that she did while we were married and even stuff that has happened since divorce but I cannot forgive her for time I’ve lost with our boys. Maybe someday. I have so many emails and texts that would backup every single point in this article but no one gives a shit. I can’t afford to take her back to court even though those boys are being emotionally damaged buy them I just try to set a good example and parallel parents the best I can. I make the time I do have with them quality time. No gifts. No money. Just making memories. I remember the first time I came across the term narcissist and what it entailed but I never called her that it does no good. And sure enough one of her nasty emails she used the term incorrectly but applied it to me. I have heard every cliche about people and divorce and it has allowed me to cheap taking the high road where there is less traffic. I have faith in myself and I found a hobby that I love to keep me busy when they are not home but I just wish somebody could stop her. When both of our boys have graduated from high school I hope they move as far away from this toxic mess as possible because they are both straight A students and can do anything they put their minds to. They truly are the best parts of both of us and she gave me two perfect little Souls that I will always cherish and always love. But that’s it I don’t owe her anything except being civil and adult when we are in front of our children. Even if she isn’t one of us has to be the adult. I don’t believe in all that Karma crap. Because I don’t wish bad things on other people. Whenever she gets has nothing to do with me and how I want to live my life which is to treat others how I want to treat it. It breaks my heart though because she is the mother of our boys and for a short year we did get along great and I loved it but it was only temporary because her inability to love herself holds us all in that prison with her. I do not wish divorce on anybody ever not even my worst enemy. Especially when there’s children involved. The older she gets the worst it is getting and I feel helpless because I know there is damage being done to them by someone who supposedly loves them with all her heart. I think about doing all these different things to clear my name and expose her but it’s just a waste of time and energy that I would rather put towards good things. I really don’t even know why I started this rant but it feels good sometimes to just get shit out and then hit the delete button. I get the children in the middle class one month after she filed for divorce and she did the course also according to her certificate. I don’t think she took anything away from the class. I had pages and pages of notes and I continue today to still look for more information on improving myself as a single father. I even asked her if she wanted to go with me to the class so we would be on the same page and I was laughed at. I’m just trying to get through each day and surviving long enough to see what these boys do with their lives. And I hope somebody tells them the truth about their mother and father. Won’t do me any good but at least they they would be told how hard I tried until my last breath.

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    • September 1, 2018 at 5:42 am

      I am with you with every single sentence you wrote. Like I wrote it. Except for the last sentence. I often think ‘I hope the kids find out and realize. I hope someone tells them…’ But why? It will only hurt them. Either they come to their own conclusion or they don’t. I will not tell them all the toxic details. Take the high road. All the way to the end. And good luck
      Mother of 9+12, dealing with a narcissistic non-co-parent.

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    • November 23, 2018 at 8:38 am

      I wish you well sir. As the other commenter stated, try to always take the high road.
      You children need your support and display of the high road technique.

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    • November 28, 2018 at 11:56 am

      I get it all, last line inclussive, BECAUSE the cycle will not be broken unless they come to terms with their mother’s behavior being wrong. Yes, it is tempting to just hope they can be happy and never find out she was evil, but that would be doing a disservice to your grandkids, something I already see playing out in my life, as my kids are so under the spell of their narcissistic father, he is further able to disguise his ways with his wife as the aggressor though, triangulating her against me from day one, and this woman acts so insane I am not sure from day to day if she is full blown psychopath or borderline, maybe . But I love what you said about the kharma thing, and that has been my montra throughout this terrible mess, or rather when people say “the best revenge is to be happy and successful, unaffected so they don’t have that control over you”, when my response has always been, “why is it you assume I seek revenge?” I just want to accheive justice for me and my daughters, a resolution, no more conflict, no more pain. Having to come to realize that may not be accheived in this life. God promises this pain will not matter in the next, it is what I have to look forward to.

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  • August 7, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    You have described Donald Trump to a T. Scary…

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    • September 24, 2018 at 9:19 am

      I was thinking the same thing!

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    • January 30, 2019 at 8:53 am

      DT to a “T” for sure. Sad, because it also describes my father to a “T.” He disowned me then convinced his mother, my wonderful, loving grandmother, to write me off. And then my cousin (who wanted to be our grandmother’s favorite) also wrote me off. My own mother put up with his behavior for about 2 decades before she left. He married someone who won’t argue with him but thinks she has her own mind.

      My mother tried hard to let us come to our own conclusions about our dad. It has been a hard lesson, going from daddy’s little princess to never talking to one another. I just had to let go of my ideas for my daddy and me because this behavior on top of sexual perversity cannot be in my life now that I have a child.

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    • March 5, 2019 at 7:57 pm

      What more can I say? OUR ‘elected’ POTUS is 100% a ‘Wile E. Coyote, super-genius’ pathological narcissist – how ridiculous is that? More Bugs Bunny & less TMZ could make all the difference…educate yourselves & speak out against narcissism EVERYWHERE. Please! Thank you

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  • August 7, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    yup perfect description of my ex

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  • August 8, 2018 at 6:55 am

    Well I have some friends who are narcissistic. I often wondered, since I have a BS in Psychology, if it was their upbringing or just being poor that makes them this way. I often get word salad and my words put back to me in a garbled mixed up manner. I think for those with poor English communication skills, they take the second person , you, and redirect the conversation as if we are the problem, that is tough to deal with. In other words, like “how would you like it,?or , what are you supposed to do,?” referring to themselves in these situations. Perhaps they are crying out for assistance, but this comes with education, so I guess some of my friends are poor and uneducated.

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  • August 8, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Thank you for an excellent article describing narcissism! It has helped me to realize the futility in trying to reason with a narcissist.

    Four years ago I spent almost a year away from home helping and caring for my terminally ill daughter (whom I will call Betsy) in a neighboring state. During that time I would return home for brief stays to take care of business, and then hurry back to lend my assistance with driving to and from doctors’ appointments, surgeries, cooking and laundry, moral support, etc. During the brief periods that I was away, my son-in-law would leave his job to accompany Betsy for medical appointments, etc. Betsy’s friend (who had been diagnosed as bipolar, and whom I will refer to as Jessica) would help in this regard, too; even when her help was not needed, she would come and sit with us whenever my daughter was receiving blood transfusions or undergoing tests. Jessica was “clingy” and manipulative, to the point that at one time when I was scheduled to return on a specific day after having spent a few days at home, Jessica texted me telling me to delay my return because she would take over my “sitter” duties for a few days. Although this seemed to be a noble gesture on her part, I could not change my plans for several reasons, one of which involved a friend of mine accompanying me on the drive so that she could babysit for her own daughter living in the same area. I could relate many more instances of Jessica’s efforts to control me and to make me look bad in my daughter’s eyes—exactly as you describe in your article here–but it would be much too time-consuming to do so.

    Sometime during the last few weeks of Betsy’s life, while I was busy in her kitchen and my young adult granddaughter (Betsy’s daughter) and a paid sitter were in the bedroom with Betsy, Jessica came to visit. Shortly after her arrival, the sitter was sent out of the room and came downstairs to join me while I was cooking in the kitchen. About an hour later, I went upstairs to the bedroom where the three of them were, only to find the door shut—so I turned around and returned to the kitchen. Still later, I went upstairs again, but they were still behind closed doors. Eventually Jessica emerged from the bedroom and left for home.

    The next morning, while I was enjoying a morning cup of coffee, my granddaughter (with whom I had always had a loving relationship) approached me and proceeded to accuse me of all sorts of things—shocking me so much that the only specific I can remember is that she said I was making Betsy’s illness all about myself. I hardly recognized my granddaughter; it was as though she was possessed. (In my own defense, I don’t think I deserved that charge; I don’t remember ever having complained about being there to help my dying daughter.) It just so happened that the Hospice nurse was upstairs with Betsy at the time and heard my granddaughter lambasting me. That nurse later came and sat on the floor next to me, held my hand, and tried to console me. Later my granddaughter came and apologized to me, having been sent by the Hospice nurse to do so; a couple of days later, while my granddaughter was driving back to college, she called me to apologize again, telling me that she didn’t know what got into her. As for Betsy, Hospice had her so heavily medicated with pain pills that I will never know to what extent she participated in the plot evidently hatched by Jessica to drive me away and to make me look bad in the eyes of my daughter and granddaughter. After enduring that diatribe by my granddaughter, I slept less than three hours the following night and knew that at my age (then 81) I couldn’t continue to function and be of help there anymore, so I told my son-in-law I had to return home. After a couple of weeks away from the situation, wanting to be with my terminally ill daughter during her last days, I returned for a brief time, but again found it difficult to be around Jessica, who succeeded in driving me away again. She wanted to be Betsy’s “go-to” girl, although Betsy had previously told me that Jessica was undependable and couldn’t be counted on for help.

    In my search for information that would describe Jessica’s personality, I became convinced that she is a narcissist. This article of yours describes her perfectly. Even after four years, no matter how hard I try letting go of those events, I will always wonder what went on among those three behind closed doors in that bedroom that precipitated the attack on me, and what my dying daughter felt about me after having her mind poisoned by Jessica. When I tried talking to my granddaughter about this, she burst out crying and wouldn’t talk about it, so I will never know exactly what happened behind those closed doors. Other family and friends were never the target of Jessica’s wrath and have never seen that side of her, so they think I have made much ado about nothing. To others, Jessica has a great, fun-loving personality, although Betsy once told me that among their circle of friends the general consensus was that they felt sorry for Jessica’s husband because she was so difficult to deal with. So to sum it up, thank you for the clarity you brought to my search for information that would help me better understand the difficulties in dealing with a narcissist.

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    • January 30, 2019 at 9:08 am

      I wonder what was in it for Jessica?

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  • August 8, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    I just had to break off from a relationship with a narcissist, for the second time. I tried to the best of my ability to make it work after 7 years of silence but sadly, when it comes to this type of person it doesn’t matter how much they say they have changed, eventually their true colors show through, and in my case my own mental stability was taking a hit and I had to say enough. It hurts so badly, my mother is 82 now, but I have to take care of myself, and protect my own stability. I am coming our of a recent mental health crisis, I asked my psychiatrist for help and that if he couldn’t help me right then, that I wanted him to check me into the hospital, ( the Last Place I Ever want to be) he made a medication change and added a stronger anti anxiety medication, and I am beginning to feel better. So now back to working on getting stronger, getting out of the house, and engaging in life again.

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  • August 9, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Some real aha moments in this article! One which really stands out for me is why I tortured myself for decades with the “if only” thinking. I don’t have contact with people like this anymore, it’s just too full of heartache and frustration. If you think you can “fix” them you are sadly mistaken.

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  • August 25, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Wow.. This is the best article I have read so far… Im not in the relationship any more but are standing back and watching the show he is putting on for others…

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  • September 1, 2018 at 5:49 am

    There are many great articles about narcissism. This is an excellent summary for me. Short, sweet, to the point. Covering all the points why communication and cooperation is impossible with true narcissists and why you end up doubting yourself, like you were the culprit all along. It is sad to learn there are so many of these sick peoples out there that make life miserable for others, especially innocent children. And the courts give a royal fuck.

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  • September 5, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Its pretty alarming to know that trying to go up against a narcissist that will stop at nothing to win, deceive, betray etc, what should one do when they are about to divorce you. When they use their manipulation skills on your children and all the people that you know as friends together, to discredit you, make you out to be a monster, all the while they are the smiling assassins!!

    When its a woman who can put on the crocodile tears on a whim, what chance has a compassionate, caring man/husband got??

    Doomed for the get go!!

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  • September 19, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    This post describes my husband to a T. I no longer give him and ‘in’ where he’d play all his nasty narc games with me. I walk away and shut my ears. Amen

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  • September 24, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Don’t forget the “I was joking!” lie and all its variations – aka, “Come on, you didn’t seriously think I meant that…” etc. after saying some outrageously hurtful or critical thing directly to your face.

    I fell for that LIE for years, but I’m onto it now. I started responding with, “But, it wasn’t funny. *You* weren’t laughing, you weren’t even smiling?? How am I supposed to know?”

    He hasn’t been doing it for quite some time now, but my guard is always up.

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    • November 27, 2018 at 8:47 am

      thank you Andrea for mentioning “i was joking!” I grappled with this one after ‘friend’ yelled at me in front of people at a dinner party. When I said the next day that I was upset by it, I was told just that! When i said it didn’t seem a joke, I was told i couldn’t take a joke & that she’d never joke with me anymore & she didn’t know what she said that upset me. i.e. it’s my fault because I’m too sensitive.
      A couple of years later (the friendship hobbled along with me often feeling confused, upset & depressed) I brought it up again as a way to illustrate how NOT to communicate in such a situation.Thinking we could clear the air about other niggles as well. It got even worse! She still maintained it was a joke that everyone else got but me. That I was manic that night, yelling & screaming & knocking things over (I did accidentally knock a glass of wine over & was very embarrassed). And finally that i was a danger to myself. I was gutted & told her that I’d have to check with other friends if I’d been like that before.They laughed!) She started back-pedalling then. After this article I’m pretty sure I’ve a narcissist on my hands but am now worried about repercussions. This person is very popular around town & there have already been some goes at social isolation. Sorry to blurt but i wonder if you have any advice. Part of me still wonders if it’s somehow my fault. That somehow i provoke her.. I only know of one other person that has had similar dealing. Thanks & best wishes.

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      • November 27, 2018 at 4:14 pm

        Firstly, none of this is your fault. Secondly, a real friend would never treat somebody as you have been treated. Thirdly, I would give myself lots of space from this person in order to heal. There is no way you can ever win with these people. They know exactly which buttons to push. It is a game to them. Find some people who love and respect you for who you are. You say she is “popular around town” but perhaps it’s just a façade. These people have a charming exterior but this is not the reality. They have an inner instinct as to the vulnerabilities of others and they just want to exploit these good qualities. You will never have an equal relationship with this person. They will always want the upper hand. All they do is cause pain and havoc in people’s lives.

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  • October 22, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    What if you live with 3 of them? My mom, my sister and my aunt, who are the three people I live with, have at least 3 of the 6 traits mentioned.

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  • November 11, 2018 at 11:24 am

    This article simply explains what I have been struggling to tell people in my family about for a long time. THANK YOU! I am an alienated grandmother and appreciate this article. Thanks! I’d like to add that I am also Lithuanian which I think you may be as well. Onward.

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  • November 19, 2018 at 12:36 am

    My words are not as long as the others, but my appreciation is just as genuine. Thank you for writing this article, it is very helpful.

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  • November 20, 2018 at 6:51 am

    Thank you for this excellent summary of narcissism. I had never heard of such a thing when I married my husband but years later I realized this is what he was. I realized it was largely the result of his childhood. I read that it takes 2 to play the games but when 1 stops playing the game something has to give. I knew I could not stay with him if he did not grow up so started learning what the games were and working out how to stop playing them. It took years but I chose to stay when I recognized my methods were working and something was finally giving – he was starting to change.

    After 32 years he is so very different and his family and extended family have finally been able to build meaningful relationships with him as well. He will never be the emotionally intelligent adult I would love him to be but I recognize he has become the best he can be and I am thankful I battled through those early years. I will add that I would have left him immediately if he had been physically abusive to me and I would also have left him if after a few years I had not seen any improvement in his behaviour. I knew back then I would prefer to struggle along on my own than allow myself to be destroyed by someone who professed to love me. Now, although love is still a bit of a strange concept to him, he does respect and value me.

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  • November 23, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    This article is clear, concise and accurate! It isn’t easy to try to explain what it is like arguing or even just trying to communicate with someone with NPD. I will share this with as many people as I can. Well done, and thank you.

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  • November 24, 2018 at 7:46 am

    Enjoyed the writing. Explaining the narsassis. Breaking it down. Focusing on the “auto-response” we all seem to fall trap into. Falsely believing they have an equal buy in to the discussion. Blurring facts, with irrational emotion.

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  • December 1, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Hi, I’ve just read this as I worry that I’ve acted like that towards my late wife in the past, but I’m so relieved that I can say I don’t do any of this. I always tried my hardest to understand her. Thank you for writing this article.

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  • January 9, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    Are you talking about our President?
    DG

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  • January 11, 2019 at 12:35 am

    I’m surrounded by narcissists left and right at my miserable municipal government job. I am so glad to have this article to read to them verbatim when they begin their harassment of me. I will read the article aloud, instead of falling into their traps. They will neither learn nor acknowledge that the article refers to them, but it will assuage my displeasure over having to be exposed to them on a daily basis. No one can penalize me for reading and quoting articles aloud.

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  • January 14, 2019 at 11:38 am

    Spot on! Thank you so much for your research and for writing this article! I am just now taking steps to get healing from being a victim of this behavior. I’m in my early 40’s & met my husband 4yrs ago and even getting a master’s degree in [Biblical] Counseling, I never knew this behavior existed to such a degree, so I couldn’t understand what was happening in my life and I was miserable. It was about a year ago I truly learned what a narcissist was and I could put a label on the conflict. I just asked my husband to move out this weekend. Thank you for your article as it is yet another confirmation not to take on the guilt of my decision and to hold fast that this is what has broken me down for so long, that there really is a problem and it’s not all of the false things he’s accused me of over the years just to twist my mind and win every argument. Again, thank you and God bless you

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  • January 27, 2019 at 7:42 am

    Am a narcissist and i am a psychologist…..aparently am still learning….last time in a separate social net. Group. Where psychologists in kenya have a small proffessional chat ….some pne came to my inbox and told me my arguments are sound and utterly disrespectful

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  • February 3, 2019 at 7:21 am

    @Steve Gokey

    “Perhaps they are crying out for assistance, but this comes with education, so I guess some of my friends are poor and uneducated.”

    What on earth do you mean by this? And no, growing up poor may play a part of making someone a narcissist but it’s mostly genetic. Also that conclusion that you said about them “they take the second person , you, and redirect the conversation as if we are the problem, that is tough to deal with” is actually not a result of lack of education; most of the narcissists I’ve met do that, whether they finished high school or not. Same goes for the confused chaotic mess that is their words when they shift the blame onto you. It’s intentional. And if they want assistance, they should go get it in a honest, genuine matter, but that is least likely to happen since they only think for themselves and rather take the easy but consequential route. Plus why would they want to change themselves when they know nothing’s wrong with them? They are filled with denial and the chances of a narcissist wanting to change is close to 0.

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  • February 22, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    I think and worry about my kids and hubs being narcissists. My crazy not immediate family made sure I could never be arrogant or extreme, they earned those rights al for themselves. .
    So I am learning to not be intimidated and played on by strangers, freinds, and everyone else.

    If I can learn, ANYONE CAN CHANGE!!! I am stubborn, so stubborn.

    I am the change I want and need to see. I am my own inspiration. I volunteer, that’s it for now. I cannot mentally afford anything else.

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  • February 23, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    My ex told me he has a very high emotional intelligence??? ALL the above you mentioned fit him to the T…..

    I left this circus he calls his life 3 months ago.

    What a joke!

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  • March 1, 2019 at 8:32 am

    Interesting read. I believe my husband has OCPD which is co-morbid with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The last 38 years with him have been exhausting. And who is in therapy? Me.

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  • March 5, 2019 at 2:23 am

    Must be progressing because some of the language and descriptions of behaviour in this article actually made me laugh a little – it rings so true!

    I recognize every single one of these tactics. Someday I’ll stop kicking myself for having seen it sooner.

    Thankfully not getting the “hoovering” any longer, and been low-contact for nearly 4 months.

    Thank you for this.

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  • March 19, 2019 at 5:18 am

    Jena J writes that it takes two to play the narcissistic game and that when one stops to play that game something must give and maybe even that there is a possibility for the narcissistic person to change to some degree or at least be able to live in some harmony with this person. What I would love to know how would one need to react or not react for not becoming a victim of all the manipulation? How did Jena J managed that?

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