88 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??????

    • 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.

    • March 15, 2020 at 1:51 pm

      Exactly- Jesse Lefever

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • February 8, 2020 at 4:46 pm

        I would love to talk to anyone that is married to a NPD. NO one understands what I am going through

      • February 18, 2020 at 1:12 pm

        I am married to a man with NPD. I have four children with him. It SUCKS!!!!!

      • February 22, 2020 at 9:55 am

        Kate….you can talk to me. I am in it but on my way out. rosellad.gcvac@gmail.com. I need someone to talk to as well. It has been an absolute horrible experience!

      • May 4, 2020 at 6:22 am

        I do, been married to a npd wife for 20 years, just figured it out a year ago. I used to feel like no one on earth could be dealing with what I was. its sad but comforting to know so many others understand. Your in an exclusive club. very few people who haven’t gone through this will be able to understand. but those of us who have understand instantly. Your not alone. you can get free. I am getting ready to free myself. love yourself. your worth it

      • August 23, 2020 at 5:29 am

        I think my husband is a narcissist. He has always talked bad about me to our 3 children behind my back. So does his mother. They tell them I’m lazy and didn’t raise them. Which isn’t true. I’ve worked harder than he ever has. I finished my college degree through 3 pregnancies, worked a night shift in a factory til cud find job in my field and then kept my children during the day, I’ve worked 2 jobs 7 days a week, worked a job where I don’t get home til after midnight every night. I kept the kids every single weekend while he was gone hunting and fishing. I never got a weekend. But he says these things about me like I did nothing. He even told me he was going to turn everyone against me, including my 3 children. Said he’d do it just because he could. (Because he has always been VERY popular and everyone loves him). Head extremely good looking when he was young. All the girls wanted to date him. And he knows it too. He’d threaten to take my kids from me. I used to be afraid of him. Especially when he became angry. He’d say horribly damaging things to me. Even now, after nearly 22 years he tells people bad things about me behind my back. It’s like he’s just doing it to make me look bad. The kids are confused. They want to believe what their dad and grandmother tell them because they believe they love them. I actually had $ saved up on my own from working 2 jobs. But when my daughter was 17/18 she started taking my debit card without my knowledge and spent it all. I’m only person on the account and just never checked it. I wasn’t getting home from work til after midnight every night. I was crazy busy. And by the time I noticed it, it was too late. He blames that on me too. He says if he’d had $ saved. No one would ever take it without him noticing it. He ruined my credit by locking my cc statements in his truck and not giving them to me. I had less than $100 on 2 and $155 on other one. I’d only done that to buy some shirts for my 2 sons who’s who pics at school. I had the $ to pay them is what’s bad about it. He says he isn’t responsible for it. This was also during the time I was working crazy hours. I was basically working. And that’s it. He’s always made it clear he isn’t taking care of me financially. If I had no money or job then I just would not eat or have gas in my car. I’m so ready to get out of this. But then I second guess myself and say maybe I’m just crazy. Maybe this isn’t narcissism. Surely he doesn’t hurt me on purpose. I know he lies. I’ve caught him too many times. He never talks to me. He never responds to any of my text messages. He just acts like I’m nothing and he’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I don’t make enough money to make it on my own. And I think why should I live in poverty when he gets to live a good life? From what I’ve read he will never change. What’s sad is I had SO many high hopes for my life, goals, etc. I feel like he just stole my life from me. I’m so lonely. I’ve never cheated on him. Sometimes I think if I did I could find someone and get out. He has probably cheated on me. He certainly has had the opportunity to. He used to stay gone for hours and hours and hours hunting and fishing. He is definitely against me. I just wonder what it would be like to be with someone who really loves me and treats me good. That just seems like a dream that will never come true. And that’s so sad because I know tons of people that have good marriages. And I always wonder how nice that must be. I can’t even imagine it. I’ve been with him since I was 22 years old. That’s a very long time to be treated like this. I can’t believe I’m not completely insane or even still have any self esteem. Maybe he isn’t a narcissist. But he is definitely emotionally and mentally and financially abusive. The only person I tell this to is my mom. I don’t think anyone else would believe me. They certainly would not understand. It’s all things you can’t see. And only things I see.
        Maybe someday soon things will somehow get better for me. I hope so….

      • August 27, 2020 at 7:26 am

        I am…

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • October 30, 2019 at 5:18 am

      So sorry you have to deal with such an awful situation.

    • March 2, 2020 at 9:04 am

      well I know someone who is in the same situation as you , even worse. and so true the lawyers take all your money and do nothing. He is almost a broken man today

      BUT most comments on this page are from women, about men what about the women who are narcissistic , or art there any

      • March 11, 2020 at 2:37 pm

        I’ve been married to a narcissistic woman for 30 very long years. We have 6 children from 16 to 27. The oldest 3 don’t plan on ever marrying or having children, because they don’t want to inflict the punishment on other human beings. I thought staying was best for the family. My youngest two have asked me to avoid business travel, because they have to walk on eggshells if I’m not in the house to diffuse her attacks. I told her this week “I’m done” after trying desperately to meet her needs all through last year. My one need? Just try to be kind towards me. Rejected. Now, the day after I say I’m done, she’s trying to act nice, like nothing ever happened. No apology, no meaningful discussion. Delusional.

  • August 7, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    You have described Donald Trump to a T. Scary…

    • September 24, 2018 at 9:19 am

      I was thinking the same thing!

    • 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.

    • 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

    • June 11, 2019 at 3:03 am

      Funny thing is… I was thinking about Trump today, and how thanks to him (lol) the whole county is learning about narcissists… Which even though he’s a bad man is a good thing. More people are waking to to what narcissists are, and how they operate.

      As far as I’m concerned all other mental health issues come from narcissism…. in one way shape or another. Before anyone gets mad at me… This is what I mean… I am plural as in D.I.D. (MPD) with C-PTSD this wouldn’t have happened if it were not for my narcissistic parents, and the abuse they heaped out on me as a child…. So, although I/we weren’t/aren’t narcissists… it can be traced to one… actually two, but that’s beside the point… lol

      This is really what I/we believe… this is only our belief. We aren’t trying to say this is a fact, and that everyone should believe as we do. It’s just an interesting concept, and really should be explored.

  • August 7, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    yup perfect description of my ex

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • January 30, 2019 at 9:08 am

      I wonder what was in it for Jessica?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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!!

  • 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

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  • 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.

    • June 6, 2020 at 10:58 pm

      Same. I’m surrounded by people like this. It’s a nightmare. The only way I know to cope is to avoid them as much as possible. Become a hermit. Even if you try to ignore the things they do, they’ll still keep trying to bring you down because they’re addicted to it. They won’t stop. They never get tired of it. It’s like water and air to them. Find some sort of calming or soothing exercise to do every time you find yourself dealing with them. They’ll mess with your head too much. Remind yourself that that isn’t reality and other people are kinder. Life doesn’t have to hurt this bad.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • August 23, 2019 at 6:40 pm

      I’m interested to know how you maintained respect for this man which enabled you to continue in a relationship with him? I could possibly change how I respond to the rubbish but I am finding it hard to keep respect for someone like that so our relationship is probably doomed because as a result I am unable to give myself to him sexually as I just feel used. I don’t know how others maintain a relationship like this?

      • September 1, 2019 at 9:40 pm

        Carol, I am in the same boat as the commenter above. I stuck it out and felt it was a foolish decision many times. My husband is a very different man today than he was when we started, but it was so very difficult to get here. I know exactly what you mean about the sex life. Ours was terrible for years. I just couldn’t find him sexually attractive when he treated me the way he did. We’ve been together for 10 years. The first year we had great sex. The next 5 or so years were pretty dry. I thought it was my fault. It was just a big mess. It’s only looking back that I realize what it was truly about. I just couldn’t give myself to someone that didn’t act like they respected me. We still struggle sometimes, but our sex life did return after a lot of hard work from both sides. Good luck!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • January 9, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    Are you talking about our President?

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

    • August 23, 2019 at 6:51 pm

      Yes I would also like to know that but sadly the relationship has taken its toll on me and I feel nothing but contempt abs disrespect for my partner so I don’t think it can be salvaged. Perhaps if I was more savvy to start with it could have worked….. however really I don’t see I was ever playing a game. I think I naively believed he was genuine and that we were just maybe misunderstanding each other so I persisted in trying to create more understanding ( what a fool I was)

    • December 2, 2019 at 6:17 pm

      It’s extremely hard but once you practice the art of “responding and not reacting” the quarrels and crazymaking will slow down — it would still happen occasionally though because Narcissists like drama. When life becomes a routine for a few weeks, and nothing really is happening, out of boredom they suddenly ramp up and create a chaos. For example, you could feel that they are simmering with anger with no apparent reason and for the smallest of thing they will lash out, start calling names and at that point it becomes extremely difficult to not get sucked in. They are very good at throwing an insult bait at you at a very sensitive moment, and once you take the bait then you’re in the game and by the time you come to your senses, they project all their negativity on to you and make you the bad guy and become the victim. It’s sucks! It really does. I have still not perfected the art of not reacting, I have gone better but I need to master this skill. So hopefully after that, these mind-bending games will come to cease.

  • April 4, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    what is it when someone says: “Do we have any bread left or did we eat it all?” and they expect a yes or a no answer; it is impossible to please them, whatever the answer it is declared as wrong; if I say “yes we have bread” they say, “You did not have to say all that, I just wanted a yes or a no”.
    if I say “yes” only, then they get upset because I did not give enough information.

  • April 20, 2019 at 9:08 am

    This is often the case with Narcissistic parents particularly if you are not getting yourself back on track quickly enough and life isn’t easy with the narcissistic parents. It is about how they want life to be. When I lost my car in an accident, 3 years ago it has left me stranded. I lost my job soon after because of lack of transportation. I live in the Suburbs and there are no buses nearby where I can hop onto. We have to pretty much drive to get around. I live with them and then they also took m,y insurance check of $16k where that money was supposed to go to my car replacement but used to by Kitchen appliance and a grill. I was really pisssed at the fact that I had no way of getting around. The sheer frustration of being stuck inside the house is overwhelming. I feel like stuck whereas hearing my mothers’ constant complaints but unwilling to work out a solution to solve the problem. I also have a son I need to care for and the thing that gets me going is how much I try to solve problems effectively with my parents but instead of finding a win-win solution I often get a backhanded help. Like I stay here but I am unable to help with finances because I can’t go out and work not saying I can’t do it but without a car how am I supposed to get there and back. I am not allowed to borrow their car. All I hear is them gaslighting me and smear campaigning me to the point I can’t stop all of them.

    My parents are well off people but whenever I get myself in a bind they use it to try and punish me but will find ways to lament over the circumstance like it’s my fault that they decided to take money from me… I am not sure how to resolve any of this when I need to get this resolved and I want my income back and live my life again. I just don’t know how to when options are limited. No matter how much confrontation I do with them, they will find ways to twist it around as if it is my fault in everything Nothing they do is ever wrong. I am trying to get my life back and I want it back. Yet friends can only help so much, the family don’t really hear what you have to say because they think you are in the wrong. No matter what you do to try to figure things out and asking for some help they are never around to actually help but will find ways to criticize you for wanting to do better. I feel like I am banging my head against wall.

  • May 25, 2019 at 1:16 am

    Does saying I don’t want to argue but then saying your piece without the other person saying their piece line up with any of these?

  • May 25, 2019 at 10:34 am

    After 34 years with a sadist covert narc I am only beginning to understand the long term damage he did to my mind and physical health, I still can only look at the behavior of this man and wonder how another human being could be so cruel.

  • June 6, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    This certainly sounds like the behavior of the therapist I hired.

  • June 24, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    This site has been so informative to me. Only February of this year I happened to stumble on the definition of a narcissist. I cannot believe I have been in a relationship with someone so devoid of emotion. Last year was my 31st anniversary, and for years I have written in journals I feel like I have been in a war zone over the most trivial matters. I had no knowledge of the terms triangulation, gas lighting , hoovering. But boy did I experience them.
    I am on the cusp of leaving but a joined work commitment and house stops me ! But inspiration that I am on the right road to leave helps. Grey rock is currently helping me get through crap days!

  • June 30, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    Thank you for this article. I recognise some of my ex husbands traits in this particularly gas lighting. I ended up so conflicted and confused. His ability to argue all night, constantly accusing me of things I did not do or even contemplate doing vs being so sweet and loving. My head felt like I was on a roller coaster and I started defending myself so much so that I became somebody I did not know. He doesn’t tick all boxes but certainly a lot. I left him a couple of months ago and thought about going back many times but I realise that it would become worse. Thank you again

  • July 18, 2019 at 4:07 am

    This certainly fits in with these toxic online players that plague the gaming communities. I can definitely see gaslighting as a superior motive. One thing narcissists have in common is a god complex, thinking they’re more superior in belief. Honestly, if you get frustrated by the person’s attempt at making you think you’re losing your sanity, they’ve won. That was their goal, to make you mad. Even though, clearly they were mad in the first place. I really want to understand people like this more, maybe even become a psychologist.

  • July 25, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    My family and extended family has engaged in BPD triangulation tactics since i can remember. My Aunts, father, cousins etc… My engagement in this activity decreased from the time I was 22 and recognized the chaos in the whole dynamic. I consciously picked apart interactions with the more narcissistic members of the family and recognized the roles everyone played in our family. I then carefully asked questions like, “Did you ever wonder why dad goes to you and gets you to side against me when he has a problem with me?” Did you ever wonder why he doesn’t leave his arguments between just him and I. I recognized that he was using my brother (mother sister and brother) as a proxy recruit to attack me long before I knew the word proxy recruit (in fact almost 20 years). My mother unknowingly experienced the recruitment of extended family against her for years wondering why people were so rude to her when she left my dad. He told them she had affairs she didn’t have during their marriage. My question is about triangulation specifically. I have met with 4 people who I believe have used a very subtle method of proxy recruitment. I believe this method, of which I cannot find a definition for, to be the most effective method to triangulate, given its effects on relationships I once had. However, I cannot find the name for this method—but I do believe it to be triangulation. I second guess myself because I have learned that when I point out the behaviour to the friends I was trying desperately to hold onto they didn’t believe my perception. It feels chaotic and i would just like to know what another person’s perspective might be on this. So in this case, instead of the proxy recruiter saying bad things about me to character assassinate me, they tell my friend all kinds of good things about me. During this period they show a huge amount of interest in my friends and mirror interests in music and really d anything that will make the friend feel appreciated by them. However, when the friend is not around they treat me badly-the mask comes off….AND then it made me uncomfortable around the person who mistreated me, especially when they would make an increased effort to garner my friend’s favour toward me. In all cases except one, siblings, friends, boyfriends all end up choosing the recruiter over me. The exception believed in me because the recruiter in that case had used a similar tactic against her. So I ask if there is a name for triangulation where the recruiter, pretends to think the world of you while making you feel insecure about friend the recruiter is sucking up to while pretending to like you AND being mean to you behind everyone else’s back. What is that dynamic?

    • July 25, 2019 at 8:40 pm

      ***especially when they would make an increased effort to garner my friend’s favour toward them.
      ***In all cases except one, siblings, friends, boyfriends all end up choosing the recruiter over me I’ve tried dealing with this dynamic in the following ways….I feel insecure and believe it shows…I talk to the friend about what is happening and they can’t believe someone so nice would be doing something so mean to me…or I talk to the recruiter about what is happening about the mistreatment, which results in them denying the mistreatment and gaslighting me about my perception…or I pretend nothing is wrong and continually try to prove that I am a good person, or I walk away. Either way the hidden treatment toward me messes with my head and I wonder how they can be so nice to me friend and not to me… the insecurity and presentation that they have become better friends with the person I was a close friend with gets in my brain and messes me up. I read that any engagement is part of the problem with triangualtors and so I now simply disengage and move on from friendships that appear to have this dynamic. Is that healthy?

      • August 25, 2020 at 8:05 pm

        The healthiest action to take is walk away.
        Your description was spot on about the recruitment of flying monkeys. The recruiter runs a smear campaign and gas lights you.

        Unfortunately this forum does not have a notification button so that you know I’ve responded to you. I was a victim as well and the best thing to do is go no contact, even with your “friends.”

        It hurts, I know.

  • August 20, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    Best description of the nutshell that it is, that I have ever read.

    It’s validation to the hell on earth some got into.

  • September 16, 2019 at 10:03 pm

    This article is *spot on* about my husband of 27 years. Each and every example describes him EXACTLY! I have been married to an emotionally abusive man who for nearly 20 years convinced me I was inadequate in so many ways. His sharp edged manipulative line of questioning that only led to ‘proving’ not only was he ‘right’ but he had the audacity to call me an abusive person whenever I tried to defend myself in anger. When we I would no answer yes or no tonhis question and try to explain how I felt , he would say I’m Changing the subject or trying to lie or some other fakes accusation. I had to answer yes or no to prove the facts were straight.This is the person who threatened to jump off a two story balcony because I refused to go snorkeling with him because I CAN’T SWIM. His reply after I brought this up yesterday to tell him he’s a controlling person with some serious issues, his response, ‘Well, if you ended up not going snorkeling, then how can you call me a controlling person? You got your way, didn’t you?’

    I lived in fear of his explosive violent behavior, reckless driving, threats of suicide, trying to jump out of a moving vehicle, constant silent treatments for no reason, forcing me to go where he goes with consequences if I said I’m tired and wan to rest( this was when I was working full tome and pregnant) exploding at the slightest comment or opinion out of the blue. He kicked my pregnant belly because I wouldn’t stay the weekend at his mother’s who
    Lived 45 min away. I told him to just without me and the argument escalated and he kicked me that night. I went to a women’s shelter, 13 years later in 2009, during another one of his adult tantrums, I decided I had enough! The fear suddenly stopped and I didn’t care what pissed him off anymore. A weight had suddenly been lifted . I didn’t try care to ‘talk it out’ as we usually did after so many episodes of him blaming me for his outbursts because ‘ he felt cornered’ by me with my ‘bad behavior’ which meant whenever I opened my mouth and had a thought in my head– bad behavior he called it.
    I’m still married to this a*** and I plan to leave him as soon as I get my finances in order. I finally started a new job after staying at home raising our three daughters. I used to make as much $ as he did– he’s an engineer–but I quit a well paying job 18 years ago because I was depressed and thought I was incapable of a professional career. To be fair, he did not ask me to quit, but I was crying all the time from the nonstop arguments and feeling anxious all the time. I stopped taking to people and I hid at home. My kids suffer from social anxiety.

    I was going to wait it out till my youngest goes to college in 4 years, but I can’t live like this any longer!!!!

  • September 17, 2019 at 10:17 am

    In response to Leah on Sep 16 2019; I totally understand; very similar for me; take care of yourself. You can re-enter the work force, don’t worry; I no longer want to go on trips with my husband it is too exhausting to try to answer his questions, his “commands” etc. It is difficult to have any conversation because he wants to argue and I have been counseled to not argue–so I walk away from the situation many times.

    • September 18, 2019 at 3:11 am

      Thank you Marie Francis. I feel your pain. Like you, the vacations were anyways the worst and I stopped going. But the consequence of that was him taking our kids without me. I bit the bullet and went if it was a major trip that i felt was necessary to attend. You take care too. Our husbands should be locked up together for eternity to get a taste of their own medicine.LOL!

  • September 22, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Thank you very much for what you have written l have a mother who is a narcissist. She ruled us by fear all our lives my father and 2 siblings. To have a quiet rational discussion is pointless. She up and belted me across the face a few years ago l was in my 60’s. I have a cholesteral granuloma in the temporal bone and and suffered 52 years of pain now l have it 24/7. Your article has helped bigtime.

  • October 9, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    I wish not engaging worked for me my daughters father (we still all live together I’m a house pet at the moment aka stay at home mom) when I leave the room or tell him I’m not engaging in his argument he follows me and will spew his venimous words at me for hours (literally he has called off work to stay home and argue because he “doesn’t feel safe leaving his daughter with me when I’m like this” I don’t even have to say anything to “start an argument” I’ve curled in a ball plugging my ears because he is so persistent following me outside into different rooms even standing outside the door just so he could be in hearing distance it’s hard during this first year of my daughters life with no job no family no friends because of him and myself letting it happen I’m just trying to stay sane the book the four agreements really helps to guard your soul from these vampyres

  • October 12, 2019 at 11:47 pm

    This is my dad. Now it seems he is worse, I don’t even like being around him anymore. I feel bad because he is almost 80 and he has Parkinson’s. He puts others down, criticizes everyone. Builds himself up. Frequently uses “always” or “never” statements if he thinks it favors him. I don’t like feeling this way. I love my dad, but I definitely don’t like him.

  • January 30, 2020 at 3:38 am

    This article is so refreshing to read because I have thought that I am the one who is crazy, when it’s just my older sister and younger brother who got these personality traits from my father. They are all alike, just like this article says. They have treated my mom and me horribly and think nothing of it. I have never heard of gaslighting until I read this article and deflecting and the other tactics.
    I am so glad this article has been made available as I now know I don’t have to feel bad to not have anything more to do with these toxic family members. I am so done with their bad behaviors and smirking and horrible toxic words and energy! What a relief to know that it is really them and not me. Thank you.

  • February 8, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    Every time I ask my bf about things I’ve seen with my eyes or question his loyalty his totally flips. Yelling, calls me names and throws such a fit. Insisting I am crazy. I’m exhausted..

    • July 17, 2020 at 1:35 pm

      I second that …..it never changes and will bring you to your knees. Get out of this relationship – they lie – say they’ll change. You will regret staying – believe me!

  • February 23, 2020 at 9:07 am

    I have studied narcissism for my entire adult life. (Nearly 40 years). There are two versions: overt and covert. The overt ones are easy to see and avoid. The covert, on the other hand, are very stealthy. They have figured out that immature traits and behavior are socially unacceptable. So, they save their true identity for those closest to them. After all, keeping up a charming fake facade is a lot of work. They go home and relax and take the mask off. Since they usually fake their way into relationships, many times the mate/marriage partner is tricked into thinking that they are with “Mr./Mrs. Right”. Then, when Dr. Jekyll starts showing up, it causes confusion and the trapped victim is many times ensnared with shared finances, assets, children, etc. The normal partner of a covert narcissist may spend years trying to find the missing puzzle piece, so to speak. By the time they finally figure out what they are dealing with, they are affected so deeply from the long term abuse, they are simply too weak or broken down to escape and begin anew. Like being caught in a spider web, unable to escape. Very sad there are so many of these broken people in society.

  • May 23, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Two words. My mother. :/

    I really wish I could save myself the headache, but living alone isn’t possible right now.

  • July 4, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    Thx Darious
    And allinvolved in putting out this info
    I have lived for decades with a covert narc
    And the last few years have been crawling out of the oit of emotional abuse.
    Setting boundaries (,i cant leave, im sure there are others who chose to stay for good reasons )
    Im getting my life. My voice. My courage ect back.
    It takes time and lerning how to respind to the narc ina healthy way for me and NOT , respond in anger and resentmest but in wisdom and truth and always with the goal of my self care.

  • July 22, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    Wow, great article. Describes my SA husband so much. Its crazy making and my body holds so much of the mental, emotional and relational abuse. The trauma bonding makes it much more difficult. If only he’d stay in recovery….If only he could see his denials….If only he’d stop the lies ….If only he would listen and get help….DARVO. Its difficult when loving someone like this, knowing the good parts. Not many therapists recognize, or skilled enough to manage and help such individuals either when addiction is part of the equation.

  • July 29, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    Great article. I wish I could just disengage. She is the my daughter in law, the mother of my grandchild, and manipulating my son into seeing everything we do as awful. Hyper critical and manipulative. What to do?

  • August 12, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    Is it possible for someone to change and not gaslight or be a narcissist? I am an adult who grew up with cen among other things and then my husband treated me like they did after they passed. I had MANY, MANY years of therapy and changed alot myself with alot of hard work. I am still and always will work on myself behavior and thinking! We were on the brink of divorce and years after i started standing up for myself and NOT backing down, he changed and is now acting like the person i fell in love with. I am having a hard time believing this will be for good after everything that has happened. I am going with the flow for now because i do love him with all my heart! Is it possible for someone to “really” change to who they were before?

    • August 29, 2020 at 8:51 am

      No. They can’t change. Get rid of them. You will waste your life if you think they can change. They can’t. They will suck the life right out of you.


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