Narcissists have a very well stocked arsenal of weapons.  They use a variety of tactics to abuse their victims.  Several common ones are listed below.  For more detailed information, click on the links.

  • Narcissistic rage.  Any attack, real or imagined, to a narcissist’s self-esteem can create a narcissistic rage.  That rage can include screaming, scathing criticisms, or sometimes even physical violence.
  • Baiting. Trying to get a negative emotional response from a victim.  Narcissists lust for attention.  If they cannot get positive attention from you, they will be happy with negative attention.  Negative attention is better than none, and it shows them they have power over you.
  • Compassion for other people, but not for you.  A narcissist may say you’re overreacting, too sensitive or the like while offering sympathy for someone else when you both are experiencing the exact same crisis.
  • Creating anxiety and fear.  Narcissistic mothers in particular are good at this one.  Excessive criticism, shaming and discussing her own fears and phobias can create a great deal of anxiety and fear in children who end up carrying this into adulthood.
  • Double bind, no win situations.Double bind situations are all about control.  If you cannot do something right, you will try something else until you are able to please the narcissist.  Their usual tactic is that nothing you can do is pleasing to them or right, though, even when you have exhausted all possibilities.  Narcissists who use this tactic are very subtle.  They are not obviously controlling you.  In fact, they probably will not tell you what they expect from you, but instead expect you to know, then get angry when you do not know.
  • Flying Monkeys.  Narcissists love to use people to further their agenda.  They get the thrill of not only abusing you but making someone else do it too.  Flying monkeys are often the favorite and cruelest weapons of any narcissist.
  • Gaslighting.  Narcissists love distorting other people’s reality, and making them doubt their own perceptions, reality and even sanity.  Doing this makes a victim easier to manipulate.
  • Hoovering.  Once you have ended a relationship with a narcissist, they often do their best to “hoover” or lure you back into the relationship.
  • Invalidation.  Mocking, ignoring or rejecting another person’s feelings is invalidation.  It also can include saying or implying that something is wrong with a person for feeling as they do.  This creates a root of toxic shame.
  • Keeping children, children forever. Narcissistic parents and sometimes even narcissistic significant others (especially if a few years older than their victim) do their best to keep their victim thinking that he or she is too immature and stupid to know what to do.  This keeps a victim dependent on a narcissist.
  • Mirroring.  Narcissists often mimic a victim’s personality, likes, dislikes, values even body language at the beginning of a relationship to lure them in.  Mirroring also can be used later in the relationship to win over an angry victim or to lure the victim back into a relationship with the narcissist after severing ties.
  • Passive/Aggressive behavior.  This immature means of behavior is designed to show one’s disapproval of and anger at another person’s actions while not admitting it out loud.  It is also about control and manipulation.
  • Playing the victim.  Covert narcissists in particular love to use this one, but really, any narcissist is not above using it.  If a narcissist can find a way
  • Projection.  Narcissists refuse to accept any flaw in themselves.  Rather than do that like a normal person, they accuse other people of the flaws that they have and the victim does not.
  • Rewriting history.  Narcissists simply cannot handle that they have done things that might make them look bad to anyone.  Rather than face the truth and alter their behavior, they rewrite history into something more palatable.
  • Shaming.  Shame can be a very effective way to control a person, and narcissists have no trouble using that weapon.
  • Silent treatment is another common weapon used, and it is designed to control the victim by withdrawing love.
  • Smear campaign If you disobey a narcissist or fail her in some way, you can guarantee the narcissist will initiate a smear campaign against you.  They also may smear new victims as a way to discredit them to other people quickly, so if they tell others what the narcissist does, no one will believe them.
  • Stalking and harassment.  If no other ways work to lure you back to the narcissist, they will do their level best to scare you or wear you down enough to the point you will return to them.  Anything to make their stalking and harassment stop.
  • Trauma bonding When an abuser has moments of kindness, it bonds a victim to that abuser in a dysfunctional way.
  • Triangulation. When you have a disagreement with someone, and that person has a third (sometimes even a fourth, fifth or sixth) person try to talk to you on their behalf, that is triangulation.
  • Withholding affection.  When married to a narcissist, they often use withholding affection and even sex to punish and control their victims.  A parent can withhold affection by suddenly refusing to touch their child.
  • Some other examples of toxic things narcissists say can be found here: Has A Narcissist Said This To You

Many people subjected to narcissistic abuse live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Some are even driven to suicide.  All of its victims struggle with low self esteem, anxiety or depression in some form.  Support from safe, empathetic people is very helpful.  I have a Facebook group that you may find helpful.  The group is closed, which means anyone can see you are in the group, but only other members see your posts and comments.  It is very closely monitored to maintain a safe and pleasant environment.

There are some things that you can do to help you to survive your relationship with the narcissist in your life with your sanity in tact.  Click on this link for more information.