Dr George Simon [blog], author of several best-selling books on psychopathy, has given descriptive labels to three manipulative tactics that all victims of narcissistic/psychopathic abuse are sure to recognize. The terminology offered by Dr Simon makes it easier to make sense of behaviors that otherwise may seem confusing or even cause self-doubt, and to discuss them. When you see manipulative behavior, it will probably reflect one or more of these tactics.
To really get a sense for how the narcissist perceives you, you will need to picture a tool. Let’s say a hammer. The hammer has no will of its own. The hammer’s value is in how it serves you. When you pick up the hammer it is like an extension of your hand. We are able to use it without regard for how it must feel when we whack a nail with it. Of course, because it has no feelings. We don’t have to think about the hammer, we simply use it to our own ends and then set it down and walk away when it has performed the function we wanted it for.
You are that hammer to the narcissist. All of us are merely tools made for their use. Extensions of themselves. We are like a table or chair or bookcase or toilet paper.
The narcissist will become enraged if such inanimate tools decide to sprout a mind of their own and not perform and conform perfectly to their will. It is perceived as an attack! The default setting in the mind of the narcissist toward the rest of humanity is that we are not worth anything except as they imbue value in us. Then we are worth something, but only as much as the narcissist decides. We can be completely devalued in a moment and thrown out with the rest of the garbage.
When deprived of narcissistic supply, narcissists experience symptoms similar to the withdrawal symptoms of a drug addict; becoming delusional, agitated, helpless, and emotionally unhinged. They disintegrate and crumble, and may even experience a psychotic episode. They engage in “magical thinking;” believing that they are omniscient, omnipotent, and that they cannot fail. This makes them fearless and relentless in their pursuit of revenge.
“One of the very difficult things to deal with after being the victim of a Narcissist is that most people will not want to believe what happened to you, even if they saw it with their own eyes!”
Sociopathic abuse can be most insidious. The abuser takes precautions so that there are no witnesses or hard evidence. He’ll tell others that he is being victimized and that the real victim’s reactions to his abuse are unprovoked and malicious or “irrational.” Destroying his target while attracting the attention he craves is a game to the sociopath; one he enjoys and plays with confidence. A “normal” person is easy prey to a skilled and experienced manipulator lacking a moral conscience.
“[They] count on our shame to keep their secrets. They know that exposing them means exposing our own failings. That’s what makes them so powerful. They manipulate us into these situations then sit back and watch us squirm between protecting ourselves or blowing the whistle.”
The seasoned abuser is also highly selective. He will target people who are self-conscious and reluctant to draw attention to themselves. Like predators in the animal world who concentrate their efforts on prey that is separate from the herd, he is likely to choose someone who is a loner or with weak social connections; someone who is clearly vulnerable.
Things Toxic People Do Narcissistic Supply From LightsHouse.org
Narcissistic supply — it’s number one on the list of a narcissist’s “must-haves.” Simply put, narcissistic supply is anything (or anyone) that feeds the narcissist’s ego and keeps them artificially pumped up with the attention, admiration and deference of others. Narcissists have been described as people who are like balloons […]
Heterosexual women bear the brunt of narcissistic heterosexual men’s hostility, according to a 2010 study.
Narcissists’ lack of empathy, feelings of entitlement, and perceptions of being deprived of ‘deserved’ admiration and gratification can make them prone to aggression and vengeance.
The results from this study reveal that straight men’s narcissism is linked to an adversarial and angry stance toward straight women more than toward other groups. Although narcissists may want to maintain feelings of superiority and power over all people, narcissistic heterosexual men are particularly invested in subordinating heterosexual women because they are “gatekeepers in men’s quest for sexual pleasure, patriarchal power and status,” the study authors explain.
Another conclusion from the study is that male narcissists believe that heterosexual relationships should be patriarchal rather than egalitarian.
Stonewalling is a tactic commonly used by bullies wanting to control, humiliate, and frustrate a target who attempts to resolve a conflict through reasonable discussion or negotiation. Accusations of mental deficiency, harassment, and even bullying, are other typical methods of asserting dominance, intimidating the target, and discouraging objections to the abuse from both victim and bystanders. To the insightful observer, these behaviors reveal the bully’s true motivations.
A sociopathic person is walled off from their inner core. How they present themselves to the world is a facade. Their operational system is power. To relate to them by playing the power game is a losing proposition because they are masters of the game and they will win at all cost.
The Mask of Sanity: An Attempt
to Clarify Some Issues About the
So-Called Psychopathic Personality
is a book by American psychiatristHervey M. Cleckley, first published in 1941. It is considered a seminal work and the most influential clinical description of psychopathy in the twentieth century.
Cleckley, a pioneer in psychopathy research, coined the phrase mask of sanityto describe the psychopath’s ability to perfectly mimic a normally functioning person and to mask or disguise the disorder; a fundamental lack of moral conscience and internal personality structure. Despite the seemingly sincere, intelligent, even charming external presentation, internally the psychopathic person does not have the ability to experience genuine emotions.
Covert narcissists are skilled at appearing “normal”. They choose a victim they feel they can dominate or manipulate, and they choose opportunities to abuse their victim when there are no witnesses or in a passive-aggressive, underhanded manner so that their secret mean streak isn’t exposed to others. Motivated by self-preservation and self gain, they lack fail-safes, such as empathy or a moral conscience, against selfish behavior that is harmful to others. Denial is a characteristic of the disorder. They can be highly critical of other people’s behavior, but they always feel righteous about their own.
is a control freak. He finds pleasure in causing pain to others and thrives on the sense of power it brings. If not also physically abusive, he is an emotional bully; manipulating, overpowering, and tormenting his victims. Children, having no escape, suffer lifelong consequences at the hands of a narcissistic parent.
At every court appearance or evaluator session I noticed that the opposition would present crazy evidence, accusations or witness declarations that were complete exaggerations or outright lies. I asked myself how it was that they were able to so often present this stuff and get away with it?
The answer was simple: They appeared confident and believable, their stories combined with their appearance made others think there could be truth to their version of events, especially when contrasted against my own outward appearance. I was, in short, a valuable tool in helping them look better.
“Truth and reason are of no value to narcissists and psychopaths. Their aim is to defeat, exploit, and dominate—and not get caught. Lacking a conscience, they are free to use any method that will give them the upper hand without any ethical inhibitions standing in their way. Abusive people don’t feel that they owe their victims, or anyone else, a reason for their behavior. By ignoring requests for an explanation, they enjoy the sense of power they get from denying their victim the most basic respect.”
Stonewallers, whether sociopaths or not, are seriously disturbed communicators. Their indifference to the stonewalled party’s experience can be chilling. Their stonewalling often reflects character pathology, in which case they won’t change—they will always be stonewallers.
“Is he beyond a narcissist? Is he a sociopath or psychopath? Think we’re only talking about serial killers here? Psychopaths, sociopaths, and even narcissists come in every walk of life, every career level, and every socio-economic category. They are doctors, attorneys, ministers, students, and truck drivers. They are realtors, construction workers, and professors. They are your boss, your neighbor, your family member, and your lover or husband. You might even be with one now and not know.”
Read the victims’ personal accounts and notice the similarities
between the psychopathic abusers that they describe!