Rarely does the narcissist feel the need to be honest. They lack honesty in what they are doing, where they have been, and who they are talking to. They also lack honesty when you ask questions about events that have happened or things they have said to you. The narcissist chooses carefully selected words as a way to ensure they have control over their environment and people around them. The narcissist is manipulative, and nothing is ever what it seems. Why are narcissists so manipulative?
The term manipulation is often used with narcissists. Before we discuss narcissist manipulation in more detail, let’s start with understanding what manipulation is. Manipulation is the controlling or using of something, usually in a skillful manner. For example, if you are sculpting something out of clay, you are manipulating the clay into the design you want. The clay is being changed to create the sculpture you would like. Manipulation, in the context of the narcissist, similarly means to control something, usually to one’s advantage. When the narcissist manipulates, they use their words and actions as a way to manipulate those around them to act in a way they want them to.
The manipulation from the narcissist can be nice or mean. The narcissist may use kind words and loving behaviors so that you lower your defenses and become comfortable in the relationship. Or, the narcissist may use harsh or even loud words as a way to control your actions by pushing you away or making you doubt yourself. When the narcissist acts in a way that influences how you, or others, interact with them, they are being manipulative. They are behaving in a way for their own advantage.
Why are narcissists so manipulative? As I have discussed in other blogs, the narcissist has created a game of control and manipulation that they are always playing. The rules of the game are constantly changing in a way that benefits them the most. The manipulative behaviors from the narcissist are how they bring others along in their constantly evolving games. For them to be the lead, they must have others follow along. The narcissist cannot have people be independent thinkers or develop their own way of handling a situation because this would lead to the narcissist losing control.
The narcissist presents as superior and grandiose; however, this is all an act. The narcissist has nothing to show for the big game they talk so they must always manipulate those around them to avoid being caught. The narcissist’s life is a lie that is always at risk of being exposed. The narcissist can’t risk this exposure because it would lead to shame. The narcissist is incapable of managing shame they experience so they must avoid it at all costs.
The narcissist can continue their manipulative tactics for years, or decades, for many different reasons. A primary reason they can manipulate is because they lack empathy. The narcissist is unable to take the perspective of someone else and truly understand what someone else may be thinking or feeling. The narcissist lives in the moment and is only thinking of themselves and what they need in that moment. The narcissist is reactive to their environment. Because they lack empathy, they can easily manipulate with no awareness of how others are affected. This allows them to manipulate over and over again, no matter what destruction they leave in their path.
There are many ways in which the narcissist manipulates. The most common form of manipulation from the narcissist is a lie. The narcissist will lie to get themselves quickly out of a situation. They lie even if the evidence is right there in front of them. The narcissist isn’t concerned for how you feel and doesn’t consider the consequences of the lie because they are only focused on this moment in time and how it affects them. The narcissist’s best defense is to deny, deny, deny. As long as they deny then others don’t have their words to then confront them with. This is the ultimate form of manipulation because it invalidates your thoughts and feelings and removes any chance of discussion about the issue with them.
The narcissist is highly unlikely to change in their strategy of manipulation. To not manipulate means they must be open and honest with their world, and this is not possible for them due to their inability to take responsibility for their actions. The narcissist will continue to manipulate to gain the upper hand in situations. The best approach, if possible, is to leave the narcissist behind and don’t allow someone else to manipulate your reality.