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How to Avoid Manipulation by a Narcissist

Updated on January 15, 2016

Narcissus (1590s) by Caravaggio (Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome)

The term "Narcissism" originated from Greek mythology. The handsome Greek youth Narcissus fell in love with his own image which was reflected in a pool of water.
The term "Narcissism" originated from Greek mythology. The handsome Greek youth Narcissus fell in love with his own image which was reflected in a pool of water. | Source

Protect yourself

Self-defense is paramount to any human being when faced by any threatening situation. In a romantic relationship, one may find themselves at the mercy of a narcissist who controls them at all times. In such a case, you need to know how to defend yourself from such an individual to avoid any harm coming to you.

It is important that you get to understand who is a narcissist before you come up with the strategies or behaviors that will help you in defending yourself. So let's start at the beginning: pointing out the narcissist.

Who is a Narcissist?

Normally, narcissists have a high ranking of themselves. They think positively of themselves at all times which is not accurate in most cases. When one tries to challenge them, they come up with mal adaptive behaviors like lack of empathy and emotional coldness. They are up to self-gratification with less or no concern for others.

Narcissism within a romantic relationship is often associated with behaviors such as game-playing, controlling and concern over the success and popularity of the partner. Other symptoms that have been associated with narcissists are physical aggression. In most cases, these individuals are less committed to their current relationship with the mindset that there are other better options out there. Their preference for relationships that have little closeness can be attributed to this fact. Narcissist view themselves as more attractive, smarter and smarter than others in all ways.


Traits of a Narcissist

  • They always want to control who feels good or bad and at what time

It is a common thing among the narcissists to always want to feel that they are the point of focus. They also want to feel more important than others. A narcissist will at one point control the feelings of their partner and cause pain in form of hurt or making them feel jealous or doubt themselves while at the other side they are trying hard to make another person feel great. By hurting others they are trying to keep their focus to themselves and their feelings or happiness.

  • They are good at disguising and are deceitfully charming

A narcissist will at first show genuine appreciation and interest for you at first. They are charming in nature and will entice you into falling for their traps with their charms that are deceitful. They will trap you in such a way that you will always do what favors them but will overlook your needs and you will be forced to always keep them pleased.

  • Projected Feelings of Insecurity

Narcissists will always do and say things that make you feel less worth in terms of smartness and competence. They want to send an image that they are smart and any chances of you being smarter than them poses some sort of insecurity. A narcissist will work to ensure that you remain the inferior one in the relationship.

  • Emotion-phobia

It is normal to have feelings in the presence of other people. In the course of interactions, all human beings express different kind of emotions depending on the situation. A narcissist will not show any emotional change no matter the situation and they will never admit to having been touched by the situation at hand. Whenever feelings come up, they will often change the subject especially if it is theirs.


How to Avoid Being Manipulated by a Narcissist

  • Try understand their emotional void

This may be a bit tricky it will be as though you are sympathizing with the narcissist. It is however good that you try to understand why this person is behaving this way. Sometimes it may be as a result of a combination between the environment they grew up in and the genes. This puts at a better position of trying to be more accommodative to them and be able to control your anger. You can also try to understand the narcissist’s needs to feel approved and appreciated. This will assist you in avoiding a quick lash of words whenever they praise themselves.

  • Be realistic

You need to be watchful at all times. You should not fantasize or romanticize and fail to see the signs of a narcissist. Some of them are so charming that they can swing around your feelings so easily. They can make you angry and in a short while make you feel special and you forget the anger. The way they charm you, attract you and their social manners and intuition skills tend to be appealing but they are quite a distraction. It is good to keep in mind that these very traits that sweep you off the feet are the ones that will leave you hurting. Know that a narcissist will always work to achieve what they want and their world revolves around them and will not care about your feelings. At no time will they try to get themselves into your shoes and see how they are affecting you with their behavior.

  • Make appropriate boundaries

Narcissist does not take boundaries as it is always them that have the final say. Putting a boundary to a relationship will make them understand that the world is not always about them and there are other people with feelings, goals, expectations and dreams. They also act as a way of showing them that their charm does not blind you and that you have self-respect. It is therefore important you come up with boundaries whenever you feel manipulated or mistreated.

  • Observe but do not absorb what has been said

The narcissist will always be out to make you feel bad about yourself. Their plot mostly is to manipulate you to feel bad and start finding a way of self-defending. After you do that, they will get you into an argument that they use you as the garbage receptor of what they cannot take.

  • Expect the worst

When getting into a relationship, do not go with the idea that all your needs will be fulfilled. This is a deceiving idea and once they are not met you end up being frustrated. When you are open minded, you can be able to see when the narcissist is using you and belittling you and be in a position to make a good decision on the next move.

  • Walk away

Never let guilt take charge of you for doing this. This is a protective mechanism that shields you from the narcissist uncaring manners that are detrimental. You have to know when it is time to move on and not let the narcissist charm you or lure you to stay on. You can also consider if you still think that the relationship is worth to be maintained or not. Always make the right decision and stand firm on it.



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    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      16 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      VationSays -- talk about an in-depth hub. This hub is a winner in all categories--lay-out, graphics, text, all perfect.

      I enjoyed this writing because a talented writer wrote it. You.

      Keep up the fine work.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      There are some high profile people right now who would fit this category.

    • Kathryn L Hill profile image

      Kathryn L Hill 

      3 years ago from LA

      I am wondering if one of the parents was a narcissist, one could actually be attracted to that type of personality.

    • Alexis Cogwell profile image

      Ashley Cogdill 

      3 years ago from Indiana/Chicagoland

      Such good advice, hope to see more of your writing! :)

    • Kathryn L Hill profile image

      Kathryn L Hill 

      3 years ago from LA

      "Some of them are so charming that they can swing around your feelings so easily."

      This is true.

      What happens when two narcissists get together?


    • Tabalipa profile image

      Dani Tabalipa 

      3 years ago from Germany

      Very good article. I know a person like this...


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