One of the most devastating things a narcissist does to their target is to instill a mindset in them of, “It’s always my fault.” Through gaslighting and consistent, derogatory remarks, a narcissist convinces a target that the target can do nothing right. As a result, the target learns to believe that any adverse event is related to their failure to meet the narcissist’s standards, much less be a decent human being. Here is an explanation of each narcissistic tactic they use to destroy a target’s confidence and self-esteem slowly.
Gaslighting is a form of abuse in which (most often) a narcissist tells lies to alter the victim’s reality. For example, common gaslighting phrases are “I didn’t say that” or “I can’t talk to you because you’re an idiot” or “That didn’t happen.” As the object of the narcissist’s deceit, a target begins to feel crazy and unworthy of existing. Self-esteem and self-confidence plummet. The target may begin to isolate because, after all, they believe no one believes them or much less admires them. Finally, they start to accept as true the narcissist’s lies and manipulations.
Narcissists are skilled at making subtle putdowns, backhanded compliments, or using the silent treatment. All of these manipulations tell a target, “You don’t matter.” And the victim begins to feel like they don’t. Many survivors report feeling like they couldn’t stand up for themselves because why would it matter. They feel worthless, unlovable, and far less than enough.
Ghosting and the silent treatment
These can fall under passive-aggressive techniques, certainly, but they happen so frequently they need their own category for addressing.
A narcissist uses the silent treatment to tell a target that you don’t matter enough to be addressed. The narcissist will often be in a social or work setting and speak to everyone around them. At home? They don’t even glance at the target. It’s demeaning and sinister.
Ghosting is in this same category. Ghosting is when a person stops communication of all types without warning. Targets feel like they’ve done something wrong or don’t matter enough to be addressed or acknowledged when this narcissistic tactic is used.
The angrier a narcissist grows, the more their target concedes. Again, this goes back to taking power away from the target while the control and influence grow.
Both overt and covert, they use this narcissistic tactic to instill more doubt into their victim’s mindset. Triangulation is when a third party is brought into the mix. For example, a partner may compare you to their ex-boyfriends or girlfriends and speak about them as if they met a standard that you cannot meet. It’s undermining, and the target feels less than and diminutive.
How to address each narcissistic tactic
To combat the above, the primary argument is in a target’s mindset. A victim must change the narrative that the narcissist’s voice has placed there to become a survivor. For example, when a narcissist gaslights a target, the target can tell themselves, “Well, the narcissist may say it didn’t happen, but I saw it with my eyes and heard it with my ears. My reality is my reality. “ Think about it. Why would anyone want to change another’s reality? It is because they are unhappy with their own. Narcissists are miserable people.
When it comes to the passive aggressiveness techniques that seem so oppressing, the target can say to themselves, “Well, now that I know the narcissist isn’t speaking to me, I’ll use this quiet time to go read a book and call a friend.” The toxic person certainly won’t like that a target isn’t groveling to fix things, but by not engaging, the victim is standing up for themselves and evolving into a survivor. The passive-aggressiveness from the narcissist is designed to garner supply. Whether it’s attention, admiration, money, or sex, it is a way for the toxic person to manipulate another for what is needed at that given moment.
Ghosting is another narcissistic tactic, especially during the dating process. It is the tactic of ending all communication with someone without warning or reason. Not all people who ghost are narcissists, but there are ways to turn the tables on ghosting, no matter the person who does the disappearing act. Ghosting is really about the person who is ghosting. Such an act of never responding again or simply going dark reflects the person making the withdrawal – not the target. If someone can’t speak to a friend or partner to let them know that the friendship or relationship is over, then that person isn’t worth anyone’s time. Ever. Targets should turn around and never look back.
Rage and triangulation
Both rage and triangulation are narcissistic tactics to cause a target to clamor to get back in a toxic person’s good graces. The victim is left thinking, “What did I do to cause this or to not measure up yet again?” You did nothing wrong. The narcissist who is angry or into comparison games did. There is no game if one party takes themselves off the playing field. To the narcissist at this point, one might say quietly to themselves, “Play all the games you want. I know what I stand for, and I am out.”