Narcissists are notorious game players, making their targets move like pieces on a chess board.
Narcissism, a term derived from the mythological figure Narcissus (a figure from Greek mythology who was so good-looking that he fell in love with his image reflected in a pool of water), refers to a personality disorder characterized by an excessive sense of self-importance, an insatiable need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others.
While not all narcissists engage in malicious behavior, many enjoy playing games with their victims, seeking to fulfill their desires and maintain a superior image at the expense of those around them. Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder are infamous for creating a mess out of their victims’ lives. They slowly infiltrate their victim’s life, seeming charming at first, while slowly revealing their true nature, causing wreckage in the process.
Relationships with a narcissist, platonic and otherwise, are often riddled with negative behaviors, games, and abuse. Leaving the victim feeling like a shell of their former self, with a whole host of problems that the victim encounters daily.
This article will explore the games narcissists play with their victims.
What Games Do Narcissists Play With You?
They use various tactics to keep their victims on edge. Narcissists see others as pawns, using strategic manipulation to gain control, admiration, and validation. They play various games that leave their victims feeling confused, emotionally drained, and questioning their self-worth.
By uncovering these tactics, we empower individuals by helping them understand the games played by narcissists, enabling them to recognize and protect themselves from toxic relationships. By equipping ourselves with knowledge, we can better protect ourselves from the negative actions of a narcissist.
Let’s explore the common games narcissists play:
Narcissistic gaslighting often employs a gradual and long-term approach to exert tight control over you and foster dependence. The insidious nature of gaslighting lies in how it gradually erodes your self-trust, causing you to question whether the gaslighter’s claims hold truth. Dealing with gaslighting can take a toll on your self-esteem and mental well-being.
Let’s say you and your partner have been arguing about something important to you. During the argument, your partner suddenly says, “You’re always so sensitive. It’s like walking on eggshells around you.” In this situation, your partner is gaslighting you by invalidating your emotions and making you overly sensitive. By painting you as the one with the problem, they deflect responsibility and manipulate you into doubting the validity of your emotions and the importance of the issue being discussed.
Love bombing occurs when someone overwhelms you with excessive affection and grand gestures early on in a relationship. While it may initially feel flattering, it’s important to pause and consider the authenticity of their connection and whether your attachment is based on genuine interest or obligation.
Love bombing is a strategy used by individuals who want your attention and dependence. Once they achieve their goal and you become emotionally invested, they often lose interest and may exploit your feelings.
Imagine you’ve just started dating someone, and they shower you with constant attention, affection, and extravagant gestures. They discuss a future together, making grand plans and intensely proclaiming their love for you. They want to be the center of your world and may become jealous or possessive if you spend time with others. Their overwhelming displays of affection can feel flattering, but it’s important to be cautious and evaluate the sincerity of their intentions.
Ghosting occurs when someone suddenly stops communicating with you without any explanation or warning. It commonly happens in dating scenarios, especially online dating. For example, you’ve been dating someone giving you much attention. But one day, after a date, you find out they’ve blocked you on social media. You try reaching out, but they don’t respond. This is called being ghosted.
People may ghost you for different reasons. They might have lost interest and want to avoid an awkward conversation. They could be testing how much you care about them. Sometimes, it’s a manipulative power move to control the relationship and have the final say.
Triangulation is when someone with narcissistic traits involves a third person to maintain control. It can take different forms, like making you jealous by comparing you to someone else or creating conflicts and divisions. They may also try to drag you into their conflicts or make you feel guilty if you don’t support them publicly.
Imagine you have a friend who often drags you into arguments with other people. They expect you to take their side, even when it’s not necessary or appropriate. They make you feel guilty if you don’t support them or pressure you to get involved in uncomfortable situations. This is triangulation, as they’re using you as a third person to manipulate the dynamics of their conflicts.
Playing The Victim
People with NPD often have intense emotions and struggle with criticism. They blame others when things don’t go their way, using them to justify their shortcomings. By playing the victim, they can get sympathy from others, which is just another form of attention.
Imagine you have a friend with NPD who always avoids taking responsibility for their mistakes. For instance, if they fail a test, they blame the teacher for being unfair or accuse you of distracting them during their study time. They play the victim to protect their ego and avoid admitting their shortcomings.
When someone with NPD feels embarrassed, rejected, or treated unfairly, it can trigger intense narcissistic rage. They may become vindictive and seek revenge, resorting to tactics like spreading false information, engaging in abusive behavior, or damaging property. In extreme cases, physical violence may occur.
Let’s say you accidentally embarrassed someone with NPD in front of others. In response, they may seek revenge by spreading false rumors, verbally attacking you, or even damaging your belongings or physical violence.
Understanding the games narcissists play empowers individuals to recognize and protect themselves from toxic relationships. By shedding light on manipulative tactics such as gaslighting, love bombing, ghosting, triangulation, playing the victim, and seeking revenge, we can develop healthier connections and cultivate a strong sense of self-worth.
Recognizing these games allows us to maintain our emotional well-being and establish boundaries that shield us from the harmful effects of narcissistic behaviour.
Why Do Narcissists Play Games With You?
They do it because it helps to maintain control, manipulate emotions, and feed their insatiable ego. Their underlying narcissistic traits, such as a lack of empathy and a sense of entitlement, allows them to play these games and interfere with the lives of other for personal gain without caution.
According to Dena DiNardo, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, individuals with NPD may engage in strategic manipulations to fulfill their needs, often involving other people. However, she advises against labelling these behaviors as “games,” which can make the situation sound more malicious than intended.
Instead, these manipulations are often unconscious and a result of the deep emotional pain experienced by individuals with NPD, which impairs their ability to empathize with others’ pain. It is important to approach this complexity with understanding and compassion.
Here are several underlying reasons why narcissists play games with their victims:
- It satisfies them; they enjoy it
Narcissists derive satisfaction from exerting power and control over others, and playing games serves as a means to achieve this. Through manipulative tactics, they assert dominance and manipulate situations to their advantage, further reinforcing their belief in superiority.
Narcissists possess an unquenchable thirst for admiration and validation. They engage in manipulative games to provoke emotional responses in others, craving the constant attention and praise that fuel their fragile self-esteem.
Narcissists find it challenging to take ownership of their actions and limitations. They resort to playing games as a way to shift blame onto others, deflect criticism, and evade the accountability for their behavior and its consequences.
- It protects them and makes them feel better about themselves
They are a protective mechanism for narcissists to shield their fragile and vulnerable ego from perceived threats, criticism, and feelings of inadequacy. Playing these games creates a facade of superiority and control, which helps them maintain a false sense of self-worth and defend against any potential damage to their fragile ego.
Games allow narcissists to exercise emotional control over their victims. Narcissists keep others off-balance by creating an atmosphere of confusion, doubt, and emotional instability, making them more susceptible to manipulation. These games serve as tools for the narcissist to manipulate the emotions and reactions of their victims, ensuring they maintain a position of power and control in the relationship.
Understanding narcissists’ underlying motivations helps individuals recognize their games and protect themselves. Setting boundaries, cultivating self-awareness, and seeking support are essential for maintaining emotional well-being and preventing further harm in interactions with narcissistic individuals.
How To Deal With A Narcissist Playing Games?
The first step is learning to recognize the behavior. By learning to recognize all the behaviors we discussed earlier in the article, you can devise an effective strategy to manage and protect yourself from an individual with narcissistic personality disorder and their manipulation.
By educating yourself, building self-esteem, speaking up for yourself, setting clear boundaries, and finding a support system, you can better handle the complexities of dealing with a narcissistic individual.
Educating yourself about Narcissistic Personality Disorder is an important first step. By familiarizing yourself with the characteristics and behaviors commonly associated with this disorder, you can better understand why narcissists behave the way they do. Talking to a mental health professional and reading books can provide valuable insights and guidance, helping you navigate the challenges that may arise.
Building your self-esteem is crucial when dealing with a jealous narcissist. The stronger your sense of self-worth, the better you’ll handle the harmful behaviors from maintaining a relationship with a narcissist. Engaging in positive self-talk, practicing self-care, and finding a support system of understanding and caring individuals can boost your self-esteem and resilience.
Speaking up for yourself is essential when dealing with a narcissist. While it may be tempting to ignore or avoid confrontations, there are situations where asserting your needs and boundaries is necessary. If you choose to maintain a relationship with the narcissistic individual, it’s important to learn how to calmly and assertively express how their jealous behaviors affect your life.
Communicate your expectations and how you wish to be treated while remaining consistent and firm. However, it’s important to be prepared for the possibility that the narcissist may struggle to understand or empathize with your feelings.
Setting clear boundaries is another crucial aspect of dealing with a jealous narcissist. Narcissists often tend to disregard boundaries and push limits. Despite this, it’s important to establish your boundaries and enforce them consistently.
Clearly and concisely communicate which behaviors are unacceptable and clarify what consequences will follow if the boundaries are not respected. Stay firm in your convictions and be prepared to reinforce your boundaries when necessary assertively.
Finding a support system can be immensely helpful when dealing with a jealous narcissist. Spending time with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be emotionally draining, so it’s important to seek balance by nurturing healthy relationships.
Surround yourself with individuals who support and understand you, providing you with the emotional support and guidance you need during difficult times. Building a strong support network can offer validation, perspective, and reassurance as you navigate the challenges of dealing with a narcissist.
It’s important to approach interactions with a jealous narcissist with a sense of calm and assertiveness. Reacting strongly or becoming confrontational can often escalate tensions and lead to further problems. By remaining composed and practicing calming techniques such as yoga and meditation, you can better manage your emotions and respond more accurately. Cultivating inner peace and maintaining a calm demeanor will help you stay grounded and in control, even in uncomfortable situations.
Dealing with a jealous narcissist requires a multifaceted approach that includes education, self-esteem building, assertiveness, boundary-setting, and a support system. Implementing these strategies allows you to navigate the challenges more effectively and protect your emotional well-being. Remember, your own mental and emotional health should always be a priority, and seeking professional guidance or therapy can also be beneficial.
In conclusion, dealing with a jealous narcissist can be complex and challenging. Narcissists often engage in manipulative games to exert control, maintain their ego, and manipulate the emotions of their victims. Gaslighting, love bombing, ghosting, triangulation, playing the victim, and seeking revenge are common tactics narcissists use to manipulate and dominate others.
Recognizing these games is crucial in protecting oneself from toxic relationships. By understanding the underlying motivations of narcissists, such as the need for power, control, validation, and ego protection, individuals can develop strategies to manage and navigate interactions with narcissistic individuals.
Educating oneself about narcissistic behavior, building self-esteem, speaking up for oneself, setting clear boundaries, and finding a support system are important steps in dealing with a jealous narcissist. By equipping oneself with knowledge, developing resilience, and seeking support, individuals can better protect their emotional well-being and maintain healthier connections.
It is essential to approach interactions with narcissists with calmness and assertiveness while prioritizing mental and emotional health. Seeking professional guidance and therapy can also provide valuable insights and support in managing the complexities of dealing with a jealous narcissist.
Ultimately, by implementing these strategies and prioritizing self-care, individuals can navigate the challenges of jealous narcissists and create a healthier and more fulfilling life for themselves.
A resilient writer who has emerged from addiction, depression, and anxiety with a renewed sense of purpose and a powerful voice. His journey has shaped his writing, allowing him to explore the complexities of the human condition intimately. Also blogging about mental health at www.medium.com/@Patrickmeowler