Six Techniques Narcissists Use to Get You Under Control

by | Feb 2, 2016

How can you know if you’re involved with a narcissist when he starts your relationship by being great to you? He complements you; he gives you gifts, He seems to be enthralled by you. This can go on for a very long time until he has you hooked. When you are enamored of his charm, then you cease to have power in the relationship.

That’s when he takes control. He may insult you. Humiliate you in public. You are perplexed. You try to make things right. You will do what it takes to get your great relationship back. You are under the narcissist’s powerful spell. Just when you give up trying, he takes you back and the cycle begins again.

Six Techniques Narcissists Use To Get You Under Control Nancy'S Counseling Corner


This can go on indefinitely unless you recognize the roller coaster ride you are on with a narcissist. Here are some techniques they use:

  • Love Bombing. This happens at the beginning of the cycle. You are so wonderful then. He is so appreciative of your talent, your brains, your beauty. He may even accelerate the intimacy of your relationship—another tactic—to snow you completely.
  • You are so fabulous that the narcissist professes—miraculously—to like everything you like. Your favorite food. The sports teams you root for. Your great taste in music is the same as his! But really, the only thing he is interested in is making you feel dependent on his relationship with you.
  • Once he puts you on a pedestal, he knocks you down. He makes verbal jabs in public. He humiliates you. Criticizes you. This keeps you wondering what happened and what can you do to make your tormentor happy again. This is just where the narcissist wants you.
  • Intermittent Reinforcement. The narcissist blows hot and cold to keep you off balance. Sometimes he puts you down. And sometimes he builds you up. Throughout this ping-pong routine, you are thinking you are somehow at fault. That maybe you can win back the narcissist through your actions.
  • The narcissist accuses you of doing things you aren’t remotely guilty of, but you take his word at face value. You search your mind—maybe somehow you are guilty. But in fact, if you think about it enough, you may discover that he is the one who is guilty of the very thing he accuses you of. Narcissists never think they are wrong and have little conscience about making you the fall guy. In fact, they tend to lack any empathy for you or anyone else.
  • This technique involves a third party that the narcissist brings into your relationship. The idea to keep you feeling insecure and to keep him in control over your emotions. He might flirt with another woman or maybe confide more with someone else than you. The idea is to get you to compete for his affection, to get you feeling jealous. So he can belittle you for your actually legitimate feelings. And all the while he maintains control of you.

These are only six techniques in the narcissist’s toolbox. There are more like gas lighting—insisting something is true when it’s not to get you to feel crazy. Or the silent treatment—to withdraw from the relationship to make you feel needy. Because you are just an object to the narcissist who uses you to supply the adoration he requires.

If you’re aware of these techniques, perhaps you can extricate yourself from a relationship with a narcissist before he does real damage. A narcissist is an emotional abuser and some are quite skillful. If you have been the victim, it is time to move forward and fill your life with positive relationships.


Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here:


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