Leading Authority in Treatment of Narcissism and Emotional Abuse

How Do Narcissists Manipulate

How Do Narcissists Manipulate?

Dr. David B. Hawkins, Director of the Marriage Recovery Center and Specialist in Narcissism, tells the story of how a woman can fall for the wiles of the narcissistic man, and the challenges of separating to gain perspective.

How Do Narcissists Manipulate?

Narcissists are known for their manipulative tactics that can leave their victims feeling confused, exhausted, and emotionally drained. In this article, we will explore a sad story of a woman who fell victim to the manipulative charms of a narcissistic partner. Through her experience, we will shed light on the various ways narcissists manipulate their victims and discuss the importance of recognizing and setting boundaries in order to break free from such toxic relationships.

The Charming Deception

At the beginning of the relationship, the narcissistic partner appears charming, wonderful, and attentive. They say all the right things and engage in acts of kindness and generosity, making the victim feel safe, cared for, and loved. Their behavior creates an illusion of a perfect match, causing the victim to overlook potential red flags.

Fragility and Vulnerability

The narcissist manipulates by exploiting the victim’s vulnerabilities. They appear strong, which complements the victim’s own feelings of vulnerability. The victim feels protected and stronger in the presence of the narcissist, fostering a sense of dependence on the relationship.

Mesmerizing Tactics

Narcissists employ mesmerizing tactics to maintain control. They shower their victims with gifts, attention, and flattery, creating a sense of euphoria and admiration. By doing so, they further cement their influence and make it difficult for the victim to see through the manipulation.

The Tipping Point

Over time, the victim starts noticing that something is amiss in the relationship. The narcissist becomes easily offended, deflects criticism, blames the victim for their own actions, and resorts to mechanisms that protect themselves at the expense of the victim. This sudden shift in behavior creates confusion and turmoil.

Emotional Turmoil and Exhaustion

As the manipulation intensifies, the victim’s self-esteem deteriorates, and past wounds resurface. The victim feels exhausted, constantly walking on eggshells to avoid triggering the narcissist’s anger or silent treatment. They become trapped in a cycle of trying to correct perceived wrongs while the narcissist refuses to take responsibility for their actions.

Seeking Help

The victim seeks help from professionals and confides in friends, hoping for guidance and support. However, narcissists are skilled at deceiving others, including therapists and clergy. They often manipulate the narrative, leaving the victim feeling unheard and invalidated, which further compounds their distress.

The Struggle to Break Free

Despite the advice to leave, the victim finds it difficult to detach from the relationship. They still hold onto the memory of the initial charm and care about the narcissist. The victim’s self-esteem takes a further blow as they question their own judgment and worthiness, making it challenging to escape the toxic dynamic.

Breaking Away and Healing

Eventually, the victim realizes the need to break free from the narcissistic partner. It is a difficult and courageous decision, but essential for their well-being. Through separation, the victim starts the journey toward healing and regaining their sense of self.

Recognizing Fragility and Moving Forward

As the victim gains distance from the narcissist, they begin to see cracks in the façade. The narcissist’s fragility and vulnerability come to the surface, exposing their true nature. This realization helps the victim understand that they are not to blame for the dysfunction in the relationship.

Creating an Intervention and Setting Boundaries

In order to move forward, the victim must create an intervention for themselves. Seeking a safe harbor, whether through therapy or support networks, becomes crucial for rebuilding a healthy life. Establishing firm boundaries is essential to prevent relapse or being drawn back into the narcissist’s manipulative grasp.


Recognizing the manipulative tactics of narcissists is crucial for protecting oneself from emotional harm. By understanding the patterns of manipulation, victims can begin the process of healing and breaking free from the toxic dynamics. Remember, seeking help and setting boundaries are key steps in regaining control and moving forward toward a healthier future.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: What are the Benefits of Separation

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.


Sign up our newsletter to get updated information, promo or insight for free.

Latest Post


Need Help?
Get The Support You Need From One Of Our Therapists