Why Does The Extent of the Narcissist’s Manipulations Vary?
He said he would marry me but he never did. He met the new woman and within a year they were married. Why her and not me?
I talked to his last girlfriend and she said he had beaten her up many times. That did not happen to me though.
I did not get much of a golden period, but I can see on his Facebook he is posting pictures of flowers he has sent her and other gifts. Why didn’t I get that?
She often talks about how wonderful my sister is, but never talks about my achievements.
He always talks about all the places he went with his ex but he never takes me anywhere. Why did she get all that and I do not?
Doubtless you will recognise comments such as these or variations of them. Why do we, as narcissists, behave in different ways with those in our fuel matrix? What causes this distinction in treatment. There are several factors but they all lead to one outcome which I shall explain to you further in this article. Let’s look at the factors :-
- Your status in the fuel matrix. It is important to establish where you sit within the fuel matrix. This can be easy enough to ascertain but often is not and therefore you can address this through What’s My Place in the Fuel Matrix?Your position in the fuel matrix reflects the importance of your provision of The Prime Aims and as a consequence the higher you are in the fuel matrix (as a general rule) the more varied, sustained and intense the manipulations (both benign and malign) will be.
- Whether you are painted black or white in our eyes.
- Where you are in the dynamic with the narcissist. Are you at the outset of seduction of an intimate nature? Have you been embedded and thus remain in the golden period as the Intimate Partner Primary Source? Are you on the shelf as an IPSS?
- What is the nature of your interaction with the narcissist? Are you interacting at all? Are you providing Pure Fuel, Challenge Fuel or Wounding?
- How large and accessible is the narcissist’s fuel matrix? Does the narcissist have other options besides you, how accessible are they and to what extent will they satisfy The Prime Aims?
- Perception. You may perceive (through the warped lens of Emotional Thinking) that there is a considerable variance in behaviour, but you need to revisit this and look for evidence. You may perceive that he is ‘always buying’ your replacement gifts, but is her really. You are likely to find, when looking at from an evidential point of view that he has only bought gifts two or three times, but your emotional thinking took hold of your narcissistic trait of envy and used it against you to suggest there was a lot of gift buying going on, so that you would continue to engage with the narcissist as a consequence of this envy, annoyance and/or sadness.
- Consider also instances where the basis of your comparison is information fed by the narcissist, him or herself. The narcissist tells you he went to Rome, Paris, Budapest, Copenhagen and so forth with his previous girlfriend whilst you get Bognor Regis Butlins. But do you have any evidence that he took her to these places? Are there pictures of them in these locations for instance? Remember, the narcissist will say and do anything in order to maintain control and saying things is the easiest, fastest and most efficient method available. I have lost count of the number of times I have stopped people during consultations and asked “How do you know this?” and they respond with “The narcissist told me.” I then explain that this cannot be relied on and therefore they must seek independent evidence. Often they do so and later confirm to me that the narcissist lied. These lies will be used in relation to benign and malign matters also. Accordingly, your perception may also be affected by the lies of the narcissist so you are led to believe that a different victim was treated better or differently when in actual fact they were not.
All of these factors influence the degree to which the narcissist manipulates you but what do they all lead to ultimately?
The extent of the manipulation is linked to the necessity to exert control over the appliance.
Take for example a tube of toothpaste. If the tube is full of toothpaste, you do not have to exert much pressure on the tube to get what you want, namely the toothpaste. A gentle squeeze and out comes the minty, plaque attacker. Conversely, if the tube is nearly empty, you have to squeeze from the very edge of the tube, possibly rolling it upwards in order to coax the last of the toothpaste out of the tube and onto your toothbrush. Comparatively, this takes a lot more effort to achieve the same outcome – toothpaste on the toothbrush.
Similarly, the outcome we want is control. Control over you and others.
If that control can be achieved with a gentle squeeze then this is what happens. If we need to obtain that control through more concentrated effort, with a sustained and intense squeeze, then this is what happens instead.
We must have control and because the circumstances that both
- Threaten our control in the first instance ; and
- Threaten the assertion of control
can and will vary considerably, then so does the type of manipulation applied, the extent and intensity of that manipulation and the effort applied to apply it.
Of course, in certain instances we may decide that the tube of toothpaste is no longer working at all and throw it away. Or that it is too much effort to squeeze those last drops of toothpaste out and we can pick up a new tube of toothpaste nearby far easier. Again, the achieving and maintenance of control will vary dependent upon circumstances.
If you are easy to control, then the variance and intensity of the manipulations (both malign and benign) will not be extensive because it is not necessary. We hate having to do more than is necessary, indeed, we nearly always avoid such a situation.
If you are far harder to control then the assertion of control might be through a wider range of manipulations and of a greater intensity. In some instances the effort is applied for a period of time but the cost proves too great so some of our kind will apply control by rejection (it might be a silent treatment or disengagement) and will turn to a different appliance to provide the Prime Aims instead.
He said he would marry me but he never did. He met the new woman and within a year they were married. Why her and not me? Because you could be controlled without the necessity of marrying you. It was necessary to marry her to gain control.
I talked to his last girlfriend and she said he had beaten her up many times. That did not happen to me though. Because in order to control her, he had to beat her up. In order to control you, he did not need to.
I did not get much of a golden period, but I can see on his Facebook he is posting pictures of flowers he has sent her and other gifts. Why didn’t I get that? Check the perception and if it is accurate then he has sent her all of these gifts because he needed to do so to gain control. It was not necessary with you.
She often talks about how wonderful my sister is, but never talks about my achievements. Because it is more effective to gain control over you by triangulating you with your sister and not giving you praise, than it is to praise you. (For all you know, your sister may be making precisely the same comment!)
He always talks about all the places he went with his ex but he never takes me anywhere. Why did she get all that and I do not? Check the evidence and if it is accurate then it was necessary to take the ex to these places to gain control. It is easier to triangulate you by mentioning them to control you, than it is to take you to these places to gain control.
It is all about the control.
15 thoughts on “Why Does The Extent of the Narcissist’s Manipulations Vary?”
I do find it all to be fascinating as well. I have been searching for answers to what truly causes “emotional thinking”. As it appears to be something that isn’t limited to any specific diagnosis. HG often equates handling ET to quitting smoking or managing your eating or weight which to me relate to willpower. Perhaps it is that simple, but I work with people helping them to move past and understand their abusive relationships and I find consistently that there have been patterns formed in childhood that have led people to be more susceptible to abuse. So I believe that somehow, if we can fix what is broken in the first place and learn new coping patterns we can help people be less susceptible to further abuse as well and perhaps even shorten the amount of time one spends in the “getting over it” phase which is so painful.
For example: with my own Narc, silence was the weapon used that was slowly starting to drive me crazy. I found myself circling and circling to try to figure out a solution to make the silence stop. Finally understanding that silence was a weapon and tool helped me realize that I needed to look within to see what about silence impacted me so much and try to process it so that it could no longer impact me as deeply and I could take away its power. HG provided the facts that narcs use manipulations that they know will be impactful against the type of person you are. I wanted to know the “why” of what makes me that type of person. Knowing the why allowed me on my end to finally apply the willpower to say “I take away your power of silence.” And take back control.
Do you ever find yourself analyzing what about you specifically allowed the Narc to get their claws into you in the first place?
S, that’s interesting, thank you. You working with people to assist understanding why they attract people ie the same “pattern” – do you offer an explanation to what CPTSD is as part of that assistance? You suggest “fix what is broken”, nothing is really “broken” as such, it is just the child’s LOCE that causes the CPTSD and what they were “taught” (learned from their carers / perrs / parents). HG’s article ‘To Cope is to Control – the Creation of Narcissism’ does give some examples of what coping strategies children may adopt. The length of someone going through ‘therapy’ would depend on the individual themselves, what they’d experienced, to what depth, and on their neurological pathways ie understanding their emotions, how their mind works etc. I agree on the shorter the ‘therapy’ period is, the better, but some people may take far longer, years, even.
I no longer “analyse” why I attracted narcissists in my past. I now understand what ET and LT is. I am now aware of what traits I have (HG’s book ‘Sitting Target’ was very insightful into character and special traits). What I did do was to analyse myself alongside HG’s work as I processed through it, as well as processed through the ‘opening and closing’ of the emotional & mental doors of my past until I was ready (prepared) to let it go.
Having said that, consider people who have physical disabilities, either from birth, or as a result of environmental factors. They may become reliant on people to assist them, which, unfortunately, could be narcissist(ic), if they cannot reach an external support network.
What I realised was that using HG’s work offered a way to understand exactly what “willpower” is and how it can be applied ie regarding habits, because that is what addiction to narcissism / CPTSD can “create”. I’m amazed that it can be done – reprogram one’s mind to look and feel about things differently, whereas, I never believed I could achieve that.
Hello HG. I observe you using the word ‘manipulate’ through your work but I don’t think I’ve seen you use ‘persuade’. I’ve heard you use ‘benign manipulation’ and ‘malignant manipulation’ in various contexts but even ‘benign manipulation’ has a different tone / meaning than ‘persuade’. I assume that the word choice is deliberate? Or perhaps I just haven’t consumed enough of your work to hear all the times that you do use ‘persuade’?
I wonder if ‘persuasion’ is something that you consider part of your toolbox? Or is persuasion something that you believe doesn’t exist with narcissists, or in the individual case, yourself?
Thank you for all the videos on YouTube, particularly the interviews that you do. I find trying to understand the way people work interesting, particularly the different ways people think about things. And the way that you think about things is fascinating!
Persuasion is a form of manipulation.
Thank you for your answer HG. Does that mean that you consider ‘persuasion’ and ‘manipulation’ the same thing?
I think while both are relating to influencing another’s behaviour or actions, persuasion *feels* ‘nicer’ than manipulation. (Apologies for the ‘nicer’ word – I’m struggling to find the right way to articulate how I see the difference). For example, I think if someone said that I was good at persuading people to do things I might see that as a compliment. But if someone said that I was good at manipulating people I would see that as very much not a compliment. Hence my query around whether it was a deliberate word choice from you. ‘Benign manipulation’ doesn’t seem like the same thing to me as ‘persuasion’.
Then again, maybe I’m just going down a rabbit hole of pedantry around the meaning of words! 🙂
As I have explained many, many time before, every form of interaction or contemplated interaction between a narcissist and another person is a form of manipulation.
Paying a compliment – manipulation.
Buying a beer for another person – manipulation.
Telling you you look awful in that dress – manipulation.
Picking up a child from school – manipulation.
Taking the bins out because we have been asked to – manipulation.
Persuading you to sleep with us through charm – manipulation.
Persuading you to sleep with us through threat – manipulation.
Persuading you to get in the car down the barrel of a gun – manipulation.
Thank you HG!
Whatever I’ve done
I’ve been staring down the barrel of a gun.
Ah. A purrfect example. The tube. Of toothpaste! There are ways and means of manipulating a tube of toothpaste in order to get the contents out. How I do it is not as dexribed in this article. Hahahaha.
Asp Emp, got me curious, what’s your method? 🙂
Strangling a tube of toothpaste in the middle annoys me. I always start at the end, suffocating out every millimeter and making sure the paste line is always straight 🙂 The tube is flat on the back, thick in the front 🙂
And each cosmetic must be clean, without a drop of water, and labeled to the front. Even and in the order of the colors of the rainbow (like the crayons in a new box).
I did not like the old type of price tags, especially when someone sloppily stuck on the front, covered the picture or the inscription 🙂
Ha ha ha, I’m terrible about that. Everything must be in place 🙂
Books like a ruler, with height and colors.
Let me into your home, and by washing my hands, I will wash and dry your sink and turn your toilet paper over 🙂
At the meeting, I will arrange napkins and drinks evenly 🙂
I try to control it, confining it to my own home. It’s probably called obsessive compulsive disorder 🙂
Joa, so sorry for missing your response to me 🙂 I absolutely loved reading your reply 🙂 I can totally relate! I understand why you suggest OCD, some people may “view” it that way. Maybe look at it from other angles (lateral thinking-wise)?
For me, personally, it is a ‘visual’ thing. It’s a hypersensitivity to things being “out of place”. I cannot stand a picture on the wall not being straight ie off-set, it pisses me off (it is also unsettling to a degree). I have always been like that, mind-set wise.
I agree with your point about price labels in the “wrong”, or annoying “place” on the item. Yes, it is “sloppy” (LOL).
This has nothing to do with narcissism. But, there is a similarity. To a degree. It is a form of needing to put things in their “place” – not people, but things. Is it about ‘control’ because of a lack of control in our childhoods? Is it an aspie thing? It points to the same ‘aspect’ – control, immediate environment otherwise one cannot totally ‘relax’ because their mind will “inform” them, ie it will be a problem until it has been “sorted out”.
Having said that, before I joined KTN, I read up on empaths. Apparently, there are some that can have a hypersensitivity to their surroundings ie ‘unnecessary’ noise, bright lights, and so on. Maybe that “interferes” with their intuition? I was really surprised about these ‘findings’ because aspies have similar ‘issues’ (hypersensitivity).
So, in my view, no, it is not OCD. It could be considered to do with individual’s understanding of their own way of looking at the world around them. I can do that, as a person, in my perspective (as a deaf aspie).
Again, I may suggest that ‘OCD’ on it’s own is too generic, and, in my view, not a worthwhile “label” to even exist because if you look at the different behaviours of those “labelled” with ‘OCD’ may actually lean more towards ie Aspergers, narcissism, or some other ‘conditions’?
OCD is very different than narcissism (which falls into the cluster B personality disorders.). OCD is an extreme form of anxiety – by which a person wants to control their environment (compulsions) due to feeling like if they don’t, something “bad” will happen (obsession).
While some with OCD may have hypersensitivity the two are not always related to each other. Hypersensitivity is often related to those somewhere on the spectrum however or at least points to a certain neurodivergence.
S, thank you for your response. I understand what you are saying and I think when it comes to the obsession part, sometimes the obsession has nothing directly linked to what their OCD is really about ie some kind of avoidance to prevent triggers / reminders of what may have contributed to why they formed the OCD in the first place? People do not necessarily develop OCD for no reason, it usually appears as a result of some kind of trauma, probably, also, as you suggest, as a neurodivergence.
HG has mentioned that narcissists have a hypersensitivity to the need of control, the unaware narcissists not knowing what they are, react to their instincts guiding them.
I find the genetics of autism; ADHD; narcissism (to name but a few) interesting because I have wondered whether it all derives from the same main human gene that led to more DNA mutations, creating all these different neurological pathways.
AspEmp, I would probably fix a crooked painting even in an art gallery 🙂
My grandfather was identical. He improved everything 🙂
I liked to annoy my “N. friend” at work – e.g. gently bend the corner of his report, ha ha ha, he would go crazy and be offended for half a day before he came to tired me again 🙂
But he, also wrote or drew something on the corner of my workbook 🙂
(Although at present, we pass each other almost without seeing each other…).
Yes, I am also in this group. I can’t stand the light. Too much sunlight burns me like a vampire 🙂 I like silence, delicate murmur of nature. I reduce the number of stimuli – then I am calm.
Anxiety – I used to have too much of it. At the age of 15, going to the store and buying bread was an impossible task for me. I was afraid of people. It helped me get out of it… alcohol. Yes, alcohol helped me become a “normal” teenager and get out of the house into the world.
As S writes – obsession, the feeling that if I don’t do something, something bad will happen.
I was reassured by the countdown: “1, 2, 3, 4 – 1, 2, 3 and one extra word as us-ual” mentally pronounced with rhythmic tapping. This countdown has accompanied me for many years of my life (sometimes I still remember it 🙂 ).
A peculiar thing happened, when I was in college. I got off the bus and always walked to the university along a longer but quieter street lined with old trees. I walked differently than other people – not in the middle of the pavement, but along the edge – between the fence and the railings – “for luck”. One day there was so much snow, that the plows pushed it all the way to the fence. Instead of walking on a snow-cleared sidewalk, I overcame drifts and high snow mountains to follow my “good luck” route. I was laughing at myself for half a day and decided that I had to let it go 🙂 It was a turning point in my life, ha ha ha 🙂
Sometimes I still walk on paving slabs so as not to step on the joint. “N. friend” from work, specially pushed me to step 🙂
I still think, I’m on the number of quirks, although I’m at the upper limit 🙂
This decreases with age, becomes unnecessary. But I still hate bright lights and repeated noises.
Joa, thank you for your reply 🙂 RE: the something bad will happen – I don’t know why, or where it really stems from – I used to sense that myself, for many years. I would suggest that it was my subconscious “talking” and maybe it was linked to the “bad” things that happened at home?
The rhythmic tapping – would be observed within those who adopted that as a form of coping mechanism ie those who could not communicate verbally (ie too upset to talk; or not fully understand how to explain what they were feeling etc). Usually found within those on the autistic spectrum when anxious (or, maybe, even, bored). A prime example, I observed Harvey (Katie’s son) doing that by swinging open a door because he was frustrated.
Interesting, I recall avoiding the joints on pavements when I was a child. I have no idea why I did that. Maybe my brain could not comprehend the need for the joints between paving stones? I’d keep walking on the road next to the kerb. I stopped doing that before my father died, so I was pretty young. It would create anxiety in me, so it was instinctive based.
What I’ve mentioned above is not necessarily OCD based but more to do with the autism spectrum, or, safety based? Thank you for sharing some of your experiences, good to read 🙂