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How narcissists weaponize their interactions

by Lori Hoeck on November 26, 2009

WeaponizingThe holidays are a great time for family and friends, but sometimes we face Dark Hearts in the most festive of seasons. Their interactions can be even more devastating since we are entering what should be the giving season. Never underestimate a narcissist’s ability to win and remain on top and in control in relationships at any time of the year. They are like sexual predators in that both know how to filter and groom certain people for the role of You Who Will Service ME. One way narcissists keep their ego sidekicks in check and in tow is by weaponizing normal interactions:

  • Narcissists discover what makes you feel guilty and turn it into a method of control. “You mentioned to me before that you wished you had been there for your friend, but you weren’t. Aren’t you doing that to me now, dumping all this work on me?”
  • Narcissists turn past mistakes into goads. “I don’t need a repeat of last time when you should have come in to work to help this department, but instead stayed home.”
  • Narcissists turn your worthiness issues or insecurity into control buttons. “You know you don’t work well outside the home. People laugh at your looks and weight.”
  • Narcissists sabotage your attempts to express yourself. “Why are you so emotional about this?”
  • Narcissists fuel anger to use it as a control point, to deflect criticism to you, and to avoid talking about the real issues. “Where is all this anger coming from? You don’t build up this much anger over one, little thing. You are still mad about dinner last week, aren’t you?”
  • Narcissists use your belief systems against you. “I thought you were a spiritual person. A spiritual person doesn’t get angry, say harsh things, or act like you are acting right now.”
  • Narcissists use their definition of good character traits to control behavior. “You’re a teacher. I’m a parent. You should model better behavior for your students by being more respectful to me.”

A narcissist will have many comebacks to every comeback you have, but if you want to try your hand at standing up to a Dark Heart instead of acquiescing, here are some statements I wish I had learned a long time ago:

“Yes, I may have screwed up back then, but I’ve forgiven myself and moved on. Bringing this up again and again won’t help us improve the current situation.”

“I may have had some fears in the past, but I’m willing to face them now. Here’s what I plan to do, preferably with your support, but I can do it alone as well.”

“How I show respect and honor is my own business.  I’m not bound by your definitions and parameters.”

“My walk with God and my spiritual path is between God and me. I let His Word correct my actions, not the judgments of others.”

“We are not talking about dinner last week, we are talking about how you belittled me just now. Keep on topic and stop trying to deflect the subject away from yourself.”

“Interesting you would think I’m emotional. Saying that is usually a put down. I’m impassioned. I’m assertive. I’m strong minded. Besides, my emotional state is an internal and private matter, and you don’t have my permission to comment or judge me about it.”

These statements and others like them have to be repeated often to a Dark Heart. As my husband notes, “It’s funny that narcissists expect you to learn everything they want you to learn the first time, but you have to stand your ground, repeat yourself, and constantly set boundaries with them.”

Thank you for visiting and learning about self defense.

To benefit others, please pass it on!

Lori Hoeck

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Photo Credit: ThreadedThoughts

{ 6 comments }

1 janice November 26, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Hi there, Lori. I’ve just logged on after a long break and coming here felt like a homecoming. Such a timely post for so many people. There’s someone in my life I can often apply your dark heart advice to, so thank you. I liked these possible responses; I wish you could have been there with me to remind me of the most fitting ones a few weeks ago. I stood up to someone quietly and bravely and the effect was startling. Unfortunately, the person in question was shocked, stormed off in angry and hurt indignation and has since chosen pointed silence as a tactic. I can live with that for now; I’d simply had enough of being bullied, talked over, talked down to and talked at.

2 Lori Hoeck November 27, 2009 at 10:20 am

Hi Janice!
I’m glad you felt the post timely. I was wondering if it was a bit heavy for the holiday, but then again narcissists never take a day off!

Standing up to a Dark Heart can pump up their narcissistic rage or make them pump up the drama with the attitude of: “I’m going to withdraw until you apologize.” I’m glad you understand the value of standing up for yourself and letting them deal with their own issues!

Good to see your comments again!

3 Davina November 27, 2009 at 8:45 pm

Hi Lori.
“Narcissists sabotage your attempts to express yourself.” That really takes your power away and gives them control. You’ve given some great suggestions here too. The narcissist’s statements almost sound like something a young child would say when they are challenging a parent, and interesting how that is based on emotions; the very thing they are using against their “target”.

4 Lori Hoeck November 27, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Hi Davina,
Narcissistic personalities must always hold power and control — even if it is only in their own minds.

5 Walter November 29, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Narcissist will always be a fact of life. We can learn from them but we should make sure that we see the lessons. Let us remember the fact that we are not perfect. The guilt within us will only have power if we allow it, the influence of a narcissists can affect us, if we let it. :-)

6 Lori Hoeck November 29, 2009 at 9:07 pm

Hi Walter,
Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

Yes, a tough part of outgrowing narcissists is letting go of the guilt — or other personal issues –that leaves us susceptible, isn’t it?

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