Narcissists, or Dark Hearts as I call them, know how to manipulate your inner child, play your weaknesses like a fiddle, and sabotage anything that will alter the balance of power.
Self defense in this kind of battle is tough. Your Defense Against the Dark Hearts training must include unveiling the ways of control, power, and enticement the Dark Hearts use. In this post, let’s look at the insidiously subtle ways narcissists take control.
Here are just three ways (more to come in future posts!) the Dark Hearts keep a position of superiority:
Take the parental role
The following three examples, when said by a loving relative or friend, are just conversation. When said by a Dark Heart, the words place the speaker above the listener. My “translations” apply only when said by a Dark Heart.
- “It’s nice that young women like yourself are taking more interest in this subject.”
Translation: I’m older, wiser, and allowed to judge your actions and throw your youth in your face.
(Compare this to: “It’s great you have an interest in this.”)
- “You didn’t want to listen at first, but I’m happy you finally took my advice. Doesn’t making the right decision feel good?”
Translation: I’m smarter, wiser, and allowed advise you on anything I want and judge you for taking the advice or not.
(Compare this to: “Things seem to be going well for you.”)
- “I’m sure if you take a harder look at this and really apply yourself, you will find the answer.”
Translation: I’m smarter and allowed tell you when you aren’t measuring up.
(Compare this to: “What do you want the impact or end result of this to be?”)
You might think these examples are inconsequential or overblown, but Dark Heart ways often leave you feeling like the child in the relationship because of the constant repetition of manipulations. Never underestimate how powerful the subtle, constant digs at your shortcomings or immaturity will slowly affect you over time.
Play the “I’ve done more than you” card
The ability of emotional predators to play the one-upsmanship game is nothing short of amazing. Since they cannot be seen as inferior in key areas of their lives, they compile a whole catalogue or repertoire of stories to trot out every time someone else seems to have a better story, worse experience, or greater level of sacrifice.
Imagine three Dark Hearts all at one table taking about illnesses. This is how it might sound:
First Dark Heart: “I tell you the Swine Flu nearly killed me! I had to go to the hospital and once there, they realized I needed bypass surgery. What a horrible time!”
Second Dark Heart: “That’s nothing. When I was younger, I battled cancer for a year. I was in and out of hospitals and never healthy enough to avoid every flu and cold. It was awful!”
Third Dark Heart: “I can’t believe you two would complain about such things! When I worked on the oil rigs, a mishap ripped my back to shreds. I went through five different surgeries and during that same time my first wife, kids, and dog all died in a car accident.”
It may be humorous to visualize such a scene, but when you face a Dark Heart who works like this, you will find it hard to argue your side of an argument if you let “glory stories” from the past make you feel second-rate or less capable.
Use verbal skills like stealth weapons
There are too many verbal manipulations to name in a short article, but here’s one that can be quite powerful — I call the black or white game, which is based on the fallacious argument known as the Black & White Fallacy. We all use this from time to time and politicians love using it, but when a narcissist employs it, you can bet it’s a matter of control:
- “Are you going to act like an adult or a two year old over this?”
- “You either love America (this job, the company, our family) or you don’t.”
- “Either you are a good union man like your father who supported us no matter what, or you’re against us.”
In all three cases, Dark Hearts define the “better option” in their own terms, they refuse to allow a middle ground, and they make sure the second option is undesirable. It’s important to not let the argument or discussion become defined by opposite ends of a spectrum.
SIMILAR ARTICLES ON THIS SUBJECT:
- Five traits of a narcissistic ‘crazymaker’
- Signs and traits of emotional predators
- The Blame Game of emotional predators
Want to know more? Take a look at
The Narcissist — A User’s Guide
Take away exercise:
Not sure how to tell the Dark Hearts from more functional people? Ask yourself these questions:
- Does talking with the person make you feel empowered or a bit crazed, like you can never get your point across?
- When you leave the person, do you feel encouraged or do you feel manipulatively challenged to do something you originally did not want to do?
- Does the person make you feel secure and cared for as a person, or do you have a vague suspicion you are being used?
This is a small portion of what I will be writing about regarding this subject and on this site. I hope you subscribe or return often to discover more about unplugging from emotional predators.
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