A narcissist is usually quite charming and quite intelligent, often making narcissistic mind games hard to spot.
Narcissists promise you the sun, moon, and stars. They know how to push your buttons in a way that they ‘entrap’ you in their world so that you do what they want.
The moment you stop doing what they want, they get angry. When you choose to leave the relationship, they throw you away then go on to tell everyone they were victimized by you.
Never make the error in thinking you can change a narcissist or help them stop playing narcissistic mind games unless you are a trained therapist and they have sought you directly for the purpose of assisting them with this mental disorder.
Make no mistake — this is a personality and mental disorder and if needed, they can get help from a mental health care professional, but only if they want the help.
What are the narcissistic mind games narcissistic men play in relationships?
Game #1: Inflating their sense of self-importance.
Here is a scenario: A woman asks a man if he would like to take a much-needed vacation with her. The man replies, “Do you have any idea what would happen if I were to leave my work at this time?”
Narcissists believe the whole world will fall apart without them… or at least they want you to believe this.
Generally, when they talk, there will be a lot of name-dropping, boasting of what they are buying next, or where they went, what they did, with whom, how much money they spent. Rarely will they ask questions about you or your life?
The entire conversation is usually one-sided and about them and their accomplishments. They tend to come off as conceited and pretentious. If a wait-person doesn’t seat them right away, they get impatient and may even get downright angry — even if the place is super busy!
The narcissist may be thinking, “Don’t they realize who I am!?”
Game #2: Having zero empathy.
Here is a scenario: A woman tells the man about a college friend who is having a challenging time with a cancer diagnosis. Man replies, “Well, serves him right, he smoked for 10 years before he quit. What did he expect?”
Here, we have zero empathy yet what makes it worse is the belittling of the person when they are already down. This is a huge warning sign you are with a narcissist.
Belittling others has the narcissist feel better about themselves. Yet, deep down, they have a feeling of inferiority, though they act superior to all those around them.
Game #3: Being critical to mask their own low self-esteem.
Here is the scenario: Woman (who is a personal trainer) lovingly suggests a more effective way to do sit-ups, since she knows man wants a toned physique and knows he is doing sit-ups in a way that will not deem him the results he wants.
The man replies, “What are you talking about? I do them perfectly and besides, I don’t even need to be doing them at all. I look great for a guy my age. Look at you, you could stand to lose some weight yourself!”
Again, here we have someone who, rather than respond in a way that would show interest and/or show gratitude for the assistance, the narcissist responds in a critical, hurtful, and demeaning way. This is classic narcissist behavior.
These hurtful mind games can be hard to recognize, but there are 14 signs a narcissist is playing mind games with you.
1. You went into a conversation thinking you were right and left feeling like you were wrong.
Gaslighting is one of the most manipulative things a narcissist will use against you to make you feel like whatever problem you bring up with him is your fault in the end.
2. He completely ignores whatever issue you bring to him.
If you try to have a civil conversation about an issue in your relationship with a narcissist, then good luck. He will talk over you and manipulate you so much that you might not even notice him change the conversation until later when you realize the issue was never discussed.
3. Your story and his story never match up.
If the two of you have an argument about something, nine times out of ten he won’t be on your side because the same story is completely different in his head.
4. He is always the victim.
He always plays the victim when you get into arguments because he wants you to feel bad for him when it should be the other way around. You are always labeled as the jerk.
5. You get deja vu when he’s with you.
You are constantly getting deja vu when talking to him because narcissists have a pattern in the way they play their games. Over time, you will feel like you’re going crazy because you’ve been through this with him over and over.
This is especially true if you ever text him something because he’s also good at narcissistic text games, and you will think, “didn’t he say that already?”
6. You start thinking he’s right and you’re the one that’s overthinking.
Narcissists are so good at doing this to you. They make you start doubting yourself and make you think that you’re crazy for thinking whatever they did was wrong because how could they ever be wrong?
7. He gets angry very easily.
Whenever you try to confront or have a civil conversation about something that you thought the narcissist did wrong, he will get defensive. His temper and anger will rise as you have made him notice his faults and, like always, he denies whatever you brought up and lashes out at you.
8. He calls you names.
Narcissists aren’t above anything and are so immature you bet they will call you names. Their favorite word to use is crazy, followed by stupid, insane, or any other word to shut you up.
9. He tries to get others on his side.
He will call up friends and then gaslight friends to be on his side to make you look like you have no idea what you’re talking about and that you aren’t telling the truth or being fair. When really, we all know he is a master at manipulation, even with their own friends.
10. You’re the one who ends up saying sorry.
No matter how angry and upset you are about something, you’re always the one saying sorry and it becomes a pattern.
11. You feel like you aren’t enough.
If your partner is a narcissist, they will constantly make you feel like you aren’t enough and that you are worthless. That should be a clear and easy sign for you as your partner should never make you feel bad about yourself.
12. You feel alone.
Even if you are in a relationship, you will feel completely alone if your partner is a narcissist. Everything will be about them and you will spend a lot of your energy wasted on them and feeling totally isolated and empty.
13. You feel guilty for thinking badly of him.
You feel horrible for even thinking that he did something wrong. This is because it’s become a pattern for him to make you feel bad for bringing up things that make you upset about him. Therefore, over time, you will do that less because it makes you feel bad.
14. You immediately regret bringing up an issue.
You’ve been gaslit so many times, your courage to bring up an issue has diminished and it takes all the energy out of you to even do so. When you do, you immediately regret it because you feel exhausted and over time, you’ll learn from him to not bring up issues anymore.
Why do Narcissists use manipulation games?
Though you may be a victim of narcissistic behavior, remember the narcissist has been victimized as well. They use manipulation games because that’s how their brain is wired. Therefore, in order to change, they truly need help.
Truly rather than label people, I prefer to say, “Love the person, change the behavior.” Yet, remember that the person has to want to change.
If you’re wondering what you should do then you have a couple of options.
Loving your narcissistic partner doesn’t mean staying around for abuse. You can love the person and still leave. You can love them and help them to seek professional counsel.
If they choose not to get help, then you can (as my Grandmother would say) “run, don’t walk” to your happier future ahead! If they seek counsel, a great professional can truly help them.
In my experience, there is a tremendous chance that the man imprinted narcissism at a very early age from a caregiver.
If you or someone you know and love have symptoms of narcissism seek professional counsel. Remember you are a magnificent being of love and light!
Maggie Connor is an expert and master trainer in the world assisting individuals, athletes, coaches, teams & organizations using cutting-edge quantum change technologies as well as soul-centered work to create personal & professional excellence in several key areas of life.