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20 Manipulation Techniques Utilized by Gaslighters, Narcissists & Sociopaths

News20 Manipulation Techniques Utilized by Gaslighters, Narcissists & Sociopaths

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Have you ever ever felt such as you had been being became a marionette or a string puppet by somebody who you understand or love?

Being manipulated or having manipulation techniques used in opposition to you is typical of psychological warfare, besides the battlefield is your own home, life, and everyday existence. 

Whereas all of us wish to get what we would like, gaslighters, narcissists, and sociopaths are inclined to take this to the intense, consciously utilizing manipulation techniques to get what they need—often at your expense. 

Worse nonetheless, manipulators are actually, actually good at it, and it’s possible you’ll not notice you’re being manipulated. However the indicators are there should you open your eyes, change into self-aware, and have a look at your interactions with manipulators by a discerning eye. 

It’s time to minimize the strings on manipulation techniques and embrace freedom. 

What Is Manipulation? 

Manipulation is when somebody makes use of subterfuge and underhanded techniques to coerce somebody else into doing what they need. Normally, the particular person being manipulated wouldn’t wish to do what they’re being pressured to do, however the manipulator is targeted on acquiring their objectives, not dealing pretty with the particular person they’re abusing. 

Utilizing manipulation techniques in opposition to somebody is a type of emotional abuse. There are a lot of completely different manipulation techniques, together with (however undoubtedly not restricted to):

  • Guilt tripping 
  • Love bombing 
  • Deflection 
  • Ghosting 
  • Emotional blackmail
  • Making you right into a scapegoat 
  • Vilifying you (projecting) 
  • Divide and conquer 
  • Taking part in the sufferer 
  • Mendacity 
  • Reinforcement 
  • Deflection 

Why Would Somebody Use Manipulation?

In case you are questioning why anybody would do such horrible issues to somebody who trusts them, you have got by no means needed to take care of the fallout of being manipulated. The explanation for manipulation is easy: the manipulator desires one thing, and so they wish to have it, it doesn’t matter what it takes to get it. 

At a extra complicated degree, some manipulators corresponding to gaslighters, narcissists, and sociopaths might also manipulate somebody (aka their sufferer) as a result of it offers them a way of management—they’re holding the strings. 

The target of manipulation is then not solely to get one thing from the sufferer (that the sufferer wouldn’t truly wish to do), however to disempower the sufferer and empower the manipulator. Like vampires, these manipulators suck your willpower and switch you into their private zombie. 

Why It Sucks Being Manipulated

Some victims of manipulation are so coerced they don’t notice the injury it does to them. When requested concerning the manipulation techniques that had been used in opposition to them, they might declare the manipulator had their greatest curiosity at coronary heart. 

However being manipulated means you change into depending on the manipulator (including to their energy), and also you lose your private company and independence. With out willpower, you change into a prisoner in your individual life

Manipulation can result in a lack of belief between companions, the tip of relationships, and the formation of abusive relationship dynamics. In the end, manipulation is unhealthy as a result of it causes:

An Imbalance of Energy

You lose your energy to the manipulator, who locations their very own well-being over yours. 

Disorientation and Disempowerment 

Being manipulated could cause the sufferer to really feel like strangers in their very own lives, and so they undergo disorientation and lack of private energy (ready for permission from their abuser to do one thing), which results in whole disempowerment. 

Doubt and Lack of Self-Belief

When you have got been manipulated, you’ll really feel like you possibly can’t belief your self to make choices anymore. You start to doubt these round you, questioning if they’re additionally manipulating you as you’ve suffered a violation of belief. 

Who’re the Manipulators?

In the end, who’re the manipulators you need to actually be careful for? Let’s have a look:


A gaslighter is somebody who makes use of manipulation to persuade somebody they’re dropping their thoughts and subsequently set up the manipulator’s authority over their sufferer. Whereas gaslighting isn’t essentially a psychological or character attribute, it refers to particular actions used to make the sufferer doubt themselves and deny any validation to the sufferer’s perspective or emotions. 

The time period gaslighting is from the well-known 1938 play by Patrick Hamilton—Gaslight—which tells the story of a married couple, the place the husband tries to drive his spouse mad by continuously switching on the range’s gaslight so she is going to start to self-doubt and lose all private belief. 

For extra on gaslighting at work, learn our information on the warning indicators your boss is gaslighting you at work. 


Named for the fable of Narcissus, narcissists are thought-about a character kind that’s obsessive about their very own pursuits and lives. Narcissists lack empathy, so that they don’t perceive why their actions are dangerous or manipulative of their victims. However the query is whether or not they’re actually evil? 

Somebody turns into a narcissist when they should really feel like they’re higher than everybody else, after they can manipulate their sufferer into continuously hero worshiping them, and after they really feel entitled to something they need. 

Narcissists act just like the world owes them one thing, which is why they manipulate, as they consider it’s their proper or that they know what’s greatest for the particular person they’re “in cost” of. 


Whereas narcissists might generally tend to see nothing incorrect with taking what they need, in excessive circumstances, they might even be sociopaths. A sociopath is commonly known as the situation with none ethical motive. 

If somebody sees nothing incorrect with essentially the most ghastly deeds in opposition to their fellow man and can gladly manipulate them to do what they need (irrespective of the associated fee to the sufferer), they’re doubtless a sociopath. 

A sociopath has no idea of proper or incorrect. They merely do what they please, with none regard for authority, legislation, or morality. Sociopaths don’t have any conscience in terms of their actions. 

Similarities between Gaslighters, Narcissists, and Sociopaths

Whereas these are three distinct personalities, there may be some overlap between the conduct of a sociopath, a narcissist, and a gaslighter. Look out for these indicators:   

Manipulation Techniques to Get What They Need

Gaslighters, narcissists, and sociopaths all use manipulation techniques to finally get what they need from you. They might even use the identical techniques, merely utilized to differing ranges

A Lack of Real Empathy and Caring

These three character varieties have one severe character flaw in widespread—they lack empathy and can’t genuinely care concerning the folks they manipulate. Whereas a few of us might blind ourselves into manipulating others with the excuse of doing it for that particular person’s profit too, these three personalities merely do it as a result of they will. 

Attraction and Manipulation Stroll Hand in Hand

Who can say no to a captivating particular person who appears to have your greatest curiosity at coronary heart? With their allure and methodical manipulations, narcissists, gaslighters, and sociopaths simply destroy boundaries and again their victims into corners. They’ll smile whereas they knife you within the again, and so they’ll ship you a get effectively quickly card afterward too. 

Mendacity Comes Naturally to Them

For many of us, mendacity will not be pure, and we’ve “tells” that give away we’re mendacity. These three “bullies” are specialists at mendacity, and so they do it for enjoyable. Worse nonetheless, they consider their very own lies, making them harmful to be round. 

Twisting the Reality

Not solely do these personalities lie, however in addition they twist the reality to serve their functions. When coping with any of those three “bullies,” it’s worthwhile to watch out of their model of the reality.

There are a number of manipulation techniques that gaslighters, narcissists, and sociopaths use to get what they need and set up their energy over you. Understanding what to be careful for might help you steer clear.  

20 Manipulation Techniques Utilized by Gaslighters, Narcissists, and Sociopaths

Like among the gun-happy cults which have featured on TV, gaslighters, narcissists, and sociopaths have an arsenal of weapons (aka manipulations) at their disposal. 

When one doesn’t work, there are a number of others they will use to lastly get what they need—your obedience and full compliance with their needs.  

1. Love Bombing 

“However I really like you a lot, which is why I received you this new watch, as a result of I solely need one of the best for you.”

Love bombing is a elementary tactic that these three “bully” personalities study to make use of as a manipulation technique to attain their aims. To make use of the love bomb tactic, the manipulator will discover a strategy to use their sufferer’s self-importance in opposition to them. 

If you happen to resolve to accuse your manipulator of being manipulative, they’ll seamlessly change the dialog so you seem like the abuser as an alternative.

In a love bomb assault, the manipulator showers their sufferer in extreme profusions of affection and costly items or excessive shows of affection, which all make the sufferer really feel beholden to their manipulator. They purchase your love so you’ll belief them and do as they ask. 

If you attempt to get out of the snare, they change it up with statements like, “Didn’t I get you every part you needed, however you gained’t do that one factor for me?” Love bombing rapidly turns into guilt tripping. 

2. Guilt Tripping 

“However you have got a lot, and also you don’t present any gratitude to me.” 

Guilt tripping is the evil twin of affection bombing, and this tactic could be very helpful to a manipulator who depends on your individual sense of ethical justice, turning this in opposition to you.

When you find yourself made to really feel like you’re ungrateful for all of the issues somebody has carried out for you, they achieve energy over you as your self-confidence takes a knock and also you change into weak to exterior manipulation

The narcissist, gaslighter, or sociopath might remind you of all they’ve carried out for you (within the love bombing), and comply with this with an implied or articulated recrimination, making you’re feeling such as you’re ungrateful. 

If you happen to sometimes see your self as a grateful particular person, you’ll expertise stress and vulnerability after they make you see your self as one thing you’re not.   

3. Psychological Projection 

“I’m not the one doing the manipulations right here. Can’t you see the way you’ve pushed me to get what you need?” 

Making an attempt to have a significant dialogue about manipulation with the manipulator is like catching a slippery eel in your arms. They simply go away a slimy residue on you, whereas slithering away unaffectedly. How do they do that? Via psychological projection. 

They subtly change the subject of the dialogue so you’re feeling just like the unhealthy man, as an alternative of seeing them because the unhealthy man. They cleverly deflect the true focus of the dialogue by making it about you.

By accusing you of one thing just like what you have got tried to level out, they trigger doubt and insecurities, making you weak to their manipulations. 

4. Dodge, Evade, and Redirect 

“I can’t consider you’d accuse me of that. I discover you’re very emotional and labored up. Is there one thing occurring with you?”

Eradicating the main focus from themselves, the manipulator makes your dialogue die a fast dying by saying you look emotional or that you’re below stress (which they “supposedly” don’t wish to add to).

If you are busy doubting your self as a result of they so cleverly evaded the unique feedback, they simply paint themselves in a brand new gentle by feigning concern about you.  

5. Making You the Villain 

“I’m sorry you’re feeling that approach. However I can’t put up together with your abuse any longer.” 

If you happen to resolve to accuse your manipulator of being manipulative, they’ll seamlessly change the dialog so you seem like the abuser as an alternative. Whether or not they accuse you of abuse up entrance or cleverly recommend it by projecting their techniques onto you, they obtain their aim of unsettling you and making you weak.  

6. Smearing Your Title

“Did you hear what Ben mentioned about you?” 

A basic manipulation tactic is to faux that persons are speaking about you, and they’re those who know what’s being mentioned. In the meantime, they’re those spreading lies and misinformation about you.

In the end, you find yourself going to them for data and kicking folks out of your life, when it’s the manipulator who has been orchestrating the entire smear marketing campaign.  

7. “However I’m the Sufferer”

“I actually didn’t have another alternative. Don’t you see that Sandra doesn’t like me?”

All of us wish to cheer on the underdog, defend the sufferer, and encourage somebody who’s being bullied. Nevertheless, these three “bullies” simply make themselves out because the sufferer in any state of affairs. 

In the event that they lose their job (and change into financially depending on you), it’s due to a brand new boss, the shortage of coaching, or as a result of they needed to maintain you whilst you had been sick. It’s by no means their fault.

Since you see them because the sufferer, you’re feeling sorry for them and can do as they ask.  

8. Isolate and Dominate 

“They don’t care about you want I do.” 

Slicing off individuals who often encompass you is an indication that somebody is attempting to isolate and dominate you. By accusing different folks in your life, the manipulator makes you doubt folks and really feel alone. The result’s that you’ll simply change into dominated since you stand alone. 

9. You’re It—The Scapegoat Recreation

“What did you do incorrect? Why can’t you get even easy issues proper?”

This can be a typical instance of the “bullies” blaming you for every part, making you into the scapegoat. With fixed blame and damaging feedback, the manipulator turns into empowered as they put on down their sufferer’s shallowness.  

10. Management and Coerce Via Lies

“That’s not what you mentioned.”

With lies, the manipulator causes doubt and uncertainty of their sufferer, creating concern and confusion. In a weak state, the sufferer is open to additional manipulation. As soon as the manipulator can persuade you that you’re forgetful or liable to not listening to, they will simply let you know lies and demand that these occurred and are true. 

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With fixed blame and damaging feedback, the manipulator turns into empowered as they put on down their sufferer’s shallowness.  

The tip aim is to make you depend on the manipulator to remind you of issues which is able to place doubt behind your thoughts.  

11. Altering the End Line

“I anticipate higher than this from you.”

Think about being set a process, and when you accomplish the duty, you don’t get a reward, however find yourself in a nasty combat as an alternative. These manipulators are adept at setting a aim after which shifting that aim or altering the aim solely

Their manipulations are aimed toward maintaining you on the again foot always to allow them to take pleasure in energy over you, making you determined for his or her approval.

12. The Silent Sulk 

“I don’t have something to say.” (However actually, they do.)

Like a toddler that sulks, a manipulator might resort to this tactic till they get what they need from you. As a substitute of speaking about points like a mature grownup, they maintain quiet and sulk, letting their feelings communicate for them. A silent sulk is aimed toward making you’re feeling responsible and convincing you that you’re the one who did incorrect (for the reason that sulker is clearly in such misery). 

13. Working by Intermediaries 

“—silence—” (Bob will do the speaking for me.)

Along with the silent sulk tactic, they might use a 3rd get together or an in depth good friend (who’s sympathetic to them) to relay their message. As a substitute of discussing issues like grownups, the manipulator makes it inconceivable for his or her sufferer to actually say what’s occurring, since they use a biased third get together to do their soiled work. 

Word: Going for remedy with an unbiased skilled counselor isn’t the identical as this guerilla tactic of management.  

14. Destructive Reinforcement 

“If you happen to do that for me, I’ll cease doing one thing you don’t like.” 

Destructive and constructive reinforcement are a part of conditioning methodology, and when a narcissist, gaslighter, or sociopath makes use of damaging reinforcement, it’s to get what they need.

Whereas it’s regular for us to barter to get what we would like, these three members of the darkish triad don’t simply need what they need, in addition they wish to make sure you don’t get what you need

With damaging reinforcement, they apply strain till you do what they need, then they take away the strain. 

“Properly, I assume you’re proud of your self now.”  

If you attempt to get up for your self, the manipulators resort to this type of manipulation to make you’re feeling upset and get an increase out of you. As a substitute of listening to you or listening to your facet of the story, they voice clear assumptions that paint you because the unhealthy man. 

For them, the reward is your emotional response, since they took away your skill to behave.

16. Dismissiveness and Withholding Reward 

“All the opposite dancers did so effectively. You’ll have to apply extra.”

It’s pure to look to others for some type of approval or validation, but you’ll find none of this while you have a look at a manipulator. Their reward at all times has a sting within the tail, or they’ll reward others whereas withholding it from you. 

Some will provide to assist you to enhance (suggesting they know higher and may do higher, whereas putting you in a decrease place of energy within the relationship).  

17. Stalking and Possessiveness 

“I known as to ensure you had been secure, since I don’t prefer it while you exit late at evening.”

Ever had somebody faux to like you, solely to finish up stalking you? These manipulators typically do exactly that. They refuse to allow you to go wherever with out them, and should you do, they make you’re feeling responsible about it. You’re their new favourite toy, and so they don’t wish to share.  

Initially, they might cover behind concern for you, however quickly, they’ll merely take it as a right that you’re theirs and so they personal you. 

18. The Overly Important Gaze 

“—silently taking a look at you with a raised eyebrow—” 

If you do one thing that takes away their energy or doesn’t meet their approval (which they will not provide you with anyway), they might merely stare at you in a threatening approach. The silent stare has extra energy than some phrases do, and while you’ve change into used to being manipulated, a stare is commonly sufficient to make you change into obedient once more. 

Word: That is additionally a type of damaging reinforcement because the stare is disagreeable to you, so while you do what they need, they take away the disagreeable factor by now not observing you. 

19. Psychological Blackmail 

“However I really like you, and I’ve carried out a lot for you. How will you do that to me?” 

Through the use of expressions of affection, the manipulator convinces you they should be cherished and obeyed. They blackmail you, particularly if they’re in a place of energy (corresponding to being the earner at dwelling) and threaten to withhold their help should you don’t love them again. 

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A silent sulk is aimed toward making you’re feeling responsible and convincing you that you simply’re the one who did incorrect

Psychological blackmail will be overt or covert, and so they might come all out and threaten to cease serving to you should you don’t do as they need, or they might merely remind you of the issues they do for you and what you don’t do for them.  

20. The Savior Tactic 

“Don’t fear; I’ll try this for you.”

A really evil approach of manipulation is when the manipulator rushes in to avoid wasting you. By pretending to be the savior in any state of affairs, they make their sufferer really feel indebted to them. 

Nevertheless, in hindsight, it’s possible you’ll discover they had been the reason for the issue to begin with. They created the drama so they might rush in and prevent—portray them because the everlasting hero. 

Remaining Ideas on Manipulation Techniques

Manipulation techniques are gadgets used to coerce victims into sacrificing their individuality and free will for the sake of a controlling particular person who desires to take their associate’s energy away. Among the favourite manipulation techniques which can be utilized by narcissists, gaslighters, and sociopaths embody:

  • Guilt tripping 
  • Silently sulking 
  • Dismissive conduct 
  • Psychological blackmail
  • Stalking 
  • Taking part in the savior
  • Smearing your title 
  • Making you into the villain 

Have you ever been the sufferer of those manipulation techniques and extra? Maybe it’s time to suppose lengthy and arduous about the folks in your life and whether or not they’re good for your psychological well being, actually have your greatest pursuits at coronary heart, and if they’re price having in your life

It’s essential to find out how a scarcity of self-awareness influences manipulators to make use of manipulation techniques and dominate their relationships. Change into self-aware too, so you possibly can uncover who’s manipulating you and why, or assist you to cease if you’re a manipulator.

And should you’re searching for extra assets on manipulation, you should definitely take a look at these weblog posts:

manipulation tactics | list of emotional manipulation tactics | manipulation tactics examples

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