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8 Diversion Tactics Highly Manipulative Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Psychopaths Use To Silence You


Narcissists, psychopaths, and sociopaths are toxic human beings. Their maladaptive behavior patterns tend to hurt their romantic partners, family as well as friends. 

They use various tactics to manipulate others, and manipulation being the Narcissist’s primary tool. Whether someone is a full-blown diagnosed narcissist or just reveals some traits, manipulation is a crucial tactic of achieving their goal.

Here are eight diversion tactics they use to degrade and silence you. 

1. Gaslighting 

It is a rather manipulative tactic that distorts and erodes your sense of reality. You start doubting yourself and lose the ability to trust yourself. A toxic person will make you believe that the former is an inevitable truth, whereas the latter shows dysfunction on your end. To avoid gaslighting, you need to ground yourself in your own reality. Even your own mother can be gaslighting you.

2. Projection 

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Projection is considered a defense mechanism that is used to displace accountability of one’s bad behavior and characteristics by attributing them to others. It is an act of avoiding ownership and responsibility. Toxic people project their shame onto others. All you can do is not own up to any of the toxic person’s projections and avoid being empathetic towards them.

3. Nonsensical conversations from hell 

You can never expect to have a mindful conversation with a narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath. If you try to challenge them or disagree, they use word salads, circular conversations, and add hominem arguments to sidetrack you. They do so to confuse and frustrate you. Whenever you feel that they’re doing so, cut off the conversation. 

4. Blanket comments and generalizations

Toxic people are generally lazy. So they generalize everything you say, make blanket statements that don’t address what you just said. All you should do is hold onto your truth and ignore generalizing comments that are nothing but forms of illogical thinking.

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5. Intentionally distorting your thoughts and feelings

They distort your thoughts and feelings to the point of absurdity Narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths can transform your different opinions, legitimate emotions, and various experiences into character flaws and proof of your irrational nature. They are quite the storytellers because they can come up with tales to reframe your words, making your opinions look absurd. If this happens to you, just say “I never said that” and walk away from the conversation. 

6. Nitpicking and moving the goalposts

Toxic people focus on personally attacking people through destructive criticism. They move the goalposts so that they have some reason to be dissatisfied with you. Even if you give them all the proof needed, they will demand more or set up another expectation for you to fulfill. So you should learn to validate and approve yourself. Realize that you are enough and worthy. 

7. Changing the subject to evade accountability 

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These sorts of people are experts in changing the subject to avoid a specific topic and redirect attention to a different problem. Toxic people don’t want to take responsibility for their behavior, so they change the topic in a beneficial way for themselves. What you can do is to state your facts and ignore their distractions continuously. 

8. Covert and overt threats 

Narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths tend to feel threatened when their false sense of superiority is challenged by another. This leads to making absurd demands on the person who threatens them. Toxic people try to instill fear in you by threatening. They do so to turn you into a submissive person who does their bidding. Take those threats seriously and show them you mean business. Document threats and take legal action if possible. 

The above eight points are just a few examples of how narcissists manipulate you.

Always remember narcissists, sociopaths, etc., continually try to test your boundaries so they can see which ones they can offend. The more violations they’re able to perform without consequences, the more they will push.

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Therefore, survivors of emotional and physical abuse often experience more severe abuse incidents each time they go back to their abusers.

The more power you give a narcissist over your emotions, the less you are inclined to trust your own reality as well as the truth about the abuse you’re experiencing. Understanding the manipulative tactics and how they work to erode your sense of self can arm you so that you can develop a plan to regain control over your life and move away from toxic people.

Weaknesses of the Narcissistic Leader

  • They are sensitive to criticism. 
  • They lack empathy.
  • They have this intense desire to compete.
  • They influence the organizations.
  • They empathize with your boss’s feelings. 
  • They give your boss ideas, yet they let him take the credit for them.

Tips on how to dealing with a narcissistic personality

  1. Accept them.
  2. Break the spell.
  3. Speak up.
  4. Set boundaries.
  5. Expect pushback.
  6. Remember the truth.
  7. Find support.
  8. Demand action.

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