Stop him in his tracks.
An unfortunate truth you’ve probably learned if you’re a woman is that many men play mind games in relationships. While there are many reasons why guys play games like this, what matters most is recognizing whether these may be signs you’ve in an emotionally abusive relationship with a narcissist, and if so, how to deal with it.
Should you encounter a narcissistic narcissistic man playing mind games with you, it’s important for you to teach him a lesson he’ll never forget.
Because if you don’t take back control of yourself, you’ll let his mind games take control for you.
Why do narcissistic men play mind games in relationships?
According to James Masterson — “an internationally recognized psychiatrist who helped inaugurate the study and treatment of personality disorder[s] including borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder” — the narcissist presents a grandiose false self in order to feel superior.
Underneath the mask, however, they feel like an impostor, constantly fearful of accidentally exposing the real self they believe must be flawed, as it can never be being perfect.
When they’re authentic self and flaws are caught showing, they play mind games in order to preserve the integrity of the grandiose false self.
Here are 8 mind games narcissistic men play that are signs of emotionally abusive relationships with someone who’s trying to pull the wool over your eyes in order to preserve their false sense of self.
1. Pretending to be the perfect guy
At this stage, they want their ego stroked and will tell you whatever you want to hear in order to have sex with you or keep you as a source of supply to boost their self-esteem. If you are attractive, empathic or wealthy, you have the supplies narcissists believe they need in order to fill their emptiness.
During this idealization stage, the narcissist will love bomb you with compliments and affection in order to hook you in.
The narcissist works out what you want to hear and presents themselves to be the person you want them to be in order to lure you in. They hook you into a relationship by playing into your fantasy of being loved. You’re easily fooled by the charming way their grandiose false self portrays them as the man of your dreams.
They like the thrill of the chase, but once they have you where they want you, they may grow bored and move on to someone else. But by that time, you’re totally hooked by the belief that you’ve met the man of your dreams.
2. Turning the problem around and making it your fault
Once you stop meeting his needs or supplying him, his disappointment kicks in. And once you’ve had a peek through the cracks, he starts devaluing you to in order to protect himself from having to face his own human imperfections.
At this point, the narcissist is likely to attack your character and criticize you, as if you are the only problem standing between the two of you and perfect happiness. They blame you in order to deflect from their own faulty actions.
3. Twisting things
The narcissist will accuse you of doing the things they do, such as cheating, being selfish and being judgmental. They disown any negative aspects of themselves and project them onto others, viewing everyone around them as ruthless or exploitative, while seeing themselves as purely innocent.
They will turn your words around and create the truth they prefer to believe. You become the bullying villain and they’re the innocent victim putting up with you. You are crazy, emotional or need help.
They are just fine.
When you remind them of something they did which exposes their bad behavior and authentic self, they will tell you that you are wrong and that your perceptions of reality are incorrect.
This causes you to back down, give up your own thoughts and beliefs, and possibly even question your own sanity.
The narcissist will avoid shame and pain by using silence as a weapon to hurt you.
They will punish you with the silent treatment, leaving you feeling tortured for having made the “mistake” of simply expressing yourself.
The narcissist will protect themselves from emotional pain and deflect their own hurt feelings by discarding you.
This usually happens on after they find another supply and when no longer depend on you being around in order to have their needs met.
7. Smear campaigns
A narcissist will recruit friends, family or colleagues into the false reality they have built around you, turning them against you and casting you in a bad light by distorting the truth.
They make sure to get other people on their side who will tell them what they want to hear and support them in their campaign against you.
The narcissist will creep back into your life when they are single again and running low on supplies.
They may reel you in, only to discard you again when you do not meet their never-ending and ever-increasing needs.
In a relationship with a narcissist, whenever you refuse to meet their needs, stop providing them with supplies, fail to mirror their grandiosity by acknowledging how perfect they are, or expose their behavior, they feel deflated. They then boost themselves up again by hurting you.
In playing mind games, the narcissist plants seeds of self-doubt in your mind, causing you to you second guess yourself and put up with how you are being treated, blaming yourself as the problem.
These mind games are meant to put you back where you belong — attending to to their every need.
If you lack self-love and seek approval from them in order to feel good enough about yourself, you will only succeed in becoming a sponge, soaking up all of the narcissist’s toxicity, losing your sense of identity, and transforming into a mere shell of a human being.
The more you hold onto this fantasy that you are being loved, the more you will diminish your sense of self. And if you cannot bring yourself to acknowledge that this person is playing mind games, you will continue enabling them while never allowing yourself to recover.
If you’re ready to stop allowing a narcissistic man to play games with your mind, here’s how to do it (and teach him a lesson in the process).
- Recognize that you are not the problem
Once you recognize the mind games narcissists play, you can free yourself of blame and see their behavior for what it really is.
The only time a narcissist learns a lesson is when their partner stops placating them, giving in to them, supplying them and meeting all of their needs.
- Call them out for their bad behavior
Calling them out on their behavior means the narcissist cannot get away with it. Once they become unmasked, they are hit with the reality that the world is not their oyster and that they cannot always get their way.
- Give up the fantasy that you’re being loved
If you can see and accept them for who they are, you can let go of the fantasy that you being loved and let go. You are just a supply who serves their needs.
- Expose the truth and let go
If the partner leaves the relationship, it teaches the narcissist the biggest lesson, because they are forced to come crashing down off their pedestal into reality and face the truth about their real existence. They need to have their grandiosity re-aligned with realty and not live within a fantasy world in which everything revolves around them.
When the truth of their lies come out, when they are exposed for who they really are, they have no where to run and hide, unless they seek the arms of another supply.
Above all, the best way to teach a narcissist a lesson is let them see the mess they’ve created, expose the truth — and move on with your own life.
Let go of the fantasy that you are loved and see the narcissist for who they really are. When you break the toxic chains that bind you, you can free yourself, learn to love yourself and make yourself available for encountering real love in your life.
If you really want to teach them a lesson is to move on with your life and never look back.
Nancy Carbone is a therapist with special training in the treatment of narcissistic disorders from the International Masterson Institute in New York. If you need help recovering from a narcissist’s mind games, visit her website for more information.