How do Narcissists Learn How to Manipulate People

Have you ever wondered how narcissists become so good at manipulating people and how they learn it? Why do most, if not all narcissists use the same manipulative tactics such as gaslighting, lovebombing, and silent treatment as if they all went to the same school to learn these tactics?

In this article I will tell you how narcissists become so good at manipulating people and how they develop their manipulative tactics.

Being raised in a reward-punishment environment

Most parents and teachers usually try to motivate children using reward-punishment techniques. If the child behaves well they’re praised but when they behave badly they’re rebuked, criticized or even insulted.

Most parents do this with good intentions of course but when parents overdo it, it gives a child the impression that they can only interact with people through two extremes which are reward and punishment.

Most narcissistic manipulations are actually based on reward and punishment. For example, love bombing, flattery and seduction are rewards while gaslighting, silent treatment, intimidation, and emotional blackmail are punishments.

They understand their victims because they were once in their shoes

I know this may sound confusing but narcissists usually have a lot in common with their victims. Narcissists usually target certain vulnerabilities in their victims such as the need for approval, insecurities, fear of abandonment and emotional dependency.

As I said in my previous articles such as “why are narcissists so mean”, narcissism is a defense mechanism that a person develops after going through emotional trauma that makes them develop emotional problems such as low self-esteem, insecurities, and fear of abandonment.

This is why it’s easier for narcissists to read and understand their victims’ vulnerabilities and exploit them.

Most narcissists live on autopilot mode

Some people mistakenly believe that manipulating people is a decision that narcissists make consciously but that’s not true. Most of the time narcissists are not even aware that they’re manipulating people, but instead their manipulations are subconscious methods they develop to deal with people.

In my article: what happens when you discard a narcissist first, I said that discarding a narcissist usually gives them a narcissistic emotional injury. This injury will most likely make them take an impulsive irrational decision such as conducting a smear campaign against you.

Why do all narcissists use similar manipulative tactics?

Have you ever wondered why a narcissist from one part of the world will use the same manipulative tactics as another narcissist in the opposite part of the world even though they grew up in a completely different environment?

This is actually because people are not significantly different from each other psychologically. We all have similar emotional needs, emotions, and insecurities. For example, in a relationship almost all people will need affection from their partner. So if a narcissist gets into conflict with their partner, withholding affection will be their first option.

Trial and error

Even though narcissistic manipulative tactics are similar, each narcissist will develop their favorite tactic(s). They develop their favorite tactics through trial and error and adopt the ones they think are most effective. For example, some narcissists never use physical abuse while others prefer it over emotional abuse.

A narcissist can change their abusive and manipulative tactics depending on the person they are dealing with. For example, if a narcissist realizes that silent treatment is not effective on you they may abandon it and try a different tactic. In my article: how to outsmart a narcissist, I said that you should never let a narcissist know your style of thinking.

Learning from their parents

A big part of a narcissist’s personality is influenced by their parents. If a narcissist was raised by manipulative parents, they will learn that manipulations are the right way to deal with people.

Also, children are more likely to adopt their parents’ values. When parents lack values such as honesty, empathy, and kindness, it makes it easier for a child to develop negative personality traits such as being manipulative.