Even though narcissistic abuse can also often include physical, verbal, and financial abuse, the psychological torment brought on by my mind games will leave any victim drained.
Narcissists are notorious for playing mind games with their victims and anyone else who has the misfortune of crossing their paths.
When looking at exactly how narcissists play mind games, the knowledge may come as a relief.
Despite the narcissist’s efforts to gaslight you, for once, you can find some source of validation that will bring you comfort.
No, you are not going crazy! On the other hand, mind games are being used as a form of psychological abuse.
Ways that narcissists play mind games
Narcissists play mind games as a means of manipulation.
They distort their victim’s reality to the extent that the victim begins to question her own judgment and even her sanity.
The primary mind games that narcissists are infamous for playing include gaslighting, love bombing, seeking revenge, exploiting interactions, and suddenly going MIA at the end of the relationship.
Although the narcissist in your life could be anyone, such as a parent, sibling, or roommate, narcissistic abuse seems to be the most profound in romantic relationships.
Nevertheless, narcissists will still get a kick out of playing mind games with you, regardless of the nature of your relationship.
However, it is possible to beat a narcissist at their own game, even though stooping to their level is ill-advised.
Why narcissists play mind games
The actual goal of narcissistic abuse is power and control, not inflicting physical injury.
While some narcissists are indeed prone to narcissistic rages, which can lead to physical violence, most of them prefer the more subtle types of abuse that don’t leave behind physical wounds but still accomplish the goal of seeking control.
There are several ways for abusers to gain power over their victims, including controlling the household finances or forbidding their victims from hanging out with certain friends.
But one of the greatest sources of power is the power over another person’s emotions. That’s the entire purpose of mind games.
Normal people think it is fun to go see a movie or hang out at the mall, but narcissists have a sick and twisted definition of fun.
Yes, they actually find it enjoyable to watch you essentially lose your sanity. However, there are a few other motives for mind games, such as evading responsibility.
If you ask them to do something that they really don’t want to do or simply forgot about, they’ll insist that you never told them in the first place.
Narcissists will never ever admit that they are wrong.
Types of mind games that narcissists play
It has been said that you can tell that a narcissist is lying just by opening their mouth. Well, mind games come as naturally to narcissists as lies do.
Mind games simply go along with the territory of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
That said, narcissists will manipulate and gaslight their victims in any and every way that they can.
If there is a way for them to torture you mentally, rest assured, they will find it. However, there is a handful of common mind games that narcissists absolutely love to play.
Also known as the honeymoon stage of an abusive relationship, love-bombing is the very first mind game that a narcissist will play at the beginning of a romantic relationship.
Unfortunately, most victims fail to recognize that the gifts, roses, fancy dinners, and constant “I love you”s are all part of a sick and twisted game.
Narcissists will portray themselves as being your personal Prince Charming, and most likely, you’ll fall for their façade.
Then, when the mask comes off later on in the relationship and they show their true colors, you’ll be left confused and desperate to reignite the passion that you once had.
The problem is that the person you feel in love with never existed at all.
Actually, almost every mind game that a narcissist plays is a form of gaslighting in one way or another.
The term gaslighting comes from a classic movie in which the main character’s partner kept turning on the lights after they had been shut off and successfully convinced the woman that she had never turned them off. Sound familiar?
Narcissists often convince their victims that they aren’t abusers and that the victim is losing their mind.
This could be as simple as moving items around the house or insisting that you said something that you never really said.
They may even go as far as rescheduling your appointments or hiding your car keys.
Triangulation is a somewhat complicated mind game in which the narcissist interferes with and exploits a relationship with another person who you aren’t in regular contact with.
They’ll insert themselves into this relationship and manage to get the third party on their side as an ally against you.
Some narcissists are brazen enough to pin your BFF or even your own mother against you, but it’s much easier for them to play their game with a distant friend or relative who can’t see what is really going on.
Narcissists are pure evil when they choose to be – especially if they’re malignant narcissists.
If they feel that you have done them wrong in any way, however small, they will seek vengeance.
Narcissists will go to any and every extent to preserve their so-called good name and destroy yours.
Sometimes they’ll use threats of revenge to further gain control over you or garner your apologies and amends even if they’re not owed.
Occasionally, narcissists will either drain you financially or make threats of violence. But their signature revenge is the smear campaign.
Your friends list will significantly decline and you may even need to relocate by the time that they’re done with you.
Ghosting happens when narcissists end the relationship, and it can really throw you for a loop. You may think that you have finally found true love.
Everything seems to be going great. Then, out of the blue, they unfriend you, unfollow you, and refuse to respond to your texts.
When you try to call them, it will go straight to voice mail. Naturally, you’ll wonder what happened. Was it something you said or did?
Often, you’ll suddenly notice that their relationship status has changed and that they’ve recently posted a picture of themselves with a beautiful new partner.
But they never said goodbye to you.
There was never any closure. You never even officially broke up! Ghosting is one more mind game that narcissists will play with you when they’ve become bored with the relationship and found a new supply.
How to beat a narcissist at their own game
Sadly, the only real way to beat a narcissist is to stop responding to their mind games. Don’t show them how badly they’ve hurt you. They thrive on that.
If you have children with them or need to maintain some level of contact for other reasons, use the grey rock method.
Keep the conversations short and to the point, and avoid displaying your emotions when you’re around them.
Educating yourself about narcissistic abuse will give you the upper hand.
They’ll no longer be able to affect you in the same way because you’ll see right through their lies and manipulation.
If possible, it’s advised to cease all contact with the narcissist and even end mutual friendships, if need be.
You can go back and forth with a narcissist all you want, but the truth is that you’ll never really win the game.
The best thing that you can possibly do for yourself is to quit playing.