Manipulation Tactics


Don’t ever lose sight of these tactics. Recognizing what they are might just change your life for better or worse.

To elaborate on last week’s topic, narcissism, we must address some common manipulation tactics abusers utilize to get what they want: complete control over the other person. Some tactics are easier to identify, while others require scrutiny.   


This tactic seems to be the one that everyone knows because it’s plastered all over every type of media and psychology students love to say it. Gaslighting is manipulating someone by psychological means into questioning their sanity. Usually, gas-lighters can convince their victim that they are overreacting, hypersensitive, and in extreme cases, delusional. Typically, these people have personality disorders, specifically narcissism.   


This one can be either super subtle or obvious. Isolating someone can involve: 

  • Discouraging that person from going out with friends. 
  • Pressuring them to spend excessive amounts of time with the abuser. 
  • Controlling who they follow and talk to on social media. 
  • Sometimes forcing them to stay away from their own family. 

As I said, this can be subtle. A person might emphasize fights with a family member to keep them away from you. The more divided the person is, the easier it is for the snake to sink its fangs in. It isn’t just physical or social; it’s also financial. The abuser might support you in quitting your job so that you are economically dependent on them.   


Love-bombing is when the abuser displays excessive affection or admiration for the individual. Love-Bombing comes in many forms, such as an overabundance of compliments, excessive gift-giving, constant alone time with each other, mirroring interests, and needing constant affection. Hence, the word “bombing” because the abuser is bombing the victim with extreme interest and love. Pay attention to this in the early stages of a relationship.   


Projection can feel quite confusing at times, and that’s intentional. Projection is a specific tactic to throw the victim off. Technically, the definition is the process of displacing one’s feelings onto a different person, animal, or object. A quintessential example would be a cheating spouse accusing the other of cheating on them. Now, this can be pure paranoia or jealousy. However, it can also be a projection.   


Now, this one’s different. I had never heard of this before. Triangulation is avoiding direct conversations with another person. Generally, it will occur when two people are speaking and try to involve a third party. Narcissists often use this one because it reinforces their need to be “right” and superior to the other’s thoughts. In their minds, it serves as extra validation.   

Here are some of the best websites to visit for more details on other tactics.