Narcissistic Tactics (It’s All Smoke & Mirrors)

narcissist-smoke-and-mirrorsEverything a narcissist/sociopath says or does is a trick of smoke and mirrors – a narcissistic ploy – intended to distract from the reality of what he’s really up to. If you pay careful attention instead of reacting to his/her behaviors, you can turn these ploys into your advantage.

Many of us already know that the old joke – How can you tell a narcissist is lying? Because his mouth is moving – is nothing short of the absolute truth. Everything a narcissist does and everything he/she says is a fabrication in some way….a sleight of hand, a devious magic trick…used by the narcissist to distract us from what’s really going on. These tricks are also used to manage down our expectations of the relationship so that we expect less and less and he gets away with more. You may be familiar with the narcissistic tactic of gas-lighting where a narcissist or sociopath diminishes the truth of a victim’s own words to make her feel crazy or to convince her that she’s overreacting and/or delusional. You may be familiar with triangulation where the narcissist uses passive-aggressive means to make you feel jealous about every little thing. Simply put, no matter what the victim is thinking, the narcissist will tell her it wrong, wrong, wrong when the truth of the matter is that her intuition is ALWAYS spot-on.

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You can easily turn the narcissist’s ploys into your advantage. If you want to know exactly what your narcissistic partner is up to, simply listen and observe:

  • When a narcissist partner is being nice, it’s typically because he has a devastating discard or, at the very least, a silent treatment planned for you in the very near future. When a narcissist can catch us off-guard, he gets the most bang for his narcissistic buck. It’s no fun hurting his victim if she knows it’s coming. So, beware of narcissists bearing niceties.
  • Whenever a narcissistic partner accuses you of something, it’s because that is exactly what he’s up to at that moment in his life. If you pay attention to this, you will see that it is fool-proof. Oftentimes, we’re too busy getting hysterical over a narcissist’s ludicrous accusation to stop and and listen to exactly what he’s saying. And while an N will never admit to a wrongdoing, he will, in fact, accuse you of what he happens to be doing. Quietly consider every accusation as an admission and do your investigation from there. Trust me, it works.
  • Whenever a Narcissist unexpectedly feigns sickness or throws a fit and stomps off in the middle of a heated conversation or attempts to otherwise distract you from the topic at hand, it’s likely that you’ve just said something or alluded to something that he’s guilty of. His immediate behavior is nothing more than a distraction reaction. Keep this in mind for the next time it happens…what was the last thing you said??.
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When you’re involved with a someone with a narcissist personality, nothing – and I mean nothing – is as it seems and everything is intended to be a distraction from the real thing. When you get that nagging feeling that something is very wrong behind the scenes, don’t doubt yourself or allow him make you feel that you’re being delusional. When he starts creating narcissistic chaos and turmoil, look beneath the actions to see the actual truth that he’s hiding. When it comes to the N, you’re first instincts will always be right.

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Once you realize the smoke and mirrors antics for exactly what they are, you are well on your way to knowing exactly what this monster is up to during any given moment. Turn his narcissistic ploys into your advantage. Like children, narcissists will always give themselves away. In essence, a narcissist will “tell on” himself by accusing you of what he’s really doing behind your back. The more you know what he’s up to, the more likely you’ll be able to give up the need for closure and go no contact without falling apart from the get-go.

You must learn to read between the narcissistic lines.

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  • Nicole senior

    December 30, 2016 at 12:54 am Reply

    I was seeing a narc for 6 months it finsihed in Feb this year nd he turned horrible while I felt broken. May I add he got sober up until this Christmas week and guess who he calls … And guess who feels strong enough and told him to do ….me. #feelingproud

  • Lydia

    December 2, 2016 at 10:30 am Reply

    Awesome article! I really needed that, having a really hard time with no one to talk to who can relate..thanks so much

    • Zari Ballard

      December 2, 2016 at 5:53 pm Reply

      Your welcome, Lydia! I’m glad to be able to help:)

      Zari xo

      • Andrew “TheIrishKing” Hickey

        February 23, 2017 at 9:52 am Reply

        Zari, I got a new supervisor in Jan of 2016 and my life has been uterly destroyed since. I didn’t know why until I came across the word narcassist. Another supervisor started 6 months ago and she resigned 2 weeks ago because of him and she delivered HR and upper management emails and documents telling them everything. Me and 15 other employees went to HR as well. He was suspended for 3 days while they investigate. I returned to work yesterday and they called us all together for a huddle and told us he was not fired and will continue to be our supervisor. I’m at a loss why I have to continue to work for this guy after telling them the damage it has done to my health, family and life. I put in a transfer and they said they will see what they can do but it will be a few weeks. I don’t have a few weeks. They don’t believe us and I just need some guidance from a pro. Please anything to let me know what step I should take or am I just dilusional. He came in my room yesterday and talked for 20 min intestinal and I almost felt good but kept reminding myself it’s all lies. I had to record it so my wife could hear. I’ve been looking at many different sites about this but I just came across this one and looked at the comments and saw your responses. I saw that you actually care and it made me want to write this to you. Thanks, Andy

        • Zari Ballard

          February 24, 2017 at 4:26 pm Reply

          Hi Andy,

          First of all, I think it’s great that a group of you would have the guts to go against management – now, THAT is team work. However, the truth is that it’s just not that easy to get a boss fired – it just isn’t. Basically, what you are all doing is going to management to ask that they fire management and that rarely works. Just as you all stick together, so, unfortunately, do they. I wish you had told me more in detail about what he has done so that I could analyze it better. Please do if you care to because I could help you deal with it better.

          Now, my feeling now is that, because he knows whats up, he’s going to be on his best behavior for as long as possible. At this point, if he is trying to give pep talks and make everyone feel better, all you can do is go with it and hope that transfer comes in. You all actually have the upper hand if you think about it. He KNOWS that you all hate him, yet he has to put a smile on and pretend every single day. Narcissists HATE that. I have no doubt he was warned that he better get his shit together and knock it off. I hope that the 15 of you still keep notes and document everything from here forward. If things started spiraling downward again like before and you all take it over his head again, it’s hard for me to imagine that they STILL would not let him go. Believe me, when he was chastised this last time, he likely cried and begged because narcissists are NOT beyond doing that in order to get what they want. Now that he’s back and having to face an office full of people who hate him, he had better step up. I say enjoy this while it lasts, document every single thing, stay in touch with all those who also went against him, and push for the transfer.

          Thank you for sharing and I hope that helps a little. Write me any time, Andy. I’d love updates on this…..


  • Aron Barth

    November 26, 2016 at 6:19 pm Reply

    I had (or still have?) a relationship with a covert narcissist girl. She is identical twin, and her sister shows more or less the same traits. I think this circumstance aggravates the situation. She dumped me early this year, and I don’t know if she’ll ever come back, but she’s using silent treatment and the hoovering tactics. Should I be happy or sad if she will?

    • Zari Ballard

      November 29, 2016 at 5:47 am Reply

      Hi Aron,

      Identical twin narcissists! Good God, brother, run for your life. Block her or she will hoover you forever just to keep you in the queue. Make it through the holidays and start fresh for 2017. Make it a plan…you will not be disappointed.

      Zari xo

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