If you allow a narcissist to manipulate you then, in many ways, you are complicit.
Yes, it’s a tough pill to swallow.
But know that you have the power to make them stop.
By turning a blind eye to their behaviors, you’re only encouraging them.
As with any bully, once you start standing up for yourself, the narcissist will almost always back down.
As Gandhi once said, “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”
So take this as a cue to start taking control.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the signs you’re enabling a narcissist to manipulate you.
Once you gain clarity, you can start making the necessary adjustments. Let’s get to it!
1) You constantly make excuses for their behavior
The truth hurts–but more than that, it takes assertiveness and strength to acknowledge and do something about it.
Many of us will remain too nonresistant to rock the boat.
We may realize something’s wrong deep down but will choose to perpetuate the status quo.
We’ll stay dishonest with ourselves, unwilling to face uncomfortable truths.
This might mean making excuses for bad behavior, brushing it off as “just their personality,” or “they mean well,” even though the damage is actively being inflicted.
The fact that you’re rationalizing or justifying the narcissist’s behaviors shows that you’re in deep; the manipulation has been thoroughly embedded within you.
It’s time to break free.
2) You ignore your own needs
You need to stop being so accommodating.
Have you ever observed parents who cater to their spoiled child’s every whim, almost fearful of a tantrum?
Well, if you allow a narcissist to get away with certain behaviors, that parent is you.
You’re essentially enabling a toddler. And when you do, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
You’re announcing to them (and yourself) that you prioritize their needs over yours.
The latter is something that, over time, can be extremely damaging to your morale and well-being.
It shouldn’t get to this point.
3) You feel responsible for their happiness
My ex had some pretty vicious mood swings.
When she was down, she’d regularly take it out on me, calling me names, snapping at me, or wailing with the despair of a wartime mother who just lost her sons in battle.
She’d make me feel responsible for her moods; she’d demand I drop whatever I was doing, however important, to cater to her and her needs like a petulant baby.
Yet, at the time, I bought it and would coddle her, tiptoeing around her, enabling her bad behaviors.
Fortunately, I came to my senses and started standing up for myself. Better late than never.
If I can do it, so can you.
4) You have difficulty setting boundaries
I have nobody to blame but myself for my ex’s behavior.
Looking back, I now realize that I let it happen by remaining weak for far too long.
Had I set firm boundaries from the beginning, perhaps this all could have been avoided.
But she sensed my softness and took advantage, pushing back and making me feel guilty for standing up for myself.
I gave in every time.
Remember, it’s your life, you have to set boundaries, or risk people walking all over you, narcissists very much included.
You’re a good person, one deserving of dignity and respect as much as anyone else.
Never forget that.
5) You feel constant self-doubt
The narcissist works to make you doubt your perception, reality, and even sanity, so they can exploit the situation.
This is called gaslighting, one of the oldest tricks in the narcissist book.
You being strong, empowered, and confident?
Well, this doesn’t quite line up with their agenda.
So they’ll frequently gaslight you to get their way, speaking with so much conviction you tend to buy the act.
After a while, a little voice in your head may tell you something’s not quite right.
Listen to it.
By allowing the narcissist to have their way with you, you’re just giving them extra fuel to carry on.
6) You allow yourself to be isolated
From my experience, most narcissists would rather you limit time with friends or family.
Their reasoning is simple: acting independently and seeing people could sway you away from their toxic influence.
And they could lose control–perhaps their greatest fear.
So they’ll subtly (or not) persuade you to isolate yourself from them–maybe by speaking badly about them or guilt-tripping you into staying home.
They don’t want you to embrace your individuality, they want you under their spell indefinitely.
If you often cave and agree to stay in rather than see loved ones, you’re enabling the narcissist and their possessive tendencies.
7) You’re scared to express disagreement
Sure, you might occasionally get into arguments with the narcissist, but rather than stand firm in your beliefs, you eventually give in.
Perhaps you want peace rather than have to face some ugly, stressful realities.
So you consistently, passively let them win.
Once they catch on (and they catch on quickly), expect them to take full advantage.
Don’t be afraid to disagree or express your true feelings for fear of how they might react.
Your voice matters.
Walking on eggshells and shying away from disagreement is no way to live; it simply isn’t sustainable.
It’s time to start fighting back. You owe it to yourself.
8) You endure their disrespect or verbal abuse
When the narcissist in your life goes on the offensive, say by belittling you or making disparaging remarks, do you let them get away with it?
I know people who get so overwhelmed in similar scenarios, they shut down and effectively give people the license to treat them like crap.
They go numb rather than stand up for themselves.
Sad, I know.
But regularly tolerating disrespect in any form without addressing it is pretty much giving the narcissist the green light to keep going at you.
They won’t stop until you make them.
The ball is in your court.
Sometimes, we get so caught up in our relationships, that it becomes difficult to see things objectively.
The good news? The fact that you’re reading this right now is a big step in the right direction: you’ve acknowledged that there’s a problem that needs fixing.
Now you can either sit down with the narcissist in your life and lay out your issues with them… and hope for the best.
Or you can move on.
Either way, once you commit to taking action, you’ll be in good shape.
You got this.