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Narcissistic Mother's Emotional Manipulation

Narcissistic Mother's Emotional Manipulation by Gail Meyers Watercolors drawing running female face CCO via Pixabay
Narcissistic Mother's Emotional Manipulation by Gail Meyers

©by Gail Meyers


While we can all be manipulative at times, there are those among us who chronically emotionally manipulate others. While some people may be manipulative in their communications simply because they have not learned to communicate clearly and directly, there are those who are intentionally manipulative, and even take pride in their trickery. My narcissistic mother not only consistently used manipulation tactics, sometimes it almost seemed as if she perfecting her craft.

Speaking as a survivor of a narcissistic father and mother, this article highlights some ideas to begin processing and paying attention to as we begin or continue coming to terms with the idea that we are not all the same. In other words, we can run into trouble if we put ourselves in the position of the narcissist, decide what we would be thinking or feeling in that situation, and deal with the narcissist accordingly. We are not all the same.

First of all, beginning to notice when someone is pulling us over into emotional reactions in order to get a response that we probably would not otherwise freely give. Secondly, while there are many ways to manipulate, this article draws special attention to manipulation with pity. Although playing the victim while vilifying true victims is covered in a separate article, and we certainly do not want to lose our compassion for true victims, we may want to begin to pay closer attention when someone is inducing pity in us. Lastly, we need to be on the lookout for relationships where FOG is developing: fear, obligation and guilt.

What is Emotional Manipulation?

What is emotional or psychological manipulation? To manipulate is:
  • "to negotiate, control or influence something or someone cleverly, skillfully or deviously."
  • "to manage or influence skillfully, especially in an unfair manner."
This is someone who is trying to influence or control another, "especially in an unfair manner."
So emotional manipulation is to use a person's emotions to manipulate them. Moving up the spectrum, emotional blackmail begins with a demand, followed by pressure to fulfill the request, and finally, a threat with punishing consequences. The threat can be blatant or subtle. Subtle threats come in the form of pouting, sulking, passive aggressive comments, while blatant threats are overtly articulated consequences of 'if_____, then _____.'

Why Emotional Manipulation?

When someone is operating out of emotion, such as pity, fear, or guilt, rather than reason the person is more easily manipulated. For example, my narcissistic mother especially loved to manipulate with pity. I find this of particular concern because it seems to me the average person is not especially comfortable being pitied, and that when the situation naturally occurs, let alone seeking out or orchestrating and framing situations in order to garner pity. Upon reflection it makes sense.

Think about the process you go through when you pity someone, and this may be especially true of empaths. You immediately let your guard down, and you become helpful. You may display sympathy, and even look for something you can do for the person to make things better.

Who Are the Emotional Manipulators?

Ross A. Rosenberg provides a strong foundation by defining an "emotional manipulator" as one with pathological narcissism, including these three personality disorders:
  1. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)
  2. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
  3. Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD)
Read more at Narcissistic Mother's Emotional Manipulation on Hubpages!
© 2018 Gail Meyers


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