4.Push and pull (intermittent reinforcement)
This is one of the most painful strategies a narcissist uses to solidify the new partner’s devotion to them. Push and pull or intermittent reinforcement is the tactic when the narcissist will say or do things to push the new partner away, such as taking hours or even days to respond to a phone call or text. Then, a narcissist might call the partner and act as if nothing is wrong.
The partner feels, rightly so, that the narcissist isn’t invested in the relationship anymore. The victim then begins to work harder to prove their worth to this individual. It is a terrible place to be for a new partner. But it’s precisely where the narcissist wants them. Questioning. Losing sleep. Stressed out.
5.Blame and shame
Narcissists seldom have empathy. If they do, it’s a pretend game for appearance’s sake or to get something they want. Without genuine empathy, they are quick to blame or shame others for their behavior.
For example, maybe they were out too late at a bar when they promised to be home for dinner. Their partner may be unhappy to have worked at cooking a nice meal for them to miss it. When they ask the narcissist why, the narcissist blames them for being needy and always wanting them around for meals. The victim is left feeling bad for asking for the bare minimum of respect: a phone call or an initial no.
6.Being a victim
Narcissists are skilled at stepping into the role of Vicki the Victim. This is a phrase a teacher once used in her third-grade class, and it can certainly apply to narcissists. When a narcissist has done something wrong, they often become the victim in the scenario, so they don’t have to take responsibility. In reality, they are the perpetrator, but you end up apologizing for something you didn’t do.
Also, all eyes often turn to the narcissist, and that person can receive sympathy and understanding for something they instigated in the first place. It’s wrong, and it’s confusing.
7.Silence (can be ghosting)
One of the most agonizing strategies a narcissist can use in dating is silence. When a healthy relationship is in play, people use respect but stay in touch with others, especially when plans are being made.
A narcissist, however, uses silence as a weapon. Silence tells the victim, “You aren’t important enough to be spoken to” or “Your needs don’t matter.” As a result, the victim waits and wonders what they can do to salvage the relationship. In many cases, the victim ends up apologizing for something, and they don’t even know what they are apologizing for.
Psychologists say the silent resentment is damaging, and after its long-term use, it can be considered abuse.