Here are some examples of how I responded or reacted when a controlling narcissist pushed me into a corner:
2. Narcissists also use triangulation to manipulate others.
I was often compared to two ex-wives and 3 ex-girlfriends. Shane would talk about their makeup, hair and dress, then contrast it with what I preferred. I remember him asking me to show him what I was wearing before an event one evening.
My reaction: was again based on sadness and fear. He demanded that I try my dress on for him. I stood there, praying for his approval.
My response should have been: ” Shane, you have nothing to worry about. I will look nice and professional for your work event. You’ll see me in my dress when it’s time to go.”
3. Narcissists are also skilled at shaming.
For some abuse survivors, this is the most damaging manipulation tool. Shaming is when the narcissist humiliates you privately or in public. It’s an effort to destroy who you are, not truly point out what perceived wrong you’ve done. A main phrase I remember from my childhood is “shame on you”. I took this as shame on the person that I am, not the mistake that I made.
As an adult, shame still hurt. I recall one evening when we hired a babysitter for my toddler son so Shane and I could go to dinner. The sitter complimented me on my appearance. Shane told her, “The only reason Laura is so skinny is that she had an eating disorder in college. “
My reaction: was based on shock and anger and I said, “How dare you embarrass me. That was a terrible time in my life and has nothing to do with how I look now.”
A healthy response would have been: “Shane, I will not let you talk to or about me like that. You need to apologize to me and the sitter for sharing something so personal.”