The Art of Manipulation
The art of manipulation is about how people use control tactics to push their own agenda to get what they want. People who manipulate others do so to meet their wants, their needs and their interests over and above others and more importantly, without regard for others. They always explain away and justify their bad behavior.
If the person is an unhealthy narcissist they will control others to meet their two main needs: (i) attention (ii) domination.
Whether it be verbal, physical, sexual, emotional or psychological in nature, the nature of manipulation is predatory. Predators exploit the weaknesses of others. They will take advantage of people’s innocence, inexperience, niceness, honesty, and gullibility. The unhealthy narcissist will insist on getting their way, give directions, and set the agenda, thereby making the rules for what happens when engaging with others. This is the classic means by which they get what they want. What they want may not be what you think they want. Too often a person will mistakenly believe that once the manipulator has gotten what is perceived as the goal, that they are satisfied. Wrong. It is not about satiation, but about domination. They need to dominate others to feel superior to prop up their grandiose false-self. Thus, it is not winning in the usual sense of the word.
The art of manipulation may be subtle or overt. The manipulator does not have to have a powerful personality to get their way. They may use passive-aggressive control tactics. The aim is subterfuge – to undermine the confidence of the victim so the victim will acquiesce to the authority of the manipulator. The message of the unhealthy narcissist is the same no matter the tactic: I am in charge and superior. The more disturbing subliminal message is, do not challenge me. Ironically, an unhealthy narcissist thrives on challenges as this primes their pump to go after someone and dominate them.
One way to illustrate this is when engaging in an argument with an unhealthy narcissist. They will wear their opponent down to the point where the other person gives in, but for the unhealthy narcissist being that they set the agenda, they may continue until they feel they have won. They are not seeking resolution or mutuality – they are seeking domination. The other person may even say, fine you are right and try to end the argument, but that will not be the end of it. The unhealthy narcissist wants to ALWAYS be victorious.
Read my book, It Has A Name!, on the control tactics used by unhealthy narcissists. Understanding how they control others is important to know so you know how to recognize this behavior and how to disengage if you should encounter this type of person.