One moment, they will be love bombing you and the next, they are accusing you of things that were never your fault.
You can never tell what their hidden agenda is; they seem completely charming when you go out for coffee, they're irresistibly charismatic when you bump into them in the park, and they slowly lure you into their trap. That's what makes a narcissist even more dangerous. They seem completely normal until they find ways to get inside your head and wreak havoc. They will manipulate you to the extent of making you believe that they're the right ones while you've got it all wrong. And here's how they do it.
Things will seem to go perfectly in the relationship until suddenly you feel suffocated by their love overdose. "Love bombing is the practice of overwhelming someone with signs of adoration and attraction," wrote professor and author, Suzanne Degges-White for Psychology Today. But their surprise gifts, signs of affection, and sugary flattery are "designed to manipulate you into spending more time with the bomber — and, not coincidentally, less time with others, or on your own," Suzanne Degges-White pointed out.
Narcissists have a strange way of dealing with their own insecurities. The limitations that they see in themselves, they will start projecting it on you. They will call you the "harsh critic" in the relationship when they are always the one making fun of you. They may call you possessive but they end up being the ones who keep a track of where you go and who you talk to. "By accusing you of the very thing he is doing, the gaslighter/narcissist makes you frantically try to defend your innocence. Meanwhile, he is doing whatever he pleases," said Stephanie Sarkis, board-certified mental health counselor and author, who wrote for Forbes.
Confusion can make you grow emotionally weak and throw your judgment off. And narcissists confuse and mess up your sense of reality by blatantly lying to you, denying they ever said anything, and isolate you from anyone who might point out that something is wrong in the relationship. By gaslighting you, they enforce their power over you because you start believing everything they say. "It is done slowly, so the victim doesn't realize how much they've been brainwashed," wrote Stephanie A. Sarkis, on Psychology Today.
Instead of accepting that they've made a mistake, a narcissist will make it seem like they're the victims in every situation and turning the tables around to end up accusing you. "This way they receive false validation that they are right and good, and that you are wrong and evil. Here, their sense of self-esteem is restored and their feelings of shame and inadequacy are managed," said Darius Cikanavicius, author and certified coach, who wrote for Psych Central. It's a great bargain for them but you end up being the one getting hurt.
It doesn't matter if you have proof against them and it doesn't matter if you catch them red-handed. You will never get a heartfelt, honest apology out of them. "Instead, they may toss out a false apology, or fauxpology, meant to deflect, induce guilt, or antagonize," wrote author, Julie L Hall, on The Narcissist Family Files. "Examples: 'I’m sorry you think I’m such a disappointment as a mother,' 'I’m sorry you interpreted something so innocent as unfair,' 'I’m sorry you are so sensitive,' 'I’m sorry you can’t understand how others feel.'"
To keep you stuck in their toxic cycle, they will quickly switch between roles and keep you second-guessing. "Be very aware of the drama triangle where they flip between being savior, 'I'm going to save you,' persecutor, 'you are so stupid, you're worthless, nobody's ever going to love you,' and the victim, 'how could you abandon me, I need you to support me, without you I'm dead,'" psychologist, Perpetua Neo, told Insider. They know they can win your sympathy by being the victim and before you know it, they are back to being their unpredictable self.
When a narcissist knows that they need you, they will do anything to keep you from ending the relationship. "...Narcissists may attempt to hoover (as in vacuum suck) them back within their realm of control," wrote Julie L Hall. You might tell them that you want to walk away from the relationship, but they will promise to change and reel you back in. You may stop replying to their texts but they might show up and convince you to give them another chance. But Julie L Hall pointed out that this will probably happen until they find a replacement for you.
Disclaimer: This article is based on facts collated from different sources. The views expressed here are those of the writer.