Do you feel like a prisoner in the cult of the narcissist?
Many people who have gotten out of a relationship with a narcissist describe their experience as one of having been “brainwashed”. I remember when I was in a relationship with my malignant narcissistic ex-partner how I would behave and allow things I would never have before. I put up with so many things I absolutely never would and it still fills me with astonishment, shock, and disbelief. I was actually embarrassed by what happened to me and felt in the beginning it was my fault. This is how others have felt when I have spoken to them as well.
For this reason, survivors of such toxic relationships tend to keep their experiences to themselves, fearing that if they shared what they’ve undergone, other people would judge them and find them foolish, ignorant, and gullible.
So, who in their right mind would stay completely committed to someone who is controlling, manipulative, abusive, unfaithful, and deceitful?
But survivors of narcissistic abuse might acquire a clearer perspective on their regrettable past if they consider (which may seem surprising at first) that narcissists inflict on their partners many of the very same techniques of “mind control” that political leaders have been using in order to control and manipulate the public. And while the ideas of brainwashing and mind control have often been dismissed by the psychological community, there appears now to be a growing awareness that the experience of psychological manipulation demands us to take a closer look.
But whether we speak of “mind control” and “brainwashing”, or merely of “psychological manipulation”, there’s no denying the fact that narcissistic individuals and political leaders share common tactics of underhanded psychological techniques that they use in order to win over and control their targets, all while exploiting them in ways that ultimately do deep damage to their psyches.
Here are seven ways in which narcissistic individuals operate like a stereotypical political leader.
The Cult of the Narcissist
When considering the techniques of mind control, it’s not a matter of the victim instantly losing all free will and suddenly becoming a mere puppet at the command of the narcissist or the political leaders. Mind control is gradually brought about in victims after they are subjected over time through a set of manipulative psychological techniques that are designed to change their behavior and alter their perception of the world around them.
These techniques can be described as:
- love bombing
- building rapport
- isolating the victim
- playing the parent
- sleep deprivation,
- deterring independent thoughts
- using intimidation and fear
Here are the manipulative techniques.
1 – Love Bombing
Love bombing is an attempt to gain influence over a person through lavish demonstrations of affection and attention. It is a concentrated effort that involves the prolonged use of affection, flattery, and verbal seduction, as well as lots of attention to a target’s struggles and problems in life. Love bombing gives the promise of unconditional love. It is a deceptive ploy that narcissistic political leaders employ all too well in their recruitment efforts.
Predatory narcissists use love-bombing in their intimate relationships. It takes the form of intense, unrelenting calls and text messages, flowers, expensive chocolate, wine, and other gifts, invitations to meet the family, requests to move in together, and the inundation of their target’s social media sites with flirty cute messages. These messages will often begin within hours of the first meeting.
The general technique of love-bombing promotes the narcissist’s goals of exploitation and control by effectively disabling the target’s capacity for critical thought and encouraging their inclination toward wishful thinking. The need for love is a deep-seated human desire. We all want to be loved, and we go to great lengths to try and satisfy this need. So, when people find themselves being subjected to an overwhelming amount of love and acceptance, they are reluctant to examine the reasons ‘why’, since they are subconsciously afraid of losing what they’ve long been desperately looking for.
Over time, and used with other techniques, love-bombing results in the target abandoning their critical capabilities altogether and becoming blindly dependent upon their narcissist for everything they think about.
2– Building Rapport
In their efforts to recruit new followers, our political leaders are eager to learn all they can about their targets so that they can later use the information they acquire in order to control their victims; and in order to get their targets to open up to them, they need to build rapport and a relationship with them. They do this by presenting themselves as caring individuals that share the same concerns and interests as their targets. They are very skilled at pretending, lying, and manipulating. They lean forward as they listen intently to their target’s words and they study their target’s non-verbal behavior in an attempt to try to mimic it in order to further create the impression of a kindred spirit and then gain the victim’s trust.
People who have unfortunately got involved with a narcissist invariably note how that person seemed to show genuine concern for them in the initial stages of the relationship and in fact felt they had met their soul mate as I did. Like the narcissistic political leader, the narcissist is eager to learn all he can about his potential victim so that he can later exploit whatever vulnerabilities he may uncover. This helps to explain why the narcissist appears so kind, caring, sweet, and considerate early in the relationship. It’s their way of building trust, rapport, and getting their targets to open up to them.
The narcissist pretends to share emotions, interests, and experiences in order to create the illusion of being a kindred spirit or even the “soul mate” of their target. They try to mimic the person they are grooming as their partner, and because narcissists mostly lack an inner-self, they are good at mirroring their potential new supply. In these ways, they are thus able to begin eliciting a strong sense of attachment from their victims.
3 – Isolation
The technique of isolation is pushed by our political leaders now to prevent their followers from having contact with outsiders, including their family and friends. The tactics they use to isolate their targets are usually disguised as concern to protect the group and people from harmful outside influences.
In reality, the technique is designed to ensure that their followers are exposed only to the corrupt political leader’s own perverse propaganda without any critical scrutiny, and more generally to make their targets more dependent on the political leader by eliminating other sources of support and affection.
Similarly, narcissists try to isolate their partners in order to deprive them of social support, this weakens their defenses and making them more dependent on the narcissist. Of course, this is not how the narcissist presents the matter. Instead, the victim will initially hear seemingly innocent comments like these: “I miss you so much, when you’re not here”, “I wish you could spend all your free time with me”, “I don’t that friend of yours cares about you”, “Your Mother doesn’t like me.” This is when the relationship is in the early stages but later, when the narcissist feels more in control and starts to show who he really is, these comments become:
“Your friends are super bitches and sluts”, “You’re a bitch, just like that best friend you have ”, ‘Everyone knows that you and your friends wish they were as smart as men, ” “Was your Mother a lesbian, like you are?”
Gradually, under the pressure of the narcissist’s abuse, the victim withdraws from their family and circle of friends, leaving them completely dependent on the narcissist for their perspective, support, and love.
4 – Playing the Parent
We all carry around memories from childhood of times when we felt helpless and then turning to our parents for comfort. Being in a relationship with a narcissist can reduce us again to the level of a vulnerable child, which is precisely what they want since they can then step in as the parent figure that we instinctively turn to when we are in this vulnerable state. Once they’ve assumed that role in our lives, they can begin to dominate us in the manner of an overbearing and abusive parent.
Many women who’ve had a narcissistic partner report that their abuser dictated what clothes they wore, who they could have as a friend if they allowed you to have even one friend, you might have had a curfew or times you had to be home- to wait on them on hand and foot most likely, they may insist you do not dye your hair or even if you could wear makeup, or insist you are always just a little bit ” fat”, but generally they want you to appear unattractive.
These requests are sometimes given in a civil way but other times, the narcissist rages and screams until their target gives in. Studies have shown that things like tone of voice, mannerisms, and other non-verbal behaviors play an important role in communication.
What typically happens when someone talks to us as if they were our parent, in a “parent” voice? Chances are it will start to influence and shape how we think, our feelings for the person speaking in this way, and our emotions in general.
Abusers are aware of these things and adept at taking another adult back to their childhood state with its associated emotions of wanting to be loved, be accepted, and to please.
When looking at abusers, they do subtle and barely noticeable things to influence the emotions of their targets by fostering in them a sense of fear, creating a sense of obligation in them, and making them feel a sense of obedience. Most of us were not aware that this is going on, and since this form of psychological manipulation generally works outside of someone’s normal consciousness, it is incredibly powerful.
Our current political leaders frown upon anyone in the population who show any inclinations towards autonomous thinking. The “thinking,” has already been done for them by these government leaders; the appropriate response is simply to succumb. Any questioning of the leader is treated as you having a flaw of character, there is something wrong with you not them, and their thinking must be changed if the person is ever to be a part of the group.
Likewise, failure to see things the way the narcissist does is taken by them to be a challenge to their sense of intellectual superiority. If you voice concerns about their behaviors, you are viewed not as a loving partner who has their best interests in mind, but instead as a troublesome whiner who needs to be brought into line.
Narcissists don’t care about the wants or needs of anyone but themselves.
In order to make you a better tool to serve their needs, they try to make you believe that you’re not intelligent enough to make important decisions on your own. Anyone who questions or criticizes them is viewed as an “enemy” who is incapable of clear, logical thinking.
Like the corrupt political leaders, they use guilt, and humiliation to instill self-doubt in their targets and thus weaken their capacity to think for themselves. Typical things that the narcissist uses in this connection include: “You are clearly crazy”, “You are always lying”, “Remember how terrible your decisions always are?”, or “It’s sweet how you want to be as smart as me”.
5– Sleep Deprivation
Getting enough restful sleep helps us stay focused and in control. Our body uses sleep to refresh areas of the brain that control behavior and mood as well as to process the memories and knowledge that you gathered throughout the day. When a person is deprived of refreshing sleep and severe fatigue sets in, their critical faculties are impaired and this makes them more susceptible to being controlled by others. This brain state is called theta and is the same state one is in when they are under hypnosis.
Sleep deprivation is a popular technique of mind control used by narcissists in relationships. By depriving their partners of healthy rest it decreases their ability to focus, concentrate, and impairs their ability to process information. Their ability to react to signals in the environment, all of which encourage disorientation and a sense of vulnerability in the victims, leaving them more susceptible to their partner’s controlling influence.
Similarly, we see that narcissists often do things that serve to deprive their partners of healthy sleep, such as starting arguments at a late hour or purposely waking them up after they are asleep. They frequently deploy this technique in situations where their partner is already a bit on edge, for instance, in the lead-up to an important meeting or exam, or before a job interview or important speech. For this reason, in depriving their partners of sleep, the narcissist not only leaves their partners in a less self-confident state but also effectively sabotages their projects. The result is that the victim is left feeling not only vulnerable and disoriented but also worthless. The narcissist often takes the opportunity to turn around and rubs the resulting failure in the face of the victim.
6 – Intimidation and fear
Our corrupt political leaders are also experts in exploiting the basic human emotion of fear. They tend to surround themselves with an illusion of power and authority. Some will claim to have divine authority to dictate virtually all aspects of the lives of their constituents. Their attempt to secure the loyalty and obedience of their followers by not-so-subtle threats to their physical and spiritual well-being for any acts of disobedience or nonconformity. For example, the Premier of Ontario locked down the entire provience of Ontario based on no science and threatens that people who do not stay home unless for essential reasons, will get large fines.
Similarly, political leaders will foster the more insidious fears associated with the feeling of guilt by putting their people down for any traits or behaviors that are associated with self-confidence and independence. This fear will be propagated on a 24-hour basis on the mainstream news by posting about the COVID-19 virus and how the problems are all because of non-compliance by those not following the rules of mask-wearing, social distancing, lockdowns, and getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
As a result, people lose self-confidence and feel helpless, making obedience seem like a small price to pay for the “salvation” that the political leader has to offer.
Similarly, former victims of narcissistic abuse often remember how their narcissistic partner took the sensitive information gained from intimate conversations where they gave information about their deepest fears and desires or about their feelings of worthlessness. The narcissist will use it against them, either by threatening to humiliate their partners by exposing this information to others in a smear campaign or simply by making their victims feel guilty for having what are in fact is common behaviors or emotions.
7 – Push Fear Then Relief and Rescue
This final tactic also preys on the emotion of fear. The abuser causes their target a great deal of anxiety or stress and then pretends they will help relieve the stress, reinforcing the idea that they are the victim’s one true savior.
For instance, political leaders use the fear of ostracization to keep people in check, rewarding them with acceptance in exchange for their compliance.
The most common tactic used by the narcissist along these lines is the silent treatment, which brings out the target’s fear of abandonment, which the narcissist can then relieve with his return. The silent treatment is executed by the narcissist when their victim attempts to establish a boundary or shows displeasure at something the narcissist does or says, such as taking another lover, having a porn obsession, being financially irresponsible, or being mean to the children.
Repeated cycles of fear and relief are emotionally exhausting. When the narcissist returns after these numerous episodes of the silent treatment, their victim is emotionally defenseless and more prone to accepting the unacceptable to avoid having their fear of abandonment triggered yet again. It often leads to the victim begging for the narcissist to stay and offering apologies even when the victim has done nothing wrong.
Emotional Manipulation is Abuse
This post has merely scratched the surface of the techniques of emotional manipulation that are used by both narcissists and corrupt political leaders.
If you constantly wonder about what’s going on in your relationship, obsess about what you could be doing differently, feel like the problems with your partner are your fault, are constantly anxious and fearful, feeling like less of a person since you met your partner, then it’s highly likely you have been the victim of emotional manipulation.
Narcissists know how to manipulate your vulnerabilities and undermine anything that will alter the balance of power inside your relationship with them.
Healing from the psychological, emotional, mental, physical, sexual, and spiritual abuse of a relationship with a narcissist is imperative for you to put yourself and your life back together.
Leave and Deprogram
The longer a target suffers from narcissistic abuse, the more they are programmed through the conditioning of insidious techniques of psychological manipulation. Once you finally leave the narcissist, you will still feel chronically detached from yourself and your life for a time. You can even find yourself missing your abuser, and feeling a lot of self-doubt because of that.
There are 8 steps you can take to open your mind and yourself to your healing here on the website. 8 Steps to Heal From Toxic Relationships: https://debbianderson.com/step-one/
Learning the warning signs of psychological manipulation inside relationships with narcissists is critical. Knowledge is power, so empowering yourself to see the warning signs is so essential and overcome our fear of falling victim again.
If this article resonates with you and you know it’s time to stop the chaos, end the mental torture, and begin healing your life, then I’d love for you to pick up your free ebook here: https://debbianderson.com/free-ebook/
I am also here to help you heal permanently from your narcissistic abuse as I have. I was in a very toxic abusive relationship with a malignant narcissist and I have since healed completely. Book a free consultation with me. I would be delighted to talk to you.