Narcissistic Manipulation – Who’s Vulnerable?
Anyone can succumb to a narcissist’s charm. Some narcissists possess great impression-management skill. But some personality types are particularly vulnerable to narcissistic manipulation. And research has confirmed that two personality traits make all the difference.
All my books address the issue of vulnerability to narcissistic manipulation. And my book In Sheep’s Clothing was the first to provide concrete tools to inoculate oneself. But my work preceded solid empirical work on the subject. Clinical experience was my teacher. And only recently have many of the insights I shared have been validated.
Some Folks Are More Vulnerable
It can feel like victim blaming to even talk about someone’s vulnerability to narcissistic manipulation. Make no mistake, however, the disturbed characters among us bear sole responsibility for their antics. And like I mentioned earlier, anyone can be duped. But for their tactics have a better chance of working if you have certain personality traits.
Two Traits Make the Difference
Disturbed characters most often target folks possessing two qualities they don’t posses: conscientiousness and excessive agreeableness (i.e. deference). So, it’s a solid conscience that makes you most vulnerable to narcissistic manipulation. Manipulators use guilt and shame as their prime weapons. But you have to have the capacity for shame and guilt for the tactics to work. Disturbed characters lack that capacity. Conscientious folks have it in spades.
A narcissist might complain about how unfair you are. And because you inherently want to be fair, you take the complaint seriously. It might not occur to you that guilting or shaming you in this way is a tactic. You realize it later, when they’ve taken advantage too many times.
Always having to be “right” pretty much defines narcissistic pride. Conscientious people care about right and wrong. And they don’t like being in the wrong. So, all the narcissist has to do is to point out legitimate weaknesses, shortcomings, inconsistencies, minor errors or missteps. Before you know it, you start seeing things their way. And worse, once you do, you’re at greater risk to defer.
Narcissistic Manipulation is a Big Problem
Narcissism is far too prevalent these days. It rears its ugly head in many personality and character disturbances. And narcissists feel entitled to toy with others. After all, they see themselves as above others. But they depend on the conscientiousness of their victims. And the they depend on other aspects of their good nature. So, the more a person cares, the more vulnerable they are to the self-serving and heartless. And the more vulnerable they are to narcissistic manipulation.
More will be posted on narcissism and narcissistic manipulation in the coming weeks.
Character Matters will air live Sunday, December 17. (7:00 pm Eastern, 6 pm Central) Call in at 501 258-8326 to ask a question or share your story.
Vyne Education is finalizing venues for next year’s workshops. (They should begin next Spring.) Information should post on the Seminars page soon after the holidays.
Please peruse the blog for its many informative articles.