Everyone who knows much about narcissistic abuse knows their tactics. Gaslighting, invalidation, scathing criticisms, baiting, projection… the list goes on & on. They also have other ways to abuse their victims that are so subtle, they are often overlooked because the narcissist isn’t doing anything.
Narcissists can instill blind terror into their victims with a look. I remember the look from my overtly narcissistic mother when I was growing up. I knew to stop whatever I was doing or saying right then or else the consequences would be terrible. Naturally, I obeyed, & didn’t have to face consequences after that look. My mother was hardly the only narcissistic parent to do this. Many use it.
There also is a variation on the look that covert narcissists prefer. The victim knows if they don’t do what the narcissist wants, they are going to be on the receiving end of a horrendous guilt trip. Since covert narcissists are naturally much more subtle than overt narcissists, they wouldn’t consider scaring their victim in the same way. Instead, they prefer to make their victim feel so guilty that they never repeat the behavior again.
Both overt & covert narcissists have yet another variation on “the look.” It’s the look that makes a victim feel like they are the most moronic, disgusting, pathetic creature in the world. My ex husband perfected this one. When we argued, I was always wrong, according to him. To drive his point home, he would look at me with a very smug look. He never said the words, but his facial expression told me he was convinced I was utterly pathetic, stupid & lucky he was willing to put up with such a disgusting creature as me who was clearly so far beneath him & his highly superior intelligence.
Another way narcissists can abuse without lifting a finger is known as triangulation. This is when a narcissist confides in another person about the victim. They usually lie to this person to make the victim look bad & to make the narcissist look like an innocent victim. When that third person believes the lies, they confront the real victim. They tell the victim that they need to apologize to the narcissist, stop doing whatever the narcissist said they were doing, or even resume the relationship with the narcissist after going no contact. The narcissist does nothing while this person abuses the victim on their behalf.
Clearly narcissists have abuse down to a science!
If you face any of these situations when dealing with a narcissist, chances are at some point you will think you’re reading too much into their actions. You may even think something is mentally wrong with you to think the narcissist meant anything more than simply to look at you or was talking to a friend about your troubled relationship. Please get such thoughts out of your mind immediately! You aren’t reading too much into anything! Every single thing narcissists say & do has a purpose. You are correct in assuming those looks mean what you think they mean, & that person telling you what you are doing wrong by the narcissist is being used by the narcissist.
When these things happen, the first step I suggest you do is ask God to guide you & give you wisdom & creative ideas for handling the situation. Also remind yourself that nothing narcissists do is innocent. Everything has a self-serving motive. These behaviors really have nothing to do with you. They’re about the narcissist gaining control over you. Don’t allow yourself to give into that control. And, as for the person used in triangulation? If you can’t remove this person from your life, at least refuse to discuss the narcissist with this person. You’ll save yourself a great deal of frustration!