11 Cunning Mind Games that Narcissists Play

Have you ever felt that your thoughts, emotions, and even behavior are being controlled by someone around you? Then that someone can be a narcissist playing with your emotions, and thoughts and controlling your behavior with their cunning mind games. Here are 11 cunning Mind Games that Narcissists play to control, authorize, and dominate.

When you are dealing with a toxic person, but are madly in love with them, you might not want to acknowledge their toxicity or might be ignoring their abusive behavior just out of love. You might have come across many red flags, but your heart and your emotions would feign ignorance, as your love for them would be above all those red flags.

Despite many warnings from people around you, you may still be with the narcissist, as their cunning charm and witty traits might be just unavoidable for you. But is it worth taking a toll on your mental health? Just take a minute and think about this.

By this time you might have realized your self-love is much higher than the love you have for the toxic narcissist in your life. So just spare some time acknowledging their mind games, so that you are not unfair to yourself and do not get tricked by them anymore.

It is difficult to keep yourself out of the manipulative loop that the narcissist creates, but it is very much possible to defend and protect yourself by acknowledging and disassociating yourself from such frenzied situations.

If you just take a few steps and acknowledge yourself more about narcissism, you might find some shocking revelations that might match the situations that the person(the narcissist in your life) puts you through. Narcissistic people are just like parasites, who feed on your emotions and feelings just to weaken your self-worth and importance in the relationship.

They do this, by playing mind games, tricks, and tactics, that you can only wonder about. You might be shell-shocked when you are aware of their manipulative tactics and how they use you as a mere pawn in the relationship to get what they want.

If you are also going through such a phase in your relationship with the narcissist, then take a breath of relief, as this article discusses the 11 most cunning mind games that narcissists play.

Let us get into the details.

What are the Mind Games that Narcissists play?

When referring to Mind games, these games are psychological and include strategic planning and scheming against someone to deceive, control, and baffle them. These games are often played to gain power and control over someone or some unwanted situation. These games can manipulate the thoughts and emotional responses of a target and can also force them to do as one says.

These mind games are more than enough to put someone in a tight spot and confuse them until they start feeling that they are losing their sanity. As the name suggests, these mind games manipulate the target’s thoughts with some manipulative tactics like guilt-tripping, blameshifting, gaslighting, creating a faux reality, and emotional gambit.

Mind games are usually played in relationships to control the partners, and at workplaces to outmaneuver colleagues or acquaintances, deceive superiors, and alter social contexts to gain profit. Mind games can harm a person’s mental and emotional health and also disrupt one’s well-being.

It is also important to remember here, that not all people who play mind games are narcissists, but all narcissists are capable of playing games with their victims up to some extent. It all depends on the degree of narcissism and the individual characteristics and personality traits of a person.

Why Do Narcissists Play Mind Games?

There are several reasons why a narcissist might play mind games,

  • To gain power and control
  • To boost their Ego- Boost and Validation
  • Emotional Manipulation
  • Testing Boundaries

11 Cunning Mind Games that Narcissists Play

Here are cunning mind games that narcissists play,


Intimidating their partners to manipulate, control, and victimize is a form of emotional abuse used by narcissists. They use aggression, controlling behavior, and threats to control their victims and also achieve what they want.

They use menacing tactics that may leave you scared and you might also be alarmed by the terror of their emotional abuse. If you have ever been with a narcissist you may have faced this kind of behavior where they force you to do things or else you receive their so-called intimidating treatment which includes anger outbursts and manipulative behavior.

Having double standards

Narcissists live a double life, where they are pleasant on the outside but bitter and malicious on the inside. They are sweet as sugar on the outside but are manipulative monsters that may brainwash you with their mind games.

Character Assasination

When you oppose the narcissist or get on their wrong side, you may face their criticism in almost everything and anything. They can attack you verbally with anything and everything, the way you talk, the way you deal with things, your dressing sense, how bad the morning beverage that you made, how the breakfast lacked taste, your unsocial social group, the way you make your hair, or everything that may be associated with you.

They do this to control how you think of them.

Divide and Conquer

Divide and conquer is a method used to isolate the victims of narcissistic abuse from their support system. They may pit people against their victims so that they are the only ones on whom their victims can rely and they can brainwash them anyhow they desire.

If you start noticing that your relationship with your friends, family, and other people from your social circle has started deteriorating but you are not the reason, then take this as a sign that they have been under the narcissist’s spell of manipulation, rumors, or misunderstandings.

False Promises

This is the most heartbreaking game that narcissists play with their victims. Their promises lack genuineness and their victims get easily brainwashed by their big fake promises. In the end, they are shallow and these promises are just to lure you. They rarely keep these promises.

Your heart may get broken and you may feel emotionally drained as their promises may give you big false hopes only to get disappointed later.

False Compassion

Narcissists desire admiration, love, validation, and comfort through their emotions, but would never really display any such emotion to their victims as they only know to receive and not give.

They can mirror or reciprocate the emotions that you feel, but those emotions would be surfaced level and fake as they do not know the depth and the real meaning of emotions like compassion. By being empathetic and compassionate they try to create an illusional self-image that is understanding and compassionate from the outside by mimicking emotions, but hollow form deep within.


Narcissists use gaslight as their defense mechanism for all their manipulative mind games. The gaslighting term might have got its real meaning when associated with narcissists. They distort, deny, and twist their victims’s thought processes and convert their perceptions according to their wishes. The line between reality and faux may start vanishing when you deal with narcissists.

Their mind games are so powerful that their victims might lose their perception of reality, their judgment gets blurred out, their sanity may be questioned and they may lose their independent thoughts as they may be dependent on the narcissist’s version of reality.


It is a manipulative tactic where two parties or two people try to draw in a third party or third person to change the trajectory of the problematic situation. It is a situation where a person wants to seek an advantage over others by creating issues and forcing them to choose sides to dominate the scenario.

Triangulation may not always be intentional for other people, but for narcissists, it is a way to navigate and make the situation more uncomfortable and rugged than it already is. Narcissists use triangulation to gain control over others. They need a narcissistic supply, that they gain by manipulating others.

Triangulation may encourage the victim to support the narcissist by complimenting them, admiring their presence in the argument, and being supportive to them, thus providing a narcissistic supply to the narcissist indirectly. Thus they play with other people’s emotions, minds, and feelings.

Love Bombing

Narcissists love bombing in the initial stages when they wish to lure in their victims with minimalistic efforts. Love bombing includes flattering their victims with affectionate, complimenting acclaim, and grand gestures. They may make you feel special by celebrating you and your presence. They may make you feel like you cannot find someone better than them, as their flattery is deceiving yet pleasing.

They control their victims by providing them with compliments, and words they may wish to hear. But they also know how to control their victims by withholding affection. The cycle of love bombing is vicious as it can leave you craving their love, but they may use it against you to control and manipulate you.


Projection means a justification of one’s action by accusing or pointing fingers at others. It is a reaction or a repulse action that is an outcome of one’s guilt, wrongdoing, or something that one is not proud of in particular or is not ready to accept or reflect on oneself. This makes it easy to deal with a difficult situation, without much remorse.

Narcissists project their insecurities onto others, as they may be fighting their deep-rooted insecurities. They may be criticizing you or ripping your self-esteem, but remember here it is not about you, it is them and their insecurities that are being projected on you.

Silent Treatment

The silent treatment is a salient feature of narcissistic mind games. If they disapprove or disagree, they might simply not state it but treat you silently until you realize it on your own. If you do not, they may stretch the whole issue to another level.

For narcissists a silent treatment is not just an omission of verbal communication, but a calculated game that might have ulterior motives with you. They use silent treatment as a weapon. They hold their thoughts and communication to use their silence to make you anxious, and angry and make you feel guilty.

Final Thoughts

If you have a narcissist in your life, you may be a part of their mind games, even before you know it. Narcissistic people can be some of the most difficult partners as navigating relationships with them becomes the most difficult task.

But it is important to protect yourself from such manipulative games as it can mess up your thoughts and create emotional turmoil for you. As all mind games may be implemented on you, you may make sure that you find a way to navigate the relationship without damaging yourself emotionally, mentally, and even physically.

Ella Carrillo

Ella Carrillo

Hey Reader, I am Ella, an Online and Offline Therapist holding an experience of 6 years in this field. From Relationship, Depression, and Personality Disorder to Narcissistic problems, I have helped a lot of people find their solutions. Upon gathering a number of common problems that people face, I decided to put the information on this blog so that anyone can get their answers easily.

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