How is it that Narcissists able to manipulate others so well?
Narcissists are able to manipulate others so well because they are continually are the lookout for our vulnerabilities. Once they hone in on what’s important to you, they will use these things against us. Some examples of vulnerabilities might be our children, any self-esteem issues or insecurities we might have (weight, appearance, finances, etc.), fears–such as being alone, or losing someone we love. Narcissists find out many of their victim’s vulnerabilities during the “love bombing” and “good listener” stages of the relationship.
Targets of Narcissists may be codependent; they may have come from abusive backgrounds, or raised in homes with Narcissistic family members; they may have a ton of other issues with their self-esteem and self-worth, but honestly, I think the biggest reason why people stay in a relationship with a Narcissist, is because they simply don’t realize that they are in a relationship with a Narcissist.
Normal people operate from what sociologists refer to as a “Just World” perspective. This “Just World” perspective means that we tend to think that how we treat people is how they will treat us–that the world is “just” or fair, and that our morals and values are similar to those around us. And this perspective is true the vast majority of the time–except when we are dealing with manipulative people, such as Narcissists or Sociopaths/Antisocial Personality type people.
Most people tend to think that their partner is normal, and that any bad behavior they exhibit is fixable and changeable–again, we operate from that “Just World” perspective, where we think if we were doing something that was hurtful or harmful, that we would want to change this. But the reality is that Narcissists and Sociopaths don’t care if their actions hurt others, in fact, they often take great enjoyment out of causing pain. After all, the more of a reaction they can get out of people, the more important they feel, and the more their ego gets fed.