How Do Narcissists Trap You In a Relationship?

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Are you aware of the subtle ways narcissists trap their victims, leaving them feeling helpless and controlled?

It’s a disturbing reality that many individuals find themselves entangled in toxic relationships without even realizing it.

From the initial love bombing and manipulation to the gradual erosion of self-esteem, narcissists employ a multitude of tactics to maintain their power over others.

In this article, we will delve into the intricate web of narcissistic traps, exploring the psychological techniques used to keep victims vulnerable and dependent.

how do narcissists trap you into a relationship with them?

#1 Love bombing

At the start of a relationship, narcissists overwhelm the victim with love and affection to quickly build a sense of intimacy.

At the beginning of a relationship, narcissists employ a manipulative tactic known as love bombing to rapidly establish a deep sense of intimacy by overwhelming their victim with an excessive display of love and affection.

They shower you with compliments, attention, and gifts, making you feel like the most important person in their world.

Their intense affection and constant validation create an emotional high that hooks you. It feels like a fairytale romance, but it’s all a facade. Behind the grand gestures lies a hidden agenda – to gain control and manipulate you.

Love bombing will make you feel indebted to the narcissist and emotionally dependent on them. By bombarding you with love, they create a powerful bond that’s difficult to break, trapping you in their web of manipulation and control.

#2 Gaslighting

They manipulate victims into questioning their sanity and reality, causing confusion and self-doubt.

After being love-bombed by a narcissist, their next tactic to trap you is gaslighting. 

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that aims to make you doubt your perceptions, memories, and judgments. 

The narcissist will twist the truth, deny their actions, and even blame you for things that aren’t your fault. They may tell you your feelings are invalid or you overreact to their behavior.

Over time, this constant manipulation can make you doubt your sanity and question your reality. Gaslighting is a powerful tool that narcissists use to maintain control over you and keep you trapped in a toxic relationship.

Read More about Gaslighting

#3 Isolation

They may attempt to cut off the victim from their support network, increasing dependency on the narcissist.

They manipulate their victims by isolating them from their family and friends, increasing their dependency on the narcissist. Narcissists use isolation as a means of control, cutting off their victims from friends, family, and other sources of support.

They may create a narrative where the victim’s loved ones are portrayed as toxic or unreliable, making the victim doubt their relationships. 

By limiting their access to outside perspectives and emotional support, the narcissist becomes the sole source of validation and companionship for the victim.

This isolation fosters a sense of dependency, making it harder for the victim to leave the toxic relationship. 

Breaking free from the narcissist’s grip often requires rebuilding connections with loved ones and seeking external support to regain independence and a sense of self.

#4 Negative reinforcement

Narcissists use tactics like silent treatment or withdrawal of affection to control the victim’s behavior.

Breaking free from the narcissist’s grip often requires rebuilding connections with loved ones and seeking external support to regain independence and a sense of self. 

To maintain control over their victims, narcissists employ negative reinforcement tactics such as the silent treatment or withdrawal of affection.

By using the silent treatment, the narcissist creates a sense of isolation and emotional abandonment, leaving the victim feeling desperate for their attention and approval. 

They may also withhold affection and love, making the victim question their worthiness and constantly seek validation from the narcissist.

These tactics are designed to manipulate and control the victim’s behavior, keeping them dependent on the narcissist’s approval and unable to assert their own needs and boundaries.

#5 Devaluation

They gradually decrease the victim’s self-esteem, making the victim feel worthless and undeserving of better treatment.

During the devaluation phase, narcissists systematically erode your self-esteem, leaving you feeling worthless and convinced that you don’t deserve better treatment. 

They employ various tactics to achieve this, such as constant criticism, insults, and belittling. They may mock your achievements, disregard your opinions, and undermine your abilities.

By consistently devaluing you, narcissists make you question your worth, causing you to doubt yourself and your abilities. 

This will keep you dependent on them and make it difficult for you to leave the relationship. Over time, their relentless devaluation wears down your self-esteem, causing you to believe you’re unworthy of love, respect, and better treatment.

#6 Promising Change

Narcissists often promise that they’ll change, giving the victim hope that things will improve.

Narcissists often dangle the promise of change, creating a glimmer of hope for the victim that things will finally improve. They know that by offering the possibility of change, they can keep their victims trapped in the toxic relationship.

The narcissist might apologize for their hurtful behavior and vow to do better, making the victim believe that they’re sincere in their desire to change. 

This promise of change gives the victim hope that the relationship can be salvaged and their partner will become the loving and caring person they once knew.

However, victims need to recognize that this promise of change is often empty and manipulative. Narcissists rarely follow through with their promises and, instead, use them as a tactic to maintain control over their victims.

#7 Financial Control

Narcissists may seek to control the victim financially, making it much harder for the victim to leave.

Financial control is a tactic frequently employed by narcissists to trap their victims, making it significantly more challenging for them to leave the toxic relationship. 

By gaining control over their partner’s finances, narcissists effectively limit their freedom and independence, creating a sense of dependency.

They may restrict access to money, monitor spending, or even force their partner to relinquish control of their income. 

Such control not only leaves the victim financially vulnerable but also erodes their sense of autonomy and self-worth.

Without financial resources, victims may feel trapped and unable to escape the narcissist’s grasp. 

#8 Intermittent Reinforcement

By alternating between periods of love bombing and devaluation, they create an addictive emotional rollercoaster for the victim.

By alternating between periods of showering you with love and affection and then devaluing and punishing you, narcissists create an addictive emotional rollercoaster that keeps you trapped in their toxic grip. 

This manipulative tactic, known as intermittent reinforcement, plays on your emotions and keeps you constantly craving the highs of love bombing while enduring the lows of devaluation.

The narcissist showers you with attention, compliments, and affection, making you feel special and loved. 

But just as you begin to bask in this euphoria, they abruptly switch gears, withdrawing their affection and subjecting you to criticism, manipulation, and punishment. 

This unpredictable pattern of love and abuse creates a sense of dependency and confusion, making it incredibly difficult for you to break free from their control. 

You become addicted to the intermittent rewards, desperately hoping for the return of the loving and affectionate side of the narcissist, even though it rarely lasts.

#9 Fear Tactics

Narcissists often use threats and manipulation to instill fear in the victim, making it harder to break free.

Narcissists commonly use fear tactics to instill a sense of fear and manipulation in their victims, making it even more challenging for them to break free from their toxic grip. 

Narcissists rely on threats and manipulation to keep their victims trapped in the relationship.

They use fear as a tool to control and dominate their partner, creating an environment of constant anxiety and uncertainty. 

By instilling fear, narcissists make their victims doubt themselves and their ability to leave the abusive relationship. They may use threats of physical harm, emotional blackmail, or even threats to harm themselves to maintain control over their victims.

#10 Projection

Narcissists project their negative behavior onto the victim, causing the victim to constantly defend themselves instead of addressing the real issue.

After enduring fear tactics, victims of narcissistic relationships often find themselves trapped in a cycle of projection. Narcissists project their negative behavior onto their victims, causing them to constantly defend themselves instead of addressing the real issue.

This manipulation tactic allows narcissists to avoid taking responsibility for their actions and shifts the focus onto the victim. 

By projecting their negative behavior onto the victim, narcissists create a distorted reality where the victim is constantly on the defensive, trying to prove their innocence and deflect blame.

This constant need to defend oneself prevents the victim from addressing the core issue and keeps them trapped in a toxic dynamic. 

#11 Shifting Blame

They refuse to take accountability for their actions and behavior, instead placing every blame on the victim.

Narcissists consistently refuse to take accountability for their actions and behavior, instead placing the blame solely on the victim. They have a remarkable ability to shift blame to avoid facing the consequences of their actions.

Whether it’s a small argument or a significant conflict, narcissists will always find a way to twist the situation and make you feel responsible. 

They’ll manipulate you into believing everything is your fault, causing you to question your judgment and reality.

#12 Hoovering

If a victim tries to leave, narcissists will try to suck them back in by showering them with affection or making grand promises of change.

When faced with the prospect of leaving a narcissistic relationship, victims often find themselves trapped by the manipulative tactic known as hoovering

Narcissists will go to great lengths to suck their victims back in, using affection and grand promises of change. They shower you with love, compliments, and attention, making you believe things will be different this time.

They exploit your desire for a happy and healthy relationship, exploiting your vulnerability and longing for a better future. 

However, it’s important to recognize that hoovering is just another tactic used by narcissists to maintain control and power over you. 

Don’t be fooled by their temporary change in behavior; it’s likely a ploy to reel you back in and continue their manipulative patterns.

Stay strong, stay true to yourself, and seek support from trusted friends, family, or professionals to break free from the cycle of hoovering.

Final Words

Escaping a narcissistic relationship requires recognizing the tactics used to trap you and finding the courage to establish boundaries.

By understanding love bombing, gaslighting, isolation, negative reinforcement, devaluation, fear tactics, projection, shifting blame, and hoovering, you can reclaim your independence and well-being.

Seek professional help, rebuild your self-esteem, and remember you deserve love and respect.

Breaking free from the control of a narcissist is possible, and you aren’t alone in this journey.

1 thought on “How Do Narcissists Trap You In a Relationship?”

  1. I have let a beautiful Black lady trap me in this situation. I love her but she is so mean to me. I have given her my bank info & she has drained my account. My pay now goes to her & I have built up debt to her. She has so many pics of me that can never be shown to anyone. She told me if I ever try to leave her she will release the pics & have me castrated. What can I do? I am so trapped now.


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