Why a manipulative person is never doing you a favour.
If you have encountered a narcissistic manipulator, you will probably have been burned by accepting gifts, favours, or even much needed help before.
It may have scarred you so badly that you’re now terrified of asking anyone for anything and even the thought of getting a birthday present fills you with dread. You’re so uncomfortable with the idea of being indebted to anyone that you would allow circumstances to become dire before telling anyone that you need help.
This is a typical symptom of narcissistic abuse.
It deliberately undermines your confidence in being able to trust or rely on others and deters you from having close or supportive relationships.
This is strategic on the part of the manipulator. They know exactly what they are doing to you, but the insidious nature of their evil intentions is how they also drive a wedge between you and everyone around you… isolating their target victim so they can systematically destroy their will to live.
It’s a remarkably simple 3-stage process, which is why narcissists don’t need to be intelligent, they just need to be nasty people.
How it Works
The thing you need to keep in mind is that a narcissist does not put energy into the relationship they have with a victim, even if it ostensibly looks that way.
Everything they do is purely for optics.
Narcissists are horrible people so they spend an inordinate amount of time and energy manipulating everyone around them into believing a lie rather than just… actually being genuinely nice. It’s super weird.
Step 1: the narcissist offers to pay for or do something that they know you really need or enjoy immensely, ensuring you will have a struggle turning them down.
Step 2: despite offering without being asked, they will secretly expect you to turn down the offer because you’re supposed to magically know that it’s not a real offer and it’s actually beyond their means or very inconvenient.
A) you decline the offer, at which point they tell everyone how wonderful and generous they are for making a hollow offer, and then proceed to denigrate you behind your back for rejecting their generosity.
B) you accept the offer and they still get to tell everyone how wonderful and generous they are, but now they also get to slag you behind your back about how you’re exploiting their generosity, taking advantage of them (even though a normal person would assume if someone offers something it’s because it’s within their means), and what an ungrateful so-and-so you are.
As you can see, this is a double-bind. The target is forced into a situation where they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
Houdini out of a Double-Bind
Regardless of whether you accept or decline, the manipulative person intends to get their 2-fold objective met: to appear saccharine sweet while presenting you as a turd in the eyes of an audience. You’re supposed to remain oblivious and become indebted to them so they can collect a pound of flesh from you at a later date.
So how do you minimise the impact of their insidious attempt to destroy your reputation and outside relationships?
Best-case scenario is not having such a toxic individual in your life at all, but next best practice is to keep your distance and remove any access they may have to real-time information or involvement. If they don’t know what you need until it has already been done, then they’re too late to the party to make any significant offers or insert themselves in such a way that others could believe they’re helping you out.
This tends to frustrate and irritate narcissists because they’re not acquiring accolades or leverage. Be prepared for them to start trespassing on your boundaries.
If you are not in a position to remove a toxic person from your intimate information loop and you must be assaulted with offers, then accept them openly.
That’s right, I just told you to openly and loudly accept a narcissist’s feigned generosity. In fact, don’t just take them up on their greasy offer, but make a concerted effort to tell everyone how grateful you are for such wonderful… selfless charity! Where would you be without such gallantry!!! They literally saved your life!!!!
Now the narcissist can’t trash you behind your back because if they do, their audience is going to see through their manipulation and become grossed-out by the behaviour. They also can’t claim compensation from you at a later date because that would prove their offer was a transaction rather than a gift.
Often a narcissist will be less inclined to offer anything in future to a person who extols their charitable virtues because then it really is charity and they hate giving away something for nothing.
Whatever you do, don’t try to inform others about the manipulation. They’re unlikely to believe that anyone goes to such lengths to destroy someone who doesn’t deserve it or create a fake persona. It’s bonkers to a rational person, which is usually how narcissists get away with it.
At the end of the day, a narcissist wastes way too much time propping up their façade instead of building a real house, which is incredibly sad if you think about it. Your job is to passively allow the illusion to crumble by refusing to lend it support… as infuriating as that can be.