10 Warning Signs of Narcissistic Manipulation

A hallmark of healthy relationships is a sense of mutuality. God designed each of us in his image, and we each reflect various aspects of his image. We need each other to experience more of God in our lives.

Relationships with narcissistic manipulation aren’t really relationships. There is a lack of respect and honor for each person as a uniquely and wonderfully designed creation of God. Holding a position of authority comes with a responsibility to serve well. A leader should be about the best interest of the people they serve and the group’s mission. Narcissistic leaders are about themselves above other people.

A lack of mutuality through narcissistic manipulation may look like; dominating conversations, demanding their way, making unilateral decisions that others must follow, ignoring feedback or helpful criticism, exploiting resources for personal gain, and shaming others. These are evidence of not valuing another person as the person God designed them to be.

9. Lack of Freedom

Another hallmark of honoring relationships is the freedom for individuals to manage their lives. I call this self-stewardship and soul stewardship, and it includes personal responsibility for your gifts, beliefs, thoughts, attitudes, and more. In narcissistic manipulation, a victim experiences denial, condemning, and dismissive encounters that fuel a sense that they cannot trust themselves. As a result, victims feel responsible for doing what others say, not responsible for developing who they are and making their own decisions about what to do.

10. Increased Fear of Doing Something Wrong or Bad

As we look at these warning signals, one thing to remember is that narcissistic traits are not about one-time events. This type of manipulation is experienced over time. Patterns reveal something beyond mistakes or poor judgment.

As the patterns continue, you may feel confused and unsure about what’s happening or why something feels off. You may also notice an increased fear that you will do something wrong or bad. You may fear the consequences for not saying or doing the things the manipulator expects you to do. You may also fear withheld affection, rejection, judgment, minimization of your position or personhood, blame, or angry reactions.


In Summary

Narcissistic manipulation occurs in Christian churches, homes, and relationships. Because many believers seek to do good for God, self-focused individuals who use concepts of God and goodness for personal gain cause others harm. 

Reflecting on these signals may mean you notice patterns that have affected you. If so, I’m praying for you to find the resources you need for healing & recovery.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Vasyl Dolmatov 

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