15 Ways Narcissists Target Your Insecurities On Purpose

15 Ways Narcissists Target Your Insecurities On Purpose

It seems like narcissists always know how to put you down in unique and horrible ways. It’s no accident, either — they know how to target your insecurities. If you suspect someone in your life of doing this, here are 15 ways of spotting that behavior.

1. They project their insecurities on you.

Narcissists are consumed by their own self-importance, and they’ll maintain that image by projecting all their insecurities on you. They’ll find flaws in you constantly that are just a vehicle through which they can process and visualize their insecurities. It’s emotionally crippling and selfish.

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2. They gaslight, day and night.

Narcissists get super defensive and will do anything to maintain control, PsychCentral notes — including gaslight you into thinking you’re the problem, or that you’re the one who isn’t remembering things right. That is where they will target your insecurities and manipulate you into staying with them.

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3. They lash out.

No group of people plays the blame game better than narcissists. They’re not afraid of throwing things you confessed in private back in your face when things aren’t going their way. They know they keep their power over you with these threats.

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4. They start arguments out of nowhere.

Just as you’re feeling settled or calm in a relationship with a narcissist, they find something to set them off. It’s usually after they’ve been upset by something, but rather than process that maturely, they’ll deliberately start a fight, trigger you, and then make out like they’re the victim. It’s disorientating and stops you from fighting back.

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5. They use demeaning language.

While everyone struggles with self-esteem at times, narcissists strategically use demeaning language to manipulate and control. They belittle and dismiss others to inflate their own fragile ego. By poking at your insecurities and convincing you that you’re worthless without them, they seek to trap you in a cycle of emotional dependence.

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6. They minimize your achievements to elevate themselves.

Narcissists see life as a zero-sum game, believing there’s a limited supply of attention and success. This twisted perspective fuels their need to tear others down. They view your strengths – compassion, empathy – as vulnerabilities ripe for exploitation. Their goal is to undermine your confidence, making you an easier target for their control.

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7. They manipulate you to get their way.

Narcissists will manipulate you to give up things you’re good at or linger on negative memories because they want you to be weak. If they’re threatened by your achievements, they’ll try to get you to commit less time to your hobby, or to deprioritize work. They know that their ego is fragile and relies on them thinking they’re better than you — they’ll do anything to keep it that way.

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8. They use your words against you.

Narcissists weaponize everything you share. They memorize your vulnerabilities, dredge up painful memories, and distort your words – all to win their twisted game. Their goal is to dismantle you, to leave you feeling powerless in their presence and even more helpless without them. They ruthlessly manipulate your reality, twisting your trust into a tool for control.

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9. They whip out mean rhetorical devices to feel superior.

Narcissists don’t feel empathy in the way that most people do, Psychology Today explains, so they have no problem using your weaknesses against you. They will say things in a condescending way, such as, “Don’t you remember what happened last time you got rejected from an interview?” It’s designed to keep you from succeeding by using your past against you.

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10. They criticize you constantly.

Most people in committed relationships would think twice about offering criticism to their partner, or would at least make sure it was constructive. Narcissists, however, will target your insecurities on purpose when they criticize you to reinscribe their authority over you.

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11. They make out like they’re more informed than they are.

Narcissists will always lie to make out like they’re better informed than you. They never want to empower you to think you’re a free-thinker or capable of living without them. It’s in their interest to use your insecurities against you. Sadly, they’re more than willing to give you new insecurities if they run out of the usual ones.

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12. They make you feel guilty.

Narcissists will also target your compassion by making you feel guilty for how they say you have made them feel. They always want to have it both ways: be in control, but also be the victim. They will make you feel like you’ve done something wrong. It stops you from overtaking them.

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13. They threaten to leave you.

Most relationships undertaken with a narcissist are plagued with extreme messages and threats of leaving. You can never truly feel at peace because they are always one sentence away from having a tantrum or exploiting your kindness. It’s exhausting, and they use your love for them against you to keep you under control. All the more reason to break up and stay strong and single.

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14. They suggest that you’re not worthy of anything.

The people you love have the capacity to hurt you the most. They will lie and exploit things you shared with them in confidence, such as your self-esteem issues. Narcissists will be cruel and tell you that you’re right to think those dark things. They’re wrong, of course, but it doesn’t change that it hurts to have your weaknesses targeted like that. A cathartic cry is good for everyone, but a narcissist will tell you it’s a weakness to feel things — don’t listen to them.

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15. They can even get violent.

Violence is never acceptable in any relationship — whether from a narcissist or otherwise. Sometimes, when they lash out, narcissists resort to violence or threats of violence because they see it as a way of maintaining control over you. Leave whenever it is safe to and stay out of that environment.

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Hannah has a Masters degree in Romantic and Victorian literature in Scotland and spends her spare time writing anything from essays to short fiction about the life and times of the frogs in her local pond! She loves musical theatre, football, anything with potatoes, and remains a firm believer that most of the problems in this world can be solved by dancing around the kitchen to ABBA. You can find her on Instagram at @_hannahvic.