The tools of the narcissist

The narcissist uses five main tools. These are gifts, affection, withdrawal, threats and violence and in exactly this order.

  1. Gifts: Gifts can be used in two ways. They can either be a symbol of submission or a symbol of demand. Free people generally do not give gifts because they have what they want and do not want to submit nor demand. The communication between the victim and the narcissist is based upon gifts. The narcissist gives gifts in order to make the victim depended. The victim in return accepts these gifts and returns far greater gifts in order to accept this submission. The altruist on the other hand simply helps but does not give gifts either. So if your relationship starts off with gifts (not to be confused with support), that is a bad sign. Think about children. Most of the time, they make deals with each other. If a child gives a gift it is because the child doesn't like the item any longer.

  2. Affection: The narcissist very early on claims soul mate ship, ultimate love. Everything seems incredible and unbelievable - a dream come true. Free people might show each other affection but generally feel comfortable with themselves. They might enjoy the company of someone but will stay focused on their own interests. The victim is needy (co-dependent) due to some childhood abuse. The narcissist is not needy in terms of affection but admiration within the group where the narcissist keeps his or her spider-web. However, the narcissist gives this affection in order to draw the victim into this spider web. This is a difficult time for the narcissist because the narcissist cannot be intimate. Hence, intimacy is replaced by sex.

  3. Withdrawal: Once the victim's dependency is re-directed onto the narcissist, the narcissist begins to withdraw. Step by step the supposed closeness is disappearing. The victim experiences this as a great loss and the narcissist finds him or herself on a high. The narcissist thinks something like: "I don't have to give gifts, I don't have to show affection, and yet I am being admired."

  4. Threats: The victim who remains needy is in shock that no affection is shown to him or her by the narcissist and starts to withdraw him- herself. Now the narcissist starts to panic because the admiration seems to be diminishing and (s)he starts to threaten the victim. These threats are of the kind: "You are a liar. You said you loved me but now you obviously don't." Now, the narcissist resorts back to the first tools including gifts and sex and threatens that they will be withheld. Strangely enough, this has already happened but the narcissist will try to convince the victim that all is as it always used to be. In this sense these threats are imaginary only.

  5. Violence: At one point the narcissist will fail to convince the victim any longer by means of persuasion and changed perception. Now the narcissist will resort to violence. This is the stage when abuse in the common sense takes place. This includes locking out the victim, tearing up photographs, destroying personal belongings in front of the victim, hitting the victim, demanding abusive sexual favors from the victim, punching, kicking, spitting, withholding finances, bad mouthing, threatening to kill, introducing an ex-partner or other sexual partners, using courts and ultimately shared children.

Dr. Ludger Hofmann-Engl



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