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30 Characteristics of (Narcissistic) Manipulators

Updated: Oct 23, 2022

Narcissistic Abuse and Guidance with Randi Fine

Isabelle Nazare-Aga, psychotherapist, lecturer and author, has developed 30 characteristics of manipulators over a period of seven years and the list was published in 1997 in the book “Les manipulateurs sont parmis nous”. This list applies to both women and men. Read this list while thinking about the person you suspect.

If at least 14 criteria out of 30 are met, the person in question is a manipulator. Most people get more than 20 points out of 30. People with fewer than eight of the listed characteristics are not considered to have a manipulative personality.

1. They make other people feel guilty, in the name of professional conscience, family ties, friendship, love, etc.

2. They unload their responsibilities onto others or dismiss their own responsibilities.

3. They do not clearly communicate their requests, needs, feelings or opinions.

4. They often respond vaguely.

5. They change their opinions, behaviors, or feelings depending on the person or situation.

6. They cite all kinds of logical reasons to disguise their requests.

7. They make others believe that they must be perfect, never change their minds, always know everything, and immediately respond to requests and questions.

8. They cast into doubt the qualities, skills and personalities of other people—they criticize without appearing to do so, devalue and judge.

9. They have their messages communicated by other people or via intermediaries (telephone instead of face-to-face, written notes).

10. They create suspicion and stir up ill feeling; they divide to conquer, driving a wedge between people, which can lead to relationship break-ups.

11. They know how to make themselves into victims to gain sympathy (e.g. exaggerated illness, « difficult » surroundings, overloaded at work).

12. They ignore requests (even if they claim to be taking care of them).

13. They use the moral principles of others (e.g. notions of humanity, charity, racism, « good » or « bad » mother) to satisfy their needs.

14. They make veiled threats or openly resort to blackmail.

15. They abruptly change topic in mid-conversation.

16. They avoid or get out of discussions and meetings.

17. They rely on the ignorance of others while flaunting their own superiority.

19. They make false statements to discover the truth, twist and interpret facts to suit themselves.

20. They are self-centered.

21. They can be jealous, even if they are parents or spouses.

22. They cannot take criticism, and deny facts.

23. They do not take into account the rights, needs and desires of others.

24. They often wait until the last minute to ask, order or have others do something.

25. Their words appear logical and consistent, while their attitudes, actions or lifestyle are totally opposite.

26. They use flattery to seduce us, give gifts or suddenly start waiting on us hand and foot.

27. They generate a state of discomfort or of not being free (trap).

28. They are excellent at meeting their own goals, but at the expense of others.

29. They make us do things that we would probably not have done of our own free will.

30. They are constantly the focus of conversation among people who know them. even if they are not present.


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