The manipulator thinks he knows you better than you know yourself, and plans on using that against you. What to do? Know yourself better.

Have a healthy dose of cynicism. Abusers know you will give him the benefit of the doubt and buy his excuses because you are likely to “treat others as you would like to be treated.” Don’t be ashamed or feel guilty; he’s counting on that.

Accept that people can be dangerous, cunning, and manipulative. If you start seeing red flags, listen to your gut. If you find evidence, believe it. Accept reality before you are victimized.

Are you neurotic? Conscientious? If you are a good worker, a planner, a good employee, a sweet daughter, and a helper, look out. You are also prime bait for a manipulator.

Shy, quiet, non confrontational? Also a juicy morsel for an abusive narcissist. Get rid of self-doubt, know your own needs and boundaries and assert them. Pay attention and stand your ground.

Don’t overthink it. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. In other words, don’t overintellectualize what’s happening. Homicide detectives often say the easiest answer, the most likely suspect, is usually the guilty party. If you believe someone would hurt you only for some legitimate, understandable reason, realize that there are people out there who do it for entertainment or to meet their own needs. Don’t waste time finding reasons for their behavior.

By not following the above advice, you put yourself at great risk for victimization.

Next: The three phases of a relationship with a narcissist.

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