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Narcissists utilize a variety of direct and indirect strategies to gain control in relationships, garner affirmation and validation, and coerce others to feel and behave as the narcissist so desires. A form of manipulation that is very powerful yet not often discussed is micromanipulation. A covert act whose goal is to assert control and establish the narcissist’s self-perceived victim status, micromanipulation involves baiting another person in a way that attempts to win over his or her empathy and coerce this person to be more accepting of, and engaged with, the narcissist. The micromanipulation often plays on the person's sympathies and inherent kindness to subdue any actual or potential boundary-setting and to stimulate vulnerability to the narcissist. Typically, a narcissistic person has an “inflated ego” that belies a deep insecurity and fractured self-esteem, so anticipated or actual rejections by others are psychologically intolerable. Consequently, micromanipulation is often the last resort employed by a narcissist in an attempt to paralyze a romantic partner (or an employee in the workplace) who is contemplating leaving the relationship. The types of micromanipulation are varied but include message tactics such as “the hidden bomb,” acts of self-sabotage, and the verbalization of self-criticism. As these messages are put forth by the narcissist, they weaken the other person's fortitude and draw him or her back to the narcissist. Other micromanipulations include consistent attempts to change the other's opinion and subtle forms of scrutiny and criticism that seek to destabilize and coerce the person with whom the narcissist is in relationship. In the next virtual meeting of the Relationship Group Seminar on Saturday, August 20, 2022 (11:45 AM to 1:00 PM), we will discuss how micromanipulations are utilized in relationships and consider the most effective approaches to navigating them.
*Registration Directions: If you would like to attend the next virtual meeting of the Relationship Group Seminar on Saturday, August 20, 2022, 11:45 AM to 1:00 PM, please RSVP to me at[masked] or [masked] no later than Thursday, August 18, 2022. The fee is $25.00 (payable before entering the virtual meeting) and informed consent for participation in this telehealth event must be completed prior to the seminar. Please note that the Relationship Group Seminar is psychoeducational in nature, not therapeutic, and does not constitute psychotherapy or counseling.