20 Disturbing Signs That You’re Being Used By A Narcissist

Are you feeling used? Do you find yourself constantly catering to someone else’s needs, while your own are left unmet? If so, it’s possible that you’re being manipulated by a narcissist. Narcissists can be highly manipulative and emotionally abusive people; they often use their charm and charisma to get what they want from others.

Overview Of Narcissistic Traits

Narcissists are infamous for their manipulative and selfish behavior. They can be charming and captivating one moment, only to leave you feeling drained the next. Knowing how to spot the signs of being used by a narcissist is key to protecting yourself from further harm. In this article, we’ll look at 20 signs that could indicate that you’re being taken advantage of by a narcissist.

1. Unsolicited Attention And Flattery

One of the most disturbing signs is the presence of unsolicited attention and flattery from someone who seems too good to be true. This person may shower you with compliments and gifts, seemingly out of nowhere. It’s easy to become flattered by these acts – after all, it feels great to be appreciated!

However, when this attention comes without any kind of reciprocity in return, it could signify an ulterior motive. The narcissist may be expecting something else from you: time, energy, resources, admiration… Anything that serves their agenda. Pay close attention to what happens next; do not get caught up in false promises or unrealistic expectations – this relationship might not be as healthy as it appears on the surface.

2. Unrealistic Expectations

One of the key tell-tale signs that someone is being used by a narcissist is unrealistic expectations. While it may seem like it’s coming from a place of love at first, if your partner keeps pushing for more and more without any real regard for how you feel or what’s possible, then it’s clear they’re taking advantage. It’s almost like they want to keep moving the goalposts further away so they can never be reached.

It might start small: expecting you to drop everything when they need something, making plans with little notice or consideration given to your commitments, even asking you to do things beyond what could reasonably be expected in a loving relationship. This lack of empathy and accountability shows they aren’t looking out for you or considering your feelings – just their own needs and wants. As time goes on, this type of behavior only intensifies until you’re left feeling drained and taken advantage of.

3. Lack Of Empathy And Accountability

Being in a relationship with someone who lacks empathy is like walking on glass shards. It’s an uncomfortable, painful experience that can leave you feeling emotionally drained and vulnerable. If you feel like your partner has difficulty understanding how their behavior affects you or takes little to no responsibility for it, this could be one of the disturbing signs that you’re being used by a narcissist.

A lack of empathy and accountability often go hand-in-hand when dealing with narcissistic people. They may have unrealistic expectations of you while showing little regard for your feelings or needs. This type of situation can quickly lead to feelings of frustration, resentment, and anger as they’ll rarely consider any sort of compromise or negotiation. Instead, they might resort to manipulative tactics such as gaslighting and guilt-tripping to get what they want – regardless if it’s at the expense of your well-being.

4. Manipulative Behavior

Have you noticed that your relationship with a narcissist is becoming increasingly manipulative? Are they subtly controlling the way you think, feel, and act?

Manipulation can be one of the most disturbing signs that someone is using you in a narcissistic manner. It often involves tactics such as:

  • Guilt-tripping
  • Blaming
  • Gaslighting
  • Emotional blackmailing

These are all ways to make you question your perceptions and feelings – and even go against them – while making you believe it’s for your good. Narcissists may also try to use flattery or charm to manipulate people into getting what they want. They don’t care how this affects their target; instead, they only focus on achieving their desired outcome. Moreover, any attempts to challenge or resist their manipulation will usually result in further pushback from the narcissist. This can create an uncomfortable atmosphere where one feels powerless and unheard within an intimate relationship.

It’s important to recognize these behaviors early on so you aren’t taken advantage of by a person who puts themselves first above everything else. Such toxic individuals should not be allowed to control our lives – understanding the warning signs is key to being able to protect ourselves from such abuse before it takes hold.

5. Controlling And Isolating Tactics

Controlling and isolating tactics are common signs that a narcissist is using you. They want to dominate the relationship and can be very manipulative in their approach. The first step in being aware of this behavior is identifying it when it happens.

One way they may do this is by controlling your conversations, thoughts, and decisions. This could manifest as them dictating what topics you talk about or making comments on how you should think or behave differently. Another tactic might include trying to limit your access to family and friends, keeping all communication between just the two of you.

The goal for the narcissist here is often control – they want to make sure that no one else influences your life apart from them. To illustrate this further, here’s a list of some more examples:

  • Control/Manipulation:
  • Making decisions without consulting you
  • Guilt-tripping or threatening if you don’t comply with their wishes
  • Isolation:
  • Not allowing contact with family and friends
  • Monitoring phone calls, emails, or texts

This type of behavior can leave an individual feeling helpless or confused because they don’t feel like they have autonomy over their own lives anymore. It’s important to remember that these behaviors are not okay and are often indicative of unhealthy power dynamics in a relationship. You deserve better than someone who seeks only to manipulate and isolate you – look out for these warning signs so that you can protect yourself before things get too far.

6. Unreasonable Jealousy And Possessiveness

It’s natural to want your partner to be a little jealous of you, but when it reaches unreasonable levels and they start exhibiting possessiveness – that’s where things get toxic. Unreasonable jealousy is one of the most disturbing signs that you’re being used by a narcissist. They’ll try to control who you talk to and what you do, in an attempt to keep tabs on any potential threats.

At first, this can seem flattering and make you feel secure – like your partner cares about you. But beware: this kind of behavior often leads down a dark path toward abuse. It’s important to recognize these warning signs before things take a turn for the worse. The sooner you acknowledge them and seek help, the better chance you have at escaping from their manipulative grasp.

7. Abusive Behavior

The term “abusive behavior” can send shivers down your spine. It’s an all-too-real sign of being used by a narcissist and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. That said, here are some key points to watch out for:

  • Controlling language or actions
  • Deliberately hurting you emotionally or physically
  • Refusing to take responsibility for their behaviors

These signs can range from subtle microaggressions to outright physical violence, making them hard to spot at first. To make matters worse, they often appear in cycles; the abuser will apologize and promise not to do it again before reverting to their old ways shortly after. This creates a toxic cycle of abuse that can be incredibly damaging – both mentally and physically – if left unchecked.

Therefore, it’s important to recognize when someone is crossing boundaries or acting abusively towards you so that you don’t stay stuck in this situation any longer than necessary. Taking action as soon as possible is essential for protecting yourself from further harm and toxicity. From there, we’ll discuss how understanding gaslighting can help lead you closer to healing.

8. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a particularly insidious form of manipulation and emotional abuse. It’s when someone tries to make you question your reality, memories, or perceptions by subtly undermining them. If this is happening in your relationship with a narcissist, it could be one of the most disturbing signs that they are using you without any regard for your feelings or well-being.

It can be hard to detect gaslighting since its manipulation methods are so subtle – but some common ways include denying things happened even after being confronted with evidence, accusing you of lying or misremembering events, and making condescending comments about how ‘sensitive’ you are. In any case, if your partner has been displaying these behaviors toward you then it’s a clear sign that something isn’t right in the relationship.

Unhealthy boundaries may also be present; understanding these warning signs can help give you an idea of what kind of behavior is acceptable from your partner, and which signals indicate trouble ahead.

9. Unhealthy Boundaries

When it comes to relationships, there should be boundaries that ensure both parties are respected and cared for. However, if one of the partners is a narcissist, this balance can easily become unbalanced – with unhealthy boundaries set in place. Juxtaposed against healthy relationship dynamics, these unhealthy boundaries often result in abuse and exploitation.

In an abusive relationship with a narcissist, their partner will likely find themselves being controlled or manipulated. The narcissistic person may set strict rules and expectations that their partner has little choice but to follow – even if those expectations are unreasonable or harmful. They may also withhold affection or appreciation as punishment for not following the rules they have created, leading to feelings of worthlessness on behalf of their partner. By keeping their victim under tight control through fear tactics such as gaslighting and manipulation, the narcissist keeps them trapped within an abusive cycle that they feel unable to escape.

These disturbing signs make it clear that you’re being used by a narcissist; left feeling powerless while your abuser continues to impose their own selfish needs onto another human being without regard for any consequences they might cause. It’s important to recognize when these unhealthy boundaries have been crossed so that you can take steps towards protecting yourself from further harm and getting out of the situation safely.

10. Withholding Affection And Appreciation

When it comes to narcissists, withholding affection and appreciation is a bottomless pit – it never ends! It’s one of the most frustrating and heartbreaking things you can experience. Narcissists use this tactic as an easy way to gain control over someone without having to put in any actual effort. Here are five telltale signs that your partner may be using this manipulative behavior:

  1. They rarely offer compliments or words of affirmation.
  2. They don’t show gratitude for anything you do.
  3. When they do express admiration, it feels insincere and empty.
  4. You feel like their actions don’t match their words, so trust is difficult to build up.
  5. Whenever you try to address these issues, they attempt to distract from them or invalidate your feelings entirely.

Being manipulated by someone who doesn’t care about how their decisions make you feel can be emotionally draining and exhausting beyond belief; it leaves you constantly questioning yourself and feeling powerless in the relationship dynamic. And unfortunately, if your partner does not recognize or accept responsibility for their manipulation tactics then there won’t be much chance of improvement either—which is why it’s important to identify such patterns early on before things get worse down the line!

11. You Are Always The One Making Sacrifices

When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, it’s hard to tell if they care about your well-being. If you find yourself always making sacrifices and giving more than the other person, then there are disturbing signs that you may be getting used to them.

It’s not fair when one partner is constantly taking and never giving back – especially when the sole purpose of being together should be mutual understanding and support! Narcissistic people often lack empathy or don’t think before asking for something from their partners. As a result, they end up leaving their partners feeling emotionally drained and unappreciated. That’s why it’s important to stay alert and recognize such behaviors early on so you can protect yourself from further harm.

Sometimes a narcissistic partner will try to control every aspect of your life, whether through manipulation or gaslighting techniques — all to keep your attention focused solely on them. You must understand these warning signs so you know how to take action against this type of behavior to maintain healthy boundaries in any relationship.

12. You Are Constantly Being Criticized

It’s a difficult realization to come to, but if you’re constantly being criticized by your partner, it could be a sign that they are using you. Every couple has disagreements and arguments, however when someone is taking out their insecurities on you in the form of criticism then this should be taken as a warning sign. Here are 3 signs that suggest you might be dealing with a narcissist:

  1. They never take responsibility for their actions;
  2. Their moods swing wildly between kindness and aggression;
  3. You find yourself making all the sacrifices while they do nothing.

These red flags can be overlooked or even justified away – especially if one feels deeply connected to another person. But if these points sound familiar, it can indicate that your relationship is not healthy or equal. The most important thing to remember is that nobody deserves to feel belittled or devalued whether it’s intentional or unintentional. It may be time to re-evaluate what kind of dynamics exist within the relationship and determine if it needs adjusting so both people involved get the love and respect they deserve.

13. Blaming You For Everything That Goes Wrong

It’s one of the most uncomfortable and difficult situations to be in – knowing that someone is using you. And it can be hard to spot, but certain signs can tell you if a narcissist is taking advantage of your kindness. One such sign is when they blame you for everything that goes wrong, no matter how small or insignificant.

They might make offhand comments about how you’re responsible for their bad day, or even bigger issues like any problems with their career or relationships. They’ll never take responsibility themselves, instead finding ways to shift the blame onto you so they don’t have to face up to their shortcomings. This kind of behavior indicates selfishness which could be indicative of narcissistic tendencies.

If this sounds all too familiar, then it’s probably time to step back and assess the situation accordingly. It may be painful at first, but ultimately recognizing what’s going on will help protect yourself from further harm down the line.

14. Playing Mind Games

Have you ever been with someone who seems to be playing mind games? If so, it could be a sign that you’re being used by a narcissist. Narcissists often use manipulation tactics to get what they want from people. These include things like guilt-tripping and gaslighting.

Playing these mind games can have damaging effects on your mental well-being, as the narcissist is trying to control the situation without taking responsibility for their actions. This type of behavior indicates that they don’t respect or care about you; instead, they view relationships solely in terms of how useful you are to them. As such, if this person tries to make decisions for you or pushes you into doing something against your wishes, take it as an indication that they do not value your opinion and may be using you.

It’s important to remember that no one deserves to be treated badly or manipulated into making choices they wouldn’t normally make just because another person thinks they should. Being aware of this kind of behavior will help protect yourself from its harmful effects and ensure that any relationship is based on mutual respect and genuine care for each other’s wellbeing.

15. Making You Feel Guilty For Not Spending Time With Them

Being used by a narcissist can be an uncomfortable and disturbing experience, but there are ways to recognize this behavior. One such sign is when they try to make you feel guilty for not spending time with them. This guilt-tripping usually happens after you have already said no, or if you don’t immediately respond positively to their requests.

They may express disappointment in your decision and become passive-aggressive. They may even say something like “If I’m not important enough for you to spend time with me, then that’s fine” as a way of manipulating you into feeling bad about yourself. It’s best to stay firm in your decisions and avoid falling into the trap of giving in out of guilt or pity; these types of manipulations will only lead to further issues down the line.

You deserve better than being made to feel guilty for simply trying to take care of yourself. If someone truly cares about you, they should respect your boundaries and support your choices without any strings attached.

16. Not Listening To What You Have To Say

One of the most disturbing signs that you’re being used by a narcissist is when they don’t listen to what you have to say. This can be incredibly isolating and make it feel like your thoughts, feelings, and opinions are not valued or respected. It’s important to remember that someone who loves and cares for you will always try to understand your perspective.

When we’re in intimate relationships, our ability to express ourselves should never be hindered or stifled; instead, we should be able to communicate openly with one another without any judgment. If your partner isn’t listening to you properly, then it’s likely that their behavior isn’t coming from a place of love but rather from an intention of using you for their gain.

No matter how much time has been invested into this relationship, if it feels as though the other person doesn’t care about understanding where you’re coming from and only wants things on their terms, then perhaps it’s time for some self-reflection so that you can find healthier connections elsewhere.

17. Trying To Isolate You

Do you feel like your partner is trying to isolate you from the people in your life? This could be a sign that they’re a narcissist, and are using you as a source of supply.

When someone tries to control who we talk to, or prevent us from seeing our friends, it’s a dangerous situation. It can leave us feeling powerless, unable to make decisions for ourselves, and cut off from any support network that may have been there before. The person doing this might not even realize how harmful their behavior is; often narcissistic manipulators will use flattery and charm to get what they want without realizing how wrong it is.

It’s important to recognize when someone is using these tactics on us so that we don’t stay with them any longer than necessary. Recognizing signs like isolation early on can help us protect ourselves from potential emotional abuse down the road. Take some time for yourself and evaluate whether this relationship is healthy or if it’s just another way for someone else to take advantage of you.

18. Acting Like The Victim In Every Situation

When someone is trying to manipulate you, they can often be found playing the victim. It’s a classic tactic of narcissists – acting like no matter what happens it’s always your fault and that their actions are justified by something external. They may accuse you of being too critical or not understanding them, all while never taking responsibility for their behavior. This kind of manipulation undermines your self-esteem and makes it hard to push back against them.

It also becomes extremely exhausting when this type of behavior keeps happening over and over again. You may find yourself feeling drained from constantly having to defend yourself or explain why their way isn’t better than yours. And if you try to point out any signs of narcissism in the relationship, they’ll just make excuses or shift the blame onto you yet again. Recognizing these patterns is key to protecting yourself from emotional abuse and getting away from toxic people who use manipulative tactics like playing the victim card.

19. Emotional Blackmailing

When you feel like your relationship is being used by a narcissist, emotional blackmailing can be one of the most disturbing signs. This type of manipulation involves using guilt and fear to pressure someone into doing something they don’t want to do. It’s an emotionally abusive tactic that often leaves victims feeling powerless and confused.

Emotional blackmailing is not always easy to spot but there are some common indicators:

  • Threatening or punishing if their demands aren’t met
  • Guilt-tripping for making decisions based on what makes them happy
  • Using past experiences as leverage in current situations
  • Trying to control outcomes with manipulative language
  • Going back on promises made when it suits them best

If any of these sounds familiar, then it may indicate that you’re being manipulated by a narcissist. The best way to protect yourself from this kind of behavior is to set clear boundaries and communicate openly about why they make you uncomfortable. Narcissists thrive off power dynamics, so take back yours and stand up for yourself whenever possible. Don’t let anyone try to control your life – no matter how much they might claim to care about you.

20. Making You Feel Worthless

One of the most disturbing signs that you’re being used by a narcissist is when they make you feel worthless. Every person has unique and valuable qualities, but a narcissist will try to strip away your sense of self-worth through various means. They might belittle or criticize you frequently in an attempt to reduce your confidence and make you look better in comparison. Here’s how it can manifest:

  1. A constant stream of putdowns about your appearance, intelligence, job performance, hobbies, and so on;
  2. Gaslighting – denying something happened even though you know it did;
  3. Making plans with you then canceling at the last minute without any explanation;
  4. Refusing to take responsibility for their actions or words.

The common link between all these behaviors is that they are designed to chip away at your self-esteem until you become reliant upon them for validation and approval. Narcissists thrive off this kind of control over another person as it gives them a feeling of superiority. It’s important to recognize when someone is doing this to you so that you can protect yourself from further manipulation. Take steps to create boundaries around what behavior is acceptable and if necessary seek support from friends or professionals who can help you recover from such unhealthy relationships.

How To Recognize & Respond To Narcissistic Abuse

Abusive relationships can be hard to identify, especially when it comes to those involving narcissism. Narcissistic abuse is a form of psychological manipulation that leaves you feeling confused and helpless. You may even find yourself questioning your sanity or sense of self-worth. To make matters worse, the abuser often denies their behavior while blaming you for any issues in the relationship. Thankfully, the above signs will help you recognize narcissistic abuse before it’s too late.

If these warning bells start ringing, take action immediately! It’s important to set boundaries around what type of behaviors are acceptable in the relationship, seek out professional support if needed, and trust your instincts when it comes to deciding whether or not to stay in the situation. Don’t let anyone make you feel like less than who you truly are—you deserve better!


It can be difficult to recognize when you are being used by a narcissist, but understanding the signs is an important first step. If any of these behaviors sound familiar, take it seriously and consider getting help from a professional therapist or support group. This type of abusive behavior should never be tolerated.

I understand how hard it can be to speak up against someone who may have been in your life for years. But don’t let anyone make you feel worthless or like you’re not worthy of respect. You always deserve better than that! It’s important to remember that no matter what happens, you are strong enough to stand up for yourself and get through this situation with your dignity intact.

Take care of yourself and know that there will always be people around who are willing to listen and provide love and support during times like these. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help; taking control over your well-being is key to overcoming narcissistic abuse.

Most Popular Articles

Antoinette R. Burton, MSW
Antoinette R. Burton, MSW
Antoinette is a Michigan-based MSW Sexual Health Educator with 10+ years experience. She received her Master's from University of Michigan and specializes in inclusive sex ed for youth, LGBTQ+, college students, and adults. Believes access to accurate sexual health information is key to overall well-being.

Get in Touch


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Get in Touch


Latest Posts

Page Contents