An expert explains why self-doubt is the cornerstone of a narcissist's manipulation.
Covert-aggression is at the heart of most interpersonal manipulation. What the artful, subtle fighter knows is that if they can get you to doubt yourself, feel like you have to explain yourself, and question your perceptions and judgment, there’s a good chance they can get you to back down, back-off, or better still, cave-in.
Dr. George Simon reminds us that victims of covert predators can get easily taken in due to their level of conscientiousness. Since targets of such predators want to ensure they aren't jumping to conclusions, they will usually discount their own gut instincts about manipulative people, especially when these toxic types offer counternarratives for their behavior. In response, victims will instead start to minimize, rationalize or even blame themselves when an abusive incident occurs. This is dangerous because when we strive to absolve someone of the consequences of their actions, we can fall prey to their gaslighting and invalidation at the expense of our own safety.