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7 Types of Narcissistic Baiting and How to Deal with It

Types of Narcissistic Baiting | Hopeful Panda

While exploring the topic of narcissistic abuse, I came across a new term: narcissistic baiting.

In one of my older posts, I listed various common abuse tactics by narcissistic parents and the effects it has on their children. Some of those abuse tactics fall under this umbrella term known as narcissistic baiting.

If you have a narcissistic parent, baiting is probably something you’re very familiar with, though you may not know the term.

Did your parents make implications or subtle threats to scare you? Did they often make promises to you they wouldn’t keep just to hurt you? Would they call you names or criticize you to make you emotional so they can further mock you for it?

If you answered yes to any or all of the above, then you’ve experienced narcissistic baiting. In this post, I’ll discuss what narcissistic baiting is, the types there are, and how you can deal with each one.

What is Narcissistic Baiting?

As a definition, bait means to lure, hook, trap, or entice someone or something. When associated with people, bait is defined as “to deliberately annoy or taunt (someone)”.

In the psychological sense, baiting occurs when someone intentionally acts in a way to elicit, trigger, or provoke an emotional response from whoever they’re interacting with. In this case, the narcissistic parent attempts to “bait” their child.

Baiting is often used when one person wants to start an argument or some kind of conflict with another person.

The narcissist “baits” their victim by purposely doing or saying things to annoy or taunt them. They may also do it in order to get their victim to do what they want. They would often use baiting as a way to continually assert their power and superiority in the relationship.

Types of Narcissistic Baiting & How to Deal with Them

There are various types of narcissistic baiting and a lot of them overlap with one another. I’ll be focusing on seven common ones in this post.

These narcissistic baiting types are, once again, used to elicit some sort of emotional response or reaction out of you. Chances are, you’ve fallen for them many times before.

Scaremongering

Scaremongering, also known as fear-provoking, is any attempt by the narcissist to try to elicit fear and anxiety in you or others.

Your narcissistic parent is likely very familiar with your specific fears, insecurities, or anxieties. And it’s just like them to try to use it against you. It is a form of emotional blackmail – using your emotions and vulnerabilities against you to manipulate you.

This type of narcissistic baiting often involves some type of threat or implication of a threat.

Their threats might include revealing something embarrassing about you to others that you wouldn’t want others to know. Or they may threaten to hurt or sabotage something important to you such as a material possession or relationship.

Your narcissistic parent may also imply that things will go wrong for you if you ever cross or betray them.

How to Deal with Scaremongering

It can be hard to deal with a narcissist’s scaremongering because it plays into our fears. And who knows what the narcissist is capable of? There’s not much you can do to try to stop the narcissist from carrying out their threats. Even if you obey them this time, they can continue to use it against you whenever they please.

Therefore, it’s best to consider limiting or even cutting contact with your narcissistic parent if you haven’t already.

Related: How to Go No Contact with Abusive Parents

The less they know about you and the less they have access to what’s going on in your life is the best way to shield yourself from their scaremongering.

Also, the narcissist might make a lot of threats, but a lot of the time, they’re just words. However, if the threats are serious, it might be necessary to involve the police or the law, even if you think they won’t follow through with it. Try to have some kind of proof though because narcissists are good at manipulating others to side with them.

Intrigue

Intrigue is a narcissistic baiting technique of pulling others in.

This baiting type usually involves a vague or brief snippet of information, comment, or story that is meant to trigger your anxiety or intrigue. The narcissist may or may not elaborate further, thus eliciting more anxiety and intrigue.

Your narcissistic parent might try to bait you by claiming they have information about things you don’t have access to that you care about.

Maybe they claim they know something about that job you’re interviewing for, that residence you’re moving into, or that person you’re about to meet up for coffee for the first time. Or they claim they know certain information about someone or something that may benefit or help you.

However, the narcissist intentionally doesn’t give you any specific or clear information. It’s up to you to go after them for it.

Most of the time, your narcissistic parent actually doesn’t have any secret, insider, or special information that you don’t know. They would just tell you they do and make you believe so to bait you.

And when you do go after them for more details, then you’ve taken the bait. And they now know that whatever they baited you with is something you care enough about to go after them for it.

How to Deal with Intrigue

As humans, we have a natural curiosity about things, especially things we care about. And this is what the narcissist is banking on.

Whenever you feel tempted by your narcissistic parent to ask for more information, remind yourself who it is you’re dealing with.

Even if you do get more information out of them, is it information you can trust?

Narcissists tend to lie, exaggerate, or intentionally leave out information to support their narratives. So chances are, anything they tell you isn’t reliable to begin with. It’s likely just another one of their baiting tactics.

False Accusations

With this narcissistic baiting type, the narcissist will falsely accuse you of something that they may or may not actually believe about you. Like with other forms of baiting, their purpose is to get a reaction out of you.

When we’re falsely accused, our natural response is to defend ourselves. But this is exactly what the narcissist wants. They want us to deny, justify, or correct their accusations. And when we do, it shows that they got to us.

However, the issue with this baiting type is that it can also lead to smear campaigns.

When the narcissist isn’t able to get a reaction out of us using false accusations, they try to do it by spreading those false accusations to other people. This is where it gets messy.

Smear campaigns are when the narcissist goes around slandering your name, trying to damage your reputation.

They may do this to get a reaction out of you or to get you to end no contact with them.

Most of the time, this is the type of baiting many people fall for because it’s likely actually negatively affecting their lives. A narcissist’s smear campaign can end relationships, destroy careers, or even ruin lives.

How to Deal with False Accusations

It’s important to remind yourself that narcissists will believe or not believe whatever they want. There is no changing their mind.

Trying to defend yourself against their accusations only shows them that they got under your skin, which is something they enjoy.

When a narcissist falsely accuses you of something, simply say, “I didn’t do it.” And if they’re using all the annoying ways they can to insist, say something along the lines of, “We both know the truth. But believe what you want” and end it at that.

However, smear campaigns are a little more complicated. At this point, ignoring or dismissing the narcissist might not be enough because they’re involving other people. It might actually be affecting your life.

In that case, it’s important to gather all possible evidence to prove your innocence or disprove their accusations. Legal action may be needed depending on how far your narcissistic parent is willing to go.

Guilt Tripping

Another baiting type narcissists often do is guilt-tripping.

They may blame you for their unhappiness or whatever is going wrong in their life at the moment. Or they do it to get you to do what they want.

Narcissists may guilt-trip by playing the victim. This is a tactic also known as self-pitying drama.

With this baiting type, they attempt to elicit your sympathy and empathy. Their purpose is to hook you into a caretaker or savior role.

The issue with guilt-tripping is that it’s often obvious and you know when it’s happening. But it’s effective because it preys on your good nature and compassion.

And when it’s our own parent that wants our help with something, we’d usually want to do whatever we can to assist them or to at least get rid of the guilt we’re feeling. So thus, we take the bait.

How to Deal with Guilt-Tripping

Remind yourself that the narcissist doesn’t feel any guilt. They’ll guilt-trip you all day, every day. But if you ever do the same, you’re accused of being manipulative, abusive, or selfish.

It can be easy to fall victim to their guilt-tripping, especially when they know exactly how to tug at our heartstrings. Or they just know how to pull our strings to make us do what they want.

But try to see through their “poor me” facade and don’t give in. Remind yourself of all the times they’ve hurt you.

Giving in to them only reinforces them to continue using this baiting technique to manipulate you and further hurt you.

False-Hope

This narcissistic baiting type is basically what the name suggests – they give you false hope on something as bait to manipulate you to do what they want. It’s like they’re dangling your desires on a string to hook you in.

They might make false promises about how they’ll do something for you or how they’ll give you something if you did something for them first. But more often than not, once they get their end of the deal, you’ll never see yours.

False hope is also often tied to hoovering.

Hoovering is when you want to limit or cut contact with the narcissist and they do and say anything and everything to suck you back in. They promise to change or treat you better, and once you fall for it, they abuse you all over again.

How to Deal with False-Hope

Remind yourself of the many false hopes your narcissistic parent has created in you over and over. Tell yourself that this is just another one of those times.

They’re never going to change, and any of their promises are simply empty or false.

It might be helpful to physically write down every time they ever wronged you or promised you something but never delivered it.

Pulling out this list of false hopes they instilled in you can keep you from falling for this baiting technique again.

Stonewalling

Stonewalling is a type of passive-aggressive behavior that involves silent treatment and body language that seems to be angry, resentful, or hostile. However, the person doesn’t directly express those feelings.

Your narcissistic parent might have likely stonewalled you by ignoring you, giving dismissive or invalidating responses, or responding vaguely to whatever you say or ask.

Stonewalling makes you feel anxious, scared, and doubtful of yourself. And this is exactly what the narcissist thrives off of. They feel as though they’re able to control and manipulate how you’re feeling.

Your narcissistic parent may also stonewall or give the silent treatment when you are or they feel like you’re calling them out on their abusive and manipulative behavior.

How to Deal with Stonewalling

Rather than take the bait and go after them, focus on yourself. Remind yourself that their stonewalling is to make you feel bad and to further lure you into their vicious cycle.

It can be hard because we desire love and affection from our parents and we’re naturally drawn to doing whatever we can to earn it. But try to focus on your self-care.

If they love you, they wouldn’t treat you like that. And you might not think so, but you deserve better than that.

Once you stop giving them any attention, chances are, they’ll crawl back to you to try out their other baiting tactics.

Triggering Emotional Response

Narcissists love to get a rise out of people, especially their victims. They do this by intentionally bringing up topics you are sensitive about or vulnerable to.

And when you’re raised by a narcissist, they usually know your emotional triggers all too well. So they can easily use it against you whenever it suits them.

Your narcissistic parent may intentionally trigger you so that they can then project, shift blame, gaslight, invalidate, or manipulate you.

It may be common for your narcissistic parent to do this to you right before an important event or date for you.

They may also trigger you to make you look like the abuser or “crazy one” rather than them. They make you look oversensitive to others because they crafted this careful facade for the rest of the world on how they’re a loving, caring parent. Interestingly, they make you look like the narcissistic one.

For example, my mother did this to me at a huge family dinner once. She was making implications about my weight, appearance, and intelligence. Outsiders couldn’t read between the lines and hear all the insults about me. But I can.

I ended up crying in front of everyone despite trying my hardest not to. And there I was – an oversensitive, spoiled brat who can’t appreciate her mother “complimenting” her in front of others.

How to Deal with Triggering

I think this is one of the hardest ones to deal with, at least for me. While I try my best not to react, it’s hard when certain things trigger an emotional flashback that I can’t control.

What you can do in this scenario is excuse yourself from the situation. You can also do this before things go south. Maybe you have a feeling an argument is about to erupt or that your parent is about to do something to hurt you.

Once you’re away from the situation, try to go somewhere you can preferably be alone or with someone you trust, and practice some self-care.

Types of Narcissistic Baiting | Hopeful Panda

Conclusion

Narcissistic baiting keeps you constantly off-balance. It’s a very emotional type of abuse that can really affect you. It makes you feel confused, uncertain, doubtful, anxious, chaotic, guilty, scared, and frustrated.

However, learning how to recognize their baiting tactics is the first step in being able to stay grounded in your reality. Remind yourself what their intention is and what you can do to protect yourself. Notice how their baiting makes you feel and what you can do about it.

Remember, when it comes to your narcissistic parents, any kind of reaction they can get out of you is a “win” for them. It’s how they feel better about themselves. So try your best not to react.

Pause and take a breather. Listen to your feelings and your needs and attend to them appropriately. Then, if necessary, respond after you’ve given it some thought.

See other related posts on how to deal with narcissistic parents:

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(1) Comment

  1. Oh, wow! I had no idea that blackmailing can also be done through emotional manipulation which is much worse compared to physical threats. For some reason, I believe my next door neighbor is on the receiving end of this scenario when he told me last night about one of his workers who keeps on gaslighting her out of nowhere. If such situations persist, he must seek professional assistance to combat it quickly.

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