Recognizing Diversion Tactics (4)

    Post 23 of 195

    Following from the previous articles, below are different behaviours for recognizing diversion tactics used by toxic people, used to distract and confuse their victims.

    Loving and devaluing

    A common tactic used by narcissists is to charm you until you are hooked to want some kind of relationship with them. They will flatter you while berating someone else, commonly someone who broke away from them. Then they begin to slowly make snide remarks to attack and insult the very things they claim to have admired about you in the first place.

    If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist notice when they continually complain and insult their ex partners, it won’t be long until they begin to treat you the same way. You become their new source of venom and abuse. Be aware that how they talk about their ex-partner is how they will one day talk about you.


    Remember narcissists spend time learning about your weaknesses and insecurities. Another tactic they use to manipulate others is to lure someone into a false sense of security then bait them with a simple, seemingly innocuous remark. Even if you reply logically and politely it soon escalates into a full on, chaotic row about nothing. The intent is just to destroy you.

    The initial comment is to draw you in, then they can begin their abuse. During the argument they will bring up things to play on your insecurities and pour salt over your wounds. When the argument is over they feign innocence and concern. They ask if you’re okay and point out how agitated you seem. They may even try to make you believe they didn’t mean to hurt you. This is so they can do it again at a later time.

    Common tactics when baiting are unsupported accusations, generalizations and name calling. Go with your gut feeling, learn to recognise patterns. If you feel something has been said to lure you, even if it has been explained or expanded on, take a bit of space and think about the situation before responding.


    As uncomfortable as shame might feel, it is useful to help us regulate our behaviour. Sometimes others may point out something we’ve done to shame us into not doing it again. Malignant people however use shame to control and traumatise you. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself” is a way of distracting someone from one’s own behaviour onto someone else’s reaction. It will eat away at the victim’s self-esteem and self-worth. “How dare you accuse me after what you’ve done!” Alternatively, if someone feels any sense of pride in an achievement, shaming is used to make the victim feel there’s something wrong with feeling that sense of accomplishment.

    If someone has suffered some disgrace or injustice in the past they use shame to blame the person for their poor judgement, choices, or even for just being a victim. They make the victim feel as if they deserved it. It serves to retraumatise by pouring salt onto emotional wounds. They will even brag about their own happiness and how they would handle such situations.

    If you know or suspect someone to be like this, it is best to avoid revealing anything they could ultimately use against you.

    Pre-emptive defensiveness

    Toxic malignant people often over emphasise their kindness and compassion. They know they can’t be trusted, and it is a way of pre-empting that you are guarded and might not trust them. If they keep stressing how trustworthy they are, reinforced by pointing out acts of kindness to you and others, then perhaps be wary. If they are so kind why would they need to point it out? Wouldn’t their actions and attitudes speak for themselves?

    After a while, you become duped as their true self begins to show. Then a little at a time the abuse will begin until you aren’t sure of what’s real anymore. The constant referring to their trustworthy kindness to others will be at loggerheads with the contempt they are showing you.

    Trust their actions towards you, not necessarily their words or actions in other people’s company. If someone has to keep talking about how nice they are, remember genuinely nice people don’t have to. You can already see it.

    Sarcasm and patronizing

    Sarcasm can be funny when it’s reciprocated and there’s no harm meant from either party owars the other. However, it is also a way to degrade and humiliate. If someone takes offence they’re often accused of having no sense of humour or being too sensitive.

    It isn’t only what’s said but the condescending tone of voice often used as well. A toxic person will talk in a way that has their victims feeling like they’re stupid or childish even for just expressing a thought. Sooner or later the victim becomes guarded and vigilant. The victim stops expressing their thoughts, feelings and boundaries for fear of being reprimanded. The toxic person now has control and doesn’t have to face any honest feedback on their own behaviour.

    No one deserves to be talked down to or feel the need to censor themselves to pander to another’s over inflated sense of superiority. Be firm and assertive to draw attention to it.

    More diversionary tactics to be aware of from toxic people to follow in the next article.

    This article was written by sentientcounselling