top of page

The Narcissist’s Tool for Control - Divorce support for men

Updated: Jun 19

Narcissists are masters at controlling and manipulating others, often using gaslighting as their primary weapon. Gaslighting is a psychological manipulation technique where the narcissist sows seeds of doubt in the victim's mind, making them question their own reality and perception. One of the most insidious ways they do this is by convincing their victim that the world is a terrifying place, full of predators and that only the narcissist can be trusted.

description of a man trapped
A man can be trapped in a black room in broad daylight

The Dark Room Analogy

Imagine you are trapped in a dark room with no windows and only one door, which is locked. Your spouse holds the key to this door. You have no way to see the outside world or to open the door yourself. One day, your spouse enters and tells you that the world outside is filled with radiation, everything is dead, and only they can survive because of a special suit they possess. They warn you that if you step outside, you will die instantly from the radiation and toxins in the air.

This story is told with such incredible drama and conviction that you have no choice but to believe it. You can't verify the truth for yourself because you can't step outside. Over time, this becomes your reality. The thought of leaving the room becomes an unimaginable challenge because you believe that stepping outside would mean certain death.

The Reality of Gaslighting

This analogy is not far from how narcissistic manipulation and gaslighting work. Narcissists and sociopaths use similar tactics to control their victims. They repeat the same terrifying stories with such passion and consistency that you start to believe them. Your perception of reality becomes so distorted that you begin to live in constant fear, doubting your own judgment and senses.

In real life, although you can see the world around you and interact with others, mentally, a victim of gaslighting is trapped in their own inner dark room. A cocoon of lies and manipulations has been carefully woven around your mind, obscuring your perception of the outside world. It’s as if someone is holding a picture in front of your inner eye, preventing you from seeing reality. You think you are seeing the world as it is, but in truth, all you see is the distorted image your abuser has placed before you.

The Psychological Prison

Your authentic self is held hostage in the basement of your being. The victim of narcissistic abuse is effectively mentally and emotionally kidnapped, often right in front of friends and family. This is so insidious because, to the outside world, you appear to be okay. People see you and assume you are fine, but inside, you are trapped in a psychological prison.

It’s like a clone of you has taken your place in life, going through the motions, while the real you is locked away, barely sensing the life outside your inner dark room. This makes it incredibly difficult for others to recognize the abuse, as the signs are not always visible. The manipulator has created a façade that fools everyone, including the victim.

The Nature of Narcissistic Relationships

Such is the nature of a relationship with a narcissist. The abuser carefully constructs a reality where they are the center of the victim's universe, the only source of truth and safety. They isolate the victim from friends and family, convincing them that no one else can be trusted. This isolation reinforces the gaslighting, making the victim even more dependent on the narcissist.

Narcissists often use fear to maintain control. They create an environment where the victim feels constantly threatened, unsure of what is real and what is not. This fear can be paralyzing, preventing the victim from seeking help or attempting to escape the toxic relationship.


A narcissist is an individual with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. Narcissists often have an exaggerated sense of their achievements and talents, believing they are superior to others and deserve special treatment. They may exploit relationships, manipulating and controlling others to maintain their self-image and fulfill their needs.

Narcissists are typically preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love. They often have a sense of entitlement, expecting favorable treatment and compliance with their expectations. Criticism or defeat can lead to feelings of humiliation, anger, or a sense of inner emptiness.

In relationships, narcissists can be charming and charismatic initially, but their self-centeredness and lack of genuine interest in others' feelings often lead to manipulation and emotional abuse. Gaslighting is a common tactic used to maintain control, making the victim doubt their reality and depend on the narcissist's version of events.

Understanding narcissistic behavior is crucial for recognizing and addressing the emotional and psychological impact it can have on those involved with a narcissist.

For more information on Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you can refer to sources such as Dr Ramani.

Breaking Free from Gaslighting - divorce support for men

Breaking free from gaslighting requires immense courage and support. The first step is to recognize the manipulation and understand that the fear and doubt are artificially created by the abuser. Seeking help from a therapist or support group can be invaluable in this process. These professionals can provide the tools and validation needed to rebuild self-trust and perception of reality.

It's also crucial to rebuild connections with trusted friends and family. They can offer a different perspective and help the victim see the truth outside the narcissist's manipulative narrative. Reconnecting with a supportive community can provide the strength needed to break free from the abuser's control.

The Role of Divorce Coaching and Support

For men going through a divorce with a narcissist, specialized divorce coaching and support can be crucial. Divorce coaching for men offers tailored strategies to navigate the complexities of divorcing a narcissist. It provides guidance on how to deal with manipulative tactics and protect oneself legally and emotionally.

Divorce support for men includes resources and tools to help men regain their sense of self and rebuild their lives post-divorce. This support can be a lifeline, offering practical advice and emotional support during a challenging time.


Gaslighting is a powerful tool used by narcissists to control and manipulate their victims. By creating a false reality filled with fear and doubt, they keep their victims trapped in a psychological prison. Recognizing this manipulation and seeking help is the first step toward breaking free and reclaiming one's life.

If you find yourself in such a situation, know that you are not alone. There are resources and support available to help you navigate this challenging journey. Divorce coaching for men and divorce support for men can provide the guidance and strength needed to overcome manipulation and move forward with confidence.

Remember, the world outside the dark room is not as terrifying as the narcissist wants you to believe. With the right support, you can step out, see the truth, and begin to live freely again.


Divorce Coach Oscar

33 views0 comments


bottom of page