6 Top Weaknesses and Vulnerabilities that Narcissists Exploit To Manipulate You

6 Top Weaknesses and Vulnerabilities that Narcissists Exploit To Manipulate You 6 top weaknesses and vulnerabilities that narcissists exploit to manipulate you
Photo by Jay Castor on Unsplash

One question you may ask yourself after being involved with a narcissist is what made the narcissist target you. Narcissists love exploiting your weaknesses and vulnerabilities as they seek to satisfy their needs. Your weaknesses are the doors that let them in and keep you in the relationship. There’s no problem with having weaknesses, but it becomes a problem if there are people out there who also have their own weaknesses (lack of empathy and deep insecurity) but now use them to hurt others.

Narcissists are constantly looking for those doors in you that they can easily exploit to enter your life. When you know those character flaws or traits, you can at least empower yourself and rise above them so that the narcissist cannot manipulate you.

This is for you if you really want to close that door and lock narcissists out of your life. One thing we also have to note is that you can be a very loving, caring, and good-hearted human being, but you may unconsciously find yourself giving away power and leaving yourself susceptible to narcissistic people.

So, what vulnerabilities do narcissists exploit in others?

1. Constant Need for Approval and Validation from Others

One thing that narcissists love to provide you with in the beginning of the relationship is constant approval and validation in life. When you love being validated by other people, you will be easily controlled and susceptible to empty flattery, which occurs in the love-bombing phase of the relationship.

Some level of validation may be necessary in life, but when it becomes neurotic, it makes you very vulnerable. When you seek approval from others to feel good about yourself, you will be opening doors to people who will just give it to you, but in return, you’re being groomed for their supply.

When you seek approval from others, you become overly agreeable and easily attached to other people’s opinions about you. So, when you find yourself in a narcissistic relationship, you’ll keep trying harder and harder to get their approval so that you’re reassured that you’re a good person. It’s like you base your self-worth on what someone else is telling you, which the narcissist knows quite well.


You will try to explain yourself, justify your actions, or argue your truth, which plays into their hands when all along, the only validation and approval you’re lacking is just deep within you.

2. A “Fixer” or “Saver” Mindset

One other character trait that falls into the hands of a narcissist is if you always feel that your job is to save or fix other people. This is quite tricky, and your ego may feed you with an inner voice like, “I really can fix them; they are good at the core.

I just have to try harder and harder.” You just have this inner belief that your purpose on Earth is to save others. This mindset is very dangerous, especially when it’s entangled with you being a believer or a person of faith.

When you’re a believer with a fixer mindset, a narcissist will just exploit that weakness because they know they can do as they wish, and you’ll still be there trying to change them.

You’re always the person who comes out when there’s a crisis and resolves things. So, if a narcissist gets themselves in trouble, you’ll be there waiting to resolve that crisis.

You’ll also give them many chances because you’re constantly feeding yourself with a false premise that this time you’ll manage to change them. This is the hardest mindset to break free from, but one thing that may shed some light is knowing that we cannot force change upon a person; we can only facilitate change when they are deeply willing to change.

When you’re a fixer, your worldly perspective might even view a narcissist as a great challenge to face. A narcissist will also feed you with empty promises of change as well as talk to you about their story or traumatic past, which further keeps you stuck in those murky waters of trying to fix the “unfixable.”

3. Lack of Firm Boundaries

The best way to look at boundaries is seeing them as lines that define where you end and the other begins. When you have clear and healthy personal boundaries, you know what you cannot tolerate from another person.

In fact, it’s the key to preventing people from taking advantage of you. So, when you lack boundaries, you’ll be the perfect target for a narcissist because they can just do as they wish. When you don’t know what’s within your scope of control in life, you’ll constantly overextend yourself or find yourself depleted by people who seek to use you for their own needs.

When you cannot say no when people treat you badly, then it’s an invitation for them to keep going and going. A narcissist will never respect boundaries, and when you don’t even know about them or can’t maintain them, you’ll be constantly exploited.

Lack of clear boundaries will just make you accept all the abuse from the narcissist because you don’t know any better. You don’t know your true values, interests, or limits. It’s more like being an open supermarket where anyone can walk in, pick what they want, and leave. So, not being able to keep and uphold healthy boundaries will mean you can be easily exploited as you don’t even know if you’re being exploited or not.


4. Superficiality & Lack of Depth in Life

One thing about life, especially in the present times, is that we focus so much on superficial things like luxuries, cars, money, and all those other external things that we associate with a quality life. We focus on outer ‘richness,’ more of an extrinsic approach to life instead of inner richness or looking at life with depth.

When you focus so much on the outward glamor of life, you will be vulnerable to narcissists. This is because anyone can manufacture a deceitful outer life just to get to you. They may “smooth talk” you with how they’ve got their life together and how they will take you on exotic vacations or build a house by the mountains and all those pleasurable things you want to hear.

They’re just using those things to cover up who they are deep inside, and because we associate our happiness with those superficialities, we easily follow along. Superficialities like that will even distract us from conducting due diligence or scrutinizing that person for things like authenticity. You will not even want to verify if they’re trustworthy because you feel that you’ll ruin those fantasies they’ve already started showing you.

You will also ignore your gut feeling because your mind is just so focused on the days you’ll spend together on those sandy beaches in Bali. When your life lacks depth, a narcissist will take advantage of your inability to look past the shallow aspects of life.

There’s no problem with superficialities or owning cars, but it becomes a very huge problem when you associate the quality of life with them instead of what you’re feeling deep inside you. So, have a rich and deep life where you can be deeply happy even when you’re having simple rice and soup, and you’ll not be gullible to those extrinsic fantasies.

5. Your Unhealed Wounds

When you’re wounded, you’ll make easy prey for the narcissist. One thing about life is that we tend to subconsciously relive old patterns in life. Because of past traumatic situations, we may have developed subconscious beliefs about how love and relationships are supposed to look like. These beliefs can be something like, “we don’t deserve to be loved” or “love is all about suffering.”

You may also find it really hard to say no or just stand up for yourself because of your weak sense of self. When you’re deeply insecure, a narcissist will easily manipulate and toy with you. Your beliefs will also keep you in that relationship because you deeply don’t know how a healthy relationship looks like.

You’ll actually feel comfortable in that abusive relationship because it’s a familiar kind of pattern. This reinforces the trauma bonding which makes you feel like you’re deeply in ‘love’ with them. The other thing about your unhealed wounds is you may, of course, share those traumas with them early on in the relationship because they show you this attentiveness, trustworthiness, and willingness to listen to your story.

They will consciously use it as leverage when they want to get something from you or manipulate you. It’s more like they know your weaknesses and what triggers you to submission.

6. Your Secrets or Things You Want to Keep Private

One last thing that a narcissist will exploit to get to you is those skeletons in your closet. A narcissist will keenly sniff out those things you’re hiding from others, especially early on in the relationship. They just collect information about you knowing that when the time comes they may use it against you.

Because they display this trustworthy side early on, you even share with them your dirty little secrets. When you expose those secrets, you’ve already exposed and vulnerable. The secrets can be something like your family history, sexual past, shady business deals, your embarrassing past, or just something you rarely talk about.

Once you share those secrets with them, they become so weaponized and used as a tool for control. You become very vulnerable to manipulation because the pain of exposing those secrets is too much to bear. They might also use it as a tool for their smear campaign and isolating people from you. So, keep those secrets to yourself if they really make you vulnerable.


In conclusion, a narcissist will use what’s already within you to get to you. They do not use external resources to exploit you; they use your internal vulnerabilities and weaponize them to satisfy their needs. The thing you can do is look at your vulnerabilities and weaknesses not in a negative way but as an opportunity to overcome them.

You have the power to transcend those weaknesses and keep narcissists away from your life. When you work on your undesirable character flaws, you’re doing it for yourself. When you do the inner work, you’re really doing it to enhance the quality of your life. Keeping narcissists from exploiting your weaknesses will be a by-product of you working on yourself.

So, do not hate your weaknesses but instead view them with grace and as a great challenge for you to overcome. Once you rise above them or as you work on them, the quality of your life will greatly improve, and you will not be bothered about falling prey to narcissists. As always, you hold the key to living the happy life you deserve, but you have to be willing to do the necessary work to achieve it.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns (in less than 2 months) , then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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