Let's take a look at the manipulative narcissist's favorite tool, the Guilt Trip. We've looked before at some of the sneaky and covert manipulation tactics of aggressive personalities. Malignant narcissist's are usually of the covert-aggressive sort. Sneaky fighters. Lying and underhanded SOBs. Frakking...Oops...getting carried away here...
You must keep forever in the forefront of your mind that when you are dealing with a character-disordered individual (which includes narcissists as well as many other screwed up types) that they have a very different conscience from you. The reason you must remember this fact is because the manipulator never forgets it. They are deliberately using your conscience against you when they use the Guilt Trip. They are keenly aware that you possess a sound conscience. If you try to do the same to them; if you try to convince them of their guilt in something, you find that the Guilt Trip does not work on them. This is because their conscience is a very different thing than your conscience. The character-disordered conscience is blighted, twisted, perverted, malfunctioning on every level. They can not be manipulated by you with the Guilt Trip. An effective Guilt Trip is only achieved on a sensitive conscience. The covertly aggressive character-disordered person is unencumbered by such a thing.
The manipulator knows that a fully functioning conscience has the ability to register guilt and shame. The more conscientious you are, the more effective the Guilt Trip can be on you. I have said this before, I'll say it again: the malignant narcissist uses your own conscience against you. It is a handle on your heart that they can grab at will if you don't know enough to stop them.
You should not try to erase your own sound conscience in order to remove the handle. That would be destructive to your decency as a human being as well as well-nigh impossible to do. There has to be another way. And there is. You need to be informed, which is what I'm doing right now. Armed with the knowledge that the sneaky fighter is capable of using your own conscience against you, you are able to better recognize when it is happening and run a manual over-drive on yourself when you recognize someone is using you against yourself.
The manipulator tells you that you are selfish, that you are not caring enough, that you are hurting their feelings...and you find yourself high-centered on a big old boulder. Keeee-runch. Suddenly you feel horrible about yourself and are scrambling to apologize, make amends, soothe the manipulator's "hurt" feelings. You feel like a cad, and they walk away with whatever prize they were aiming for.
Pay attention to the interaction. When you suddenly find yourself being sent on the Guilt Trip train to surrender, pull the brakes. Don't let some lying and under-handed manipulator fight by using you against you. There is something quite unseemly about a conscienceless creep using your fully operational conscience to further their selfish ends. Don't be a patsy. Don't roll at the first intimation that you are too mean, too selfish, too uncaring. Know the truth about yourself even when someone is lying to you about you.
Hurting someones feelings in the process of defending truth and principle is not a crime. Some people deserve to have their feelings hurt. Don't fall victim to the "cult of nice". Narcissists have taken full advantage of the now endemic belief that hurting someones feelings is a sin. If the truth hurts someones feelings, so be it. Too often people are unwilling to stick to and defend truth because someone may be offended by it. This is only advantageous to the covert and overt criminal. Society, churches, families are not benefited in the long-run by the evasion of truth for the sake of someones feelings. It is this reflexive aversion on the part of decent people that so often lets evil run unchecked.
The truth is, the "hurt feelings" are a ruse when used by the character-disordered. Malignant narcissists are not experiencing hurt feelings...they are simply angry and annoyed at not getting their way. Know the difference between someone who has a legitimate claim to hurt feelings and someone who is just pissed off because they want what they want. The two are worlds apart. Getting hurt feelings for not getting your way is equivalent to a two-year old child throwing a tantrum simply because he wants what he wants. Let's not make it more than that.