Eight fun games narcissists like to play (and one they can’t play).


Here are eight games that are lots of fun for one of the players: the narcissist who initiates them. And like the overgrown babies they are, if you refuse to play or appear to be winning their game, they will pout, whine or throw a tantrum until you concede or let them win. This is a humorous yet serious look at the many games narcissists like to play, from the website The Narcissistic Life. Don’t play these games. Let them sulk and whine all by their widdle selves. Take the ball and go home.

Games Narcissists Play
Written by Alexander Burgemeester

Narcissists are masters at playing mind games. They play to win and take no prisoners. They are poor losers and if they don’t win they will often react in a fit of rage and stomp away like a little child. The only way for the other person to win is to not play. You really have to be “on top of your game” to avoid them though. Here are some of the more common games that narcissists play:

#1 Ping-Pong:


When a person begins to understand how a narcissist works, he or she realizes that it’s a bit like playing ping-pong. Anytime a narcissist has to self-reflect about anything, they will immediately throw the ball back to the person they consider their opponent. Narcissists will always throw the ball back to the other person. They do this in the expectation that they won’t have to take responsibility for their behavior. Narcissists hope that by not taking responsibility for their own actions (by using blaming, shaming, projection, denial, etc.) their partner will do what they have always done-forgive the narcissist, make excuses for the narcissist’s behavior, claim the narcissist couldn’t help himself because he was having a bad day, and so on.

The narcissist is a moving target and you are always on the firing line. To get away from them (or expose them), you always have to keep an eye on the ball i.e., their actions and motives for playing their games with you. You have to stop wanting to play.

You can stop catching the ball and put it back in the narcissist’s court by setting boundaries and making him aware of his actions. He then realizes he has no one to play with anymore. He will either drop the person like a hot potato, try to punish the person, or run away.

#2 Gotcha!


The narcissist can be a master of phony empathy. He appears to take you in, appears to understand what you are experiencing, and appears to genuinely be able to put himself in your shoes. These acts cause you to let your guard down; just when you think there is a genuine give-and-take in your relationship, he pulls a fast one on you-a “gotcha”- most often when you’re at a low point. He will suddenly tell you about his extraordinary new career move, a luxurious trip that he’s taking, or a huge shift in financial status that will make you feel even more diminished. Narcissists perfectly execute an unexpected psychological pounce; their purpose is to grind you down, to humiliate you, and make you feel small and inferior.

[My addition to this:  Covert narcissists like to play the mirror image to this game: when you’re doing well, have good news, and are in a great mood, they’ll be a Debbie Downer and tell you all about how depressed they are or about how they never get any breaks or all the awful things that have happened to them.  Or they might “caution” you about why you shouldn’t be too happy–the intention is to ruin your mood].

#3 Crazy Eights:


This is a favorite game of narcissists…YOU are called crazy anytime you try to confront them, bring up past issues or behaviors, or expose them when they’re doing something appalling. The game goes like this: you are told that you have an overly active imagination, you don’t know what you’re talking about, they have no idea what you’re talking about, or that you’re simply making things up to cause problems. They’ll tell you that it’s obvious that you are the one who is crazy (and tell you that everyone around you agrees with them about you being crazy).

They will claim not to remember even unforgettable events, flatly deny they ever happened, and will never entertain the possibility that they might have forgotten. This is an extremely aggressive and infuriating tactic called “gaslighting”, a common technique used by abusers of all kinds. Your perceptions of reality are continually undermined so that you end up without any confidence in your own intuition, memory, or reasoning.

#4 Death by a Thousand Cuts:


This is a really fun game that all narcissists like to play! It involves destroying your soul, your ego, your accomplishments and any belief system you have that does not agree with their beliefs. The way the game is won is for them to try to turn everything about you, and everything you do, into a complete failure. Extra points are given when they can take all the credit for anything good that has ever happened and put it all in their own pot. Double points are earned when they manage to put all blame for anything bad onto the other player.

#5 Twenty-One:


In this popular game, you’re not allowed to ever reach the emotional age of 21. Even if you are 50 years old, you will still be treated like a child (a stupid child, a bad child, a silly child, etc.). You don’t get to have face cards and if you do get an ace, it’s only worth one point.

#6 The King/Queen Game:

Artwork by Mike Reed

The most important part to remember about this game is that no one can know the rules except the king or queen. Either the king or queen gets to make up rules as they go along; they don’t have to tell the other players the new rules and they can change the rules whenever it suits them. They are the king or queen and, therefore, always win the game. You can be penalized for breaking the rules, even if they chose not to tell you the rules.

#7 Cat and Mouse:


This is a kind of competitive patience (solitaire) game for two players. It is also known as Spite and Malice. The cards are arranged from low to high with the Kings being wild. Suits (the normal order of things and\or common societal rules) are irrelevant in the game. The game ends when someone wins by playing the last card of their “pay-off” pile. The game can also end if the players run out of cards, in which case the result is a draw.

Cat and Mouse (or Spite and Malice) is a perfect game for a narcissist because it is actually a form of solitaire, it requires “one upmanship”, and involves pulling out “better” cards to beat the opponent.
It involves a “payoff” and for the narcissist, that usually means hurting you somehow. They keep track of real or imaginary things you do, have done, or might do. This is their “pile” and they will pull a card from it and use it against you whenever possible.

#8 Liars Poker:


Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) play this game fantastically. They are accomplished liars. Their complete persona and their entire world are totally based in lies. Their positive attributes and alleged actions are all made up in order to get other people to give them their fix of narcissistic supply-praise, adulation and accolades.

#9 Keep Away:


This is a game that you, yourself, must learn to play. It is important to recognize that the narcissist will never acknowledge that any games are being played; it is up to you to stop playing. To do this, you need to stop bringing up past events/behaviors because you will always be told you’re wrong, they are right, and that you need help. Don’t try to get them to acknowledge or take responsibility for their words or actions because they will always say they didn’t do it or it never happened.

If you are in a relationship, you can walk away from the toxic narcissist in your life. If your boss is an abusive narcissist, you can find another job. You can walk away from your parents, too, if they are abusive.
If you choose to stay, one way to stop playing their game is to not respond to jabs, barbs, pleas, put-downs etc. It is difficult to stop, but perhaps thinking of it this way will help: if you’re playing a game of catch with a ball, the only way to stop the game is to not catch the ball when thrown or not pick up the ball and throw it back. It is possible to stop playing games with a narcissist but just be prepared for an onslaught of negativity, accusations and histrionics. Ignore inciting words, do not respond back to inciting words, hang up the phone (with proper notice such as “I’ve got something I need to do “-not slamming it down) or leave the location where he is at. There are many ways for you to refuse to catch the ball or put the ball down and not throw it back. This is the game of “Keep Away”-you stay away, walk away, and refuse to play.



23 thoughts on “Eight fun games narcissists like to play (and one they can’t play).

  1. Whenever I read your posts I get a bit freaked out because they are so accurate and reminiscent of the behaviour I’ve experienced with both my father and my ex-husband, but I am very grateful because you give me the tools I need if I ever have to encounter them again (and of course I avoid this at all costs, you’re advice is absolutely perfect). Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is just like my (h)ex, who alienated me from my own child with games. A literal example of my ex and games is when we’d play Scrabble. He was very good, but when I started to learn how to strategize, his lips would get thin and the look on his face was enough to make me not want to win — the emotional withdrawal and subtle signal of disapproval was all that was needed for me to shrink back to where he wanted me. I could be neither too stupid nor too smart in order to satisfy him. We eventually quit playing. He could be very funny, but he was not fun. He insisted I was not funny, but I can’t tell you how many men have told me I was since I’ve been free from his consuming control.

    Liked by 4 people

      • The Narc I knew totally ignored anything I would say in regards to a confrontation of his ill behaviors. He’d shift the conversation and call me crazy because I violated him by fact checking him behind his back. Which by the way…any woman would do when someone has shady behaviors.

        I never have to fact check anything about my current boyfriend. And I didn’t fact check other boyfriends in the past either. There was nothing shady about them. They told the truth.

        Intinctually, your gut tells you everything about the Narcissist. Everything I suspected about him was correct. I should have listened to my inner voice.

        Watch the Narc when they speak. You can see the arrogance within their body language. Watch their actions with their phone. Take notice the flip the back of the phone to your face while they text. Their lies aren’t that good. Their body language speaks the universal language of asshole. The wear the expression of deceitfulness on their face.

        I remember having someone say to me, “no..we don’t know they are Narc when we meet them.” My response to that is early, early on they try to trick you by fueling your empathic side…with stuff like…my mother never loved me and I was a fatherless little boy. But if your instinct is keen and fine tuned you will notice a sense of weirdness by the 3ird, and maybe even 2nd conversation. I definitely recall an arrogance in the very first 5 minutes of our conversation on the phone. It started with, “you know…you know who I am. You’ve known me all your life…its cosmic.”

        This is very key. It is extremely arrogant and let’s face it. It is an uncomfortable feeling when someone you do not know claims your having a cosmic connection.

        I told this women named Marguerite that I met on a Narc abuse website that we do know something is weird early on, but we are not following our inner voice…because the Narc is charming and charismatic and we are so charmed by the attention he gives us and his lovebomb. This woman Marguerite flipped out and accused me of being a Narcissist because I admitted to my mistakes and weaknesses. She did not want to admit to her own weaknesses.

        Looking back I realize that Marguerite is a Narcissist…. Because she disposed my ability to critique my own self and admit to mistakes.

        Beware of who you talk to on a Narc recovery page. You often end up communicating with a Narc who is trying to become your recovery Guru…

        Liked by 4 people

        • Mary , this is a great comment. There’s some great advice here for anyone entering a new relationship–that they should follow thir instincts about anyone who comes off as arrogant or “mysterious” like that loon you dated who talked about having a “cosmic connection,” lol! I think many women love that sort of “mystery”–it promises adventure and things that are almost not of this world–but guess what? It’s just garden variety arrogance, and won’t take them anywhere except depression and heartbreak.
          I think all women have this sixth sense about men but most don’t listen to it or think their misgivings or suspicions are just being paranoid or silly. I had it about my ex from almost the day I met him but did I listen? Nope! I sure didn’t! Nor did I for any of the other men I dated but when I think about it, I realize I had those feelings about all of them.

          And yes, I agree that there are narcs walking around in Sheeps clothing on the reocvery boards, especially on Facebook. I think you have to watch with forums too. . You have to be so careful, because narcissists are drawn to those very places their victims go to get better and talk about them with each other. They can not only find out what people are saying about them, they can also find new victims.
          As we both know.

          Liked by 3 people

          • You know what else is weird…

            I saw the King and Queen game. My Narc actually made me call him a King, and he called me a Queen. He was so controlling. It was all about power and control and dominating him. He also called me Kitty Kat and he played Cat and Mouse often.

            He was such a head case…all of his wires upstairs have short circuits..

            I do admit…he did bring the best out of me though…

            When I met him… I was stuck in my cocoon…and I was very entertained by him. He’s very interesting and he’s bright….he’s very intelligent. He played guitar in front of me for hours. Apparently, a lot of his lectures and musical teachings sunk into my head…because I couldn’t write songs before I knew him. But I can write song after song, and I write great lyrics. It all pours out…

            It was metamorphosis…
            I was in a cocoon and I became a butterfly…and a Guru doesn’t know what to do with a butterfly….because butterflies fly away. Butterflies are free…

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Eight fun games narcissists like to play (and one they can’t play). | End of the Road

  4. Thanks for sharing, a lighthearted look at narcissists in action, and shedding light where there is very much dark for many people … Like the “walk away” which is almost always the best strategy, and what I’d generally advise if someone asked me … For me, my mischievous side does like to play “beat them at their own game”, which involves understanding the “cheat codes” and playing a slightly more charismatic game 🙂 … but that’s a story for another day …

    Jason Cushman mentioned you a few times, so I popped over to say hi, and on my blog I’d prefer people find something they connect with and authentically comment, so doing it how I’d like it to be done to me …

    Liked by 1 person

    • thanks for stopping by and commenting! Jason and his blog are both great–he helped me so much when I was new to the blogging world. I’ll follow you and look at your blog too when I find a moment. Thanks!


  5. Wow! I found this blog while doing another of my research bouts for writing about a narcissist – a few years back, I realized I had been describing my main villain as a “narcissist” without really knowing what that meant, so I went and looked it up. It turned out that not only was he already a narcissist, but he has become even more of one since I have been researching it. It sort of terrifies me how much I managed to get right without knowing a thing about narcissism, but what’s worst is that there are real people out there like this…maybe not with the same power and influence, and not with the stereotypical villain desire to literally “rule the world” (I…hope), but with the personality almost exactly right. The games of “Gotcha!” and “Twenty-One”, in particular, reminded me of him…and on another of your posts, the 12 Weird Things Narcissists Do, every single one lined up perfectly…ugh!

    So, anyway, your blog has been very helpful to me in my research. I feel bad to be taking something away for myself from other people’s suffering – I really don’t want to seem like I’m making light of what has happened to other people at the hands of these malignant narcissists out there. But at the same time, I am grateful to you, and all your readers, for helping me make my art imitate life, so thank you very much, and I hope you are all doing well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi! No, I would be honored if you use my material to help you write books, after all, this article (and many others) aren’t even my own original ideas.
      I really liked this article because it all rang so true for me also, and is why I decided to reblog it. They really are like this!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s fun reading prior comments and looking back at July in 2015. The last communication with the Narc I knew was in June of 2015, shortly before I responded to this article.

        Now he’s flying around the world getting his feedings from foreign women. He’s literally gone from the United States of America, and roaming around in Australia. But he’ll be back to the US. Geographical locations become boring to him.

        When we broke up, he broke up with my country too! Lol


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