Are All Manipulators Narcissistic?

Sherile Turner-Myles
5 min readFeb 26, 2024

3 Powerful Ways to Identify The Difference

Photo by VD Photography on Unsplash

I am often asked questions about manipulation and the rather complex and often misunderstood relationship between manipulation and narcissism. In this post I will offer my unsderstanding of both and as always take a closer look with a special lens on the shadowy figure of the covert narcissist.

The most common question I am asked is “Are manipulative people a bit narcissistic?”

Understanding Manipulation

First off, what do we mean by manipulation? It’s essentially when someone tries to sway your actions or perceptions, but not always with a malicious intent. Picture a baby crying to get attention; that’s manipulation at its most innocent. As we grow, our methods become more sophisticated, ranging from the benign to the downright devious.

The psychology behind manipulation is a mixed bag. For some, it’s about survival or a learned behaviour from their environment. Others might manipulate to gain power or control, stemming from deeper psychological needs or insecurities.

Narcissism, on the other hand, is a term that’s often bandied about quite liberally these days and is often misused to label anyone who takes a selfie more than once a day.



Sherile Turner-Myles

I write about Covert Narcissism and other Personality Disorders, and how they impact relationships.