Toxic people often demean and hurt their partners, family and friends by using different diversionary tactics that make their victims unsure of reality.

Of course, not only narcissistic people use these tactics, but other manipulative people as well.

Here are 5 ways toxic people shut you up and degrade you.

1. Public and private shaming

These kind of people are always ready to make comments that belittle you. Narcissists enjoy making other people feel small, look weak, or seem less smart than themselves.

However, they will do this subtly so sometimes you won’t even recognize it—such as under the guise of “I’m just kidding.” or “Can’t you take a joke?”

With time, you begin to rely on these toxic words or you rely on the hope that they will finally accept you as someone who is good enough. Don’t let this go too far. You’re already enough, trust me.

2. Gaslighting or “crazy-making”

This type of manipulation is especially dangerous because it plays with your mind so much that you start to doubt yourself and question your sanity. You know that feeling when you begin to ask yourself if you really said something, or if they never said something, or if other people see the same thing you do.

This technique works perfectly for the narcissist because there is no proof. You feel like you can’t prove how they feel or if they said something bad or acted irrationally. And so you go in circles and things get worse and worse.

3. TOO MUCH control

Man with cap on in the woods

They feel like they must control everything from the conversation to money because they always need to be in the center of attention and the main focus of the relationship. They feel like if they let you decide anything, they will become weak.

Toxic people display these control issues in a relationship every time they decide you need to change something about yourself, such as losing weight and changing your hair color. They decide if you can see some people or go somewhere or not.

If you recognize these signs early in a relationship, you should run as fast as you can. Don’t wait until it becomes too late.

4. Minimizing your worth

Nothing you ever do is well done. You graduated, got a great job, have great friends, and on top of that you look fantastic.

However, these people will always dig up something that you should improve and do differently. There are no words of support in their vocabulary.

They are psychologically trying to diminish your achievements by making you think you’re stupid, boring, ridiculous, or not good-looking.

Whenever someone compliments you, they feel endangered because they are not on top. Toxic people will slowly ruin your ambitions as well as your life if you let them keep minimizing your worth.

5. Paying the role of victim

No, it’s not their fault. It never is. It’s always your fault and they are victims of your hazardous behavior. Well, that’s exactly what they make you believe by playing the role of victim.

Whenever you recognize their toxic behavior and face them with facts, they will immediately pretend to be very hurt and insulted because whatever happened—it’s your fault and not theirs.

This mind game is very dangerous because they can be very good and convincing actors. You will soon start hating yourself because obviously you’re doing something wrong.

You should always be cool, calm and collected and stick to the facts, even though it’s very easy to fall under the influence of these people and become their victim.

It takes great strength as well as a lot of courage and energy to deal with these people. You need to use all the emotional and mental strength you have in order to fight back, but you can do it! The most important thing is to keep yourself away from thoughts that there is something wrong with you.

See also: 5 Signs He’s Not Complicated—He’s Just a Manipulative Asshole