Mirroring is actually a sales technique that is designed to subconsciously put the prospect at ease by having the salesperson mirror or “reflect” back the behavior, mannerisms, language and even style of dress as the prospect. In sales it is often recited that a buyer doesn’t just buy the product–they buy you–and more often than not buyers don’t buy from people they don’t like–people buy from sales people that are like them.
This best way I can think to describe mirroring is from a scene in the movie Beetlejeuce where the recently deceased couple (Adam and his wife Barbara) first meet Beetlejeuce. In this scene they are debating as to whether or not they can trust Beetlejeuce to help them with their problem. Beetlejeuce senses their hesitation, and steps up his persuasion techniques to include mirroring Adam. He magically transforms into the same clothes Adam is wearing, and declares that they are “simpatico” and that they want the same things. It is shortly after his over-the-top show of mirroring that the couple is persuaded to use his “services”.
After a week or so of dating a Narcissist, you realize that they like the same music, movies, hobbies and food as you. If they say they don’t like these things, they are quick to add that they’d be willing to try them–for you–because they like you just that much. You have many, if not all of the same dislikes. It’s uncanny–everything you like and dislike, they like and dislike! What a coincidence! And in true Narcissist fashion, their words are very different from their actions. You care about the environment? So do they! (Never mind that they just littered five minutes ago.) You are Christian and go to church? So do they! Heck, they sing in the church choir and sponsor children in Africa. (Never mind that they cheated on the ex-wife a few dozen times or stole a good chunk of money from the collection basket.)
Some Narcissists even step up their game by mirroring their target’s level of dress (casual to very pulled together), their language and use of slang and/or cussing, their preferences for places to eat and things to do. It is not uncommon for the Narcissist to cut or color their hair according to their target’s preference, or to otherwise drastically alter their appearance to be more attractive to their potential victim. Your goals become their goals, you are so on the same page about most everything the victim really feels like they’ve met their soul mate. The use of this technique is just one more way that the Narcissist attempts to lure the victim in, and it is often very effective. The victim continues to be impressed with just how much they have in common, which further the feeling that they really are perfect for each other.
Remember, if a person seems too good to be true, they probably are.
(Here is a link to all of the “Red Flags of a Narcissist” series articles and videos in a list. I will be putting this link at the bottom of all the articles and videos so you can refer back to them in an easier-to-find way.)
This “Red Flag of a Narcissist” series is not designed to diagnose anyone with a personality disorder. It is designed to present a broad brush look at behaviors that most (if not all) manipulative people tend to have (not just Narcissists). Not all of these red flags are a signal to run for the hills, and a person doesn’t need to have ALL of these flags present to be dangerous or destructive.
These red flags also occur on a spectrum, meaning that they will be more obvious and troublesome in some people, and not so much in others.
At the same time, keep in mind that EVERYONE has some of these red flags—however, manipulative people tend to have them to a more troubling degree than normal, non-manipulative people. Keep in mind that Narcissists and Antisocial Personality Disordered people’s red flag behavior is more driven by their lack empathy and remorse, desire to manipulate and exploit other people for their personal gain, which is often not the case with those without these disorders. So don’t panic if you see some of your behavior in these red flags, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a Narcissist, or have a personality disorder. 🙂
My goal is to educate, empower, and inspire other abuse victims in understanding more about what happened to them (and how to prevent it from happening again), as well as how to go on and rebuild an amazing life.
Even though I have had a lot of "in the trenches" experience with highly manipulative people of all kinds, I consider myself to be a student of Narcissism, mindset, motivation, healing, and life in general, and am by no means an expert on any of these topics.
It's for these reasons, that when you are reading my information that I encourage you to hold to what helps, and let the rest go.
Latest posts by Dana (see all)
- Episode 170: DBT Made SImple Book Club Discussion - September 7, 2018
- Episode 169: 9/5/18 Live Stream for Narcissistic Abuse Support and Q&A - September 6, 2018
- Episode 168: Live Stream with Angie Atkinson - September 4, 2018