Narcissists use a mix of direct and covert tactics to manipulate others.
Manipulation is one of the most reliable behaviors of a narcissist. Whether someone is a full-blown diagnosed narcissist or just displays some of the traits, manipulation is a key tactic of achieving an end goal. In some cases, manipulation is easy to identify and can be avoided or ignored; take, for example, a pushy salesperson or even politicians and CEOs. However, manipulation tends to be much more covert when coming from a personally loved and trusted individual.
With love comes vulnerability. In the right hands, our insecurities and self-doubts are safe and respected. But in the hands of a manipulative individual, our kindness and love are taken for granted and twisted into exploitation. Manipulation can be direct or covert; regardless of the style, the intention is to control and hurt.