Malignant Narcissism Is About Control


What Is the Connection Between Narcissism and Control?

(Wisegeek) The connection between narcissism and control represents one of the diagnostic tools used by psychologists to define the personality disorder. People suffering from narcissism might attempt to control others to enhance their own sense of power and entitlement. Narcissism and control relate to an image of feeling special and the tendency to devalue others to feed the narcissist’s sense of self-worth. Controlling others might also stem from a lack of empathy, a trait commonly seen in people with narcissism characteristics.

Narcissism is one of 10 recognized personality disorders, formally identified by psychologists in 1980. They defined nine traits exhibited by narcissists and determined patients meeting five of those characteristics might suffer from the personality disorder. A grandiose sense of self unsupported by actual achievement is generally considered a main factor in identifying narcissism and control tendencies. Narcissists typically believe they deserve special recognition for their superior talent or intelligence, giving them the right to exploit, demean, and use others.

In intimate relationships, narcissism and control might be exhibited in the narcissist’s attempt to determine a partner’s choice of friends or how a loved one dresses. The narcissist might become jealous or possessive and resort to aggressive behavior to exert control. He or she might resent a partner who does not focus constant attention on the narcissist or defer to his or her desires.

Narcissists commonly boast about perceived abilities and attempt to explain away any failures. For example, a narcissist who cannot hold a job might blame coworkers for failing to recognize his or her special talents. A person with the disorder usually envisions power and success, despite an inability to get along with colleagues in the workplace. The narcissist might seek out people with status who can appreciate his or her unique capabilities.

The relationship between narcissism and control might make it difficult to treat the disorder. The narcissist often believes a therapist does not measure up in intelligence or fails to recognize his or her specialness. He or she might try to manipulate a therapist to elicit praise and attention. This could inhibit the bond between patient and therapist, considered important to successful therapy.

Mental health experts generally agree narcissism personality disorder stems from unresolved anger in childhood. Children who receive mixed messages regarding aggressive and assertive behavior might become fixated on a sense of self, some experts believe. This preoccupation with ego might carry on into adulthood, creating an unnatural need for praise and recognition. Some people showing narcissism and control tendencies might also show signs of other mental illnesses, including antisocial, borderline, and histrionic personality disorders.


Via: Lisa E. Scott

Seven warning signs of bullying, controlling narcissists are:

1. They think they know best about everything. They know what’s best for you; just ask them. They give you advice and make your life miserable if you don’t do what they say. They point out all your mistakes and failings. They’re spouses, relatives or friends who could direct your life better than you can. They’re yelling, threatening, demeaning bosses. Their absolute certainty seduces you into self-doubt and self-bullying. You become unsure of your own judgment and wisdom so you might as well follow theirs.

2. Their excitement is contagious and sweeps you along. Whether it’s for a new product, career, love interest or activity, it’s the best and greatest, even if it’s the opposite of what they thought 10 minutes ago. You should jump on board if you know what’s good for you.

3. They think they don’t have anything to learn. They’re new employees or interns who know everything and don’t need to learn from people who are already doing their jobs well. They’re nit-picking, micro-managers. They’re children or teenagers who won’t practice or learn, who won’t do anything the way other people say is best. They insist on doing it their way, even though they fail repeatedly. They won’t listen; especially when they’re failing.

4. They’re more important than you are. Actually, they’re more important than the rest of the world. Their feelings are so intense that you’re too polite or afraid to upset them by trying to make your feelings or opinions matter. Their feelings get hurt easily and are powerful justifications for anger, retaliation and revenge. Their jealousies, issues and concerns (not yours) become the focus of all interactions. Their desires for promotions, toys they want, relationships they want, enemies they want to get, are the most important things and they’re entitled to get what they want. They’re controlling, stealth-bullying husbands. Your time actually, your whole life, should be devoted to their needs (wants, whims).

5. Everyone is a pawn in their game. You have value only as long as you can help them or worship them. They’re selfish, arrogant, demanding teenagers, spouses or dates who think they should be catered to or waited on. Anyone who doesn’t help or who gets in the way becomes the enemy. You’re afraid that if you disagree or distance yourself, they’ll strike back at you.

6. Their excuses, excuse. Their reasons are always correct and are enough to justify what they do. If you don’t agree, you simply don’t understand or you’re evil. Their jealousies, anger and hatred are not bad characteristics, like other people’s jealousy, anger and hatred. Self-deluded narcissists (aren’t they all, by definition) think they’re merely feeling, thinking and doing what any normal person would feel, think and do. They’re saints in their own minds. You’d better agree or else.

7. Their rules, rule. They know how the world should be and how people should act. They’re allowed to do anything they want, to take, attack or strike back in any way they want, but everyone else should be bound by their rules. If your feelings are hurt by what they’ve said or done, it’s your fault and your problem. They are virtuous and righteous. They’re great debaters or they simply talk so loud and long that you give in.

In order to thrive, we all need some of these characteristics some of the time. Narcissists have them all and they won’t give them up. They’d rather dominate than succeed or have relationships that bring out the greatest in everyone.



There are 3 kinds of controlling people:

People who try to control others for the power.
People who try to control others because they’re highly anxious.
People who try to control others for both reasons.

Power Controllers

Power controllers like to push other people around. Controlling others satisfies their need to feel superior and capable of getting whatever they want. They ignore the needs and feelings of others, and they are driven solely by their own desires. They lack empathy and view others as inferior or burdensome. Power controllers are often narcissistic or sociopathic.

Anxious Controllers

Anxious Controllers are nervous types who obsess over small matters, to the point of feeling they have to control everything, often including others. They have difficulty sharing power out of the fear that delegating tasks will lead to inferior results. Minor details loom large in the mind of the anxious controller, and they typically have difficulty with things like finishing things on time and accepting imperfection. Anxious controllers often have Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD). Not to be confused with OCD, OCPD is the most common personality disorder. Roughly 8% of people have OCPD, and it is moderately treatable with therapy.

Note: While this article focuses on the toxic/personality disordered controller, control issues that are caused by dysfunctional childhoods and/or anxiety disorders are also common, and these are successfully treatable with skilled assistance. Seek the help of a qualified therapist to resolve any such issues.

Anxious/Power Controllers

Rarer than the above types, the combination Anxious/Power controller is a mix of the above two descriptions, controlling for both the satisfaction of their ego or personal gain, sometimes for reasons of perfectionism and need to have things a certain way.



20 Traits of Malignant Narcissistic Personality Disorder

1. THE PATHOLOGICAL LIAR is skillfully deceptive and very convincing. Avoids accountability by diverting topics, dodging questions, and making up new lies, bluffs or threats when questioned. His memory is self serving as he denies past statements. Constant chaos and diverting from reality is their chosen environment.

  • Defense Strategy: Verify his words. Do not reveal anything about yourself – he’ll use it against you. Head for the door when things don’t add up. Don’t ask him questions – you’ll only be inviting more lies.

2. THE CONTRACT BREAKER agrees to anything then turns around and does the opposite. Marriage, Legal, Custody agreements, normal social/personal protocol are meaningless. This con artist will accuse you of being the contract breaker. Enjoys orchestrating legal action and playing the role of the ‘poor me’ victim.

  • Defense Strategy: Expect him to disregard any agreement. Have Plan B in place. Protect yourself financially and emotionally.

3. THE HIGH ROLLER Successfully plows and backstabs his way to the top. His family a disposable prop in his success facade. Is charismatic, eloquent and intelligent in his field, but often fakes abilities and credentials. Needs to have iron-fisted control, relying on his manipulation skills. Will ruthlessly support, exploit or target others in pursuit of his ever-changing agenda. Mercilessly abuses the power of his position. Uses treachery or terrorism to rule or govern. Potential problem or failure situations are delegated to others. A vindictive bully in the office with no social or personal conscience. Often suspicious and paranoid. Others may support him to further their own Mephistophelian objectives, but this wheeler-dealer leaves them holding the bag. Disappears quickly when consequences loom.

  • Defense Strategy: Keep your references and resume up to date. Don’t get involved in anything illegal. Document thoroughly to protect yourself. Thwarting them may backlash with a cascade of retaliation. Be on the lookout and spot them running for office and vote them out. Educate yourself about corporate bullies

4. THE SEXUAL NARCISSIST is often hypersexual (male or female). Pornography, masturbation, incest are reported by his targets. Anything, anyone, young, old, male/female, are there for his gratification. This predator takes what is available. Can have a preference for ‘sado-maso’ sexuality. Often easily bored, he demands increasingly deviant stimulation. However, another behaviour exists, the one who withholds sex or emotional support.

  • Defense Strategy: Expect this type to try to degrade you. Get away from him. Expect him to tell lies about your sexuality to evade exposure of his own.

5. THE BLAME-GAME NARCISSIST never accepts responsibility. Blames others for his failures and circumstances. A master at projection.

  • Defense Strategy: Learn about projection. Don’t take the bait when he blames you. He made the mess, let him clean it up.

6. THE VIOLENT NARCISSIST is a wife-Beater, Murderer, Serial Killer, Stalker, Terrorist. Has a ‘chip-on-his-shoulder’ attitude. He lashes out and destroys or uses others (particularly women and children) as scapegoats for his aggression or revenge. He has poor impulse control. Fearless and guiltless, he shows bad judgement. He anticipates betrayal, humiliation or punishment, imagines rejection and will reject first to ‘get it over with’. He will harass and push to make you pay attention to him and get a reaction. He will try to make you look out of control. Can become dangerous and unpredictable. Has no remorse or regard for the rights of others.

  • Defense Strategy: Don’t antagonize or tip your hand you’re leaving. Ask for help from the police and shelters.

7. THE CONTROLLER/MANIPULATOR pits people against each other. Keeps his allies and targets separated. Is verbally skillful at twisting words and actions. Is charismatic and usually gets his way. Often undermines our support network and discourages us from seeing our family and friends. Money is often his objective. Other people’s money is even better. He is ruthless, demanding and cruel. This control-freak bully wants you pregnant, isolated and financially dependent on him. Appears pitiful, confused and in need of help. We rush in to help him with our finances, assets, and talents. We may be used as his proxy interacting with others on his behalf as he sets us up to take the fall or enjoys the performance he is directing.

  • Defense Strategy: Know the ‘nature of the beast’. Facing his failure and consequences will be his best lesson. Be suspicious of his motives, and avoid involvement. Don’t bail him out.

8. THE SUBSTANCE ABUSER Alcohol, drugs, you name it, this N does it. We see his over-indulgence in food, exercise or sex and his need for instant gratification. Will want you to do likewise.

  • Defense Strategy: Don’t sink to his level. Say No.

9. OUR “SOUL MATE” is cunning and knows who to select and who to avoid. He will come on strong, sweep us off our feet. He seems to have the same values, interests, goals, philosophies, tastes, habits. He admires our intellect, ambition, honesty and sincerity. He wants to marry us quickly. He fakes integrity, appears helpful, comforting, generous in his ‘idealization’ of us phase. It never lasts. Eventually Jekyll turns into Hyde. His discarded victims suffer emotional and financial devastation. He will very much enjoy the double-dipping attention he gets by cheating. We end the relationship and salvage what we can, or we are discarded quickly as he attaches to a “new perfect soul mate”. He is an opportunistic parasite. Our “Knight in Shining Armor” has become our nightmare. Our healing is lengthy.

  • Defense Strategy: Seek therapy. Learn about this disorder.Know the red flags of their behaviour, and “If he seems too good to be true…” Hide the hurt you feel. Never let him see it. Be watchful for the internet predator.

10. THE QUIET NARCISSIST is socially withdrawn, often dirty, unkempt. Odd thinking is observed. Used as a disguise to appear pitiful to obtain whatever he can.

11. THE SADIST is now the fully-unmasked malignant narcissist. His objective is watching us dangle as he inflicts emotional, financial, physical and verbal cruelty. His enjoyment is all too obvious. He’ll be back for more. His pleasure is in getting away with taking other people’s assets. His target: women, children, the elderly, anyone vulnerabie.

  • Defense Strategy: Accept the Jekyll/Hyde reality. Make a “No Contact’ rule. Avoid him altogether. End any avenue of vulnerability. Don’t allow thoughts of his past ‘good guy’ image to lessen the reality of his disorder.

12. THE RAGER flies off the handle for little or no provocation. Has a severely disproportionate overreaction. Childish tantrums. His rage can be intimidating. He wants control, attention and compliance. In our hurt and confusion we struggle to make things right. Any reaction is his payoff. He seeks both good or bad attention. Even our fear, crying, yelling, screaming, name calling, hatred are his objectives. If he can get attention by cruelty he will do so.

  • Defense Strategy: Manage your responses. Be fully independent. Don’t take the bait of his verbal abuse. Expect emotional hurt. Volence is possible.

13. THE BRAINWASHER is very charismatic. He is able to manipulate others to obtain status, control, compliance, money, attention. Often found in religion and politics. He masterfully targets the naive, vulnerable, uneducated or mentally weak.

  • Defense Strategy. Learn about brainwashing techniques. Listen to your gut instinct. Avoid them.

14. THE RISK-TAKING THRILL-SEEKER never learns from his past follies and bad judgment. Poor impulse control is a hallmark.
Defense Strategy: Don’t get involved. Use your own good judgement. Say No.

15. THE PARANOID NARCISSIST is suspicious of everything usually for no reason. Terrified of exposure and may be dangerous if threatened. Suddenly ends relationships if he anticipates exposure or abandonment.

  • Defense Strategy: Give him no reason to be suspicious of you. Let some things slide. Protect yourself if you anticipate violence.

16. THE IMAGE MAKER will flaunt his ‘toys’, his children, his wife, his credentials and accomplishments. Admiration, attention, even glances from others, our envy or our fear are his objective. He is never satisfied. We see his arrogance and haughty strut as he demands center stage. He will alter his mask at will to appear pitiful, inept, solicitous, concerned, or haughty and superior. Appears the the perfect father, husband, friend – to those outside his home.

  • Defense Strategy: Ignore his childlike behaviours. Know his payoff is getting attention, deceiving or abusing others. Provide him with ‘supply’ to avert problems.

17. THE EMOTIONAL VACUUM is the cruellest blow of all. We learn his lack of empathy. He has deceived us by his cunning ability to mimic human emotions. We are left numbed by the realization. It is incomprehensible and painful. We now remember times we saw his cold vacant eyes and when he showed odd reactions. Those closest to him become objectified and expendable.

  • Defense Strategy: Face the reality. They can deceive trained professionals.

18. THE SAINTLY NARCISSIST proclaims high moral standing. Accuses others of immorality. “Hang ’em high” he says about the murderer on the 6:00 news. This hypocrite lies, cheats, schemes, corrupts, abuses, deceives, controls, manipulates and torments while portraying himself of high morals.
Defense Strategy: Learn the red flags of behaviour. Be suspicious of people claiming high morals. Can be spotted at a church near you.

19. THE CALLING-CARD NARCISSIST forewarns his targets. Early in the relationship he may ‘slip up’ revealing his nature saying “You need to protect yourself around me” or “Watch out, you never know what I’m up to.” We laugh along with him and misinterpret his words. Years later, coping with the devastation left behind, his victims recall the chilling warning.

  • Defense Strategy: Know the red flags and be suspicious of the intentions of others.

20. THE PENITENT NARCISSIST says “I’ve behaved horribly, I’ll change, I love you, I’ll go for therapy.” Appears to ‘come clean’ admitting past abuse and asking forgiveness. Claims we are at fault and need to change too. The sincerity of his words and actions appear convincing. We learn his words are verbal hooks. He knows our vulnerabilities and what buttons to push. We question our judgement about his disorder. We can disregard “Fool me once…” We hope for change and minimize past abuse. With a successful retargeting attempt, this N will enjoy his second reign of terror even more if we allow him back in our lives.

  • Defense Strategy: Expect this. Self-impose a “No Contact” rule. Focus on the reality of his disorder. Journal past abusive behavior to remind yourself.

Recommended Books:

Why Is It Always About You? : The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism

Narcissists Exposed – 75 Things Narcissists Don’t Want You to Know

Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life: At Home. At Work. With Friends


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments