Narcissitic controllers inevitably use and abuse others. That’s one reason I describe them as more than mere narcissists in Character Disturbance. They are more accurately labeled agressive personalities. But it’s their particularly virulent form of narcissism that lies at the root of their capacity for abuse.
Like all narcissists, narcissistic controllers think the people and things they desire in some way belong to them. They regard the objects of their desire as property. Accordingly, they feel entitled to do as they please with what or whom they perceive they own anyway.
Now, it’s very important to remember that narcissism is a spectrum phenomenon. There are many varieties of narcissists. Some are more malignant than others. But even relatively benign narcissists tend to use and abuse. Sometimes, however, the ways they do that can be difficult to appreciate at first.
Not All “Controlling” Types are Narcissists
Some “controllers” among us are not only benign but also quite helpful. If you need brain surgery you want a surgeon who is both meticulous and demanding. And you want them to have control over their environment and team of attendants. Wanting things a certain way, and wanting others to share your passion for exactness is not synonymous with narcissism. Narcissism adds a different dimension to a person’s character. At its core, it’s pathological self-love. It’s egocenticity on steriods and a sense of self-importance completely out of whack. And that makes narcissistic controllers a different breed.
Different Types of Control
Different narcissists, covert-aggressives, and other disturbed charcters control in different ways. Some use power, intimidation, and threats. Others play carefully on weaknesses and needs. But as odd as it may seem, some use tactics that don’t even seem like control tactics. Such is the case with narcissists who know how to seduce and charm. (See: Narcissistic Charm Can Easily Blindside.) Their end game is the same. But their technique is more subtle – even appealing! Perhaps that’s what makes these types just as dangerous, albeit in a different way.
Now, let me be clear. Charm and seductive capacity are not toxic in themselves. But they’re deadly tools for those who only want to possess and control. Overall character is what makes the difference. That’s why discerning character – especially in our times – is so critical. And when it comes to narcissistic controllers, as long as you comply things can go smoothly. But just try to declare some emotional independence! That’s when things can get nasty – and sadly, even deadly. It all depends on what type and degree of narcissist you’re dealing with.
Today’s livestreamed Character Matters program is available on my YouTube channel. As soon as the recording is encoded, it will appear with all the other podcasts.