Narcissists and How They Control You
First off, I just want to say thank you for the tremendous support from my recent blogs revolving around narcissism. When I wrote my first narc related post, I was fresh off of being discarded. I was hurt, sad, & angry. But as I start writing more blogs on my year long experience with my narcissist, I felt like I finally had a voice. I am validated, relieved, and thankful for this platform so that I can share my story to help all of you to identify and leave unhealthy relationship patterns. For all of you who have messaged me your own stories-thank you. I am so happy that these help.
A Cat & Mouse Game
It wasn’t until around 2-3 months in to dating that I started seeing the red flags and I realized my narcissist’s hunger for control over my life. Sadly, I caved in almost every step of the way. I was naive and hopeful. Like anyone else, I wanted this love to work… as toxic as it seemed.
Manipulation is a narcissist’s best friend. And damn they are good at it due to the charm and love bombing in the early months. I will go ahead and tell you that most narcs love moving FAST because they want to trap you. Within a month of meeting, he had me convinced that we should go looking at houses together. And we did. But luckily I had waited. I saw the cat and mouse game that was unfolding before my eyes and I started to get a glimpse of whom he truly was and it all began with control.
They Want to Be the Center of YOUR World
I have two beautiful kids. There have been many times where I felt I was not able to tend to my kids as I should because my narc would get jealous and claim he did not feel like a priority. I told him many times that my kids will always come first. When I would take my kids to go do things without inviting him and his son, I was deemed selfish. Imagine that.
This guy was always around. He was reliable. He was so freaking helpful. When he wanted to be. But I realized that him doing nice things for me was a level of control because during a later argument, he would hold it over my head and use it as leverage to punish me. During the last few months, I asked for less and less from him and started doing more things on my own.
For example, one time I was at the ER and I was in severe pain. HE offered to come and get my kids and take them home while I was being seen. Our next breakup, he took to his IG stories and blasted how helpful he was to pickup my kids from the ER, blah blah blah. You see, when someone genuine actually wants to help, they don’t do it for applause, attention, praise, or to keep tally.
Cue my cars. He is mechanic and he had offered to work on my cars for me. Cool, right? Well I had my rims painted by a company he recommended and he took the rims off the wheels for me which was so helpful. I posted my newly painted rims on FB and credited the business for doing a good job at painting them. Well, that struck a nerve with him. How DARE I not mention that HE took my rims off my wheels for me! He was very upset and this ruined an afternoon of ours. I appreciated his help so much. But I saw that he just wanted the applause for doing it. I was so caught off guard… he wasn’t the one who painted my wheels, but touche. He needed that supply/attention/praise.
Speaking of cars, he wanted to fix my doors on my Range Rover due to a terrible tint job. I think this was May/June and by this point I did not really want him in charge of my vehicle anymore. One, I was getting very tired of this relationship because we would split up every other month. Two, I did not want him holding it over my head. So I told him I would have the actual Range Rover dealership do it. He lost his mind and I basically got the silent treatment for a few hours while being made to feel stupid for not allowing him to do it for me. This created a narcissistic injury since I took some of the control back.
The Silent Treatment/Stonewalling
Ahhh yes. The infamous passive agressive form of emotional abuse called the narcissist silent treatment. This is a weapon of narcs and to be honest, it fucking hurts and they know it. See normal people want to talk things out to find a resolution. But no, not narcissists. It is designed to place the abuser in a position of control; silence the target’s attempts at assertion; avoid conflict resolution/personal responsibility/compromise; or punish the target for a perceived ego slight. Often, the result of the silent treatment is exactly what the person with narcissism wishes to create: a reaction from the target and a sense of control aka you begging for him/her to talk to you, call you back, text you, whatever.
Let me just say that those with narcissism have an arrested development. Yes, they have a mind of 5 year old when it comes to temper tantrums. I am not kidding, please research it! The only times I personally got the silent treatment was after going against him, not agreeing with him, or during a breakup. Its different from taking a “time out.” You can actually feel the other person actively ignoring you and damn that hurts.
After each one of our ten breakups, he would block my number, my socials, you name it and go ghost. Was it hurtful? Of course it was. A person who professes their love for you doesn’t just do that. He didn’t understand what unconditional love was-no narcs do. Nevertheless, it hurts when someone acts like we never existed to them. The worst part about it is that they know it and they know what they are doing. They simply have no empathy to care. This is all just a power trip and control tactic to get you crawling back somehow and when you do, it is the ultimate high for them.
Provoking /Reactive Abuse
This one is major and happens in almost every narcissistic relationship. I was constantly provoked in my year long relationship. I mean, even when things were actually okay, he would find something to fight about or some type of drama to create. It felt as if the peace disturbed him somehow. His favorite thing to do was ask me if I were ok. I would say yes. Well, he would keep asking and asking until finally I gave him some reason so he would be happy. Didn’t work-he would use that reason, throw it in my face, and start a fight. As you will see, many narcs like to pick fights because they get bored easily. They love the drama because it is another way of gaining supply.
Narcissists will provoke you into extreme reactions due to their outrageous behavior resulting in the appearance of you being irrational & mentally unstable. Don’t get played. Realize they do this on purpose and have carefully calculated exactly which buttons to push to get you to perform in their circus. This reaction, in turn, is fuel or supply for their ego.
One of the most common tactics abusers use is to shift blame for the abuse onto the victim. The abuser will claim the victim is the abuser because of the reaction the victim has. The abuser may even attempt to convince the victim that there is nothing worth reacting over and that the victim is overreacting to the abuse. What the victim is actually experiencing is called reactive abuse. Reactive abuse occurs when the victim reacts to the abuse they are experiencing. The victim may scream, toss out insults, or even lash out physically at the abuser. The abuser then retaliates by telling the victim that they are, in fact, the abuser. Imagine that.
Abusers rely on this “reactive abuse” because it is their “proof” that the victim is unstable and mentally ill. The abuser will hold these reactions against the victims indefinitely. It could be years later and the abuser will say, “Well, back in (whatever year), you had this reaction and acted all crazy. You’re the crazy one! You need help.” This is also what the narcissist uses as fuel to tell their next supply aka girlfriend/boyfriend that their ex was sooo crazy. However, they often fail to mention that they actually drove their exes to the point of insanity. Convenient, huh?
Controlling Who You Can & Cannot Talk To
Our relatonship did not reach this level until after 4 months in or so. Little by little, I started seeing glimpses of jealousy. It eventually got so bad that towards the last 8 weeks of our relationship, he made me block every male and I was not allowed to have any guy friends whatsoever. If I did not block someone he wanted, he threatened to call the relationship off.
If a new guy liked my photo on Facebook, he would stalk this person, interrogate me, and I would hear about it-it was my fault. I was not allowed to like ANY dude’s photos for ANY reasons.
I actually ended up deactivating my FB page a few times in the past 3 months because the control got to be too much and I just did not want to deal. What is acually ironic is that during these last few weeks of our relationship, he was grooming his new girlfriend to be and talking to her the entire time. To be honest, he was probably talking to a plethora of different women while having a completely different set of rules for me to abide by. He was paranoid about ME cheating because in reality HE was. This is called projection.
Click here to read more about my experience.
He would ask to see my phone frequently and I would never give him my passcode. Not because I had something to hide, but because of the manner in which he would go about it. I knew any little thing could be miscontrued by him. Plus, I did not feel like being violated. We weren’t married, but in his eyes, we were because he told me marriage is nothing but a piece of paper and nothing changes after.
Isolating You From Friends & Family
It took a while for my narcissist to start isolating me from friends and family. Mostly because I did not have many friends or family around for that matter. However I made one friend in later December and I quickly became close to her and her husband. I would come over to her house once a week and have our kids over for playdates. I noticed that my narcissist started feeling uncomfortable about me hanging out with my friends. He would make comments here and there and guilt me into this. These friends also happen to be the people whom I would turn to when we would break up, etc. He would tell me that they hated him because of the things I said about him. Surely, it wasn’t because of the things he did to me. Right?
Another form of isolation was driving a wedge between my husband and I whom I am in the midst of a divorce with. Whenever he and I would be on good terms, my narc would be jealous. He told me that he did not appreciate him coming inside my home at all and that he had to wait outside to get my kids. Yes, my narc boyfriend who did not pay my mortgage or share kids with me told me this is what he wanted. Ultimately, he did not even want my kids’ father coming to my house at all. I would literally have to hide when my kids’ father would come to my house to pick them up. What a sad way to live, right?
During my daughter’s birthday, he found out I had invited my husband to the party. Well actually my daughter did. I simply could not say no when she asked. My narc told me that he wouldn’t come if Grady did. I told him well that sucks. He then amped it up and said he would have a talk with Grady outside my house if he came (aka start drama). I told him he was not allowed to come if he was going to start issues. So he said I either needed to pick him or her father to come to her party. I refused to go along with any of it sooo he told me that he would kick my dog Marlow out onto the streets (whom he was watching for me) if I did not drive one hour to come get him on my daughter’s birthday. I told him thats fine and that I would call the cops and so I hung up. He called back and changed his tone rather quickly. He did come to the party.. and left before Grady ever got there even though I told him he could stay. After he left, I received a guilt trip of how his son was looking forward to cake and gifts. I couldn’t win with him.
I am most certain if I had parents that I was close to or other family members, the isolation would’ve been more apparent earlier on. Unfortunately I did not have a huge support network, but the few people i had caught onto his games before I did.
So why do they do this? Narcissistic people, isolate you from others, so they have more control over you. The narcissist typically most isolates you from family members and close friends because they pose the biggest threat of revealing things about her-/himself that s/he does not want known. They do it so the narcissist is the only person you can turn to for support, not understanding they are they ones trying to destroy you. Remember, how others can see outside of the box more clearly than you can? My friends and family hated my narc and he equally hated me spending time with them. In his mind, he was supposed to be my one and only companion.
They Justify Their Behavior
A few months into the relationship when I started seeing dozens of red flags, I started realizing I had made a crucial mistake. I wanted my husband back and no longer wanted to divorce. I eventually opened up to my narc and I told him this. In response, he went and contacted a couple of escorts on his work trip for some hanky panky. When confronted about why he cheated, he immediately justified his behavior and blameshifted it onto me. He once said basically it was my fault because of me wanting to go back and fix my marriage because I realized who this person was.
Other smaller examples were when I would confront him about the yelling, cursing, and name calling towards me. He would say I deserved it because I was “being a bitch.” Similar to how I saw him vandalize a white car right in front of me in the downtown Pensacola parking garage on one of our last dates because he said they parked too closely to his truck.
Here is the thing-in a narcissist’s mind, they do not wrong and if they do, they try to justify their bad actions. It may even get you to the point where you truly do feel as if you are the one to blame for THEIR mistakes. Don’t fall for it.
They Will Gaslight You
When you are gaslighted, you feel uncomfortable and know something toxic has occurred, but the narcissist in your life tells you: “That didn’t happen. You imagined it. You’re crazy.” In a nutshell you’re lied to and that makes you doubt yourself. Gaslighting may be the most insidious manipulative tactic. A steady diet of doubting your ability to tell it like it really is alters your sense of reality. Your self-doubt eats away at your ability to trust yourself, and inevitably disable.
Signs of gaslighting:
- They consistently disagree with details that mean they aren’t right.
- They question your facts, doubling down in the face of evidence.
- They tell you that you don’t see the world the right way – that their view is a better version of the truth.
- They say they don’t trust your perception because you’ve been wrong before.
- We all make mistakes on a daily basis. We don’t lose all our credibility from a couple errors, and even if we are wrong a lot, those who love us seek to understand why we perceive the world as we do.
- They invalidate what you say when it keeps them from getting their way.
- You don’t know what you’re talking about!
- You can’t take a joke.
- You’re crazy!
- You are just too sensitive.
- That wouldn’t hurt my feelings.
- I’m not raising my voice! (while yelling at you…)
To be honest, a lot of times you will not realize that you are being gaslighted. It is THAT manipulative and is the direct point. If something does not feel right, chances are, its not. Trust your gut.
Projecting Negative Feelings On You
Projection is when narcissists dump their own traits on unsuspecting suspects. Instead of admitting that self-improvement may be in order, narcissists expect others to take responsibility for their bad behavior and feel ashamed. “I’m sorry. I love you,” is the response they want. This is a way for a narcissist to project any toxic shame they have about themselves onto another. See more on my experience with projection here.
Basically, they’re saying, “It’s not me, it’s you!” When we project, we are defending ourselves against unconscious impulses or traits, either positive or negative, that we’ve denied in ourselves. Instead, we attribute them to others. We might imagine, “She hates me,” when we actually hate her. We might think someone else is angry or judgmental, yet are unaware that we are. Similar to projection is externalization, where we blame others for our problems rather than taking responsibility for our part in causing them. It makes us feel like a victim.
I know this sounds very dramatic but almost every single damn time I came to my narcissist with an issue or conflict, it would be projected right back on to me. I could say “I dont like the way you talk to me” they would fire back with “Oh well I dont like the way that you talk to me!” I literally felt like our conversation would reach a stalemate-no winners, no progress, no understanding. It was constantly deflected.
My narc loved using projection to call me out on things that he himself was doing. As I mentioned before, a narcissist will eventually always tell on themselves. He would always say that he thought I was cheating on him. When in reality, my narcissist had a girl who he was talking to for weeks/months before our breakup and this person finally became his girlfriend less than a week after we broke up (within days to be exact). It is amazing, really. Just sit back,watch, and listen closely. While he was making me block all these men, he was kicking back talking to all the chicks he wanted to. I know…. its hard to fathom. But that is the mind of the narcissist.
Its All About One Upping You
It is no secret that narcissists love a good competition. They simply believe that they are the smartest, strongest, sexiest, best people on the planet. When you think of your ideal partner, you are both supposed to work together-not against each other. To my narcissist, I was his biggest competitor. Why? I absolutely have no idea. But most narcs are jealous people and they envy what you have whether it is more money, a nice house, nice cars, a better career, more schooling-you name it. If you listen closely to how the narc talks about others-his friends, coworkers, and even family members-you will get the “high and mighty” vibe. For example, one of his close guy friends did bodybuilding or so. He did not talk very highly of this guy but he was sure to mention to me that this guy friend of his was on steroids and that his muscles here fake. Then he went on and on about he was proud to be natural. In my mind, I am like dude.. this is one of your closest friends. Why talk shit?
As for competitions with me, I caught on real quick. I remember everytime I would post a selfie, he would post a selfie minutes later. Once I changed my profile photo to a sports bra and shorts.. less than five minutes later, he changed his to a douchey shirtless pic. I started following someone of the opposite sex so he did too. I brought up something good about my work or day, and he would only respond to change the subject back onto him and his achievements with his barely there currency trading. They simply do not like watching you shine.
The mind of the narcissist is a binary, all-or-nothing, black and white world. If you succeed, their twisted logic tells them that your success means they failed. Someone else succeeding or shining (especially someone close to them, whom they see all the time) is actually upsetting (even unconsciously painful) because they see your success as a missed opportunity for themselves to get a little love or attention. It is critical to understand that the narcissist isn’t competitive with you because they hate you or want to hurt you emotionally. They do what they do because they are feeling emotionally deprived themselves. Hence, why they need supply to boost them up.
The narcissist buried his authentic self in childhood, creating a false self in order to survive an abusive and neglectful upbringing. The narcissistic person must struggle to maintain the appearance of the “perfect” false self, while battling the self-hatred that bedevils him constantly. The pain of this is excruciating, and is what causes the narcissist to project his self-hatred outward in abuse, typically directed at “loved ones,” but sometimes to others as well.
Because a narcissist has lost touch with his authentic self, which basically withered and died, he has no authentic self with which to regulate his own emotions. He is unable to self-reflect, or to take ownership of his behavior, mistakes, and flaws. e must always use other people to regulate his emotions. Hence, the necessity of abusing others to release the internal pressure of his self-hatred and ALWAYS needing to be in a relationship or pulling from a constant source of supply.
A narcissist is indeed a very controlling person and if you have been with one long enough, you will see that they never do any wrong and all the blame is placed upon you. My biggest advice is to not take it personally. The narcissists knows not who he/she is and that has got to be one very awful way to coast through life.
Go, enjoy your freedom! Go do everything that the narc told you that you could not do. Eat the foods you couldn’t. Travel to where you were forbidden to go. Live your best lives ever and never look back.
More articles on my experience with narcissism:
- HOW TO SURVIVE A NARCISSISTIC RELATIONSHIP
- THE NARCISSIST AND THEIR NEW SUPPLY (GIRLFRIEND/BOYFRIEND)
Super helpful YouTube Channels on Narcissism:
Your trainer and friend,