Is someone in your life, or have you ever had someone in your life controlling you without you even knowing it? You trust in others, believing and knowing we all make mistakes, yet we all love and care for each other. People surely don’t go around hurting and wanting to destroy others. How could they? We often think that is something that happens in movies or on very rare occasions. So when it happens to us, we are left questioning, Do they even have the essential compassion and empathy to care? Unfortunately, as a lot of you might already know or coming to realise, if a narcissist raised you or you had a narcissistic partner, some people simply only care about themselves and are only interested in meeting their own needs. What they gain from other people, then they throw you away, discard you, like you never truly mattered to them.
One criteria for the narcissist personality disorder is a lack of empathy, so narcissistic people are either unwilling or unable to identify with the feelings of another. Narcissists are exploitative, another criteria for the disorder, so they will happily take advantage of others to meet their own needs. They tend to require excessive admiration and often feel criticism when things aren’t going their way as they believe they are entitled, so narcissistic people have unreasonable expectations that others should just comply with their demands, and narcissists use many manipulation tactics to control those around them.
Coercive controlling behaviour is a pattern of behaviour where someone will covertly control another person’s life through perceived love or perceived fear.
A narcissist will covertly, so more often than not, subtly take control over another’s life without that person even realising. Narcissists don’t walk in and straight out take control over another’s life as most people would turn around and walk straight back out. Narcissists swoop in and sweep people off their feet, narcissists love-bomb, idealise, future fake, they breadcrumb, they reward and give intermittent rest bites. Narcissists use so many manipulation games to keep people unwittingly trapped within their relationship with them.
Coercive controlling behaviour is another pattern of behaviour a narcissist will use to keep control over another person.
A narcissist can coercively control someone out of perceived love, so the narcissist will influence the person into believing the narcissist is genuine, the narcissist loves and cares for the person, and wants what is best for that person, or through perceived fear. In contrast, a narcissist is going to intimidate and threaten another into conforming to the narcissist’s demands, where people are too scared to stand up to the narcissist for fear of repercussions from the narcissist. A narcissist will do all they can to keep control over their reality and the perceived reality of those around them.
Nine signs, someone is trying to control your life without you realising what they are doing.
1. Controlling behaviour.
A narcissist wants to influence you into making decisions that suit them. They want to discreetly gain control over your day-to-day life while influencing you into believing you’re making your own choices. Often a narcissist will do this through perceived love, where they’ll be claiming they want what’s best for you, or through perceived fear, where the narcissist will threaten with some form of punishment if you don’t tow their line, or from reactions of the narcissist’s silence in the past. Hence, you fear upsetting them and do as they say.
A Narcissist will try to control your feelings. They’ll go all out to influence you into feeling a way that is of benefit to the narcissist. If a narcissist wants negative reactions, they’ll provoke anger. If they want praise, they’ll offer those acts of kindness to provoke feelings of gratitude, and a narcissist will expect eternal gratitude.
A narcissist will try to control how you behave to help in their smear campaigns, where you go to isolate yourself from support, they’ll try to control your financial resources, they’ll try to control your hobbies and your career, to keep control over you and your life.
A narcissist will go all out to isolate you from support, isolating you from emotional support, isolation from financial support, isolating you from friends and family, hobbies and careers, and creating atmospheres or environments. Hence, you have the minimal time and minimal resources to do the things you enjoy and be with the people who genuinely care. The narcissist might discredit your beliefs, invalidate your thoughts, and discredit the intentions of your friends and family, as once you’re isolated from support, it’s easier for the narcissist to gain control over your life.
3. A narcissists monitoring of you.
A narcissist will monitor your social media, your spending, your whereabouts, what you wear, what you eat, and when and where you sleep. A narcissist wants to monitor what you’re doing so they can control what you do.
A Narcissist will keep records of things they’ve done for you to use against you, “What about when I did.” They’ll keep records of times you hadn’t done something for them, “if only you had, what about when you didn’t.“
Narcissistic people aren’t coming from a place of honesty, respect, loyalty, understanding, compassion, give and take. They’re coming from a place of control and getting everything their own way.
4. They don’t compromise.
Narcissists don’t settle disagreements. They create disagreements and then accuse you of trying to cause an argument. A narcissist will create conflict while playing the victim every time you need to discuss something, and they’ll claim you’re creating the drama, or that they don’t want to argue, so nothing gets resolved.
A narcissist seeks to control you by finding any way they can to take your voice away from you.
Be careful stepping away from those who treat you in these ways, as narcissistic people do not like losing control.
5. The narcissists guilt trips.
A narcissist will act all offended by your values, beliefs and your opinions when you create boundaries around who you are as a person. When a narcissist keeps a record, they’ll fire things back at you and say, “What about when I did this for you? You never did that for me,” to make you feel bad, to control your feelings to coercively control you through obligation into doing something for them that went again who you are. Or to guilt-trip you into not doing something for yourself that doesn’t benefit the narcissist, isolating you, “So your friends are more important than me?” To stop you from going out and doing the things you enjoy doing.
Narcissists are looking to guilt trip you to sabotage who you are as a person. To control your finances. If you have children, they’re going to place as many obstacles as possible to stop you from working if working is what you’d like to do, such as “well if you don’t care for the children.” to guilt and shame you into not doing what’s right for you.
6. A narcissist will shame you.
A narcissist will get you questioning your judgment, opinions, values, and beliefs. If your perception of reality doesn’t match that of the narcissists, the narcissist will go all out to make you feel like you are in some way wrong because the narcissist themselves always has to be right. A narcissist wants you to question who you are as a person so you don’t question who they are as a person. A fragile narcissist will play the victim of “I knew you’d take their side,” to guilt you into feeling bad for not agreeing with them, to get you feeling like you’ve offended the narcissist, to get you questioning if there’s something wrong with your judgment, your reality, something wrong with your perception, so you’re conditioned by the narcissist into taking on board their opinions as your own, slowly losing your opinions and your voice. Even if you still have your own opinions, a narcissist will shame you into that much self-doubt. You’ll question and overanalyse your own, becoming too afraid to speak up for fear of judgment or fear of offending those around you.
A narcissist will go all out to humiliate you. If they can do this in front of an audience so they can isolate you, get you second-guessing what others think of you, getting others to laugh at your expense, this works in a narcissist’s favour as you lose your voice to the narcissist and to those around you.
A narcissist will blame you for everything that goes wrong not only within your life but also in their life. So you’re forever apologising to them and those around you for things you didn’t even do.
A narcissist will invalidate you into no longer feeling enough, and intimidate you, so you fear being yourself.
7. The narcissist claiming they care.
Narcissistic parents with their “this is going to hurt me more than it will you” A narcissist will hurt you while they claim it’s because they love you, they’ll lie to you while claiming you can’t handle the truth when in reality it’s the lie that hurts more than the truth, narcissistic people lie to force you into making a choice you wouldn’t make with full disclosure of all relevant information, which hurts us more.
A narcissist will love-bomb you just enough to make you feel like they want what’s best for you, not realising they are sabotaging you. “Do you really think you should do that? I wouldn’t do that if I were you. It’s only because I care.”
8. Hiding things from you.
A narcissist will stoop as low as to hide your car keys from you, so you can’t get to work, can’t see your friends, often then finding them for you later and expecting eternal gratitude for doing so, “if it wasn’t for me finding your keys.” So they influence you into believing they’re helping you while the narcissist is covertly sabotaging and distracting you. They will hide financial information and how many children they have. Narcissists can be some of the most secretive people you’ve ever met because they’ve got things to hide.
A narcissist will create feelings of intrigue within you while creating doubt within you while creating fear within you, so you dare not discuss things with them for fear of repercussions from them, getting ignored, insulted, shamed, blamed, humiliated, threatened, and you’ve no one to speak to because they’re already isolated you.
9. No longer able to enjoy life.
Be it the environment you end up In or the atmosphere a narcissist creates. They get you to a point where you can no longer enjoy, let alone do, all the everyday things you used to do. A narcissist will drain you so you no longer have the energy to do the things you love to do, or they’ll provoke that much fear and self-doubt within you to stop you from doing the things you enjoy.
A Narcissist will claim you are anxious, depressed or crazy, and as they’ve provoked these very feelings within you, you again question yourself and not what the narcissist is doing to you.
Narcissists want to control, which is why they coercively control not only you but those around you, through love or through fear, through sweetness or through tears.
Finding a safe way out is always one of the first steps in recovery
- Write down what truly happened to put your memory and reality back and also to look through if you have doubts and want to reach out and get in touch with them.
- Remove the abuser’s negative thoughts from your mind, and start to put your own in, “I am good enough. I do deserve better. I am worth it.” And keep going until you have removed them and you’re thinking for yourself again.
- Start putting yourself first. When travelling on a plane, if the cabin pressure drops, you are told to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help others, you have to be at your best, now is the time always to be kind to yourself first, then be kind to others.
- Get creative, write, draw, sing, paint, garden, play an instrument, and find your creative side again.
- If you feel ok to do so, share your story with others that understand you, getting it out of your mind space, which some people don’t want to do out loud. This is normal. Write it out and destroy it to get it out, or keep it to refer back to.
- Connect with genuine people, and reach out to old family and friends. You might have to ditch your pride for this. Genuine family and friends will understand and be there for you, step out of your comfort zone and, find places to meet new people, and surround yourself with positive people now.
- Dress how you want to dress for yourself, do the things you love doing for yourself and might have been stopped from doing them, go for that run, join the gym, hoover when you want, sleep when you want, eat what you want when you want.
- Create new routines for you, and remove reminders of them.
- Take control of your diet and exercise. Just start drinking a little more water and taking a walk. Yoga and meditation are extremely good. Dance to music on your phone.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach. She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with (Sponsored.) BetterHelp. You will be matched with a licensed councillor who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.