Tuesday, June 16, 2009
By Robert Melton MA.
At his core, every Controller is monumentally self-centered. He is not just on an ego trip. He is on an expedition.
In his mind, everyone orbits around him, as if people are his planets and he is their shining sun. What he wants he should have, simply because he wants it. He needs no other justification. Seeing himself as the center of everyone else's universe, he is blind to the fact that anyone else's wants or needs are more important than his own. Doggedly locked into this self-image of grand, "godlike" proportions, he may literally feel entitled to other's worship.
It is as if these kind of men view reality from inside a strange, transparent fortress, whose walls are both shield and golden mirror. Hardened against the truth of the world outside himself, this psychological citadel resists seeing things as they really are. Like mental bulletproof-glass, these opaque fortress walls deflect any words or actions from others that might threaten his perfect "godlike" image of himself. Everything is perceived through this armored, shining shell, and the world must always treat him as if he were golden. And failure to worship at his shrine can be devastating.
At one end of this egotistical continuum are publicly notorious "charismatic leaders"--the Caesars, Hitlers and Saddam Husseins of the world--that represent the severe end of self-centeredness gone violently berserk. They see themselves as "entitled" to dominate or destroy millions, simply because they can. But Controllers that most women encounter rarely look as obvious as an Adolph or Saddam, or become as lethal. Instead of striving to conquer nations, these narcissistic "little dictators" must limit themselves to conquering you.
But what exactly is "narcissism," in terms of being a Controller? And what is the surest way to spot this self-adoring manipulator?
In a Narcissistic Controller's mind, everyone and everything orbits around him, as if people are his planets and he is their shining sun. What he wants, he should have, simply because he wants it. Greed is at the core of his being, but it is greed based more on attention than ownership. He may own a few things, or many, but his primary reason for "owning" anything--including you--is to display his sense of self-induced superiority.
Although such an individual is usually not physically or sexually abusive, he is a master at inflicting psychological, emotional and spiritual damage on others. This type of Controller is incapable of needing anyone but himself, and it is that rigidly fixated belief which lies behind the lordly attitude that dwells in him. It is as if these kinds of men see reality from inside a strange, transparent fortress, whose walls are both shield and mirror. Like mental bulletproof glass, these opaque psychological walls deflect any words or actions from outside him that might threaten his perfectly idealized, "godlike" self-image. And his mannerisms and behaviors reflect his own shining image.
He seems to stand out in a crowd, as if under a spotlight. He acts as if people aren't just watching him--they're adoring him. If you are within earshot, or he engages you in a conversation--which he will, if you can draw other's attention to him--pay close attention to his facial expressions when he mentions those whom he like and dislikes. Listen to how he talks about himself and others. Possessive arrogance characterizes him when he likes someone, as if he personally owns him or her. When he says something good about someone, he tends to say only good things about those whom he perceives as admiring him. Look for intense expressions of disdain toward those whom he dislikes, who will have failed to pander to his sense of self-centered specialness.
When talking about himself, everything he thinks, feels and does, sounds as if it must be important. Nothing is insignificant about a Narcissist, to a Narcissist. Regardless of what position he holds at his job, he is always better at it than anyone else. Whether a company's janitor or chief executive officer, he always conveys a sense of himself as superior to his peers.
When speaking of his family or friends, it sounds like he could be describing expensive cars, clothes, stereos or jewelry. People are possessions to a Narcissistic Controller, useful unto the degree that they make him look good to others and himself. They can be ignored, demeaned or discarded whenever they fail to make him shine.
The quickest and crudest way to confirm that someone is a Narcissistic Controller is simply to marry him. Unfortunately, this actually is the first moment when the narcissistic spell is broken and a woman realizes that Mr. Right is actually Mr. Wrong. If it were simply a manner of recognizing signs of self-centered arrogance, it would be a piece of cake to avoid this kind of man's clutches. But many Narcissistic Controllers possess a subtle weapon: charm.
Most people strive to be socially charming, but this is not the kind of charm displayed by a Narcissistic Controller. The manipulative impact of narcissistic charm is not intended to ease social connectedness. It is designed to establish social dominance. Instead of stimulating thought and interaction, it tends to lull or paralyze the mind. The Random House Dictionary defines charm's essence as, " . . . A power of pleasing or attracting, as through personality or beauty; to act upon (someone or something) with or as with a compelling or magical force . . .." It is this feeling of being acted upon--or controlled--which can initially hint that you are dealing with narcissistic control. It feels intensely charming. You feel gripped by it, instead of eased by it. Other signs can indicate the presence of narcissistic control, as well.
Displaying disdain and contempt for those whom he believes have betrayed him can confirm signs of narcissistic control. But betrayal, to a Narcissist, differs from what normal people experience.
For most people, betrayal usually means a deep violation of trust inflicted by someone with whom a close, personal relationship exists. But, to a Narcissistic Controller, betrayal simply means that someone stopped pandering to his every want and need. In other words, when someone breaks away from his control, he feels betrayed. Since Narcissists do not have the capacity to develop close, trusting personal relationships, there can be no deep violation of real trust.
When a Narcissistic Controller feels betrayed, contempt dominates his facial and verbal expressions. The insolent, aloof sneer commonly accompanies expressions such as, "He didn't know who he was dealing with!" Or, "Doesn't he know who I am?" His real complaint--if he had the ability to see it--should be, "Don't you know who I think I am?"
This is not an exhaustive description of Narcissistic Controllers. It is the basics--the essentials. If you believe that you are already locked into a business or personal relationship with this kind of man, a later part of this series will explain suggested ways to deal with him. But if you have recognized the features of someone like this man, and you are feeling caught inside his spell, ask yourself a question: What part of me needs this man, so that I can feel good about myself?
All types of Controllers capitalize on manipulating that part in anyone which lacks self-esteem. Essentially, they feed off our uncertainties about our selves. Find that shy, heart-broken or traumatized part of yourself and make friends with it. Get close to it, and it will help protect you from his deceptions, deceits, and ultimately, his inevitably egotistical scorn.