It’s Narcissist Friday!
It appears to be essential for the narcissist to be in control. The more unpredictable or hazardous their world becomes, the more uncomfortable the narcissists become. An erratic workplace or relationship, where the narcissist can’t seem to find a stable place, is very undesirable.
While it appears that the narcissist considers himself superior to everyone, most actually feel quite inferior. They feel as though they must always prove themselves in comparison with others and they must always win. If they lose, are shown to be wrong or weak somehow, they feel as though they become less than the other person and vulnerable. But the narcissist has worked very hard to not be vulnerable. No, the relationship or the environment must be brought under control.
Understanding this need to avoid risk and weakness will help us understand why the narcissist thinks and acts the way he/she does. This gives an explanation for his attitude at family gatherings where he is not the center of attention. If he feels intimidated or vulnerable, he can either hide or be in control. Many narcissists are the “life of the party” when they are in groups. If they can’t be in the center, they don’t want to be there. Why? Because they are frightened.
This helps to explain why the rest of us are ever good enough, wise enough, or successful enough. The narcissist must be better than the rest of us so he can control the conversation. It explains the lying, the isolating, and so much more. When control becomes an obsession, any method is fair.
I learned long ago that some people handle life from the inside, while others handle it from the outside. What that means is that some people find control within themselves and it doesn’t really matter what happens around them. Others, however, can’t find that control from within. They may not want to look inside or what’s inside may be broken. So they try to handle life by controlling the people and the things around them. They reason that a secure and subdued environment will give them the peace they can’t find inside.
Now, that may be true of more people than those we consider narcissistic, but it is certainly true of narcissists. Inside a narcissist is a dark place with a cowering child, weak and so afraid. Unsure of any relationship, unable to define love, and unwilling to accept the self he/she believes in, the narcissist must find security on the outside. And, again, when control is necessary, any means, no matter how ruthless or unscrupulous, is acceptable.
And when control is impossible, the narcissist must either work harder or abandon the attempt and move elsewhere. Many narcissists become psychological abusers and/or serial job seekers and lovers.
This aspect of narcissist behavior is all too familiar to those who read here. The need to control seems definitive among narcissists, although the methods will differ. All nine of the classic characteristics of narcissism can be linked to the need for control. Again, the ways this works out for each individual and each relationship will look different, but it helps to understand the basic need.
Sadly, I have come across a powerful example of this topic. This story is presented from one side, so take it with a small grain of salt; but it will feel familiar to some of you.
If you read this, come back here and tell me what you think. So sad to see people hurting so much.