Control Tactics

Being raised by narcissists, I learned early in life how to be a good victim.  So good, I’ve been in relationships (friends, romantic & even family) with many abusive people.  Not all were narcissists, but they all shared something in common- their need to control me.


Not all controlling people are narcissists, but all narcissists are controlling.  Learning to recognize various methods people use to control others can help you to understand what is happening & react accordingly.


Coming on too strong.  When you first meet someone & they immediately want to be your best friend or start talking of marriage right away, this is a bad sign.  I once had a friend who upon meeting said we were going to be best friends, & she was extremely controlling.  The same for a man I once dated who started talking marriage within a month of meeting.


They expect you to read their minds.  If the person is acting unhappy, you’re supposed to know why & what they want you to do to make it all better.  If you don’t, you aren’t a good friend, you don’t love them, etc.


The silent treatment.  Narcissists in particular enjoy this one.  The silent treatment means refusing to speak to you or acknowledge you rather than discuss the problem.  Withdrawing their love is designed to make you feel as if you have done something terribly wrong, & to make you want to make it up to them.  It keeps you off balanced, & until you realize what is happening, working hard to make the person giving you the silent treatment happy with you again.


Talking around the problem at hand.  This distraction technique removes your focus from the real problem & puts it wherever the controller wants it.  Usually on you & your flaws, real or imagined.


Constant talking.  Narcissists love to brag about themselves  & never tire of  the sound of their own voices.  Other controlling people talk constantly as well.  This tactic keeps the attention on the controller & the victim giving the controller their full attention.


Projection.  Accusing a victim of a behavior that the abuser does is projection.  The goal is to change the behavior of the victim.  For example, if the victim is called selfish, the victim will work hard to prove how unselfish she is.


Not “walking the walk.”  A controlling person has very definite opinions of things.  For example, your home should be so clean at all times, when you clean it, it’s hard to tell anything was done because it was that clean before you started.  Yet, their house has enough dust on the tables to write your name in, & don’t you dare say a word about it lest you face their wrath.


Using guilt trips.  Guilt trips are supposed to make you feel so bad, you’ll never do that action again.  Healthy guilt is a good thing.  It keeps you from doing things like stealing or cheating on your spouse.  You know doing such things would make you feel miserable, so you avoid doing them.  Guilt trips are about control & not necessarily about you doing something bad.


Bullying.  Bullies come across quite scary & intimidating.  The truth however is that they are simply cowards.  They try to make themselves look scary by acting intimidating so they’ll get their way.  Refusing to give in often makes them stop their ridiculous behavior.


Urgency.  By creating a false sense of urgency, it means the victim feels she has no time to think about things, she must act & act right now.  Urgency eliminates the chance to consider the situation & evaluate choices.



Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

5 responses to “Control Tactics

  1. My wife withholds information from me regularly. If she tells me about an event, decision, or deadline, she will wait as long as she can. This puts urgency on me at the very least. Most times it removes most or all my ability to have a say in the matter. Since she has control over the information and can plan the wat it is presented, she can limit the options already. The late notice means I only have time to select from her pre-approved options she lists.

    She can look very good to everyone else, while I look bad if I try to take the reins at all. When there is gaslighting, DARVO, and smear tactics, a victim will already be experiencing anxiety and confusion. Making decisions /and/ fighting the current is tiring even when you feel strong.

    I am so fatigued and wiped out.


  2. Reblogged this on An adult daughter's struggle to recover from narcissistic parents and commented:
    Very true & practical! I’ve experienced all of them. My parents are the masters of almost all of them, except the first one “Coming on too strong”. They still hold on to the illusion (more like delusion since they are really psychologically abnormal?) that they have owned me since I was a baby, so they have never bothered to pretend that they like me. It’s kind of paradoxical, since they want to keep me in their full control, shouldn’t they at least pretend to be nice to me so that I didn’t get driven away by their bullying? That’s really shallow of them. It seems the more you know about your narcs, the more you realize they are indeed very shallow or even empty inside, just soulless.

    However, I have met friends & bosses who exhibited “coming on too strong”. One of such so-called friends later became a little bit of a stalker while I tried to distance myself from her, which was really scary for me back then in my early 20s. Thank God it happened in my university, and in order to protect myself, I talked to a few of my closer normal friends & one of my professors about the horrible situation. Going public was the only way to protect myself at that time. A few months later, after I finally “shook her off”, I heard she became “intimate” with another girl in our department. Yet, it was only in another few months that the girl she acquainted found out she was very odd, & she even came to me for help after hearing about what the “odd” girl did to me. She wanted to know how I got myself out of the awful situation. So, indeed, “coming on too strong” is a very obvious & bad sign. If anyone you just meet shows this sign, run ASAP!


  3. Again a very clear teaching on these ways of behaviour Cynthia


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