An Inside Look at the Subtle Ways Narcissists Control People

An Inside Look at the Subtle Ways Narcissists Control People

Narcissistic controlling behavior occurs in both overt and covert ways.

Their primary goal is to manipulate you.

Do you think you may know someone like this?

Take a moment to look at these tactics and see if any of them have been used on you.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Therapists in Colorado

Shannon Matlock, LPC, NCC

Shannon Matlock, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021
Dr. Michelle Palmieri, DSW, LSW

Dr. Michelle Palmieri, DSW, LSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342

Narcissists Project What They Do on Others

Most narcissists will accuse you of doing those things that they're doing themselves.

Some examples of this narcissistic controlling behavior include:

  • They'll frequently lie and accuse you of being untrustworthy.
  • Their actions are unreliable so they'll say that they can't depend on you and that you've let them down.
  • If they frequently go into fits of rage, they'll tell you that you need anger management.

Typically, narcissists aren't even aware that they're being hypocritical.

Instead, they'll accuse you of doing these things and then convince themselves that it's true.

By projecting these actions on you they can avoid taking responsibility for their own dysfunctional behaviors.

Unfortunately, this only makes you act defensive towards them.

There are also many narcissists who believe that they have a special insight into how others act.

They feel justified in telling you what your reality is.

For instance, they may tell you that they "know you better than you know yourself."

When narcissists act in this way (labeling your thoughts, motivations, and feelings) what they're really trying to do is seek the upper hand.

Through this type of narcissistic controlling behavior, they attempt to do this by making you doubt yourself.

Narcissists Will Use Any Means Necessary to Get What They Feel They're Entitled To.

Narcissistic controlling behavior occurs because they feel they're entitled to get whatever they want through whatever means necessary.

Therefore, they tend to endlessly badger you with opinions, questions, and demands.

They may also try to pressure you into giving them immediate answers or making instantaneous decisions.

Many of them will even repeat the lies that they've told you in order to make you think they're true.

Even when you bring up your own viewpoint, they won't listen.

What they will do is grow furious because you're questioning them, which makes them think you don't trust them.

Although most of us would recognize how these actions hurt and offend those around us, unfortunately, this usually isn't true for narcissists.

For those few narcissists who realize that this is a type of narcissistic controlling behavior, they won't care about their actions.

If they do care, it's only because they take delight in acting this way.

Only when you grow exhausted and give into their narcissistic controlling behavior will they stop.

This is because they feel as though they finally have the upper hand, which is what they've wanted all along.

Narcissists are Known for Infatilizing and Minimizing.

Narcissists talk down to other people or they'll use the same tone of voice that a parent would use with their child.

In this way they'll make you feel like you aren't as intelligent as them or that you have fewer rights than them.

This type of narcissistic controlling behavior makes them feel superior.

When diminishing doesn't work, they'll attempt to minimize anything that would make them look or feel bad.

For instance, they'll make up all kinds of excuses for the way they act and blame their bad behavior on those around them.

Some of them will even go so far as to outright deny that they've done anything that's destructive.

This is because they realize that it's difficult for you to fight back against their minimizing and destructive behavior.

When narcissists minimize those around them, this shows that they have a double standard.

Narcissists won't give it much of a thought when their actions hurt someone else.

However, when they feel the least bit slighted, they'll make it appear it's the end of the world.

When All Else Fails Narcissists Go Nuclear.

Most narcissistic controlling behavior occurs because the narcissist can't contain their strong impulses and feelings.

This enables them to throw tantrums, call you names, and just generally make an outright scene.

Doing so makes them feel powerful.

It also helps them discharge any uncomfortable feelings or thoughts they may be experienced.

However, this narcissistic controlling behavior is a sure-fire way to put you on the defensive.

Narcissists Use a Combination of Shaming and Flattering.

Narcissists carry a lot of shame with them.

Most of the time they don't even realize that they're doing so.

This is because they've grown so accustomed to discharging their unpleasant feelings on the people who are around them - usually through a combination of shaming and flattering.

Shaming occurs when they question others' legitimacy.

They'll do things like chide you for a less-than-perfect performance or rub failure in your face.

By knocking you down, they feel better about themselves.

They also gain additional ammunition for acting in this way anytime you try defending yourself or explaining your actions.

Flattering occurs because narcissists love complements and believe that others do too.

Narcissists will use flattery to induce you to flatter them in return.

By stroking your ego they believe that they'll get what they want from you or make you dependent upon them.


Personality disorders have a way of hiding or distracting a person's greatest psychological vulnerabilities.

Another thing that a narcissist hates the most is for someone to make them feel humiliated, illegitimate, or inferior.

These tactics of narcissistic controlling behavior are ones you need to watch out for.

They're commonly used to inflate their ego at your expense.

Once you've realized their motives and moved away from them, they'll do anything they can to get you back.

If you've been hurt in this way, Overcomers Counseling is here to help you realize you aren't the one who's in the wrong.

Instead, you have every right to move forward as the healthy person you are.

Get in touch with us so we can help you heal and move forward with your life.


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July 18th, 2024

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