Narcissistic control-freaks rule! They think. Some narcissistic personalities are so over the top that it’s easy to detect them. You’ll follow your gut reaction and get away as fast as you can.
But watch out. If you’re not careful, stealthy narcissists will take over your life – at home, in relationships, at work. Are you sure you can detect the stealthy ones?
Seven warning signs of bullying, controlling narcissists are:
- They think they know best about everything. They know what’s best for you; just ask them. They give you advice and make your life miserable if you don’t do what they say. They point out all your mistakes and failings. They’re spouses, relatives or friends who could direct your life better than you can. They’re yelling, threatening, demeaning bosses. Their absolute certainty seduces you into self-doubt and self-bullying. You become unsure of your own judgment and wisdom so you might as well follow theirs.
- Their excitement is contagious and sweeps you along. Whether it’s for a new product, career, love interest or activity, it’s the best and greatest – even if it’s the opposite of what they thought 10 minutes ago. You should jump on board if you know what’s good for you.
- They think they don’t have anything to learn. They’re new employees or interns who know everything and don’t need to learn from people who are already doing their jobs well. They’re nit-picking, micro-managers. They’re children or teenagers who won’t practice or learn, who won’t do anything the way other people say is best. They insist on doing it their way, even though they fail repeatedly. They won’t listen; especially when they’re failing.
- They’re more important than you are. Actually, they’re more important than the rest of the world. Their feelings are so intense that you’re too polite or afraid to upset them by trying to make your feelings or opinions matter. Their feelings get hurt easily and are powerful justifications for anger, retaliation and revenge. Their jealousies, issues and concerns (not yours) become the focus of all interactions. Their desires – for promotions, toys they want, relationships they want, enemies they want to get – are the most important things and they’re entitled to get what they want. They’re controlling, stealth-bullying husbands. Your time – actually, your whole life – should be devoted to their needs (wants, whims).
- Everyone is a pawn in their game. You have value only as long as you can help them or worship them. They’re selfish, arrogant, demanding teenagers, spouses or dates who think they should be catered to or waited on. Anyone who doesn’t help or who gets in the way becomes the enemy. You’re afraid that if you disagree or distance yourself, they’ll strike back at you.
- Their excuses, excuse. Their reasons are always correct and are enough to justify what they do. If you don’t agree, you simply don’t understand or you’re evil. Their jealousies, anger and hatred are not bad characteristics – like other people’s jealousy, anger and hatred. Self-deluded narcissists (aren’t they all, by definition) think they’re merely feeling, thinking and doing what any normal person would feel, think and do. They’re saints in their own minds. You’d better agree or else.
- Their rules, rule. They know how the world should be and how people should act. They’re allowed to do anything they want – to take, attack or strike back in any way they want – but everyone else should be bound by their rules. If your feelings are hurt by what they’ve said or done, it’s your fault and your problem. They are virtuous and righteous. They’re great debaters or they simply talk so loud and long that you give in.
In order to thrive, we all need some of these characteristics some of the time. Narcissists have them all and they won’t give them up. They’d rather dominate than succeed or have relationships that bring out the greatest in everyone.
Take a look at yourself: What attracts you to someone who is sure they’re important, they’re right and your life would be better if you do what they say or if you serve them?
Kind-hearted therapy-junkies in families or in the workplace think they can convert these selfish, self-absorbed bullies by loving them enough, by appeasing them or by educating them. Forget it.
You’re never going to change them. They’re bullying, control-freaks. Get the coaching you need to get away as fast as you can. You don’t need their direction. Don’t ask for or even allow them to give their opinions. Make your own mistakes and create your own successes.
Ignore your self-bullying; that little voice that doesn’t like you, that tells you that narcissists might be right. If you don’t trust your own guts you’ll get sucked in, just like you would into a black hole.
As I show in my books and CDs of case studies, “How to Stop Bullies in their Tracks,” “Bullies Below the Radar” and “Parenting Bully-Proof Kids,” bullies, including narcissistic personalities, are not all the same, but their patterns of behavior, their tactics, are the same. That’s why we can find methods to stop most of them. If we don’t stop bullies, they’ll think we’re easy prey. Like sharks, they’ll just go after us more.