How can we recognize and stop covert, sneaky bullies and narcissistic control freaks in relationships. Overt bullies are easy to recognize; they’re loud, obnoxious, threatening and in your face.
Sneaky, stealthy bullies are harder to recognize. If we don’t recognize their tactics and label them as bullies or control-freaks, we won’t energize ourselves to develop and carry out an effective plan to stop them.
Seven warning signs of bullying controllers are:
- They think they know best about everything; just ask them. They point out all your mistakes and failings. They think you should ask their permission before you do anything. They make your life miserable if you don’t do what they say. Their absolute certainty seduces you into self-doubt and self-bullying. You become unsure of your own judgment and wisdom; eventually you give in to them.
- They think they’re more important than you are. Your whole life should be devoted to their needs (wants, whims). Their desires, jealousies, issues and concerns (not yours) become the focus of all interactions. They’re entitled to get what they want. Their feelings are their justifications for anger, retaliation and revenge. Their feelings get hurt so easily that you’re too polite or too afraid to upset them by trying to make your feelings or opinions matter. They’re controlling, stealth-bullying partners and spouses.
- They think their sense of humor is correct. They can say whatever they want and you’re supposed to take it. They make nasty, vicious, demeaning, hurtful remarks to you and about you in public, or they tell your embarrassing secrets. Then they laugh like it’s a joke. If you object, they say you’re too sensitive or they were kidding. Your feelings are stupid and not logical. And you better not say anything they don’t like.
- Everyone is a pawn in their game. You have value only as long as you can help them or you worship them. They’re selfish, arrogant and demanding; they think they should be catered to or waited on. Anyone who doesn’t help or who gets in their way becomes an enemy. You’re afraid that if you disagree, they’ll strike back at you.
- They think their excuses, excuse them. 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. Self-deluded narcissists think their jealousy, anger and hatred are not bad characteristics. You’d better agree or else.
- They think their logic, reasoning and rules, rule. They’re allowed to do anything they want – to take what they want, to attack or to strike back in any way they want – but everyone else should be bound by their rules. If your feelings are hurt by what they said or did, it’s your fault and your problem. They’re right and righteous. Everything is your fault. They’re great debaters or they simply talk so loud and long that eventually you give in.
- They think they don’t have anything to learn. They insist on doing things their way, even though they fail repeatedly. They won’t listen; especially when they’re failing.
Also, anyone who harasses, bullies or abuses helpless people – like clerks and waiters – will eventually get around to bullying you. Get rid of them on the first date.
You’re never going to change them. They’re bullying, control-freaks.
Don’t debate or argue with them. Don’t wait for them to agree or to give you permission. Plan in secret if you have to. Dump them or get away as fast as you can. Even if you’re married with children, get away. Set a good example for your kids.
Ignore your self-bullying; that little voice that doesn’t like you, that tells you that the narcissistic control-freak might be right. If you don’t trust your own guts you’ll get sucked in, just like you would into a black hole.
If we don’t stop bullies, they’ll think we’re easy prey. Like sharks, they’ll just go after us more.