Warning signs that you’ve been controlled by a narcissist and what to do about it.

Are you in a relationship and not sure if it is toxic or healthy? Have boundaries being crossed, causing you discomfort?

If you are having a hard time in a relationship, and you are feeling you are being controlled and manipulated,  it may be time to check if you can recognise any of the signs listed below.

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder characterised by self-centeredness, lack of empathy, and unconscious manipulative behaviour.

This person, whether a romantic partner, friend, or family member, may be controlling you and hurting your personal and professional life. But there may be more to it than that. This narcissist may also be affecting your self-esteem.

Do feel you have a narcissist in your life who is controlling you?

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition which often requires diagnosis and attention of trained medical professionals. I am not a fan of labelling people, however, if you notice any of the signs listed below, it may help you realise if you have a narcissist in your life and how to overcome their toxic behaviour towards you. 

What is mind control?

The basic definition of mind control is brainwashing and persuasion that is done to your inner thoughts, ideas, and beliefs.  Mind control involves manipulative tactics that help the person impact your mind and behaviour. 

It can take different forms, but narcissists are skilled at using this technique to manage you. 

It is important to highlight that a narcissist only interested in satisfying their own needs, sometimes at the expense of others,  so controlling you is just part of their game.

A big part of mind control is coercive persuasion, a form of psychological manipulation wherein the manipulator uses different techniques to coerce someone into doing what they want. Some persuasion tools include: threats, rhetorical questions, use of self-name or social status – or even flattery or showering their “victim” with gifts.

The persuasion puts the victim under extreme stress and anxiety. 

Subtle control. 

Narcissists know to how to use subtle control, so you don't even realise you're doing what they want. 

Narcissists use trigger phrases to control you. Some common phrases include disappointment and statements about their feelings: “I always have your back”, “I’ll never do that to you”.

They may remind you of how you're supposed to behave and think. 

What are the warning signs of a narcissist's mind control?

Narcissists are often seen as charming and wonderful, but the truth is that they're the total opposite. They have no empathy for others, and their sole goal is to fulfil their desires, you are just another pawn in their game. If you have a problem, they're not going to care. The key to telling if they're an actual narcissist is if they don't care that they may be hurting others with their behaviour. 

Here are some signs to look out for if you're worried you might be involved with a narcissist.

A narcissist who is using mind control doesn't care about your feelings or pain. If you have a problem, they're not going to care. 

A narcissist will use a variety of emotional and other manipulative techniques to get you to do or think a certain way. 

Flattery and “Love Bombing”

A narcissist may use flattery to make you feel great about yourself and love to control you.

Narcissistic abusers use "love bombing" to gain the trust of their victim. Gestures, such as excessive compliments and sending flowers or showering you with gifts, are used to make the victim feel wanted and cherished. This is used to create an intense, yet false, connection. Soon, the narcissist may begin to accuse their victim of not being enough. At the same time, the victim will be isolated from others to prevent them from receiving support, so they can be easily managed  

Masters of Drama: Chaos and Uncertainty

The narcissist will try to create chaos and uncertainty, so the victim doesn't know what to expect from them. This also gives the narcissist more control because they get to decide how things are handled. The victim is left so confused that they can't even know what to do or how to escape.

Gaslighting and Shifting Blame

Gaslighting and shifting blame are common techniques used by a narcissist. Not taking responsibility of their own actions.

Narcissists often use these techniques to make sure they're seen in a positive light. They do this by making the victim question their own memory and perceptions of a scenario.

Gaslighting is a term coined by the journalist Patrick Lumumba in the movie Gaslight. It comes from a scene in the movie where an abusive husband makes his wife doubt her own memories, thoughts, and beliefs by using a series of lies, misdirection, and contradiction. It's a way of manipulating someone by denying that there is a problem, turning the tables and putting the responsibility on the victim. They do this in a way where the victim can never "win" the argument, and the narcissist has the power to always be the victor in their twisted games.

A narcissist never takes responsibility for their behaviour, so they blame someone else for their problems or mistakes. It can help a narcissist retain a positive image in the minds of others and maintain the status quo.

How to break free from a narcissist?

It's usually not easy to get away from the mind control of a narcissist. Mind control is a form of emotional abuse. It involves a form of systematic manipulation that can make the target feel as though their life revolves around the narcissist. 

It is also important not to be rude or make the narcissist feel insulted in any way. While it may seem counterintuitive to play along with the narcissist's denial, this can actually help you later on.  Avoid getting into arguments with narcissists, this will only make things worse. Understand that narcissists don't have the ability to listen to others and don't care about their needs. They won't care about your needs and desires, either. The narcissist will make claims that he or she is the victim, and the victimiser is someone or something else, just remember that the narcissist is lying and is the cause of all the issues.

Distance Yourself

Avoiding the narcissist physically may not be enough to escape his or her control. Any type of communication, such as phone conversations or even texts, can place you back under their thumb.

Support is Essential

In some cases, the victims require outside intervention and help to get away. You may need to seek help from a trusted family member, friend, or therapist to figure out how to escape. Support is essential.

Trust your Instincts

Do not delay seeking help, trust your instincts.

If you are in Australia, visit your GP who may write you a mental health plan, so you can get a rebate from Medicare. Otherwise, you can contact a therapist directly and make an appointment, you don't need a referral to do this.

The mind control that a narcissist can perform may astound you. They're capable of convincing you of anything and making you doubt your own memory and perception.

I’ve done nothing but love you 

They're able to get inside your head with a simple phrase. Take care of yourself by learning how to deal effectively with a narcissist.

Know your Self-Worth.

Narcissists can be as charming as they are devastating. The key to break this hold is to know your self-worth.