10 Ways Narcissists Take Control

Logo_Sized_larger-1   By    November 7, 2017

What is a narcissist, you might ask. Are you controlled by one? Narcissists are the most confusing (and dangerous) people on earth.  If they are toxic or malignant narcissists, they take control and rob you of your independence in every way. Don’t confuse a garden variety selfish person with a full on narcissist or sociopath.

See it coming and run for the hills. What’s difficult to assess in the beginning is that narcissists can seem super nice and generous and caring. Then slowly things begin to change as their masks slip and they morph into the black hole of need, of demand, of criticism. And the list goes on. Until you’re walking through a minefield, trying not to be punished for offending.

A narcissist will commonly choose someone raised to be co-dependent as prey. Co-dependent people tend to be nice, sweet, reasonable, eager to please. They can be taken in because they don’t see what’s coming and don’t believe people can be toxic for no reason. Most people don’t know how to defend ourselves against a chronic malicious controller. They just can’t see the hurt coming and, over time, they are destructively conditioned to take more and more of it until they are tiptoeing through a mine field, fearful that they are the crazy ones. A narcissist will take control by any means at hand. Let us count 10 common ways: 

1. Gaslighting

We’ve written a lot about gaslighting a lot, and how destructive it is. This is not an official psychological term. When you are gaslighted, you feel uncomfortable and know something toxic has occurred, but the narcissist in your life tells you: “That didn’t happen. You imagined it. You’re crazy.” In a nutshell you’re lied to and that makes you doubt yourself. Gaslighting may be the most insidious manipulative tactic. A steady diet of doubting your ability to tell it like it really is alters your sense of reality. Your self-doubt eats away at your ability to trust yourself, and inevitably disables you from feeling justified in labeling and calling out abuse and mistreatment.

Solution Write events down so you have a record later. Have a trusted group of friends and relations you can share information with who can validate what really happened, so you are grounded in reality. Your reality is sacred and needs respect. Note, telling and discussing what’s happening to you with others who love you is different from triangulation, which is using others to cause conflict. Best case scenario, get away from people who gaslight you. If they’re family members, limit their access to you.

2. Projecting Negative Feelings On You

Projection is a defense mechanism narcissists use to displace responsibility of their negative behavior and traits by attributing them to someone else. Narcissists cannot bear to think of themselves as bad, responsible for anything, angry, or difficult. Narcissists are constantly projecting feelings that they cannot tolerate outward to others rather than turning inward. They can’t admit or own up to what they have done. The narcissist creates his own world. Everything revolves around him/her. He believes that he is the initiator and master of his personal and professional domain. Everyone else has a role and that is of serving him and his specific purposes.



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The #MeToo Moment: Dream Crushers

New York Times              December 5, 2017
By Jessica Bennett


As the sexual misconduct scandals continue to unfold, our gender editor, Jessica Bennett, is providing updates and analysis on the coverage and conversation in a new newsletter. Sign up HERE to receive future installments, and tell us what you think at nytgender@nytimes.com.

She called them “dream crushers.”

Her name is Elizabeth Dann, and her story is no less upsetting for its familiarity. She is one of nine women who told me in detail about the sexual harassment and assault they suffered over decades at the hands of the celebrated playwright Israel Horovitz, the subject of an investigative article that was published last week.

Ms. Dann, who was 28 at the time of the abuse, did not stop acting — but she did veer away from the theater, instead doing mostly television commercials. She is now 56, and said the toll never fully went away.

“It’s not just that you’ve been manipulated and your personal space has been invaded — but it messed with me,” she explained. “It messed with how I saw my talent.”

That quote never made it into the story — one of many of the anecdotes that, after weeks and in some cases months of reporting in stories like these, often fall to the cutting room floor.

Also unpublished are the anecdotes of how we as journalists do this reporting, which often requires us to delicately ask people to divulge — and trust us — with memories among most painful of their lives.

My colleagues Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey and Emily Steel — the investigative reporters who, along with Michael Schmidt, broke the stories about Harvey Weinstein and Bill O’Reilly — spent many months doing just this. Tuesday night in Los Angeles, they discussed what it was like behind the scenes of that process, and they were joined by the actress Ashley Judd, whose own story of harassment by Mr. Weinstein helped spark the current #MeToo Moment.

You can watch the replay below , or in a separate window by clicking here.

Before the event, we asked Ms. Kantor, Ms. Twohey and Ms. Steel to answer three brief questions.

jodi kantor ashley judd

At a TimesTalks event in Los Angeles, actor Ashley Judd speaks with the New York Times journalists whose stories about Harvey Weinstein and Bill O’Reilly sparked a national conversation about sexual harassment.

 Publish Date: December 5, 2017. Watch in Times Video »

To read more click HERE

Time Names ‘The Silence Breakers’ As 2017 Person Of The Year

They’re the women who launched a movement against sexual harassment.

Time cover

Huffington Post       December 6, 2017
By Willa Frej

Time’s 2017 Person of the Year is The Silence Breakers, what the magazine refers to as “the individuals who set off a national reckoning over the prevalence of sexual harassment.”

The cover image accompanying the story features actress Ashley Judd, Taylor Swift and former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, who have all spoken out against various forms of sexual misconduct. It also highlights the plight of sexual harassment among people who don’t have as large of an audience by featuring Isabel Pascual, a woman from Mexico who works picking strawberries, and Adama Iwu, a corporate lobbyist in Sacramento.

“The galvanizing actions of the women on our cover … along with those of hundreds of others, and of many men as well, have unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s,” the magazine’s editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said in a statement.

The movement gained momentum after The New York Times published a damning exposé featuring several women who publicly accused Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault. What followed has been a tidal wave of both women and men feeling empowered to publicly air their own accusations against powerful men in a variety of industries, many using the #MeToo campaign. It’s led to the downfall of top executives, journalists, actors, producers and politicians.

Time’s list of “Silence Breakers” includes big names like Rose McGowan and Terry Crews alongside names the public has likely never heard.


“I started talking about Harvey [Weinstein] the minute that it happened,” Judd said in an interview with TIME. “Literally, I exited that hotel room at the Peninsula Hotel in 1997 and came straight downstairs to the lobby, where my dad was waiting for me, because he happened to be in Los Angeles from Kentucky, visiting me on the set. And he could tell by my face — to use his words — that something devastating had happened to me. I told him. I told everyone.”

Tarana Burke, the woman credited with creating the #MeToo campaign, shared her thanks on Wednesday in a tweet.


The magazine’s shortlist, announced Monday, included 2016 winner President Donald Trump, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, special counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the Dreamers and former San Francisco 49ers football player Colin Kaepernick.


Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named “Man (Person) of the Year,” like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!

Trump claimed last month that the magazine told him he was the likely winner for the second consecutive year, which Time later disputed.


“The President is incorrect about how we choose Person of the Year,” a Time spokeswoman told CNN in a statement. “Time does not comment on our choice until publication, which is December 6.”


Trump has been accused of sexual harassment by more than a dozen women.



Doris Kearns Goodwin

Well, look. I think it’s a mistake when people say that standards have simply change. You can’t rationalize behavior in the past that was wrong. If it was wrong now, it was wrong a hundred years ago. It was wrong 50 years ago. I mean, what’s changed now is that the victims are speaking up in a way that they didn’t 50 years ago. And they’re speaking not just by themselves, but in a chorus. And it’s become a movement. And that’s why I think the thing you said at the very end, that young women now are making this a movement. This is a watershed moment. I keep thinking of Bobby Kennedy’s talk. He said at South Africa, and this is exactly what’s happening now, “It is from numberless diverse actions of courage and belief that human history is shaped. “Each time a man stands up, or a woman stands up, for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and those ripples eventually build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” That’s what’s happening now. This is going to change the way men feel about women, it’s going to change their relationship, it’s not a moment that’s going to go away.

Measuring the Intensity of Sadism

Scientists developed this 9-question test to measure how sadistic you are

Business Insider        April 9, 2017
By Rafi Letzter

Science can’t say whether people in your life are good or evil, per se. But it’s getting better at figuring out whether they enjoy hurting you.

A fairly new field in personality research studies “misanthropic” traits: characteristics that lead people to hurt those around them for their own benefit. And psychologists have established a “dark triad” of harmful personality traits: narcissism, psychopathy (or a lack of empathy), and Machiavellianism (or a tendency to manipulate others.)

Any one of these traits makes a person stressful to those around them. Taken together they add up to an “antagonistic and selfish” strategy for getting ahead at other people’s expense.

Now, some researchers suggest a fourth trait should join the triad: sadism, or joy in inflicting pain on others.

Why sadism matters

Sadism is a term with a long history. Sadists take pleasure in hurting other people. They’re our most fearsome and evil villains — whether real or imagined, like Ramsay Bolton of “Game of Thrones.”

But the idea of sadism is fairly new to clinical settings. That’s in part because the whole study of personality, and specifically of “dark” personality traits, is fairly recent and underdeveloped. But it’s also because traits like sadism, along with the rest of the dark triad, are difficult to tease apart with clinical precision.

Even papers that support the idea of sadism as part of a larger “dark tetrad” acknowledge that its effects can be difficult to distinguish from the three existing triad traits.

But a growing body of work in just the last few years has shown that sadism correlates specifically and strongly with cruel behavior — for example, trolling and cyberbullying.

The sadism test

In order to develop a rigorous test for sadism, researchers assembled a list of questionsdesigned to poke right at the heart of a sadistic personality.

The first version was 20 questions long. Subjects were asked to say how strongly they agreed or disagreed with a list of (rather chilling) statements, using a scale from one to five. (One meantcompletely disagree and five completely agree.)

  1. I have made fun of people so that they know I am in control.
  2. People do what I want them to because they are afraid of me.
  3. When I tell people what to do, they know to do it.
  4. I never get tired of pushing people around.
  5. I would hurt somebody if it meant I would be in control.
  6. I control my friends through intimidation.
  7. When I mock someone, it is funny to see them get upset.
  8. Being mean to others can be exciting.
  9. When I get annoyed, tormenting people makes me feel better.
  10. I have hurt people close to me for enjoyment.
  11. I enjoy humiliating others.
  12. I get pleasure from mocking people in front of their friends.
  13. I think about harassing others for enjoyment.
  14. I have cheated others because I enjoy it.
  15. I think about hurting people who irritate me.
  16. I’d lie to someone to make them upset.
  17. I have stolen from others without regard for the consequences.
  18. Making people feel bad about themselves makes me feel good.
  19. I am quick to humiliate others.
  20. I have tormented others without feeling remorse.

When 199 undergraduate students took the test, the results were promising but inconclusive.

The test, researchers found, was good at measuring sadism and dark triad traits. And it suggested that there were specific and interpretable patterns in people’s misanthropic personalities. But it didn’t as good a job as they’d hoped in identifying sadism as separate from psychopathy and the rest of the dark tried.

So they weeded out questions that might have caused too much overlap and tried again with a nine-question version of the test:

  1. I have made fun of people so that they know I am in control.
  2. I never get tired of pushing people around.
  3. I would hurt somebody if it meant I would be in control.
  4. When I mock someone, it’s funny to see them get upset.
  5. Being mean to others can be exciting.
  6. I get pleasure from mocking people in front of their friends.
  7. Watching people get into fights excites me.
  8. I think about hurting people who irritate me.
  9. I would not purposely hurt anybody, even if I didn’t like them.

This time, when 202 students took the test, the results were stronger. It still correlated with other dark triad traits like psychopathy as expected, but did a better job of showing that sadism is a separate category. In both tests, men scored much more highly than women for the negative traits. These results were published the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

The researchers note that there’s a lot more work to do on what they’re calling the Assessment of Sadistic Personality (ASP), including finding subjects who aren’t college undergrads taking questionnaires for course credit (not the most diverse or representative sample). But they expect it will play a significant role as they come to understand sadism in clinical terms.

ISOLATION: One of the most important elements in understanding victims and victimizers

  1. Isolation and domestic violence are two sides of one coin. It is used to create a bubble in which harm (physical, mental, financial, emotional, spiritual, etc.) can easily take place.
  2. Isolation is an effective tactic employed to increasingly separate the victim from her family, friends, social circle and most importantly, her sense of a healthy empowered free self.
  3. Isolating the victim gives the controller more opportunity to be abusive and involved in every aspect of the woman’s life, i.e., where she goes, what she wears, what she eats, the home she lives in, the money she has access to and the entire socialization process of both her and her children if they are involved.
  4. As the torture and abuse intensifies, in a predictable pattern of escalation, not being with people and having the ability to live a normal social community involved life becomes a new norm. In order to hide the painful truth, deep shame and tremendous embarrassment to both herself and in the outer world, she withdraws to his advantage.
  5. This is a tragedy that is foundational to the domestic abuse relationship and why isolation is the tool most often used by perpetrators who seek to dominate and control women.