The Control of the Narcissist

narcissism-bylianesebastianExplore the dangers of a common personality disorder, prevalent and untreated, especially in this political climate. Here are eight techniques narcissists use in their grab for power. As an illustrator, I hope I have captured visually the environment they create, and my article explores how they set it up.

Dangerous Narcissistic Manipulations

Like moths to the flame, people are attracted to those who are confident. They exert and aura of assurance, of correctness, or even of hope; their fears are soothed. People want to trust the confident, and it is proven that to be an effective leader, confidence is essential. Where is the line between confidence and narcissism? What does it mean when a narcissist has authority? As a personality disorder very prevalent in our society, little defense is ever mounted against this generally admired danger.

With the election approaching in the U.S., everyone should clearly examine each candidate for symptoms, as the narcissist uses identifiable techniques, when looking beyond charisma. There is not enough discussion or evaluation of this dangerous threat, when history clearly teaches the results of a narcissist in power. Hopefully we don’t have to make the same mistakes to learn the same lessons.

Several years ago, after being the victim of a narcissists’s destructive manipulation, I set out to learn options for how to handle. And, as I approach all subjects, I did homework. As a compulsive communicator, I wrote an article on how to deal with a narcissist, because my challenge was with a family member, that I can’t avoid. Attached is the PDF which I hope you will read.

This blog is a request. Please evaluate candidates for public office by their narcissistic coefficient. Anyone who wants to be a politician likes being in the limelight, but that doesn’t make them a narcissist. My attached article lays out the symptoms and common behaviors.

Here I wish to express the consequences of choosing a narcissistic leader. They have such a confidence and sense of entitlement that many are attracted to politics. They believe they must run things. And here is how they do it:

1. Create drama—they keep themselves at the center of controversy, controlling the subject matter as a smokescreen to conceal other activities

2. Practice selective listening—they do all the talking. If they pause and listen to someone else speaking, their minds are more on composing their response than hearing opposition.

3. Apply black and white thinking—people are easy to distract but not easy to categorize. The narcissist simplifies issues to good/bad to avoid fair decisions or creative options. There is no negotiation and perpetuates a win/lose environment. The worst part is that it means people (their supporters) are “good,” and those who think differently are “bad.”

4. Collect admirers—the focus of attention is not on the issues they claim to represent, but is on them. Around them are “yes-men” that compliment and obey. There is limited diversity among their advisors.

5. Dominate decisions—the plans that they outline must be obeyed, as conclusions are their way or the highway. A common phrase they use is “trust me” while they proceed to advance their agenda.

6. Require handling—strategy must be used in dealing with a narcissist. Everything has to be complimentary to them, and all presentations must be framed to demonstrate their benefit in your proposal. And, they need to receive the credit for the project even though you will do the work.

7. Rewrite history—all events or developments are presented as their achievements and anyone who is highlighted did their bidding. The facts don’t really matter. Perception is everything.

8. Deny selectively—narcissists attack when they can’t defend, and sadly, most challengers cave in to that. The attack is distracting and exposes potent vulnerabilities, so keeping on topic requires awareness and determination, as the best journalists discover. One version of this is to “kill the messenger.” Further, narcissists deny past discretions versus apologize for them, as being “wrong” would expose “weakness.” Rather, they declare that past wrongs are insignificant.

Linked here is my longer pieceSelf-Defense for Dealing with Narcissists from a few years ago, worthy of being dusted off and applied to this political environment.

There will always be narcissists who try to control people. The only way to handle them is to recognize them, and not give them power. Please vote with this in mind.


Liane Sebastian wears an editor’s hat, designer’s coat, and artist’s shoes.