To Control Is To Cope – Narcissism and Its Creation
To deal with and to address the vagaries of life, human beings have developed coping mechanisms. These coping mechanisms vary in terms of the extent of their use, their impact on the user, the impact on others and the frequency of their deployment. Some coping mechanisms are regarded as ‘healthy’ and others as ‘unhealthy’ and some may be a hybrid of the two, dependent on the extent and duration of usage.
Distancing is a coping mechanism. You may distance yourself from a situation and people, but prolonged and extensive distancing may lead to isolation with the associated problems which such isolation can bring. Short-term distancing can allow recovery, re-charging and avoidance of an ongoing harmful situation. Longer-term distancing which is targeted on one or more chief proponents of harm can lead to near complete removal from toxic and harmful influences. No contact of course is a coping mechanism which incorporates distancing as a central tenet of it and is the most effective coping mechanism to apply with regard to your recovery from ensnarement with our kind.
Crying is another coping mechanism. The release of tension, held-grief, feelings of misery often evaporate as a consequence of somebody crying. You may be told ‘have a good cry, you will feel better’ and indeed many people have testified to the beneficial impact of doing so and thus crying achieves release and often acts as a signal to invite comfort from others. It is a coping mechanism deployed by people to deal with a stressful, worrying or hurtful situation.
Self-harming is a further form of coping. The distraction caused by the painful response of cutting (cutting being just one form of self-harming) enables an individual to relieve the pain of certain other feelings, it achieves a release, a distraction and also enables that individual to exert control in circumstances where they feel unable to exert control (or to the extent that would make them feel comfortable). Self-harming whilst a coping mechanism is regarded as a negative form of a coping mechanism.
Expression of feelings. Being able to ‘talk it out’ and ‘air your feelings’ is a coping mechanism also. The ability to talk to someone else who will just listen, even if they offer nothing in response or even just to talk to yourself about how you are feeling (be it generally or in relation to something specific) enables people to experience a sense of release, a lightening of a particular load and it often brings clarity in terms of understanding themselves and finding a way forward.
There are many coping mechanisms that humans deploy – some are conscious and others occur unconsciously.
Narcissism is one such coping mechanism and it is a powerful and invariably hugely effective, although its effectiveness does depend on the school of the narcissist and which particular outcome one is having regard to. The outcome of our narcissism is something that I shall address in a separate article.
Narcissism must maintain the construct (the false self) and imprison the creature (the true self). Collectively this is the Self-Defence of the Narcissist. This Self-Defence is achieved through the The Prime Aims(fuel, character traits and residual benefits).
Central to this Self-Defence and the achievement of The Prime Aims is control. The narcissist must at all times have control of his or her environment and the people within that environment which of course includes you. Whether you are a stranger, an acquaintance, a friend, a colleague, a relative or a romantic partner. Whether you are a neighbour, a date, sister or brother, that man from the corner store or fiancée – you come within the fuel matrix of the narcissist and you have to be subjected to the control of the narcissist.
This control has to be exerted second by second of each and every day. Every passing moment must be owned and governed by the narcissist. We must exert control all around us, this has to be complete and total as if the very clouds were tethered by us. Why is that?
Because once upon a time the narcissist did not have control.
That lack of control meant the narcissist felt powerless, weak, vulnerable and exposed.
The combination of a genetic predisposition and the imposition of this lack of control created narcissism as the coping mechanism. These two ingredients combined and gave ‘birth’ to narcissism as a means of coping with the world, with the lack of control that the world causes for individuals. Many people have no issue with this lack of control, others have alternative coping mechanisms and then there is us – the narcissists. Around one in six of the human population of this planet became narcissists in order to cope with this loss of control.
Narcissism allows the imposition of control through manipulation. The imposition of control allows us to achieve the Prime Aims. The achievement of the Prime Aims allows our Self-Defence and thus we survive and we thrive.
Narcissism is a coping mechanism.
People believe that abuse is theingredient in the formation of a narcissist. It is an ingredient, yes, but there are two ingredients in the formation of our kind. The first ingredient is the genetic predisposition, if you will this is the fertile soil which provides the basis for the narcissism to grow and flourish. The second ingredient is the lack of control (of which abuse is part of that lack of control) and this is the ‘seed’ which is placed in the fertile soil of the genetic predisposition and thus narcissism ‘grows’ as the coping mechanism. For some, the soil is there but no seed ever arrives and thus no narcissist. For others, there is no soil but there is the seed, but again with one essential ingredient missing, there can be no narcissism.
Genetic predisposition plus lack of control (at a formative stage of life) equals narcissist.
What does this lack of control (at a formative stage of life – i.e. childhood) look like?
- Abuse. Whether it is physical, emotional, sexual or psychological, any form of abuse towards us amounts to a lack of control. We could not defend ourselves against the abuse and therefore this is a lack of control, over ourselves and over those who meted out abusive harm towards us. The abuse is an act of commission – we were beaten, molested sexually, told we were useless, insulted etc.
- Isolated. Whether this was being locked in a cupboard under the stairs, prevented from playing with other children, kept apart from other family members, not allowed to participate in group activities of any nature, given silent treatments and treated as if we did not exist, isolating and ostracising us in some form again constituted a lack of control. We were not able to control our own interactions, someone else did this for us and to our detriment. We were controlled by another and thus lacked control.
- Neglect. Whilst there may not have been abusive acts of commission , there are abusive acts of omission. Therefore we were not given a safe environment, we were not taught effectively (be it about ‘facts’, relationships, behaviour, responsibility), we were not emotionally supported, we were not fed, clothed or protected, we were not shielded from an abuser of commission and/or we could roam where we wanted. Once again we were denied control over ourselves because we were not provided with the assets, resources and tools to achieve effective control over our lives and this neglect (lack of control) exposed us to hurt, pain, disease, injury, loneliness and/or acts of abuse through commission.
- The Golden Child. Everything we did was lauded and praised. It was invariably held up as a glowing and shining example of brilliance, even when it was not or the praise was excessive for a valid achievement. This meant we lacked control in the sense of earningachievements in a valid fashion. We had greatness thrust upon us without being ready for it, without having earned it and without appreciating it. Everything came to us too easily and this also amounted to a lack of control. We had no control over the outcome from our endeavours, we felt no compulsion to achieve and apply endeavour because whatever we did (bad, mediocre or good) was met with accolade, praise and the lavishing of ‘how brilliant’. We were denied the ability to control our own destiny.
- Shifting Sands. Where we experienced Shifting Sands we had a lack of control because the environment around us at that formative stage lacked constancy. One day the sun shone and the next day, even though everything else appeared to stay the same to us, there was a thunderstorm. On Monday our painting was declared to be ‘Rembrandt in the making’ (a la Golden Child) and by Friday our painting ‘was the work of a moron wielding a potato for a paintbrush’. The application of black and white thinking by the aggressor created an uncertain environment, one of push and pull, idealisation and devaluation and we had no control whatsoever on which version was going to appear to us. There was a lack of control in our lives through uncertainty, unpredictability and those shifting sands.
- B Graders. ‘It’s good but not good enough.’ ‘You can do far better.’ ‘You are not trying hard enough.’ ‘You are letting yourself down but moreover you are letting me down.’ These phrases and those similar to it encapsulate the loss of control felt by those who are ‘The B Graders’. Each time the hill was climbed and the summit anticipated, another hill suddenly appeared. The effort was okay, decent enough, acceptable but never that which met with approval. Keep going, learn more, be faster, swim stronger, climb higher, shine brighter. There was no control because we were never allowed a moment to settle, to cherish that which had been achieved and to reflect. We could not establish our own parameters of achievement and satisfaction but instead we were always beholden to the standards of another which ultimate proved to be unobtainable standards and thus we had no control.
- The Facsimile. We were shaped to be precisely like the aggressor. Sometimes this was entirely at the behest of the aggressor and sometimes we saw how this individual behaved and decided ‘I want that power also’ (usually unconsciously but sometimes, such as was the case for me – consciously). Whilst you may think a conscious decision to copy the aggressor and thus seize power was a form of control, it was not – this was actually a product of the already establishing narcissism and thus a symptom rather than a cause. Where the aggressor caused us to be moulded just like them – forming our opinions, our views, our behaviours, our likes and dislikes, what we wore, what we ate, where we went, what we did and in some instances alongside this there was an unconscious decision to mimic and copy those behaviours and characteristics, we were once again denied control.
Thus, whether we came from an impoverished background, a gilded background, a seemingly run-of-the-mill background, any of those environments had the potential to cause a lack of control in our lives. Take this lack of control and add it to the genetic predisposition and thus our coping mechanism of narcissism was given birth to.
Narcissism became our way of coping with the world.
Narcissism allowed us to exert control.
A lack of control equates to a lack of power.
A lack of control equates to being vulnerable.
A lack of control equates to being weak.
A lack of control equates to being worthless, meaningless and unimportant.
When we lack control, we start to fade and will no longer exist.
A lack of control now returns us to the lack of control then.
This must never happen for too long and thus we were formed from this lack of control adding to our genetic predisposition and in order to survive and thrive we must never, ever lack control for if this persists, well, then, it ends.
We must have absolute control. And that means absolute control over you, him, her, them but most of all YOU.
45 thoughts on “To Control Is To Cope – Narcissism and Its Creation”
Well wow… that was very educational and insightful.
I’ve haven’t come across any articles that get to the core of it so thanks!
This has been such a interesting read . I just love it .
I don’t want to cause a religious debate or offend anyone, so please read this with that known! Could a very strict religious upbringing be a trigger for narcissism? As far as I know, my narc wasn’t abused, but he often referred to his strict Catholic upbringing and how he was told sex and masturbation were sins he could go to hell for. I think many people tend to take these “rules” with a grain of salt, but he stuck with then out of fear and had never masturbated ever until he was 20. After that he went the other extreme and would do anything breathing and now considers sex and masturbation a release. I’m not sure if he thinks he was lied to or he feels he failed, but either way he abhors religion now.
A very strict religious upbringing is a lack of control environment.
Ah, ok. It’s finally coming together. Thank you!
Instead of therapy they get sent to church to teach them the fairytale story
Keep in mind that he may have lied when he said he never pulled his puddin til he was 20. Sounds like a pity play to me and an excuse for the “anything breathing” for release that followed.
NA, I was his first anything, so I think it’s true. After we split up and his soul was already condemned to hell, he went the other extreme. This is YEARS ago, but I still feel guilty about it. Of course, he’s gotten back at me since then.
Some kids figure out how to do it before they know what it is or that their religion considers it wrong. They may feel horribly guilty when they find out and try to avoid it afterwards (usually not successfully), but that’s not the same as “never did it.”
You really want to mess a kid up, have Reverend Repression, Father Fucked-Up, Sister Smack-a-ruler, Parson Pervert, or just a family member walk in on them in progress….
Can’t blame him if he wants to block out THAT memory
I agree, Violetta. I asked how early they taught about masturbation in Catholic school because I feel that ship would have sailed long before I got the lecture!
I definitely feel bad for him and I probably part of why I stick around is because I feel I compounded the problem by taking his flower. Lol.
I agree Narc Angel. I doubt there is man on the planet that wasn’t “pullin his puddin” by 12 or so. Great phrase, 😁. I don’t buy it.
My impression of most Narcs is they hardly let go of it.
NA , yes ! I know a few that used that excuse to get a girl to help them do it .(Jack -off )My first husband is one. He acted like he had no idea. It was the shame from being caught by his mother that caused it . Not the catholic religion. And he was her baby boy and probably so disappointed that he now was going to grow up and leave her , now that he knows what his dick can do . I think many boys use that catholic kid excuse as a pity play. I think my parents used the catholic religion as their excuse for having 8 kids .
” I think my parents used the catholic religion as their excuse for having 8 kids .”
I laughed out loud when I got to this sentence.
I’m really happy for you. Thank you for the story. My attorney got me out of spousal support. It was scary. But I always felt my ex’s attorney was siding with me. Not sure, but she knew my attorney and she was going through a divorce herself, and my attorney would flirt with her and she flirted back. Worked for me. My attorney was very handsome. Cheers!
A question if I may? Could you ever have a situation where a narcissist has some kind of empath/normal mix as parents? Either E-E, 0-0 or E-0?
Then HG, we have a problem as narcissism and conversely empathy cannot be explained by the traditional Mendel hypothesis. Such as how we get eye colour or hair colour. Can it?
So if we assume the Heterozygous condition. To be a N, you only need a N from one parent. So let’s assume a full blown N is a N.e. A N parent can carry the Dominant N plus the recessive e. Conversely and like blue eyes, that would explain two N parents having a 25% chance of an Empath/normal
However, that doesnt answer the situation of say two Empaths producing a narc, they simply dont carry the gene. As the N has to come from somewhere and its dominant.
So let’s assume the homozygous condition. To be a full blown N, you need NN. That would mean an Empath could never come from two N parents. But that’s not true as both of my parents are narcs.
If we assume Empathy is dominant in both the hetero and homozygous conditions then that also cannot explain the two extreme conditions.
No, my conclusion is that narcissism cannot be explained by the Mendel method. This is extremely worrying as 17% of the population with no affective empathy is a big fucking deal.
However the Mendel method does not explain red hair. It green eyes either. The only thing I can conclude is that its some kind of mutation. Which crops up 17% of the time.
There will be ZERO strides in understanding the genetics of this until scientists start reading HGs work. To understand clearly the delinations between Empaths and Narcassists vis a vis Normals.
And indeed, it doesnt explain SEs either. I do wonder as I write if research is being done on the genetics of this after reading HGs work.
What do you think, HG? Have you ever been contacted by academia?
An empath can carry the genetic predisposition to narcissism and pass that on to their child. Just because the parent is not a narcissist, does not mean that they do not carry the GPD.
I agree. But as I’ve said, NPD cannot be explained by either Mendel models. Its fascinating.
It does not have to be.
Yes I think so too. But I’d never thought about it until today. Thank you for some good thinky thoughts.
You are welcome, thank you for your contributions.
“An empath can carry the genetic predisposition to narcissism and pass that on to their child. Just because the parent is not a narcissist, does not mean that they do not carry the GPD”
Did the good doctors and you together come to this finding?
Yes, But mainly me.
Just a general thought on all this discussion re genetics. Predisposition is different from disposition. I’m no expert on this. It just seems logical to me that a whole host of complex environmental factors, maybe including in the womb, and then in family of origin would play on a genetic predisposition so that sometimes the child will end up disposed towards developing a full blown N defense mechanism, whilst others will not. The predisposition would make future npd a possibility not a foregone conclusion.
There has been quite a bit of research on the biology of antisocial behavior (and personality disorder, known as psychopathy). The genetics is very complex, definitely does not follow Mandel. The mechanisms that can be influenced by environment and experience are epigenetic (lots of info online on epigenetics). The two definitely interact and some of the epigenetic states established by experience, especially early life influences, can be passed down generations as well.
Behavioral Epigenetics has been one of the hottest fields of modern biology in the past decade and it is not going to go out of fashion anytime soon, because it explains so many components of human nature. HG are you a registered organ donor? Could donate your brain for research when you will no longer need it. Could be the organic equivalent of HG Tudor’s legacy.
Interesting Dorion, as for my brain, I will live on with my brain sat in its own chamber of fluid, detached from my corporeal form, doubtless influencing an all encompassing info web so there is always an answer to the internal question.
“HG, will I be hoovered if…..”
I’m not really sure I believe in epigenetics. I’m pretty sure theres quite a few biologists that dont either.
I do not think narcissism has anything to do with that ‘field’.
Renarde, the validity of epigenetics is not a question of belief, there is a vast amount of evidence accumulated over decades for its existence and roles. I would be wary of any biologist who does not believe in epigenetics these days, I don’t even know how that could be possible if someone had even just basic training in biology during the past 20 years. There are those who do not believe in epigenetic inheritance per se and that can make sense in some contexts. But environment affecting epigenetic mechanisms and causing lasting alterations in functioning (in many cases translating to choices and behavior) is a very well-established phenomenon. I won’t say much more about myself, but this is not coming from just reading spurious info online, books or popular articles in my free time.
I didn’t mean to suggest that anything has been explained using these observations and concepts about narcissism specifically, only that it is a possible (and in my view likely) component if we are speculating. Of course we all can have our views, experiences and hypotheses, it’s all very interesting and, for me at least, the main reason I come to this blog.
Supposedly, Jeffrey Dahmer’s parents were Empath’s/Normals. How could we ever know for sure? but they seem normal. I think Dahmer may have had a genetic disposition to the Psychopathy and alcoholism, and it may not have come from his parents, but possibly grandparents. Supposedly his upbringing was really stable, his parents got along, and he was well provided for, but he liked to drink and and do weird things.
Well there’s a reason to look around the family tree before one decides to procreate if ever there was one.
Yeah, you are a little too late for giving me that advice. Lol
I hope you know I meant that generally – not pointed at you lol. There’s some sketchy fruit in my husband’s family tree and I only have a shrub (my mother adopted and next to no info from my bio dad) so the world is probably a safer place for us not having children. Also, if they were not funny, we’d have to give them up.
I didn’t take it personally. Your statement was accurate, yet ironic. I appreciate dark humor.
Interesting… “Narcissism is a coping mechanism.” “means of coping with the world”- coping mechanism is a willful behavior; a decision to act in a certain way made by one’ choice. Those statements tell me that narcissism is an individual choice/ a learned behavior that can be a subject to change. Unless that mechanism is unconscious… creepy image lol
I’m not surprised by your response HG 🙂 oh and the “creepy image” was referred to the picture above the article 🙂
Hey Everyone, and HG,
Huge win today with family court. For those who don’t know my story, a year and a half ago, my Narc Ex (daughter’s father), and his Narc attorney managed to take away primary custody of my daughter with an ex parte hearing. I wasn’t even there to tell my “side of the story”. By the time I got my hearing to counter it, the damage was already done. I had an attorney at the beginning, but money ran out fast, so I eventually had to go pro se. We went through a year and half of the discovery process for court, and during this time, my daughters father was very inconsistent with his parenting, and his attorney made every type of excuse for his behavior. I recieved all kinds of black mail, and attempts of extortion in emails from the attorney offering me custody in exchange for money. I didnt have the money, so I always had to say no. We had an 8 hour long trial for just child support. The narcs were well prepared. They subpoenaed everything about me, to show that I was a well capable person to financially support the narcissist. They asked for me to pay for nannies while our daughter was at his home, preschool, and an additional allowance for his spending. All I brought was my calender to show the judge how unstable the narc was, but that doesn’t carry much legal weight, and is hearsay. The more I said, “there is no way I could afford that” the more I looked like a cheap parent. I even told the judge that I would be in a much better financial situation, except the Narc has been financially abusing us for years. The judge told me to stop giving her sob stories, and feeling sorry for myself. The narcissist and his attorney even started laughing at me. The judge asked me, “what is it that you want me to rule on? I heard from them, what fo you want?” I said, “you need to calculate the parenting time and income as equal so that there is no finacial incentive, and obviously the parenting time and incomes will fluctuate anyways.” There was no legal basis to my argument and far fetched. The judge rolled her eyes and said she would take the matter under advisement.
Lo and behold, two months later, I recieved the order in the mail today, and the judge’s order was calculated exactly how I asked her to. I have to pay the narc $50/month just because he bought insurance for our daughter through his work. Now there is absolutely no financial incentive for the Upper Lesser Narc to maintain custody.
So glad for you,,Anm, that you have been able to stand your ground in what reads as a horrible, awful situation with Nex and his Nlawyer! Well done, you did it!
Congratulations! It is good to hear that your ex will not be able to take advantage of you financially. If there is no financial incentive for him and he will have to take care of your daughter all by himself without any help (no money for a nanny), it is likely that he will want to give up the custody in the near future. I think he will not want to exert power over you at such a cost. Narcissists hate taking care of children. I could see that with my narc sister-in-law. They feel above those “menial chores”.
So glad to hear this!! Congratulations!