The Micro Managing Narcissist



The Micro Manager is someone who does not describe what he or she wants done and then trusts in someone else to know what to do and how to do it. Instead, the Micro Manager is someone who effectively stands over the shoulder of the person charged with performing the task or project and excessively directs, interferes and criticises, often insisting on changes and then wanting it to be changed back to the way it was before whilst denying it had been correct the first time anyway. Micro management is not in itself a conclusive indicator that somebody is one of our kind, but micro management is a form of manipulation that is used by our kind to further control and gain fuel.

It will be used most commonly in two environments ; the home with the Intimate Partner Primary Source (“IPPS”) and the workplace with Non Intimate Secondary Sources (“NISS”) although you might be doubly unlucky and be an IPPS who works with us also. Good luck with that.

In the domestic environment, the Micro Managing Narcissist (“MMN”) creates a highly unpleasant, oppressive and demanding atmosphere. Whilst our manipulations as a whole cause our victims to second guess and walk on those well known eggshells, the MMN ramps the experience up to a new level.

Whatever task you are engaged in the MMN will be making his or presence known. There are a variety of ways this will manifest:-

  1. Watching you carry out tasks and chores but not saying anything. If you ask why the MMN is watching you, you will be met with

“Don’t mind me, I am just staying out of the way before it goes wrong.”

“Can’t I watch my wife doing some work for once?”

“Just keeping an eyes on things.”

“I am waiting to sort it out when it all goes belly up.”

2. Repeatedly passing you as you are engaged in doing something and sighing, rolling their eyes or tutting and if you challenge them you will either be met with one of the responses above or similar or a denial that anything was said and that you are imagining things.

3. Standing over you and commenting in a critical fashion about what you are doing, pointing out that you are doing it wrong, that you are going to break it if you keep doing that, it will never work doing it that way, you are going too fast/too slow/ and so forth. If you react to this you will be told you are over-reacting, that you cannot take criticism or that we were only trying to help.

4. Being the expert. Rather than expressly criticising what you are doing as per item three above, this time the MMN will be telling you precisely how it should be done as per his or her expert knowledge but of course we will not lower ourselves to actually help you do it or show you how it ought to be done. We would rather stand on the sidelines and snipe at you.

5. Bringing the expert along. Similar to the above but we will just happen to know some expert who knows a better way of pruning that bush and if you respond to this, then we will retaliate with “So are you saying such and such is not an expert then?” in order to make you feel that you are out of line for issuing such a challenge.

6. Providing a running commentary on what you are doing as if you are not there and we are talking to someone else. “She is never going to get them to sit right doing it that way is  she?” or “Oh dear, he won’t remove that stain doing that, what a schoolboy error.” This form of micro management is especially dehumanising by acting as if you do not exist.

Invariably you may well be doing nothing wrong but this looking over your shoulder behaviour will put you on edge and make you anxious which means you may make mistakes which of course we will seize on with a cry of triumph and the all too familiar “told you so”.

Everything you do is scrutinised, commented on, observed and ultimately expressly or implicitly criticised. This is designed to make you feel worthless and devalued. It naturally is aimed at drawing fuel from you, whether through hurt, upset, anger or frustration. Whatever your reaction happens to be, do not expect that we will provide you with any support or encouragement. Instead your response, whilst welcomed as fuel, will be used against you.

“There is no point getting upset about it, you need to learn to do it better.”

“Don’t try and blame me for your shortcomings, I am sick of you doing that.”

“I try and help you and this is how you react? You are so ungrateful.”

“If you did it right the first time I wouldn’t have to comment would I?”

If you try to make us carry out the task we will just shake our head and walk away muttering some insult under our breath or tell you that it is not a solution to try and pass the task to someone else, you need to learn how to do it right.

You should also expect our contradictory nature to make an appearance. Thus last week we told you that you should always put the milk in the mug before adding the tea bag and then this week it is the other way around. Do not think that pointing this out to us will cause us to accept the contradiction; there is fuel to be gathered by keep doing this.

All of your endeavours in the home will be subjected to scrutiny and observation. We will stand and watch you as you iron or clean. We will comment on the way you are cooking the evening meal, doing the gardening, putting items in the cupboards and so forth. Whatever you are doing will be subjected to this behaviour by the MMN.

The following are the aims of the MMN :-

  1. Fuel from your responses;
  2. Exertion of close and detailed control;
  3. Erosion of your self-worth;
  4. Gas-lighting;
  5. Creation of anxiety and tension

Is this something that all of our kind engage in? No it is not. The Lesser Narcissist will engage in such behaviour and his approach will be one of repeated criticism and exasperation at your apparent incompetence. They tend to engage in behaviours 1,2 and 3 the most. The Mid-Ranger will also do this and be more inclined to operate in the way described in behaviours 4,5, and 6. Greaters, of all the schools of narcissist are less inclined to engage in MMN because they will regard even commenting on what you are doing around the house as beneath them. They consider it too mundane and boring to merit spending time observing you. Instead, they are far more likely to go for an After The Event Put Down such as:-

“This dessert is quite good but obviously nowhere near as good as mine last week.”

“Is this shirt meant to be ironed?”

“What on earth is this abortion of an effort?”

“It is not going to win any awards.”

“I don’t know  why you bothered, it will be dead within the week.”

“I hadn’t realised Jackson Pollock had decorated the study.”

“I see the blind window cleaner has visited us again.”

The Greater will just prefer to shoot down your endeavour at the end, fully aware of the effort that you have put into the particular task or project and undoing it with a sarcastic or hurtful remark. This is more his approach than spending time watching you do something mundane and remark on it.

How then do you counter the MMN in the home?

  1. As ever do not react to the jibes, comments and observations. If you avoid providing fuel the MMN has less of a motivation for engaging in the behaviour and will either stop it or at least do it less often.
  2. Get a professional in to perform the tasks. Even if for just one week, hire a cleaner, gardener, someone to iron the clothing, order takeaway meals every night. Once the bills arrive you will of course be blamed but you have saved yourself a whole host of effort.
  3. Perform the tasks for yourself and the children but not for the MMN. He will of course complain and this will ignite his fury but you were being undermined and devalued you anyway. This still happens but you are saving yourself some effort. The MMN whilst entitled also wants those residual benefits that you provide and if you withdraw them they will look to manipulate you into reinstating them and this may well be through the provision of compliments and reward. Of course there is a risk of additional threats being made, but no doubt these will be no worse than what you are already experiencing.
  4. Don’t invite the MMN to try and do a better job. You are just giving fuel and the MMN will not regard your behaviour as something he needs to address. Whilst you might think there is a temptation for him to prove his superiority by doing the task, his desire to avoid expending energy unnecessarily and his sense of entitlement means he will find some reason not to do it.
  5. Instead you may consider framing the request in terms of “I need an expert to show me how it is done” this will not always work but stands a better chance of engaging the MMN to pitch in by appealing to his sense of superiority than challenging it.
  6. Remain an IPSS.

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49 thoughts on “The Micro Managing Narcissist

  1. Violetta says:

    Saw a nanny job that looked promising, at least part-time while seeking freelance editing.

    Then it turned out that Miss Minchin’s Select Seminary for Young Yuppies–the place where GrinchLady had gaslighted me for 6 months with contradictory instructions as I watched her traumatize the infants by going against everything the company’s training and brochures had emphasized–had bought up the on-line agency handling the position, and was now the parent company.



    You can probably guess what their employee reviews were like.

    But then I looked at their customer reviews….

    [redacted] has a consumer rating of 1.32 stars from 85 reviews indicating that most customers are generally dissatisfied with their purchases. Consumers complaining about [redacted] most frequently mention customer service, background check and credit card problems. [redacted] ranks 23rd among Childcare sites.

    A number of nannies and client families used the word “scam” in their reviews. Families couldn’t discontinue trial memberships as advertised; applicants were told they’d get more jobs if they had background checks, CPR certification, etc., but the company expected the applicants to pay for it, providing a menu (which I didn’t click on, so I don’t know if it went directly to state certification, or the company got its cut if you went through them), and of course applicants weren’t guaranteed to get any jobs, whatever they shelled out.

    All complaints were rewarded with the same perky, positive, nonversation word salad I’d seen on the parent company site. The company robots would regret they had that experience, assure everyone that this, that, or the other value was very important to them, and do absolutely nothing to rectify the problem.

    I prompt removed my profile and withdrew my application. Given some of the comments in the reviews, it’s possible I could get a job through them; they’re so disorganized they might not even notice that I’d been blackballed from Miss Minchin’s for actually trying to do what the brochures said, but I think I’ll just try a different agency. 

    Hey, 22 rated above them already!

    So reassuring to know it’s not just me. Misery loves company: not necessarily because you wish others I’ll, but because it’s so reassuring to know you haven’t been singled out because God made you a dweeb or you have cooties. They’ve been around for a while, but they clearly are shady AF.

    1. Asp Emp says:

      Violetta, it was interesting to read what you had to say. Not many people realise that there are some ‘review’ sites that are available to obtain information on what ‘experiences’ some people have RE: employers / companies. You have reminded me of an organisation that operates in north of UK – I had the ‘pleasure’ of meeting a personnel manager and her ‘side-kick’ – they were absolutely thicker than shit – what was absolutely appalling was that they worked for the organisation that professed to know all about hidden disabilities and they did not like it one bit when I said “What do you actually know about Aspergers?” – I was asked by someone to attend that meeting with them for support and after that meeting, I said to the person to go through the whole ‘process’ and get the fk out and to consider ‘constructive dismissal’ route because they had grounds. LOL. I ‘threw’ that personnel manager and that ‘side-kick’ of hers – reactions were evident but they could not hide it quick enough from me. Anyway, I saw the ‘reviews’ of the same organisation, treated staff like shit, the service-users like amoebas. It smacks of narcissists running that organisation…….

  2. Asp Emp says:

    I thought this article was apt…..I have just watched and enjoyed Season 4 Episode 7, titled ‘Home’ of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. During this episode, there was a discussion about Serena and the words “Total narcissist” were used. Towards the end of this episode, it got very interesting but I won’t go into details…..I liked the informative description. I must admit I was delighted to see the word ‘narcissist’ used.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Don’t you mean the Handmaid’s Snail?

      1. Asp Emp says:

        Erm, I was referring to her description when she was in the office……I did find it interesting in what she did too…..(like I said, I won’t go into details) because you didn’t want any ‘spoilers’ ! Maybe it did get a bit slimy…..

        1. HG Tudor says:

          You’ve misunderstood. I’m talking about the pace of the episodes. I’ve know glaciers move faster.

          1. Asp Emp says:

            That’s true.

          2. Truthseeker6157 says:


            The Handmaid’s Tale is probably one of the most heartbreaking series I’ve watched on TV. Your view on pace might be linked to the fact you are emotionally unaffected by what you are watching. I understand that you can recognise the content is emotional, you will remain unaffected by it though. It won’t stay with you.

            It would make sense that you would be focussed more heavily on plot as opposed to the emotion behind the various character relationships. In that sense I can appreciate why you might find it slow.

            I’m not a crier generally when it comes to TV. I’ve sobbed during Handmaid’s Tale. It’s brutal from an emotional viewpoint.

            Which episode are you up to HG? Do we still need to be on spoiler alert? I’m very curious as to your take on a scene in the most recent episode.

          3. HG Tudor says:

            I’ve watched all four seasons. I have grown weary of repeated lingering shots of June gurning into the camera and the fact she should have been executed long ago owing to her repeated behaviours. Started very effectively but became too drawn out and inconsistent.

          4. Asp Emp says:

            You made me laugh at the ‘gurning’ part. Maybe she is the pawn of the overall ‘plot’, hence not executed as yet? Let’s just say she’ll never be painted white in the eyes of those who ‘rule’ Gilead. “repeated behaviours”…..laughing…..just like a naughty empath 😉

          5. HG Tudor says:

            There is the whiff of a Mary Sue.

          6. Asp Emp says:

            HG, laughing again…..yes, I think you may be correct (I’ll read some more on what Collins is about – she does sound interesting)…….I still enjoy the programme in any case – because I can understand it because of my own life experiences. Thank you for your response, HG.

          7. Asp Emp says:

            HG, thank you. Thank you so much for ‘Mary Sue’, I did some reading on Dr Sophie Collins and I found it very interesting. I also find her interesting. I have made a note to obtain her books. I laughed when I read something about ‘like trying to bathe a cat’, that was funny.

          8. WiserNow says:


            The TV series of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is based on the book ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood.

            Season 1 of the TV series follows the book quite closely and season 1 ends at the point where the book ends.

            I enjoyed watching season 1 because it was creatively made – the set design, the costumes, colours, acting etc. The story itself was emotionally disturbing – the way women were brutalised and treated as appliances and the depiction of what can (and does) happen when patriarchy goes out of control. The brutality and stark cruelty was depressing and dark, but in terms of watching a form of ‘artistic expression’, I thought it was well done.

            After watching season 2, I felt like what you have described. I got weary of June’s perpetual ‘triumphs’ and her ‘gurning’. It seemed to me the ‘story’ had turned into some kind of comic book superhero series where June was guaranteed to win in the end. In my opinion, the ‘point’ of the book by Margaret Atwood was lost and in it’s place was a caricature.

            It’s a bit like the novel ‘1984’ by George Orwell being made into a never-ending TV series from year to year. The point of the original novel would be lost because the novel’s ‘ending’ is no longer an ‘ending’.

            I find it quite sad that interesting works by people like Margaret Atwood are used and transformed into something else by the entertainment industry. The original message is mutated into something else altogether.

            It’s interesting too, that Atwood was a ‘consulting producer’ of the series. It makes me wonder how much say she actually had in the way the story was extended. There is now a fifth season being made too.

          9. HG Tudor says:

            Yes, I am well aware of what it is based on and where the television programme and the book part company. I read the book many years ago and had also seen the film with Robert Duvall and Aidan Quinn.

          10. WiserNow says:


            I haven’t seen the film with Robert Duvall and Aidan Quinn. When possible, I will watch it.

            On further thought, there are two (or possibly more) perspectives one can have about the ‘extension’ of the book in the TV series…

            1. The TV series has mutated or commercially ‘used’ the book for the sake of entertainment and ratings. It has taken the themes of patriarchy, sex, power etc from the book and turned them instead into ‘watch June beat the odds again in Gilead’; or

            2. The creativity of the themes in the book were of a quality that inspired thought and further creativity in others. This is a compliment to the book and the original author’s ideas.

            The first is negative, the second is positive. It’s all in the way you look at it.

            Thank you for your reply HG.

          11. Asp Emp says:

            TS, laughing……”do we still need to be on spoiler alert?”……..laughed some more at “I’m very curious as to your take on a scene in the most recent episode”……. I didn’t see June “gurning into the camera” at that ‘moment’……it would have been a real ‘shocker’ if she did……laughing…….

          12. Truthseeker6157 says:


            The gurning comment made me laugh. I have to admit I’m with you there. Yes, also agree she should have been on the wall by now.

            Sunday’s episode.

            The part where June takes her husband to bed. Emotionally detached, covers his mouth, just sex. Emotionally, it almost looked like marital rape.

            I thought about the motivation there. In part June trying to portray that she is ok. It seemed to me as though she was adopting another personality though. Is this a portrayal of borderline through PTSD? Or, should I ‘just watch the damn show?’

          13. HG Tudor says:

            It’s fiction. It’s there to supposedly entertain and her character is not representative, no doubt driven by Moss being an EP.

          14. A Victor says:

            I had to look up “gurning”, I haven’t heard that one in America, quite humorous. But, what is EP? I did check the acronyms, it isn’t there, and looked it up, too many possibilities to determine which it is.

          15. HG Tudor says:

            Executive Producer.

          16. Truthseeker6157 says:


            Thank you for your response, and for answering the other thing I was wondering!

          17. Truthseeker6157 says:


            If June was a narcissist she might have gurned during. The MMRA Somatic videoed us once. I consented to it, more fool me. He winked at the camera! I only saw it afterwards. At the time I thought it was funny. Cheeky, but funny. Looking back on it now I know what he was, it aggravates me. Still, at least it wasn’t a Junesque gurn, that would be concerning !

          18. Asp Emp says:

            TS, laughing…….your first sentence…….”during” is the operative word of the whole sentence! The eyes of ‘Why Am I Behaving Like A Narcissist?’ springs to mind.

            I can understand how you feel / think about being videoed. I’ve never done that. Yet I can understand, similar to the non-consensual sex / Lesser (bastard).

            Junesque !! Oh, TS ! In my opinion, she is a good actress (seen her in other programmes).

          19. A Victor says:

            TS, “…gurned during.”! Hilarious!

          20. Sweetest Perfection says:

            I haven’t seen the show but I teach the novel, like, this coming semester. It is a dystopia but like most dystopias, so eerily eye-opening about reality.

          21. BC30 says:

            “she should have been executed long ago owing to her repeated behaviours” true dat

          22. Truthseeker6157 says:

            Asp Emp

            Agree, I think she is great in that role. I really like her. I like a ballsy heroine. I do know what HG means though, too many close ups, even I noticed that and I’m totally involved in the series.

            Imagining the narc doing the Junesque gurn during the video. Close up, and that part shocked/ part determined/ part ‘oh no what am I going to do now’ face, would not go down well on playback! Haha.

            It’s funny, I have wondered since if he kept it, if he ever watched it once we split up. I can’t see the attraction of that, when it’s over it’s over. I’m not a narc though, maybe they do. Even then, my attitude is very much “Well if that’s the best you have to watch then be my guest, knock yourself out.” That narc really had no hold on me at all and yet the one I didn’t even kiss had my ET soaring. Nothing stranger than folk is there? Xx

          23. Asp Emp says:

            TS, the MRN never told me this but his daughter did – she found pics of him and his wife……I have no idea how comes the daughter found them – I didn’t ask. He did not come across as the type but then again it was old pics. I’d never do it in any case because you never know that they’d end up on the internet and that is the terrifying thing about it. The imagination is endless……

        2. Truthseeker6157 says:


          Lucky you having such a great book to teach! I loved the book, though it’s a while now since I read it. I thought the show was well timed. If COVID had caused infertility, then the world would look very different to how it looks now. Yes it’s dramatised and exaggerated, but certain elements do make you think. The balance of things can be more precarious than we realise. Xx

          1. Sweetest Perfection says:

            Haha I wouldn’t consider teaching it luck, TS. But the fact that I have freedom to select my own course readings definitely is. I feel privileged in that sense. Glad to know you like the book.

          2. Truthseeker6157 says:


            That must be nice. Here teachers have a very limited choice as to what they can teach. Might be slightly different in private schools, or perhaps the examination board that’s used. The reading list does appear to be modernising. My kids have very different books to study than I did. Far more classics when I studied English. I was surprised when they both studied the Hunger Games last year.

          3. Sweetest Perfection says:

            TS, not when you are a tenured college professor haha. I dare them tell me what not to include in my reading list!! Academia has a lot of shit, but at least you have some freedom.

  3. PQ says:

    Where is #6?

    1. lisk says:

      Still trying to escape The Village.

  4. Asp Emp says:

    Gawd, that Lesser! He had to ‘assert his control’ more than anyone I have ever known. He ‘picked’ me because he sensed that he could assert his control over me. Micro-managing narcissist more than any I have ever met. Even more so than the ones at the other work-place. Yet, he ‘showed’ himself up more than any other narcissist I knew too. Other people were also ‘WTF’ about his “reactions / responses”. He even did it to his own boss (witnessed by me). Why? Because he could not assert as much ‘control’ over his own family – they are narcissists too, higher-echelons than him. Maybe he ‘resented’ that more.

    1. A Victor says:

      Lessers and those with Lesser are very obvious and very horrible. I was sad to read your comment above to TS, I had not realized you experienced that. We are survivors are we not. 💕

      1. Asp Emp says:

        AV, yes, I happen to come across a pretty nasty one – not realising it as such until I came here. Yes, it was more than once too (felt sick for a moment but it has passed). I never told the police about that when I reported him for the physical finger marks on my arm……yes, he has better hope, in fact, pray, that I never see him again – if he does approach me in future……..

        Thank you for your words x

        1. A Victor says:

          I am glad you got away from him. And made it here.

  5. jasmin says:

    The ex-husband was a VERY Micro Managing Narcissist. –“I’m going to give you som advice” – advice, advice, advise🤯🤯🤯. Generally (with exception of task he considered female, like sewing and iron etc.) he would actually accept getting invited to do a better job to prove his superiority and he would say : -“This is how it should be done” or -“Learn from the expert”

    The effect of the MMN over long time was that I ended up doing NOTHING. I gave up most project before I even started or if I did start it didn’t took long before I quit.
    Whilst I have recovered so much in many ways: the fog is gone, my memory has returned, I trust my perception again (mostly) but I still struggle with motivation.
    I would need some advice!😄

    1. Asp Emp says:

      Jasmin, I understand when you say ‘struggle with motivation’. Maybe it is what I would view as an ‘aftermath’ of learning and understanding what you are aware of now? Maybe it is some kind of ‘plateau’? That is absolutely ‘normal’ (in my view) and probably a ‘welcome’ place to be, for the moment anyway. Maybe it is your mind’s way of saying, ok, you have done what you needed to do, it’s ‘take a breather’ time? I think, I would describe it as some kind of ‘mental and emotional’ WTF ‘period’. I had something similar around December time, hence ‘stepping’ back from my friends for a bit – to ‘gather’ my thoughts, I suppose.

      1. jasmin says:

        Hi Asp Emp!
        Thank you for you awnser!
        I am indeed very much in that ‘plateau’ and have been for a while. No problem with that as I understand it is needed.
        This state of ‘not even starting’ or ‘quiting soon’ is something else.. It has been going on for a number of years. I am quite sure that it is a result of Micro Managing (but also destruction “by accident” of my projects) causing missbelief in my ability and feelings of anxiety and tension (nr.5 in the article). As it has happened on a repeated basis, these negative emotions turn to affect me automatically in conjuction with any project.
        As I wrote this I actually realised what I must do! I must close my eyes and visualize! Re-program my thoughts and feelings.
        Again thank you.🙏

        1. Asp Emp says:

          Jasmin, thank you for your response – it slipped through the net. TBH, I think the majority of us actually ‘live’ on that ‘plateau’ for some time (years even) because we have no ‘guidance’ until we come to the right place (KTN) to get started on what we need to do for ourselves – you will get there. Thank you for your words 🙂

          1. A Victor says:

            It has been years with only blips of motivation outside of the bare essentials. I couldn’t figure out what had happened to my normal healthy drive to do things. And so much guilt! Thank you! This is a relief.

        2. A Victor says:

          Jamin, I recently realized I have to do that also, get the picture of the final product in my mind as motivation to start. I didn’t realize why I was struggling with this, your comment helped with that part. My ex was not a MMN but TTU is extremely so, very discouraging and defeating. So I thank you. Also Asp Emp, your thoughts were also helpful! Thank you!

          1. jasmin says:

            Now we know what happened with our normal and healthy drive to do things! It’s time to get it back!🧠💪
            I know that I need to do more than just picture the final result (even if it forms part of it). I must visulize the hole process. Visualize myself doing the things that I want/need to do in the way that I wish to do them and apply the emotions that I wish to feel. All negative thoughts must be jettisoned and replaced by positive once.
            It will require effort but it is needed to be done.
            I remember we’ve mentioned daydreaming before. I am convinced that it saved me as a child. (although it has caused problems in relation to Narcs later on) It was a place of well-being when it was lacking in real life.
            Anyway, ‘living your thoughts’, if it is just going with the flow or governed with a clear aim is powerful! It is persived as real.

          2. A Victor says:

            Yes, I agree Jasmin! For me, I start with the overall picture as a motivator and then fill in the details step by step. I have to keep that end result in mind though or the steps go by the wayside. Thank you for your thoughts, this has been an encouraging conversation!

          3. jasmin says:

            I’m glad you think that and I agree!

    2. lisk says:

      I see what you did there!

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