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 earning achievements 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.

9 thoughts on “To Control is to Cope : Narcissism and Its Creation

  1. Asp Emp says:

    Ok. I recently carried out a 14 question ASD test. The scoring confirms the diagnosis I was given some years ago.

    As I looked at my results, I actually came to some new ‘insights’ that I already knew BUT it made me think.

    Now, it is in my opinion, some people who is a victim of narcissistic abuse may struggle to attempt to do a self-test for ie ASD because they may stop – especially where there may be a moment where they either cannot continue with the test, or suddenly may find themselves in an instinctive mental ‘shut down’ like “I am not doing this”. This may be an ‘observation’ why some therapists may ‘suggest’ that a client is not “responding” to therapy / treatment.

    Here a prime example; RE: touching. I had a moment of ‘ugh’ in relation to muvver, she abused me badly. So, anyone who may have asked me about ‘touch’ from other people was effectively taking me back to those times of abuse – hence the ‘lack of control now (being ‘reminded’ of the abuse) returns us back to the lack of control then’. I did not experience the ‘ugh’ when my grandmother, or father touched, or hugged me.

    Simply because of the ‘lack of control now (being ‘reminded’ of the abuse due to a question on the test = a trigger) returns us back to the lack of control then’. Also, this can be a difficulty when it comes to a diagnostic process when it involves a teenager / young person as some parents are not always present. When the parents are present, the teenager / young person will not necessarily answer. It also depends if the child themselves, understand what the question(s) mean. On that note, teenagers have been viewed by society as ‘stroppy’, difficult to communicate with, distancing selves from parents because of hormonal changes. Hence the added difficulty to get a person of this age to ‘open up’ and talk.

    I re-read HG’s ‘In The Middle’ article. There was something that I understood a lot better, the ‘not wanting to be stuck in the middle with her’. The need to obtain ‘fuel’ and surround themselves with things (people / environment) that does not remind them of the ‘pain’ (darkness, creature).

    What I also realised about myself – I had ‘held’ people at ‘bay’ because I was subconsciously and instinctively using the past ‘hurts’ as the ‘wall’ of protection. So, the ‘snarling’ thing that I used to ‘react’ with was effectively my past ‘hurts’ and ‘anger’ but it was also my ‘protection’.

    So, the nicer and loving people were towards me, the less I felt my ‘protected / hurt self’. Hence surrounding oneself with “the kind words”.

    I could suggest that is how it is for an unaware narcissist. They do not have the emotional and, sometimes, the cognitive empathy to be able to understand what their ‘creature’ is, so they cannot be ‘recovered’. Like HG has said more than once “It will not work”, you cannot re-train someone’s mind if they lack the (appropriate) empathy to do so because it is not present.

    I now can understand why I got so upset and found my Aspergers diagnostic process very difficult to do. I was not mentally, or emotionally ready to do so, at that time. KTN was the final piece of the ‘jigsaw’ of my life’s experiences.

  2. Joa says:

    It’s so hard being a parent. So many roads.

  3. Violetta says:

    I re-watched the opening sequences of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? when MM’s “Letter to Dad-deeeee” sparked references to the maudlin song in the movie. It’s clear (although Jane seems like the primary villain for most of the movie), that both sisters are growing up on a narc stew: Jane is spoiled, regardless what she does, and Blanche is ignored or criticized, regardless what she does, to the point that when Jane acts up, the father takes it out on Blanche.

    Aside from the fact that the act has overtones of both incest and necrophilia (numerous viewers have commented on Jane’s dancing with Daddy while singing about a dead father), it’s clear that the father is living out his own vaudeville ambitions in Jane: the aforesaid bizarre dance, unnecessarily coaching her from the side (“Show ’em how!”) when she’s tap-dancing, shilling for Baby Jane dolls. She could perfectly well do the act, such as it is, without his ever appearing on stage as combined MC, dance partner, or accompanist, but the money she earns is only one of the Residual Benefits of having her be a child star. He doesn’t care that his other daughter and even his wife are being erased, as long as he gets his moment of glory on stage. He doesn’t care that he’s also ruining Jane’s life, sending her out into a world that won’t cater to her and will find her performing abilities inadequate without the magic cuteness of childhood.

    Speaking of which .. The Countess of Crenshaw appears to have won her court case. Sickening, because her lies and intent to manipulate were clearly exposed.

  4. Asp Emp says:

    RE: Paddy and Christine McGuinness Our Family and Autism

    I watched this programme tonight (aired BBC1 1st December 2021). I got emotionally ‘moved’ several times during the programme because I was relating to what was being said / discussed and I was also able to understand how those within the programme were feeling / thinking. The AQ Test was mentioned and both Paddy and Christine met with Simon Baron-Cohen to talk about autism. Christine’s score was the same as I scored on the AQ Test. After a confirmed diagnosis, I could see that she was relieved but also ‘coming to terms’ with the news. She said something like that she felt better knowing that she is not mad. That made me sad, for her and also remembering my own diagnosis. Remembering how I was made to feel. And also remembering for ‘questioning’ myself.

    When Simon mentioned that there is around 100 genes ‘linked’ to autism, I thought to myself, bloody hell. How many of those would be linked to narcissism (or empaths), if any.

    Autism is being talked about in schools these days and it appears that there is actually quite a lot of support in regards to those who are autistic. They are also given the ‘space’ to be themselves as individuals, to develop as people within society. There is also the Autism Act.

    Where was that support when I was a child? I am not dwelling on it. No point.

    What I am pleased to see, is the fact that Paddy and Christine come across as very supportive parents and want to ensure their children have as much support as they can get and have a ‘normal’ as life they can obtain, despite their autism.

    I had been using the word ‘neurological’ for some time, when neurodivergent is actually more appropriate.

    Narcissists are also neurodivergent.

    Autistic people also tend to ‘mask’ when out in public but can be ‘themselves’ within their ‘sanctuary’ (‘safe’ place) that is not a LOCE. They also ‘mirror’ others. They have anxiety in situations, around people. They also develop ‘coping strategies’ of their own.

    Christine said to Paddy that she ‘masks’, even around him.

    They also see the ‘world’ differently.

    What am I getting at here? There are programmes about autism. People talk about it. Share experiences. It is also educating neurotypicals as well as the neurodivergents.

    HG, the BBC need to do a similar programme about narcissism.

    Why? For obvious reasons, your work, your education. Also because some people need to also ‘recognise’ the differences in between those who are non-narcissist ACONs (empaths), autistics and narcissists.

    For me, personally, it was good to watch this programme. Albeit with a bit of raised ET, for non-narcissism reasons.

    Thank you, HG. Your work ‘slotted’ in the final pieces of my life’s ‘understandings’ and I really appreciate it. I also appreciate your moderating my long comments over the past 16 months. Thank you X

  5. Ulrike says:


    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you.

  6. Asp Emp says:

    RE: Harry’s Wife 88.14 : Will The Children Become Narcissists?

    I am commenting about this video under this particular article.

    That was very interesting to read. I had already suggested that the children may become ACONs (whether they are in fact the biological children or not). What interested me was reading the section about when a child spends a lot of time ‘away’ from the narcissist parents (or carers), attending school, after-school clubs etc – considered as what you describe, could be an ‘intervener’ which could ‘halt’ the formation of a narcissist within that child.

    It was good to read about the flash frying’ and ‘slow cooker’ examples.

    Even more revealing was, even with empath parents / carers, a narcissist can still be ‘formed’, simply because of the genetic pre-deposition and a sudden, major traumatic incident as the ‘defining’ LOCE.

    I am guessing that Lillibet will be the ‘golden child’, partly because of the names chosen for their daughter, partly because it is a ‘she’ and being the younger of the two. Harry’s eroded empathic understanding may have him instinctively be ‘protecting’ his daughter and his wife would also much ‘triangulate’ on this specifically. Archie may be brought up on the basis of ‘you can manage’, especially by his mother. It will be interesting to see what transpires over the next 10 years or so on the children of Harry & his wife.

    The image used for this video is absolutely brilliant (how apt!) – not that she would ‘notice’ whether the children (her appliances) are narcissists, or not.

    As you suggest, there is still time for Harry to potentially be the ‘intervener’, that ‘fact’ remains to be seen as Harry has not yet become ‘aware’.

    Thank you, HG, for this video. In my opinion, I feel it is a very valuable one, especially in relation to aid understanding more about the creation / formation of a narcissist, or a non-narcissist ACON. You have given some really good (excellent) and easy to understand explanations to support further on this article ‘To Control Is To Cope – The Creation of Narcissism’.

    1. lickemtomorrow says:

      AspEmp, I haven’t watched this video yet, but I intend to do so asap.

      I was interested to see your comment on Lili (refuse to use the Queen’s nickname to refer to her), and I have the opposite impression – I fully expect her to become the ‘scapegoat’ child.

      Daughters will often be competition for their narcissistic mothers who want all the attention for themselves. But not just for the reason of attention. They are also envious and often a daughter must be denigrated in order for the narcissistic mother to feel good about herself.

      I couldn’t believe when I heard that Harry’s wife had dressed their daughter as a SKUNK for Halloween. This tells me all I need to know about how Harry’s wife views their daughter who I imagine is already in devaluation, sad to say. Skunks are not endearing creatures. They are to be avoided and no one really wants anything to do with them. I do believe Lili has already been rejected by her mother who will not tolerate the competition she represents, particularly as Diana’s bloodline granchild who holds some of the promise of that inheritance. If she is scapegoated, she may well become an empath, but that is much too far down the road to calculate.

      One has to wonder why we haven’t seen any pictures of her so far. I’m beginning to think it may be because of this element of competition and that the daughter will take the limelight away from her mother. Much less to do with privacy and much more to do with the fact that people love to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over babies, and Harry’s wife can’t have that with the spotlight being taken away from her.

      I’d say Archie is more likely to become a narcissist because I’m going to guess Harry’s wife will favour him over Lili, and as a boy he is less competition which means rather than reject him she will ‘groom’ him. She has already named their foundation after him, he’s clearly an extension of her, and she will utlitize him for her narcissistic purposes. There is no Archie in that sense. There is only Harry’s wife, and he will be subsumed into her. I sadly believe we will see him become like her (narcissist) as she encourages him to do so.

      Could Harry be the one to make the difference to the eventual outcome? Of course, if he was able to get away from her and take the children with him. Right now I don’t see that happening as he appears unable to save himself.

      It will be interesting to see what happens in the next 10 years of so, and I better go and listen to HG’s video to hear the thoughts of the expert <3

  7. Ciara says:

    Brilliantly explained! I don’t know how to feel sorry that the narcissist missed out or happy he/she found a way to cope. A child should be loved ❤️cared for 😋given plenty attention 🥰and to know it’s okay to make a B ,proud of you any way😘 without adding the extras

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