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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42 thoughts on “The Micro Managing Narcissist

  1. Alison says:

    Number 3 above is exactly my mother with me and my father. As a child, she rarely allowed me to do anything for myself, even something as simple as pouring myself a drink, because “you’re just going to spill it” or “you will break the glass”. Thus, I always had to ask her to get me something, etc and then she could hold over my head, even years later, how she did everything for me and how “spoiled” I always was and how she treated me like a princess. In reality, she severely undermined my self confidence and made me question my ability to perform even the most basic tasks. All a sick form of control.

    My husband, on the other hand, is totally number 4, but as HG stated, appealing to his being the expert or him being smarter or better or more experienced at doing the task sometimes gets him to pitch in.

    1. Asp Emp says:

      Alison, I agree, it is about ‘control’.

      I learned how to make a pot of tea when I was 7 years old (my father was still around at that time). Muvver ‘controlled’ whenever I was cooking as a teenager but then would state something like ‘you can’t do it’, making out that I was not ‘teachable’ when in fact it was her control over me. She never did ‘everything’ either – it was my sister who did, as the golden child, she was praised every time she cooked a meal.

      No wonder I turned out the way I did. The self-confidence is huge within people who had narcissist parent(s). Add the issue of cognitive understanding (the brain-wirings) of someone with autism / ADHD, goes to show who the impact of ***ACONs can be deeply ingrained in more ways than those who do not have autism / ADHD. ***This can apply to empaths and, in my view, also narcissists.

      Thank you for sharing your comment / experiences.

  2. Asp Emp says:

    Laughing at this comment…..I totally understand the language used too 🙂

    There are people who were either shocked, disgusted, aghast, looking at me as if I was an alien for swearing to emphasise my point….they can go and fk themselves with the anal probes, fking blinkered twats.

    Granted, there is a time and place for etiquette and there is also a time and place for no etiquette…….

    HG does not discriminate me for being me and I really respect him for that, to give me the freedom to be me.

    Thank you, HG 🙂

  3. Asp Emp says:

    Ah, one of my very early working career talents that even now, I had never seen anyone do better than me at filing….no-one taught me this either. I was quick, methodical and banal about my filing systems, no-one was allowed to fk it up 😉 If they did, they were insulting me and my work ethics!

  4. Joa says:

    This is a farce 😊 Simply tragedy.

    I like competition too much to go into this kind of degrading instruction. Besides, I think that good competition is a very inspiring thing.

    Although this article reminded me, that “my N.” he tried to devalue my culinary skills with the fact, that I never fried a duck, ha ha ha 😊 Interestingly, this duck appeared at different times in our relationship. And in fact, for some time I was thinking about baking this damn duck for him, ha ha ha, but in the end I decided, that he didn’t deserve it 😊
    When he came after years later, one of my first few sentences, except: “What do you want? I have nothing else to offer”(oh, how wrong, I gave so much again!) was: “My dear, I still haven’t baked a duck. And I’m not going to”😊

    It’s funny, it makes me laugh, but this duck has been in my head for 18 years, ha ha ha 😊

    A huge challenge for “my N.” was my job. At first, he was so proud “of me”, and finally he couldn’t bear it. This job is in his head, like in my – duck, ha ha ha 😊 Even after years, he could not help but make all kinds of innuendo, how I supposedly gain recognition and acceptance. I laughed at him kindly and understanding 😊

    Zrobię dużo czekolady mojej własnej produkcji 😊


    I also remember that in the period of the final devaluation (when the end of this relationship was already hanging over our heads like a gallows), I baked a high cake for him, my signature cake. I was so happy, that he is coming to us and that I am doing it for him. He didn’t even try a piece. I don’t really care about such trivial things, but I actually cried, when he left. I ate this cake by myself within 2 days (the child was still too young), choking on tears.
    Yes… I am surprised, that this thought still causes me such great distress. This cake has become a symbol of trampling my feelings, goals, dreams, our child…

    It is interesting, that after so many years the topic of the cake also surfaced. He remembered this situation perfectly well and asked about my reaction after his departure. I told the truth, I needed to say it.

    Actually, looking from the side, my grief about the “cake” is quite funny 😊 I think, I have to laugh at myself with my friends. I even know how to mock myself and this cake, I think there will be a burst of laughter, ha ha ha 😊


    Overall, however, I can’t imagine being stuck in something like HG described in the article. I can bear small impertinences without any problems, and even like them and I do not owe it, oh no 😊 At work it is very common 😊 Every weakness is used, although I am not ashamed of my weaknesses, and even without embarrassment I devote my time to them 😊

    I also have a special mocking look along with a gentle lift of an eyebrow, when someone starts getting into these kinds of notes with me at all – and how it is not communicated in the form of a joke (which obviously has to make me laugh). I like to laugh at myself. Definitely 😊


    It’s interesting, that at the thought of the duck, I feel a rush of warmth in my heart. At the thought of the cake, huge, enormous chill. Brrr, cold.

    But that will change. I want to bake it again. I will make a looot of chocolate of my own production 😊 I will eat it with pleasure 😊


    Aaaaaa, work is waiting, I was just supposed to write a sentence. I run away 😊

    1. Asp Emp says:

      Joa, thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I can understand how some memories can be invoked in relation to some foods. For me it was hot chocolate and muvver but I still drink as much as I like, whenever I like. Chocolate too (actually I do not eat as much as I used to in the past). Stay strong Joa and enjoy your chocolate 🙂

      1. Joa says:

        Asp Emp, there’s a lot more of that stuff, it’s just that duck reminded me, at this article.

        Another is, for example, “pantaloons” – he told me to drive the car in them, when we were returning from the sea. Complete idiocy 🙂

        If I think well, I will remember a lot of such “strange” stories 🙂

        1. Asp Emp says:

          Joa, oh, dear, to drive in pantaloons…..I really don’t know what to say! I’m just flabbergasted but laughing too 🙂

    2. Z - zwartbolleke says:

      I like how you write Joa!

      1. Joa says:

        Thank you. I can write a lot even about sitting and doing nothing, ha ha ha 🙂

  5. Wendy says:

    Our first dinner we were cooking together and he asked me to cut up the potatoes for the dish. I started cutting the potatoes and right away he told me I was doing it all wrong. He then proceeded to take the knife and show me exactly what size I should cut them and they all had to be the the EXACT same size. I cut the onions and garlic all wrong too.

    The first of many red flags that I wrote off as him just being a little quirky. I didn’t put away the groceries in the fridge correctly and he had to give me a tutorial on how to do the laundry just towels and sheets! Lol

    He would never, ever, give me a compliment on anything.

    He started criticizing my cooking once the real devaluing started. One morning he went into the kitchen and proceeded to cook breakfast. I thought oh how sweet he’s making us breakfast and I’ll be damned if he didn’t bring one plate of food for himself and sat down right beside me and proceeded to eat all of the food by himself. Ugh, what an ass! I pretended I didn’t even notice or care. His mask really started falling off fast after that.

    1. Joa says:

      Let him stick that perfect potato up his ass and cover his mouth with onions and garlic. Mr. Perfect Baked Piglet 🙂

      PS I can feel what you felt at this breakfast…

      1. Asp Emp says:

        Joa, what an imaginative description, it really made me laugh!

      2. Wendy says:

        Joa! Thank you! 😂😂 “Mr. perfect baked piglet” and “let him stick that perfect potato up his ass and cover his mouth with onions and garlic.” Haha
        So freaking funny!! I was hoping his ass would choke on that sharp piece of bacon!! Lol
        Thank you dear Joa! You always make me laugh! 💕😊😂

        1. Joa says:

          Oh no, I remembered the first time he cooked for me. It was great and I was still laughing…

          Buuu, too many memories. I will not describe the situation, but I could call “mine N”: Mr. Chicken on the Head 🙂

    2. Asp Emp says:

      Wendy, your words reminds me of a time when someone was applying similar micro-managing within my own home and was ‘admonished’ by someone else who was also present. Thank you for sharing your comment.

      1. Wendy says:

        Yw Asp Emp! 😊

    3. alexissmith2016 says:

      Oh god, so sorry Wendy he sounds like a total Ass.

      But when you take the emotions out of it, the last paragraph is rather comical when you think about it. I may use this tactic when dealing with future Ns lol I’ll do some pay back for you Wendy x

      My mother was rather a ‘plain’ cook. My husband (not an N) was quite awful about my cooking when we were first together, said it how it was lol. “Looks like a road crash” re presentation, or this rice is so overcooked its like pudding rice hahah I’m a very good cook now. He grades my cooking hahah and I mostly get 10/10 these days

      1. Wendy says:

        Alexissmith2016, thank you! Yes, please think of me in your future “payback” haha. Please tell me all!

        There is such a difference in the humor we have with each other when something doesn’t go quite right and we fuck something up, we can laugh about it amongst those of us who really love us in that beautiful thing called “humor” and “making light of a situation.”

        It’s fun and heartwarming. But, add a narcissist into that equation and you get all the negative feelings, feedback, and self consciousness that they love to provoke inside of us!

        I know I’m a great cook and have been doing it for years for my family who 💯 adore my cooking and the time and love I put into it. Narcs love to devalue any and everything they can! We just have to be confident enough in ourselves to know better and ignore their BS criticisms! 😉

    4. Sweetest Perfection says:

      I would have used that moment to flatter him for being such an expert potato cutter, naming him officially Mr. Potato, and insisting that, from then on, potatoes would only be cut by his expert ass. Also, making you cut potatoes or whatever on a first dinner? Take that girl out on a real date, you cheap idiot. Narcs…

      1. Wendy says:

        Sweetest Perfection, thanks for the laugh! 😂

        You are so right, I should have dubbed him Mr. Potato Head!

        I can remember making an excuse for him back then. I thought it’s probably just his engineer brain making him be so precise. NOT! 😂

        1. Sweetest Perfection says:

          Wendy, who wants a boring, anal-retentive potato engineer when Jason Momoa has just become single? I’m gonna drop him an email to see if he wants to be my Aquaman.

          1. Wendy says:

            SP, how true! Omg, Aqua man is single?! No way!
            That is one fine looking man! 😍
            Keep me posted on that email, go get him! 😜

          2. Sweetest Perfection says:

            Wendy, I have been thinking. Now that many people are reconsidering their careers after covid, I think I’ve found my true calling. I’m gonna launch my own business: Empath Support for Lisa Bonet’s Exes.

          3. k mac says:

            I’m with you SP. Momoa is my celebrity crush ever since his wayyyyyy to small role on Game of Thrones.

          4. Sweetest Perfection says:

            Despite being a feminist, the idea of being carried away on Momoa’s shoulder doesn’t sound like a bad plan on a gray, pre-snow Saturday afternoon…

          5. HG Tudor says:

            Ah you modern gals, all for being independent and sassy until you are suddenly not.

          6. Sweetest Perfection says:

            All’s fair in love and war. After that, back to my sassy ass.

          7. HG Tudor says:

            Ha ha, very good.

          8. k mac says:

            What is this picture of? Are you pregnant or have covid? 😁

          9. Sweetest Perfection says:

            Negative to both! Haha it was test #8 after my flights back to the USA last week. I was convinced I caught covid but it was negative every time.

          10. Sweetest Perfection says:

            Nope! Despite my feeling sick all week, still negative. I feel weird having just a common cold. It feels as if I never updated my virus app…

          11. k mac says:

            Oh no SP you changed it! I’m sorry 😞

          12. Sweetest Perfection says:

            Oh, I’m still covid-free, don’t worry! Not for long though! Classes start soon…

          13. wensical says:

            My class started Saturday and it’s still in session! Covid 101! I’m on the tale end of it hopefully and feeling better. At least now I’ve built up some antibodies to this variant! Happy you’re Covid free and if you get signed up it will be an easy class! 😉

          14. Sweetest Perfection says:

            Wensical, I hope you pass it without much suffering, sorry to hear that! I am usually thirsty for knowledge, but I think I’ll pass on that “lesson.”

          15. wensical says:

            Thanks SP, I’m doing much better.

      2. Asp Emp says:

        SP, “potatoes would only be cut by his expert ass” – I always wondered how potato croquettes were formed 😉

        1. Sweetest Perfection says:

          Yuck!!!! Poopy patootie!!!

          1. Asp Emp says:

            SP, of course, it’s how they are manufactured 😉

          2. Sweetest Perfection says:


          3. Asp Emp says:

            SP, that does depend if one consumes the same stuff as a horse does 😉

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