Let’s talk about narcissists and mind control, shall we? Narcissists love to manipulate you and control you. Often, this looks like gaslighting and brainwashing – and it can be so subtle that you don’t even realize it’s happening!
What is mind control exactly? It involves the manipulative tactics narcissists use to subtly control and manipulate you. It could involve gaslighting, projection, lying, hiding and more – and narcissists are especially happy to use it to sort of “manage you” so that you will do, say and be exactly what they want in any given moment.
The worst part is that it could happen to literally anyone. Even the most intelligent people can be subjected to mind control, and that’s partially because of it’s subtle but highly-targeted nature.
So how can you tell if you’re dealing with a narcissist who is using these pervasive techniques on you? How do you know if you’re under mind control?
The fact is that you just don’t know, right? Let me play the devil’s advocate for a moment here. What if I told you that everything you are doing could be a response that fits perfectly into another person’s secret plan?
If you take that as a real possibility, then you could simply just give up and decide that NOTHING is truly within your control.
But wait a minute – you don’t have to do that. You are a thinking person, right? Then you can imagine that you can have control over much more than you might realize in this moment.
So how can you know for sure?
Start with a simple question: “Am I acting or am I reacting?”
If you are reacting, then you are almost automatically responding to something you see as outside of your control. You’re doing this in an attempt (consciously or otherwise) to gain some control back. And this is a potential sign of some form of mind control.
No one likes to feel powerless and out of control. And when we’re dealing with toxic people in our lives, we often find ourselves feeling just like that. We stop trusting ourselves, and we give into letting the narcissist run our lives, on some level or another.
So what’s the solution? How do we stop letting toxic people control our lives, and stop them from telling us what we like, what to think and who we are?
The answer is that we need to do something intentional and positive that is NOT a response to the external environment.
Let me emphasize the word “positive” here because an intentional negative/destructive act has to act on or destroy something pre-existing. It would be then something to which you are reacting.
Do you see what I mean? Let’s dig in a bit.
1) Intentionally Thinking
I like to joke that I “think too much,” and it’s true! This might be because of my toxic relationships in the past. Honestly, while some people just don’t want to have to think about stuff, us survivors are different – we often think TOO much. We can sometimes live in our own heads, and this will leave us feeling a little out of touch, to say the least. In the throes of abuse, we can find ourselves completely checking out – dissociation comes calling. Thankfully, though, our unconscious (reactive) mind will do most of our actions for us.
Admittedly, we sometimes rely on it entirely too much or in the wrong way and allow it to dictate our every move by letting our emotions guide us. Manipulative narcissists often know this and will use it to control you by fear, anger, threats and frustration. If we’re going to make any significant change, we have to look outside of this and intentionally direct our thoughts to choose, intentionally, our emotional responses. This will give us more control of ourselves and our own lives.
2 ) Being Creative
Creativity can be difficult because it requires taking action that is not linked to some external stimulus. This, of cours,e requires thought, but we have the ability to sort of train ourselves and our unconscious minds to be very creative. Consider Salvador Dali and what he was able to do. Nothing he did in the field of art could easily be compared to anything prior to him. The same was true with his life.
Dali was absolutely fascinated by the images he would see right as he was falling asleep or starting to wake up. For him, these seemed to be extremely vivid, colorful and interestingly bizarre. In order to produce his amazing art, Dali ran various experiments where he would figure out the best way to sort of make these images happen and then capture them before they’d disappear out of his head. This would eventally lead to some of his best-known artwork.
Reportedly, the way he found that worked best was to put a tin plate on the floor and then sit by a chair beside it. He’d hold a spoon over the plate as he worked to relax his body – often, leading him to begin to fall asleep. At the very moment he’d doze off, the spoon would slip from his fingers, hitting the plate with a crash. This would wake him at the perfect moment and he could paint the surreal images before he forgot them.
3) Taking Inspired Action.
Action takes effort and motivation, and as survivors, we struggle with this sometimes. Maybe we don’t trust ourselves, or maybe we are so used to being told what to do (or how to act) that we just sort of let things happen. Or maybe we just sort of react to things and this makes us exhausted. So we think we need to conserve our energy.
But we have to remember that by taking creative action, we can actually create energy. Going back to Salvidor Dali as an example, his life was FULL of energy that he created intentionally. When his peers tried to control him, he would turn his response into a new form of performance art. This would totally bewilder the people trying to influence him – and absolutely entertain everyone else who was watching.
4) Having Courage.
I know, it’s cliche. But it’s a real thing – and a little bit will change your life. You have to have the courage to deal with feeling uncomfortable sometimes – it’s the only way we can push lives to the next level. To create change requires a little bit of discomfort – we have to find the space OUTSIDE of our comfort zones and we have to almost live there.
But why else is this important when we’re talking about mind control? Because when the narcissist sees that they cannot control you through fear and anger, they will sometimes escalate their attempts through threats, intimidation and worse, in many cases.
Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy.
She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.