Are You Dating a Control Freak? Worse, do you Think You are Dating an NPD?

If you can answer yes to more than half of these questions, you’re dating a control freak.  These are people who have a driving need to control everything around them, primarily because they are so out of control of themselves.

1.  Were you immediately charmed by this person?

2.  Did you feel, even after meeting them only once, that you’d “known” this person for a long time?

3.  When you were with this person, did he (I’m speaking from a female perspective) lean back in his chair, put his arms behind his head, and have his legs stretched out or spread?

4.  Was he looking at you, but his feet were pointing away from you?

5.  Was he early and standing or sitting there looking at his watch, or pulling his cell phone out of his pocket just as you walked up?

6.  Did he “humorously” chide you for being “late” even though you were spot on time?

7.  Did he make a statement (smiling, of course) that you’d kept him “waiting” an entire minute (or however long he’d been there?)

8.  Does he make passive-aggressive comments cloaked in humor?

9.  When you are eating at his house does he put the food on your plate for you without asking what size portion you’d like?

10.  When you are eating at your home, does he insist on “helping” in the kitchen by hovering and asking questions like:  “why are you chopping that onion like that?”  (translation:  you’re doing it wrong,)

11.  When you are out to eat, how does he treat the wait staff?  Is he demanding?  Does he cloak his demands in a wheedling tone, even though the wait person is clearly uncomfortable giving in to his requests?  Does the wait staff finally give in?

12.  Does he tell you how nice you look and then follow it with “but?”

13.  Does he shower you with attention and then inexplicably withdraw when you reciprocate?

14.  Does he tell you he wants to explore a long-term relationship with you after the first date?

15.  Does he make statements like:  “call me any time you want, and I mean ANY time” and then never answer his phone?

16.  Does he hurt your feelings and when called on it, apologize and then shift blame to you?

17.  Does he seem to hold everyone but himself accountable for his actions?

18.  Is he always too busy when you ask to see him but sound hurt when you won’t turn on a dime when he decides he wants to see you?

19.  Does he “correct” you – usually cloaking it with a laugh – for slight mistakes that anyone would make?

20.  Does he accuse you of doing things you know you’ve never done?

21.  Do you find his communication confusing?  (i.e. – says one thing and does another?)

22.  Do he seem to get happier after “humorously” criticizing you?

23.  Does he play “good cop/bad cop?”  By this I mean, is he nice one day and withdrawn and sullen or totally unavailable the next day?

24.  Does he seem to forget things you’ve talked about and then tell you that you never mentioned those things?

25.  Does he always seem to have to have the last word?

26.  If you even slightly criticize him, with a gentle spirit, does he blow it out of proportion and withdraw from you?

27.  Does he play “punishment/reward” games with you?  (i.e. – cold shoulder until you start “behaving” as he thinks you should?)

28.  Do you find yourself censoring not only your words but your thoughts when you are with him?

29.  Have you begun to change your own behavior when around him for fear of his reactions?

30.  Does he make up rules that you find out later only apply to you?

31.  Do you find out, after doing something completely normal that is part of your daily routine, that he suddenly has a “rule” about that and he berates you for doing that thing?

32.  Do you find yourself saying to friends:  “but when he’s nice, it’s sooooo good!” ????

33.  Do you find yourself making excuses for his behavior when he acts like an ass in front of your friends?

34.  Does he attempt to keep you from seeing your friends?

35.  Does he start out praising your accomplishments, but as time progresses, he begins to criticize those accomplishments, to the point of negating them?

36.  Does he email you constantly, but not respond when you reply to his emails?

37.  Does he consistently say he’ll call you, and then doesn’t call you?

38.  Does he make vague plans with you and not nail them down until the last minute?

39.  Does he get peeved that you won’t change your plans so that you can be with him for his last minute plans?

40.  Does he throw you “carrots?”  (i.e. – he tells you he’s told his friends about you but somehow those friends never materialize and you never get to meet them?

41.  Over time does it seem that nothing you do is good enough?

42.  Do you feel your self-confidence eroding when you are with him?

43.  Do your friends tell you to dump the damned loser?

44.  Do you tell your friends they’re all wrong about him and if they’d only meet him, they’d understand why you want to be with him?

45.  Does he tell you stories about his past where he is always the hero?

46.  Does he trash his ex, even though he spent years with her, and become offended when you ask him why he stuck around if she was so bad?

47.  Is he always calm?  Does he make a show of being “balanced” when you can see he’s obviously internalizing anger?

48.  Is his logic faulty, and your intuition tells you it’s faulty but you can’t quite describe how it’s faulty?

49.  Does he cut you off mid-sentence when you’re talking about something important to you, only to inject something anecdotal about himself?

50.  Does he seem to be searching for the next thing he’s going to say rather than truly listening to what you have to say?

51.  Is his home chronically neat and tidy?  Does everything have it’s place and do you feel as though there is no place for you in his home?

52.  When you look around his tastefully appointed home do you suddenly realize that it’s been quite studiously put together, that there is no dust anywhere even though he’s got tons of collectibles, and that he puts everything back in it’s “place” immediately after using it?

53.  Does he make all the plans, always shooting your plans down in favor of his?

54.  Does he unaccountably blow up at you when you suggest doing something different from the norm, and then tell you that you’re being selfish and maybe HE wants to do something else, thus accusing you of daring to attempt to control your interaction with him?

55.  Does he send you mixed signals?  Is he physically affectionate, without making sexual overtures, thus driving you to the brink of crazy because you’re not sure WHAT he wants and then when you attempt to talk to him about it he tells you that you want more than he can give?

The list actually goes on ad infinitum, but I think these 55 are a good start.  If you can answer yes to most of these questions – even to half of them, you’re involved with a control freak, and possibly a Narcissistic Personality.

These are general characteristics.  You’ll have to interpret them according to your own situation.  But if most of them fit, I have one piece of advice for you, and it will save your sanity.

RUN LIKE HELL AND DON’T LOOK BACK. 

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10 thoughts on “Are You Dating a Control Freak? Worse, do you Think You are Dating an NPD?

  1. I will never ever EVER become involved with a man again. Period. Thanks for putting these up – really eye-opening…..

  2. It’s really difficult to discern behaviors, though, unless you’re vigilant. All of those behaviors can be indicators that someone is a control freak, and they ARE indicators of control issues if you can apply them to an individual who has demonstrated them consistently.

    In my case, I was able to apply every single one of them to a particular person. I’ve recently been reading about the body language of liars. Had I known on my first date with the N what I know now about body language, he’d have been history, right along with his empty iced coffee cup ,which, btw, he later blamed me for “making” him drink, thus making him hyper the rest of the evening. First date, and golly, if I hadn’t talked so much, he wouldn’t have had to get up and get a second cup of highly caffeinated iced coffee.

    Only – I wasn’t doing much talking – he was. When he got up to get his second cup, he offered to get me one and then said: “oh, you probably don’t need one” before I could answer.

    Went right over my head. Could have been the winning lottery ticket and I’d have missed it. His effervescent charm masked all of it. He’d learned to be controlling, manipulative and derogatory in such a charming and “caring” fashion that I saw only the charm and care, as he intended.

    Z – very first date – if I’d had the knowledge. Well, the universe gives us our silver linings and my silver lining here, my total blessing in all of this is that I am well-armed now. I have the knowledge to never allow this to happen again. There is something positive in every negative experience.

    And you know what? Those 55 behaviors don’t apply solely to men. There are plenty of women out there who exhibit them….

  3. Quite right there, Miss C~

    This is definitely not a male-only disorder…

    I am a woman & my ex was a woman- and I can tell you right now that she was a total N & could easily run for & win their NPD poster-child competition…The most amazing thing with her/them is how nothing is ever their fault- ever. It is effortless for them to blame-shift- to the point that you eventually find yourself running situations past others just to see if you’re the crazy one.

    In saying that, I might add that they are perfect actors- but mainly because they are so good at setting you up- I walked into these “planned ambushes” so many times. It was most effective when there was an audience to witness the thing unfold. One time mutual friends were invited over after being told how sensitive & distant I was being (this after a particularly grueling devaluing episode)- and then here she was inviting company (“to cheer me up” was the later excuse & why was I always so uptight?) to witness first-hand how much of a bummer I was? Naturally, I was down, stressed, and unprepared for the sudden & unannounced visit…This would lead to yet another devaluation…

    I did leave her and the aftermath & things she did would fill a book. Thank God for my good friends & my children. Unlike some, I did have support & I had witnesses to her bizarre behaviour. I’m still scarred & still a bit paranoid- but getting there. It’s been 2-1/2 years since I left & it still haunts me.

    Love your blog- good stuff,

    Tracy

    • Tracy, I’m so glad you’re no longer taking abuse from your N. You’re absolutely right about NPD applying to women as well. While statistics show it to have a 75/25 split between genders, with males being the 75 portion of that ratio, I also know that many women who probably should be classified as NPD are actually diagnosed as Borderline. I believe the reason for this is that women tend to seek help more than men do, for whatever reason.

      Ns are really good at blame-shifting and it sounds like your N loved to gaslight. That’s a favorite game for them – making you think you’re crazy, and doing things like devaluing you and then inviting friends over to “cheer” you up because you’re so “down.”

      You used a word that is perfect: “Actor.” That’s ALL they are. They aren’t real humans. They’re pod people, who grocery shoplift for emotions and feelings, for acceptable social behaviors, and while they’ve come up with a recipe for putting all their stolen ingredients into a tasty treat, like any treat, if it’s left out for too long, it spoils.

      Recovering from a relationship with an N – and I use the term relationship loosely because it’s only the victim who thinks it’s a relationship – is incredibly hard. I’m only about 6 weeks into my recovery period. I don’t miss the guy – not one little bit. I don’t love him, don’t like him, don’t want him. All that said – I’m still dealing with the fallout from having been involved with him, and I’ve had to accept that I’ll be dealing with it for some time to come.

      Thanks for posting your reply. I am truly honored when someone shares their story on my blog. It not only helps me, but it helps everyone else out there who might be in a similar situation.

  4. I hope you are able to stay clear of your N…They are quite charming & can even seem sincere if required…

    The funny thing is when I read blogs or sites which lay out a victims/person’s view of things who have had run-ins with NPD people. As I read their descriptions, I absolutely understand where they’re coming from- even as I can simultaneously see how non-NPD-experienced people would think they were paranoid or just plain nuts?

    I tried to reconcile with my N for over 2 years time. In that time, I tried to talk, counsel, get friends involved (never happened because she said no)- and it wasn’t until I found out about personality disorders that I saw what sort of work was ahead of me. Even then, I worked- even harder, because I loved & wanted her in my life & my kids lives. In the end, I simply ran out of steam & ideas- I couldn’t do it alone, and she was not responding at all…

    For anyone who who reads this blog- all I can say is, “you are spot-on” if you think there’s something wrong. If you think they are odd or if you think things are distorted. If you feel bad or guilty when you’ve done nothing. Please~ just pack your things, go to a safe place, and never, ever respond again.

    T

    • Ns don’t change, as a rule. That’s almost carved in granite. There’s a couple (a husband and wife) all over the web right now who are hawking self-help for NPD. The wife states her husband was NPD but he saw what he was doing and got help and did a 180. I’m skeptical. In my experience and research, Ns don’t get help because they do not think they are the ones with the problem. They respond to love, persistence, care, nurturing, compassion, empathy and “help” with disdain and more devaluation of their victim(s). They see all those qualities as weak, even though they are the qualities they secretly want the most. They can’t sustain any of them for any length of time, and because THEY can’t sustain them, it automatically follows that anyone who can is weak and must be destroyed.

      IMHO there are three things a person involved with an NPD should do.

      1. Don’t try to fix.
      2. Recognize you are an object with an expiration date (thank you PlanetJan!)
      3. RUN!

  5. “There’s a couple (a husband and wife) all over the web right now who are hawking self-help for NPD. The wife states her husband was NPD but he saw what he was doing and got help and did a 180. I’m skeptical.”

    I know the ones you mean- & I agree with you. Her husband is in no way NPD, because as you say, he would never admit it if he were. At one point I thought, “well, maybe his form of supply source is all the attention their situation gives him”- but even that wouldn’t work because a true N won’t accept that they’re flawed in any way.

    I wondered if you’d ever read this site on NPD> http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/

    Excellent synopsis by a woman who nailed it on the head. RIP Joanna.

    • Yep, her information was some of the first I found when I went searching. I need to read more closely to see how long that website is going to be there, since Joanna is gone. I don’t know if they have plans to take it down, but if they do, I’ll have to copy it to a word doc and save it, because that information is far too valuable NOT to be online in some form.

      I was wondering if anyone else saw what I saw in that couple. I was also wondering if what you stated about his source of supply now being all the attention he’s getting is what “turned him around.” I think the true test of his “cure” would be to take all the marketing off the web, all the videos, all the material – every bit of it. Take books out of circulation, and then see if he maintains his “cure.” I have my doubts.

  6. “I don’t know if they have plans to take it down, but if they do, I’ll have to copy it to a word doc and save it, because that information is far too valuable NOT to be online in some form. ”

    If you open each of the pages of Joanna’s site individually, choose file>save as>”web page complete”…you will have your copy on your own PC.

    Tracy

    • Yes, but if I save as web page on my PC, I believe it adds the url to her site in the script when saving it. I used to do that and then found that info I’d saved went missing when sites were taken down. That’s why I copy and paste. I dunno – I haven’t saved as a web page in a long time – maybe things have changed?

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