Power, Control And Narcissists
Power is very important to pathologically narcissistic people. They are usually extremely preoccupied with power and control. Some are even obsessed with it. To the narcissist, power is one of the only things that truly matters because if they have power, it means that they are not weak or insignificant. It means they can have whatever they want. People who have power are important. They matter. They are admired and even feared. This is what the narcissist wants for themselves, and often they will do whatever they have to in order to get it.
There are some narcissistic people who are extremely driven. They work hard, they are very smooth and manipulative. These narcissists often rise to the position of having power over others, such as in government or other types of authority. Others may become leaders of organizations or in the community. This type of narcissistic person is often more overt and usually they will be further down the narcissitic spectrum, even psychopathic. The typical type of emotionally-driven behavior we usually associate with narcissists may not be immediately observed with this person, unless they are under an enormous amount of stress. Even then, it may not be obvious. They may be extraordinarily self-controlled and calm, even dispassionate. This is because, though emotional motivations often still exist within these narcissists, those that are more overtly emotional are usually not capable of the type of self-control that is necessary to achieve this kind of success. Someone who has a meltdown when they cannot buy a pair of shoes, for example, probably would not be able to function adequately in the world of politics or as a corporate shark. There are exceptions of course, but as a general rule, those who are more successful are usually less obviously emotional or dysfunctional.
That is the more traditional understanding of narcissistic people: power-hungry corporate or political titans who will stop at nothing to get what they want. However, just because someone does not fall into this category doesn't mean they are not a narcissist and it doesn't mean they are not seeking power. Take for example the narcissist who holds the entire family hostage with hysterics or violence until they get what they want. Is this person not controlling and manipulative? Are they not seeking power over others? What about the narcissist who uses sex or money to get their way? What about the narcissist who is so insecure and fragile they have to know your every move and can't be left alone or they will fall apart? What about the narcissist who takes over control of your life "for your own good" because they are so concerned and helpful? What about the narcissist who uses their intelligence to trick people into doing what they want?
All of these different people are doing the same thing: trying to exercise power over others. They attempt to do it in different ways, but that doesn't change the end goal. Whether they use emotion, intelligence, concern or force, it's all the same. They are attempting to force others into doing what they want them to do, without any consideration for what the other person wants or would like to do. The only needs that matter are their own. The means they use to try to control others will usually be dependent on what their particular strengths are, the kind of person they are and what they have learned is effective.
For example, some narcissistic people will use violence or threats to try to force others into doing what they want. This is probably because this is what the narcissist has learned will work for them, and is likely a reflection of their particular type of personality. Other narcissists may use guilt or concern to try to control others for the same reasons, and some may use both or neither depending on who they are dealing with or the situation they are in.
The concept of power is very important to narcissistic people. They often seek power for it's own sake, and dealing with them can be just one nightmare power-struggle after another. They create contention and conflict over everything. Everything becomes a contest and a competition where, if they are not the winner, there is a huge blow up or some other type of punshment. Most narcissists do not like their power or authority being challenged, because this creates the fear in them that they don't really have any. It gnaws at them. People with no power don't matter, and this is the ultimate death for the narcissist: death by insignificance. This is why there are narcissists who may have everything they want, yet fall apart because one thing happens that they could not control, or one situation occurs where they feel like they lost.
Pathologically narcissistic people feel very weak and helpless inside. They are not able to regulate their own self-worth and they are not able to fulfill their needs on their own. They need to dominate and control others so that they can be assured their needs will be fulfilled without interruption. People who are not being controlled follow their own agenda. They do whatever they want, and this may not include attending to the narcissist's many needs. So the narcissist endeavors to make sure that people are as preoccupied with their needs as they are. They do this by creating an environment where their needs are the most important thing. The various tactics and manipulations they use are all employed to this end. If they feel it is not working, they will often rage at the slight until their needs are firmly seated in the position of top importance once again.
When you are dealing with a pathologcally narcissistic person, it's important to remember that they cannot feel comfortable or secure in the relationship unless you are under their control. If they had their way, you would do nothing but what they want you to do, 24 hours a day. Narcissists live with a huge amount of stress and fear because so much of their survival is predicated on controlling the behavior and emotions of other people. They cannot exert even basic control over themselves, yet they somehow believe they will be able to control others. Of course, they are not and people generally find this out pretty quickly and leave the situation. Those that don't often end up hating the narcissist and in the end, the narcissist still loses. They want to be loved, admired and respected but the best they usually end up with is someone who feels too trapped to leave.
This is the difference between you and a pathologically narcissistic person. You can understand the true concept of power, even if they don't. You can learn that the only power anyone really has is over themselves, and you can also learn that is the only power anybody needs. You can be free from the emotional bondage that tortures narcissistic people every single day, and you can earn true love, admiration and respect by being a person who gives these things to others, rather than attempting to force them to fulfill your needs because you can't do it yourself.