3 Needs for Power and Control
Need #1: Preventing Humiliation
The first concept related to a narcissistic client’s need for power and control is preventing humiliation. As stated earlier in the track, narcissistic clients often control the emotions of sadness and fear as a prevention against vulnerability. This desire to remain seemingly powerful and in control often results as a defense mechanism developed in early childhood. As children, I have found that these clients suffer a severe narcissistic injury or a blow to self-esteem that scars and shapes their personalities.
This injury most often entails humiliation, specifically the experience of being powerless while another person enjoys the exercise of power. Often, this other person is a parent or guardian who uses physical strength to force the child into submission. To regain their own sense of power, narcissistic clients will use their inability to feel in order to control others around them.
Holly, age 26, described many repeated instances of feeling powerless in her early childhood and adolescence. She stated, “My parents were contemplating putting me in a mental hospital without telling me. This was when I was seventeen. On another occasion, when I was fourteen and away at camp, they changed my high school without asking me.”
When I asked about her parents, Holly stated, “My father is a bull! He’s a person who controls people. He always appears as a nice guy, and most people see him that way, but he causes so much disorder! In business, he is ruthless. His only trip is power—power and money. He is rather handsome, but big and burly. When he was angry, he was very frightening.”
From her description, I could deduce that Holly’s father was a narcissistic character who valued power and control. Because of his own need for power, he took the control away from Holly in making decisions for her. This left her feeling powerless and to regain that power, she suppressed her own feelings of sadness and fear. Think of your Holly. How has his or her own need for power affected his or her emotions and feelings?
For Need #2 & #3 and Technique : Rage Control go to Narcissism Course