Narcissism and Control Freaks

Submitted by root on

Some time ago, I felt impelled to introduce "Control Freaks" as a new category for this blog. Wikipedia defines this term, here, saying that the entry is only a "stub." This doesn't seem to be a very well studied area of psychology, though psychologists have noted connections with narcissism, obsessive compulsive disorder, mania (or the up part of bi-polar disorder) and borderline personality disorder.

There's a good summary of the characteristics of a narcissistic executive in an article on (a "best-of-the-web" directory) in an article, Corporate Executives and Narcissism (NY Times, NY Press and UPI) - bulletin. Among the more salient diagnostic criteria, the article provides:

  1. Grandiose statements and frequent, unwarranted boasting and lying.
  2. Feelings of unbounded entitlement and haughty superiority.
  3. A consistent and energy-draining pattern of exploitation.
  4. Blames every mistake of his, every failure, or mishap on others, or on the world at large.
  5. Hypersensitive and hyper-vigilant -- picks fights, feels constantly slighted, injured and insulted.
  6. Cruel, lacks compassion.
  7. A history of battering or violent offences or behaviour coupled with serial jobs and relationships.
  8. Possessive, control freak, and excessive, explosive jealousy.
  9. Lacks respect for your personal boundaries, wishes and privacy.
  10. Rapid cycling -- between moods, between idealizing and devaluing you, between preferences and beliefs, etc.

A related article on the same web page shows, that these symptoms closely parallel those of pathological, or malignant, narcissism, as given in the DSM-IV. If anything, the addition of "control freak" potentially raises the level of pathology from "serious annoyance" to "serious potential threat." The article on pathological narcissism states that only about 1% of the population has this affliction, but because of their in-your-face approach to life (i.e., disregarding normal social boundaries), they tend to make themselves known widely.


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