Is A Controlling Person A Narcissist?

Is A Controlling Person A Narcissis

Not all controlling people are narcissists, but control can be a trait of narcissistic behavior. Narcissism is characterized by a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior marked by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. While controlling behavior can be a part of this pattern, recognize that not everyone who exhibits controlling behavior has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

Here Are Key Differences to Consider…

  1. Broader Context of Behavior- Controlling behavior can stem from various sources not related to narcissism, such as anxiety, past trauma, learned behavior from family dynamics, or other personality disorders. It’s the broader pattern of behavior and the underlying motivations that contribute to a diagnosis of NPD.
  2. Empathy Levels- Narcissists often lack empathy, which is a core component of their inability to genuinely connect with others’ feelings. A controlling person might still have the capacity for empathy but might choose control as a strategy for coping with their insecurities or fears.
  3. Self-Importance- Narcissism involves an inflated sense of self-importance and a constant need for admiration. While controlling people might exhibit these traits, it’s not a definitive indicator of narcissism. Their control could be motivated by different needs, such as a desire for security rather than admiration.
  4. Relationship Dynamics- Narcissists often manipulate and exploit relationships to benefit themselves, showing little regard for the other person’s well-being. A controlling person might engage in unhealthy relationship dynamics without the manipulative intent to exploit others for self-gain.
  5. Diagnosis and Treatment- NPD is a diagnosable personality disorder that requires a comprehensive evaluation by a mental health professional. Controlling behavior, in the absence of other narcissistic traits, might not indicate NPD but could still benefit from professional guidance to improve interpersonal relationships.


It’s crucial to understand that personality and behavior are complex and multifaceted. While narcissism and controlling behavior can intersect, they are not synonymous. Identifying narcissistic behavior or dealing with controlling tendencies often requires a nuanced understanding and, in many cases, the input of a professional who can provide personalized advice and treatment options.