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Mind Control by Narcissists

[TRIGGER WARNING] I’m terrified of my parents. Yep, terrified. You may look at me askance, because there was very little physical abuse in my family. So, why am I terrified?

Because, in a homespun “lite” way, they played the Meryl Streep to my Liev Schreiber (The Manchurian Candidate: 2004).

They control my mind. Mind Control.

Say What!?

According to Wikipedia…

Mind control (also known as brainwashing, coercive persuasion, mind abuse, menticide, thought control, or thought reform) refers to a process in which a group or individual “systematically uses unethically manipulative methods to persuade others to conform to the wishes of the manipulator(s), often to the detriment of the person being manipulated”.

Huh. Isn’t that just what narcissists do on a daily basis!?

A Tale of Two Minds

In the olden days (1948-1960s) when mind control was being perfected by the CIA in their MK Ultra program, the techniques used were brutal. They lacked finesse. Victims minds were manipulated via the use of drugs such as LSD and the infliction of pain by methods shockingly similar to SRA (Satanic Ritual Abuse.)

The purpose was to force the victim’s mind into splitting into two (or more) distinct people. There was the “everyday” person who interacted normally and may not have even been aware of their alter or second personality.

The alter(s) only came to the fore when triggered usually by keywords or phrases, often spoken via telephone, to do a particular task.

The Gentle Touch

Nowadays, mind control has learned finesse. Cults and others who wish to control the mind use a little thing called coercive persuasion. In fact, the 1980s case of Wollersheim v. Church of Scientology hinged on whether or not coercive persuasion had occurred. The Supreme Court ruled that it had…and Wollershim won his case and a cool $8.6 million!

Coercive Persuasion

All you need to do is to…

  • Cause your victim extreme anxiety
  • Trigger excessive stress
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat
  • And throw in a few key words aka triggers

Basically, we’re talking about brainwashing here. Programming. Manipulating the victim to do something against their will because their attitude has been changed through anxiety, stress, the intellectually browbeating of repetition and the threat of just enough emotional and/or physical pain to keep the victim from going rogue.

Voila! Mind Control.

Connecting the Dots

As my regular readers know, as I study narcissism I also follow every bunny trail. Mind control was one of those bunny trails. It fascinated me. Intrigued me. And that’s always a bad sign. It means I’ve stumbled onto a morsel or crumb of truth.

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And as you, dear readers, have shared your personal stories in comments, emails and IMs, it emerged that I was far from alone. You also were triggered by keywords to don your “parent-created” alter…abandoning your true self, true thoughts, true emotions, true beliefs.

Mind control, anyone?


Every narcissistic parent has certain key words they use to trigger and shock their kids into behaving the way they were programmed using coercive persuasion. Sometimes it’s a word…a phrase…or merely the tone of their voice. Here’s a few of mine. Please feel free to share yours in the Comments Section below.

You need a mid-course correction.

Tighten up!

We don’t live like that.


That’s worldly.

A Christian girl wouldn’t _______ (fill-in-the-blank.)

I’m surprised at you.

Is there anything else you need to tell me?


We’re disappointed in you.

We forgive you.

…and that incredulous, shocked disapproving facial expression accompanied by a deep, deep sigh that tells me I’m in deep shit.

When I hear these phrases, the tone, the condescending, disapproving expression…I’m triggered.


What does it feel like when you’re triggered? When your family-approved-alter comes to the fore?

It feels bad.

There’s fear. There’s guilt. You’re willing to do anything to re-gain parental approval.

Because they’re your handlers. Your controllers. Your programmers. You can’t feel good about yourself unless they condescend to approve of you. They dole out or remove your self-esteem contingent on absolute obedience. That excruciating pain maintains their control.

So you kiss ass. Agree with everything they say. Do anything they want. You become someone else. It’s not exactly a choice. More of an adrenalin-riddled gut reaction. You can do no other than obey.

You’re no longer “you.” Your alter is now in control. The authentic “you” is thrown into a dark, dusty corner to cry herself to sleep.

The mind control is just too strong. The triggers too…triggery. The alter too well-programmed.

They own us.

Choices Three

When the mind control is that strong, you have three and only three choices.

  1. Lie your ass off
  2. Fight like Hell
  3. Run (aka No Contact)

I still maintain that no relationship that requires you to lie or fight is worth having. So it’s simple after all. We have one and only one choice: rrrrrruuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnnnn!

Believe me, your mind controllers will stop at nothing in their demands. They have no empathy, no conscience. I’ve seen them go so far as triggering their mind control slave to emotionally attack and betray their own child. Oddly enough, harming a family member is an integral part of Satanic Ritual Abuse. Huh. That’s interesting.


When I wrote the Self-Care After Narcissistic Abuse articles, I drew exclusively on sources that detail how to recover from Mind Control and Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA).

Here’s what I wrote in Self-Care: Essential After Narcissistic Abuse (Pt. 2 of 2):

In my past studying, I recall reading that recovery from SRA includes self-care in a few specific areas. Oddly enough, those are the main areas I’ve always associated with self-care.

  • Creativity
  • Learning
  • Playing
  • Nature/Pets
  • Music
  • Beauty
  • Physical Delights
  • Travel
  • Praying
  • Random Acts of Kindness

Oh yes! And going No Contact. If you think of it in terms of the mind control slave slipping the chains of their mind control programmer, it makes it easier, less riddled with emotion.

Then we can work on de-programming ourselves. And establishing self-esteem based not our handlers’ opinion of us, but our own.

Mind control is NOT okay. Ever. Not even if it’s done by your very own mother, father, husband or wife.

Got a story about mind control, triggers, alters? Share it in comments!

For more rants, ravings and reverse engineering of narcissism, please visit and don’t forget to subscribe for daily updates by email. Thanks!

This article is for informational and educational purposes only. Under no circumstances should it be considered therapy nor replace therapy and treatment. If you are feeling suicidal, thinking about hurting yourself, or are concerned that someone you know may be in danger of hurting himself or herself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is staffed by certified crisis response professionals. The content of these blogs and all blogs written by Lenora Thompson are merely her opinion. If you are in need of help, please contact qualified mental health professionals.

Photo by Tim Sheerman-Chase

Mind Control by Narcissists

Lenora Thompson

For five years, "Narcissism Meets Normalcy" has followed the real-life, ongoing story of freelance writer, Lenora Thompson, and her readers’ healing journey from narcissistic abuse to healing, peace and happiness. In August 2020, Lenora launched a new blog, "Beyond Narcissism…And Getting Happier All the Time" as she and her readers explore the new world of peace and happiness. "Beyond Narcs…Get Happy" is 100% reader supported! To learn more about Lenora, her husband Michael’s heroic fight against Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis and to subscribe to her other writings, please visit Thank you!

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APA Reference
Thompson, L. (2016). Mind Control by Narcissists. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2020, from


Last updated: 17 Jun 2016
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