Mood Swings And Controllers

When a controlling person is "triggered", their feelings are often more intense than non-controllers, and because of this they are often channeled to only a few emotions. (This is similar to what can happen in those with trauma, but is mainly limited to "fight or flight" or abandonment triggers.)

So when a controller is stimulated to feel confidence due to a fun day with friends, positive attention from a person they find attractive, compliments, or an accomplishment or award, their confident feeling can quickly become intense and morph into arrogance. This mood change will often result in behavioral change, such as talking down at a target as if they are a burdensome hanger-on who is taking up space, time, and resources.

When this feeling has dissipated, they might realize to some degree that they behaved arrogantly, and worry about the consequences they might receive. They might give gifts or act very nice to the target in order to "erase" how they acted. This is not the same as an apology or making amends, but they might not know this, they may have been raised this way.

That worry about consequences for their behavior, or judgment from the other person, or loss of respect from the other person, can also be a trigger. So instead of giving gifts to "erase" their previous behavior, they might instead try to exert more control over the target with hostility, condescension, or shame and blame talking. This is also an attempt to "erase" their previous behavior by asserting their "superior status", and to justify their "right" to behave however they like toward others.

A controller can be triggered by anything external that stimulates their emotions to go "up" or "down". From their point of view, like everyone, it's just how they feel, they may not realize that there is a difference between being triggered and feelings. When someone compliments your good looks, it can feel wonderful, and can elevate your self-esteem for a while, you might feel a bounce in your step. If you're a controller or narcissist, however, when someone compliments your good looks, it can stimulate a different reaction, such as feeling like recognition for being the MOST good looking, for being ABOVE other men or women in general; a confirmation of unique superiority and therefore entitlement over others.

On the other hand, if someone treats you impolitely or disrespectfully, you might feel annoyed, agitated, even angry, in proportion to what the person did or said, and who the person is to you, and it might color your mood for a while and dent your self-esteem. You might want to be alone, or you might need to vent to a friend or reach out for support.

A controller or narcissist, on the other hand, may react in several different ways, depending on what they were thinking about the other person at the time, and depending on their mood at the time. For example if the person was an attractive cashier, the controller may have been seeking flirtatious attention from the person, and if the person simply did their job politely but didn't flirt, a narcissist will often perceive their behavior as disrespectful. The attractive cashier did not give the narcissist what they wanted and expected: acknowledgment of their unique beauty or charisma, and reciprocal attraction. So, he or she feels rejected, humiliated, and dismissed.
Another person in a different store might actually really be dismissive and disrespectful toward the Narcissist, but it might go unnoticed because they aren't interested in this particular person's acknowledgment of their attractiveness or supremacy. So it doesn't trigger them, they might not even see it.
But when they are triggered to feel defensive because they perceived disrespect, whether it was real or not, their emotional reaction can be seemingly more intense than the situation seems to call for. So the attractive cashier just doing their job politely, or the coworker who does not reciprocate attraction to them (but treats them with normal, friendly respect) may elicit much more intense emotional reactions, anger, rage, or hate, than someone else's blatant disrespect toward them.
So predicting what will trigger a controller or narcissist may not be obvious; they are reacting much more to their internal dialogue than actual external events.

So when a controller feels anger from an event at work or at a store, that anger is often channeled back to the usual targets. They feel humiliated from the cashier's lack of special treatment, but they don't connect their mood change to that event, or they don't want to. Even if they vent about it, they will not say "I feel angry" or "I felt humiliated". What they will do, however, is treat their designated targets with disrespect. Suddenly the controller is on the phone calling a target, talking down to them as if they're a burdensome child who did a shameful thing, or failed to do something important... or making demands and giving instructions... again...

To controllers and Narcissists, targets are like the punching bag in the basement that people set up to channel their anger and vent their stress. When something happens to change their mood, they rarely vent about it, talk about it with a friend or counselor, observe themselves, or analyze what actually caused their mood change, for good or ill. They "act out", and they usually channel this acting out to the safe person who they've designated as a Target. In order to KEEP this Target, they need to exert control and entitlement over them so they won't leave. Some will give gifts, gestures of friendship and approval, ego stroking, or fake sweetness to get the Target to stay. Some will amp up their blame and shame casting, trying to "prove" that the Target is not a good person, who should hang their head in shame and admit they are a lower person who should be very grateful for the controller (and their family and friends) allowing them to be in their lives. Some will try threats to make the Target fear leaving, physical, financial or social threats, and often include rejection and abandonment. Some will use both. If the Target does not respond to these attempts at maintaining control over them, the controller will often become very angry and fearful. They can be overwhelmed with intense feelings, but without the ability to detach from the situation and observe what's happening they can feel smothered by their own emotions, and will of course blame the Target for causing them. To add to this, when the Target backs away from them to avoid their hostile treatment, the controller can perceive this as abandonment. Without the ability to detach and observe, they can not see the situation from the outside, and therefore will probably continue to see the Target as the cause of all of the bad feelings for the rest of their lives*.

( Suicidal ideation should not be taken lightly and should be immediately reported to a therapist or doctor, no matter what the person's behavior has been.)

*A sociopath controller/narcissist may be able to see the situation just fine and may know full well what emotions are from what; they may know clearly that they're angry because their Target is leaving them, and know full well WHY the Target is trying to get away from them. Like a cat and mouse, a lion and an antelope; their emotions are more limited to getting off on the belief that they're superior creatures, and getting off on domination. But most controllers/narcissists are not that diabolical or clear, they're mostly reacting to their own emotions and don't know that life could be any other way.