Compassion For Controllers And Narcissists

It can be difficult, really difficult, to pull out compassion toward someone who's been trying to dominate us or trash us, but that's because we're in "defense mode". There's nothing wrong with that, it's not something we should feel bad about, it's just that it blocks our ability to see what's going on.

To put a "bigger picture" on it, when we're the 4 year old child on the bottom of the "piggy pile", where the other 4-year-olds are jumping on us, the only things on our minds are "help!" and "get off me!" ~But if we're not that child, if we're an adult looking on, we aren't in that defensive mind-set. We can see clearly that it's a bunch of small children behaving like small children, and one of them is getting the brunt of the childish behavior. So (if we're a mature adult) we would stop this mayhem, calm these kids down, and make sure they were all okay.

In many control and abuse situations, when we are the target, the kid at the bottom of the pile, we can't see what the Controller is really about, and why they're doing what they're doing. They might be a diabolical Lex Luther NPD type, with full awareness of what they're doing. But they may also be a child in an adult's body. They might have cognitive issues that they've been covering up for years, trying to avoid being targeted by someone else, or trying to avoid getting treated with disrespect, or left out.

The latter of the two (child-like) is the more common Controller.
Understanding this has NOTHING to do with being a "door mat" or "laying down". You don't allow children to walk all over you, it's bad for you and it's bad for the child. But if we understand that the person is really more child than adult, and is doing more REACTING than planning diabolical schemes, we can come to our own healing faster, and deal with the situation with much more awareness.
We may frequently find that because we were raised in a certain type of dysfunction (family or community), we have been allowing others to have power over us regardless of their actual cognitive function level and their maturity level. We may even be GIVING them this power over us and not even realize it.

It's not difficult to learn social signals that portray authority and dominance, even children learn them and how to use them to boss others around at an early age. Humans respond to social signals FIRST, so if someone has learned certain body language, vocal tones, language, and even how to dress and groom to appear "dominant", our subconscious is likely to respond. We humans even respond to a simple height difference or body size, as if the person is an "automatic authority" because they're bigger, or they appear stronger. However those who are smaller than we are can also quite effectively use these signals, although we are much more likely to rebel against them (even try to dominate them because of our own primate or immaturity issues). 

If a person who has learned these signals actually has a lower "intelligence quotient", we probably won't notice, because we're responding to the social signals. We aren't watching or listening to see if they actually have more experience or capability than we do, or anyone else for that matter.

Most people DO NOT SET OUT to "learn" these authority and dominance signals, they pick them up from others, usually adults they knew in their childhood. It could be a parent, or it could be another relative, or a teacher, coach, or other adults in the community. Too often, they learn them from an adult who was using these signals and behaviors ON THEM.

If we suddenly came to the realization that our Narcissistic parent or other really has cognitive and comprehension issues that have gone unnoticed, or past physical or emotional trauma that was never treated, or a brain injury, or was born with a mental illness that was never cared for, we would (hopefully) be much more likely to stop giving them power over us, and understand more about why they behave the way they do.