Anxiety Trigger, Depression, Control

One of the main emotional mind-twisters that happens to those who have been in any type of relationship with controllers, abusers, and/or narcissistic people is that when they're happy, you are not. When you're happy, they are not.

Your happiness triggers their control behavior.

This means that anytime you (the target) are doing something, planning something, or experiencing something that brings you joy or confidence, they (the controller) will feel something "negative" such as annoyance, arrogance, jealousy, envy, anxiety, fear, or even the compulsion to stop your activity or feelings, like a cat putting a paw on a skittering mouse (simple compulsion). They follow their emotional reaction with a behavioral action.

So if they notice you go swimming, and swimming makes you happy, they will try to stop you from doing that somehow, using any number of subtle or overt tactics. They might try to shame you about wearing a bathing suit, or swimming in public, or being seen by the opposite sex. They might make it difficult for you to get a ride to the swimming area. They might find tasks for you to do when you plan to go swimming. They might invite themselves along, not to join you or just hang out, which would be healthy, but with the intention of disrupting your swimming experience, or diverting or destroying any human connections you might have made. They might insert their opinion and control over everything you do involving swimming, getting ready for swimming, and your aspirations or goals around swimming.

Their behavior is triggered whenever they notice you are feeling joy, confidence, or peace, because their emotions are triggered.
This leads to you, the target, developing an anxiety response that is TRIGGERED by YOUR OWN JOY, HAPPINESS, OR CONFIDENCE. After a long enough period of time, which can be very short depending on the circumstances, you will learn that when you feel positive, there will be a consequence.

When you feel joy, there will be some kind of consequence.

When you are working on something and succeeding, you will show a signal, and there will be a consequence.

When you are praised by someone or given positive attention, there will be a consequence.

When you make a friend, or connect directly to one of the controller's friends or associates, there will be a consequence.

When you go to bake a cake, fix your car, clean your room, or wash your clothes, buy groceries, repair the steps, get a haircut, get new shoes, there will be a consequence.

When you sign up for a class, or go to practice an instrument, there will a consequence.

When you have an enjoyable time with another person, regardless of who they are, there will be a consequence.

When you do something that shows your talent, insight, skill, or intelligence, there will be a consequence.

When you find something to be very funny, or very soothing, or very fascinating, there will be a consequence!

The consequence could be very big, or very small, almost imperceptible~ but nonetheless, there it is. It might be aggressive and hostile. It might be some kind of shame, silent treatment, or ridicule. It might be more about control and taking over what you're doing, perhaps treating you as if you don't really know what you're doing, or over-complimenting and focusing on you in such a way that implies that you've FINALLY done something right... or correcting and re-doing whatever you've done. There are myriad ways of giving consequences, and asserting control.

So after awhile, you can develop a trigger to your own positive feelings. When you feel good about anything, you feel anxiety. When you feel excitement, you then feel stress. When you feel confidence, you then feel shame. When you feel optimism, you then feel guilt. And so on, and so on.

A real life example:
When you realize it's time to change your oil, you start to plan whether to do it yourself or bring it to a shop, but soon your planning feels negative, and the whole task feels overwhelming. Then, whether you do it yourself or bring it to a shop, it will feel like you made the wrong choice. Whichever you end up doing, you will feel that the other would have been better, and you screwed up yet again. If however the original negative feelings grew more overwhelming, you may have instead pushed it aside completely.

The planning to change your oil gave a natural twinge of confidence. This confidence feeling, albeit small, was the trigger for the anxiety.

Pushing the task aside gives relief from the anxiety that was triggered. Avoiding the task also means avoiding the actual consequences that may occur from any controlling human (such as criticism, ridicule, control or sabotage) when you change the oil yourself, or when you deal with the people at the auto shop.
WHEN we keep pushing aside tasks because we get overwhelmed with anxiety, we can find ourselves in a pattern of stagnation and avoidance. We may find ourselves lonely, or bogged down with unfinished tasks, disorganization, or an escape addiction. We may find that we have anxiety disorders that keep us from participating in life. We can develop depression or illness.


There is but one single reason that controllers give these consequences for all these different things: when the target feels positive in any way, the controller feels compelled to stop the positive feeling. Positive feelings lead to self-confidence. Self-confidence leads to decision-making. Decision-making leads to success, which reinforces self-confidence. Strong self-confidence leads to independence

In a controller's emotional processing, independent people leave. Independent people might abandon. Independent people might hurt or betray. Independent people may take away resources and company. Independent people might have more power than the controller, and that either angers them or scares them, depending on the individual. (Different controllers have different underlying agendas; some are quite dangerous, see NPD, or psychopath, but others are not actually dangerous, they just don't know any other way to interact or manage their emotions.)

The other side of this coin is that when the controller is happy, it is usually because he or she is in control. Control feels good to them. That means you are not in control of the situation at that time. The controller can not do things with you, in an equally shared experience. They cannot and will not follow your lead.
They may pretend to, but they won't really do it; they'll keep doing little things to rebel, whether you can see them or not. They can not wrap their minds around true "WE", because they arrange everyone in their minds as either "lower" or "higher", as "leader" or "follower", as "teacher" or "student", as "expert" or "novice".  

They can't be your classmate, they have to be your teacher.
They can't be your friend, they have to be your leader.

They will "follow" someone who they have labeled "Above" themselves, but that's probably not you. You are relegated to "Below" status, because you don't meet the requirements in their mind of being a person who is "Above".  You can only be one, "Below" or "Above". There is no "equal".

Therefore, they can not be happy unless YOU ARE FOLLOWING, and THEY ARE LEADING.

SO, you are probably not relaxed when they are happy, because when they are happy, they feel they are in control over you. Their happiness is tied directly to you, your actions, reactions, and behavior. Also, you know it will end shortly. Their happiness means "uh oh" to your subconscious; you wait for the other shoe to drop. 

The reasons behind the controller's triggers can vary widely, and are usually based in past emotional hardship such as childhood abandonment, trauma, the death of a parent, an abusive family member, having to take care of others or work too much during formative years, or being exposed to adults who behaved in these ways.

In summation, the important point of all of this is that we can develop an anxiety and negativity response that is triggered by our own feelings of confidence, joy, hope, happiness, excitement, and friendship connections. This can be healed, of course, with some effort and focus, after awareness has taken place.


Identity, Control, Anger and Pain

An interesting trait that some controllers display~ "spurning" people who empathize or relate with them, especially with their pain or anger.
>>> "You can't possibly know what it's like to feel my pain, or have any idea what I've been through, you're not as cool/tough/good/strong/bad-ass/enlightened as I am."
Instead of feeling validated by someone showing support, or relief that someone has con...nected with them or understands where they're coming from, they instead reject and "rebel against" the person. This can possibly come from a long period of dealing with an abusive or neglectful situation when the person felt completely alone and uncared for; in order to survive, the person may have internalized their painful experiences and made them a part of their identity, of "who they are".
Like a professor who has internalized his position of "leader" and "smartest/most experienced person in the room"; instead of embracing a person who is also very smart with common interests and similar talent as a "kindred spirit", the professor will REJECT that person, and feel like he is being challenged and competed with. He has made "smart professor of (whatever subject)" his IDENTITY, and has forgotten that "smart professor" is just a description. If he gets fired or laid off, who is he then? If he has to take medication that clouds his intellect, who is he then? Because he has made his identity all about "smart professor", he has set himself up to have to defend this identity in order to feel like he really exists in the world. When someone shows up who shares this description of "smart professor", he feels like he is losing his "Uniqueness", and will rail against this new person.

So it is with the person who has identified him or herself as "a person who has gone through pain". They have forgotten their true identity as themselves, the original soul, spirit, and child who came into this world, and have added this "person who has gone through pain" to it. There is no blame or shame about it, it's not something terrible that they have done, it just makes it more difficult for them to heal. Rejecting, dismissing, and devaluing anyone who would actually be a kindred spirit means they are shutting out validation, camaraderie and learning. But that is the part of the path they're on; if they can find healing to build their healthy boundaries back up and feel safe again, they will be able to make those connections and heal faster.

Narcissism Behaviors That Wear Us Down Slowly

Some more subtle narcissistic behaviors that will wear you down to a nub if they are coming from people you're around frequently:

>Negative comments. Often veiled as observation, or tacked on the end of a positive comment. "She looks like a confident young woman! That dress is awful, though." "You look nice, let me fix your hair." "You sounded great up there! You should hold your microphone up higher, and smile more."

>Constant conversation steering, back to themselves, not as an empathy validation, like "I've been through that too, I can relate~"(and then tell why and how, and then back to the original topic)" but as a full u-turn, where the conversation never goes back to your experience or observation.
(You): "I was in the hospital last week, they had to remove my head and sew it back on..."
(Them): "My friend's uncle had that done last year! He was 67 at the time, he's never been married, so you know it was hard not having anyone to help him, he had to drive himself to and from the hospital, he has two dogs so my friend's cousin had to take care of the dogs and .... ...."

>Always manipulating plans; yours, mine, and ours. There is never a day when someone says "Hey let's go get pizza" and they say "Okay". There has to be complications, rescheduling, and hopefully, someone will become anxious. There is never a day that was planned ahead that everyone simply does what the plan was. There is never a celebration, party, or gathering that does not include bullying, rudeness, crisis, or anger. (The bullies always blame the target for "creating drama" after they have bullied the target, either directly or indirectly, enough to provoke an emotional response.)

> Frequent streams of complaints, critiques, and opinions about everything and everyone, most of which are deemed objective "fact" by the talker. "The food at that restaurant was bland, but the atmosphere was good, except that it was too dark. I like the waitress, she was very nice, she seemed like a nice person, and she seemed to like me, too, and the service was excellent, but she was too heavy and too talkative...but the prices were pretty good, except that Marty had too many drinks and the drinks are too expensive~ he drinks too much. I wish he would do something with his hair, he can be a nice guy, but he gets too loud when he's telling jokes, and he's in your face with that cigar, but he's a delivery driver and..."

>Always implying that a target was doing something irresponsible, shameful, or wrong, no matter what. If the target went to the store, he or she probably bought too much, or stole something, or bought something they didn't need. If the target went to a movie, he or she probably went to that sleazy one, or probably met one of their weird friends who does drugs, or probably went with a secret boyfriend or girlfriend. If the target went to a friend's house, there was probably drinking, drugs, or bad behavior. If the target just took a drive to get away from all this and find peace, he or she probably really went somewhere "bad", like a bar, or a drug-dealer's house, or to have sex, or to waste money.

>Always implying that the target is wasting time doing whatever he or she is doing; implying that the target's work is trivial and unimportant; implying that the target doesn't really do any work; implying that the target has "always been" shiftless, lazy, and entitled, regardless of all reality, past and present.

>Constantly distracting the target, interrupting the target, and diverting the target from his or her plans, projects, tasks, and conversations with others.

>Literally putting themselves in the way of the target, standing or walking in front of them; inserting themselves verbally or physically between the target and other people the target is talking to; leaving the target out of introductions and conversations when the target is standing right there; or disappearing at public places and events so the target has to go find them.

Not all of these behaviors are necessarily conscious, planned, or diabolical. Some who display these  narcissistic traits are simply acting on their triggers and emotions, and may really have little or no awareness that they're doing something destructive or dysfunctional. Some of these behaviors may have been learned in youth and have just become integrated into the person's behavioral habits. Remaining in contact with others from youth, or others who display similar behaviors, can make these behaviors seem perfectly okay and normal to those who are doing it. Just like dancing the Conga at a wedding, the more people who are participating, the less one is apt to feel anything but normal when they join in.