When the Narcissist goes All “Air Traffic Controller” on You

Narcissists are all about control- especially when it comes to their image.
Great works of art and literature have received less time and energy in their creation than a narcissist’s self image when a narcissist is in full-on “image control” mode.

One way narcissists “work on” their image is not by doing something tangible and real in the world that would add a positive aspect. They tend to think such ideas are ridiculous and fruitless, because they are already perfect, wonderful, delightful, smart, kind, aware, compassionate- seriously, what more could they possibly have to do?

We should ALL know this about them, right?

And because narcissists live in such a self-created, delusional world- it tends to take a toll on them. To lie, constantly, is EXHAUSTING. Yet, this is a narcissist’s life.

As they have no real energy with which to create, other than the creation of lies, narcissists have no ability to contribute in a real and substantial manner in the lives of others. We all know this.


And it scares the f*** out of the narcissist. So, being narcissistic with a head filled with grandeur, the narcissist’s approach is not to change his or her behavior and try to participate in life in a real and practical manner. Oh, no. That would be too easy and make too much sense. (Those of you who engage with a narcissist know that “easy” is not a descriptor for this group.)

Instead narcissist’s spend time and energy in what I refer to as “Air Traffic Control” mode. In order to protect their image and hide their ridiculous, self-serving behaviors (rather than addressing these behaviors) the narcissist, with a sense of dedication and energy that would rival the FAA, begin to “coordinate”(read, control) the engagement patterns of those in their lives.

Narcissists will begin to regulate who is allowed to talk to one another. They will control who can land (engage with one another) where and when such landings can take place. They will divert flights (potential engagements) when they don’t want people to interact. They will ground flights and declare “NO Contact” with certain parties. They will place flights (conversations) in holding patterns – for eternity- continuing conversation cycles into ridiculous, never-ending patterns.

I experienced this recently. A particular mother called me this past weekend to speak about a situation she had encountered with my husband’s ex-wife. In a sense, she was just one mom reaching out to another (or in my case, one mom reaching out to the stepmom). I had known this woman for some time in passing, but this was one of our first real conversations.

We had a great talk. Then, later this week, another situation came about, and I had to call this woman, again, just one stepmom to a mom. Not a big deal.

That is- until my husband’s ex-wife, the narcissist, went into “Air Traffic Controller” mode. She, literally, called up my husband, and said, “What is Kim doing calling this other Mom?!”

Oh, you, silly, silly narcissist. You are so clueless and detached, you don’t even see others running flight pattern circles all around you, working around your ridiculous scenarios and lies, as we truly try to engage in life with sincerity, compassion and insight.

How dare I call this other Mom? Well, the joke is on you, dear narcissist. This other mother had called me first- all because of you. Did you not notice us circling about on your “flight control screen”, or were you too busy living in your fantasy world?


25 thoughts on “When the Narcissist goes All “Air Traffic Controller” on You

  1. They are so worried about losing their reputation, never realizing that they are the ones who put it in jeopardy in the first place. None of us are concerned about SEEMING like good people. We just practice compassion, respect and love without expectation. It’s because of narcissists that many find themselves concerned with reputation, because the narcissist created the delusion that reputation SHOULD matter, when, in reality, it only matters to someone who needs reputation as a cover for who and what they really are. Instead of calling your husband and whining to him, maybe she should make the effort to be a better friend instead of being paranoid that others are talking about her behind her back like she talks about everyone else. News flash…people ARE talking about her behind her back, because she talks about everyone else behind theirs. The crappy behavior eventually catches up with these folks and then they cry like big cry-baby victims, as if they did nothing to cause it. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for the comment Paula. I love your first line. She has accused me of “making her look bad”, “making her look evil”, “talking negatively about her” and so on.
      I look at her in amazement and think- “My gosh, do you really not see that people are forming their own opinions about you all the time? Your contempt of others, your selfishness, and self-centered-ness literally ooze from your pores.”
      She can try to PR-damage control all she wants, but who she really is shines through to others (sadly, including her children to an extent, all the time).
      And you are so right, a normal person would be so concerned about hurting others, or compassionately trying to make things “right” , they would not have time to worry about “reputations”.

  2. That’s great, Kim! I was just thinking this week that if narc did have another partner, he sure wouldn’t want me to meet her…LOL… They are so busy figuring out how to keep their secrets! I am not a fan of secrets…

  3. One of my sisters recently told me that our dad was a narcissist. He passed in 2013. I hadn’t realized this (he was not a part of my life since my teens) until I began reading your blog, Kim. I’m now beginning to see and understand who and what he really was. And it saddens me. Thanks for contributing to my personal awareness.

    • Oh, thank you so much!!! They do this ALL the time. Constantly controlling and coordinating who can talk and when. The shocking thing is – they think this is normal! They think we all go around doing this….sigh…

  4. Lol, I love moments like this, when the Narcissist goes into attack mode (as part of the defense mechanism) and the rest of the world sees the maneuvers for what they are! The mom called you first and she can’t make that go away no matter how she lies!

    • Thanks for the laugh, Kate. I could not believe she said that about me. Like I was some child who was “not allowed” to talk other people. Sadly, it really indicates to me just how immature and poor-functioning she is. I am am amazed my stepdaughter does as well as she does when this is the example she lives with half of her life.

  5. Pingback: When the Narcissist goes All “Air Traffic Controller” on You | mazoomamillydotcom

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