Rewriting history

Control freaks manipulate their past like nobody else does – unashamedly. A good control freak doesn’t lie outright though, they just talk up their past a bit. In the usual subtle manner where they don’t quite say what it is that they did but make it sound very important. So if they were say a business debt collector in a previous role then they can make it sound like they were a corporate finance restructuring expert, without actually lying outright.

The trick with this is relies on people around them latching on to this and talking it up in order to win favour. One time might be when a control freak is about to give a presentation and the person introducing them will talk about their past in gushing terms, completely buying into every manipulation that the control freak has attempted, but instead of expressing this in the roundabout way the control freak did, the introducer goes right for the very heart of it and makes all the untrue claims the control freak only hinted at. So they really do introduce them as having been a corporate finance restructuring expert in a previous role, along with all the other improbable roles that only someone two hundred years old could have had.

Now the control freak, when faced with this makes a very different choice from the rest of us. Anyone with any morality makes some attempt to correct the mistake. Sometimes, to avoid embarrassing the host they might do it in the lightest possible way by downplaying the introduction rather than contradicting it, often only by raising their eyebrows, or a slight shake of the head or other body language. Some general egotistical types will accept the mistake without comment but they should not be mistaken for control freaks who, as ultimate narcissists, have to go one step further and take the opportunity to lock in the mistake. They simply can’t resist because manipulation like this is the core of how they operate.

This locking-in is often subtle and non-verbal. When the mistake is made they do the opposite of someone with morals, they look at the person who made it and warmly accept the words or look up and smile. Never enough for someone to later raise as evidence of lying but enough for a watcher to subliminally believe that the fake history has been confirmed.

A mistake once made and confirmed takes on a life of its own. I’ve seen a control freak have their past talked up so much that even people who knew them back then end up recounting the inflated version as though it were the truth. That’s just how powerful mass hysteria can be.

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