Narcissistic Rage & Why It Happens

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 is a scary and, at the same time, kind of creepy sounding term. Personally, I don’t like it because, I think it’s a bit misleading. In any case, today’s post is all about a little thing called narcissistic rage. I hope I can shed some light on this aspect of the narcissistic personality. More importantly, I hope you can use this information, and the tips I give here, to help you avoid your narcissist’s rage when it surfaces. 

What causes narcissistic rage?

First things, first. Narcissistic rage is the result of, what is called, a ““. In short, narcissistic injury occurs when you frustrate a narcissist, demean his awesome godliness, or poke a hole in his fantastical delusion of perfection. In other words- you insulted him, or hurt his pride/ego.

Narcissistic Injury can happen in any number of ways. Sometimes, it’s intentional- like when you call him out on a lie, or point out that he messed something up, in such a way that he can’t argue, or rationalize, his way out of it. Very often, a rage can be triggered by simply telling your narcissist ‘No’. Most of the time, though, especially when the rage occurs between intimate partners (as it most often does), I believe that the narcissistic injury is unintentionally delivered.

How does narcissistic injury occur?

The main reason I think that much of narcissistic injury is inflicted unintentionally is because, everyone wants to be accepted for who they are and, most often- within an intimate relationship- a narcissist will rage because he is not being treated that way

I know what you’re thinking but, just give me a chance to explain…

I know it’s easy to see the narcissist as an unfeeling, monster. Trust me, I’m just as guilty on that front as the next woman who has been taken in by a narc. STILL… the truth of the matter is that narcissists DO have feelings, and as such, they want to be accepted for who they truly are just as much as you and I do.

So what does this have to do with narcissistic rage? Imagine this. Pretend you are an actress and, you play a recurring T.V. role as a total sex kitten; a woman who loves being treated like a sex object and loves to be talked to, complimented, and treated as though her looks were all that mattered. Now, imagine you go home to your husband and, not only does he expect you to keep playing the sex kitten role but, completely acts like THAT ROLE is exactly who you really are! How enraged would you be? (I know I’d be pretty pissed)

It’s pretty much the same thing with the narcissist. We all know that the mask of perfection, that the narcissist wears, is a total fake. Obviously. No one’s perfect. But, on a deeper level, the pretense that the narcissist is a considerate, responsible, honest & honorable, emotionally mature man is ALSO a total sham.

Narcissists, on an emotional level, have the emotional IQ of a 2-year-old, at best (and that’s the fact, not me trying to take a stab at narcissists…seriously). When they suffered the break in their personality, they became- sort of- emotionally frozen at that stage. This usually happens very early in life, from having care-takers who were unable to provide proper, healthy nurturing. It’s not always this way but- from my understanding of everything I’ve researched and studied- this is believed to be the most common scenario.

Because of this, the narcissist will come home, and just want to rest for a bit. Take off the mask for a while. Let the facade fall away. But, right at that moment, there you are…expecting him to act like a mature, considerate adult, and help with all the adult things that need to be done. From his point of view, you’re just one more person who was (in his mind) “stupid enough” to buy into his act.

You’re the woman who claims to love him, yet has no idea (again, in his mind) who he truly is. And so, tired of keeping up the act of being a real-live, mature adult… especially, in the one place where he ought to be able to let the mask fall… the narcissist rages.

In his mind, you- of all people- ought to know who he really is. You- of all people- ought to understand that he doesn’t have the skills needed to handle the responsibility of all that “grown-up stuff”. And yet, there you go, nagging at him to be a mature, responsible adult…again! This causes narcissistic injury by triggering feelings of shame & self-loathing around his true self being ‘defective’, or not good enough, as he is.

Now, PLEASE,do NOT think I’m saying that this justifies the narcissist’s behavior (his rages) IN ANY WAY. It certainly does NOT…AT ALL. My purpose is only to portray why the narcissistic injury occurs, from the narcissist’s perspective, so that you can be better equipped to avoid the rages as much as possible.

Another source of narcissistic injury is that the expectations placed on the narcissist are just too high. This is another aspect of the whole “not accepting who he truly is” concept. In this case, though, it’s the emotional, and interpersonal, skills you are expecting him to demonstrate.

For example, a 2-year-old would not be able to show sensitivity towards your emotional needs. Shit, a 2-year-old would have no concept that you even HAD emotional needs. Neither would a toddler think twice about lying to get what he wanted. Or manipulating you- with tears, hitting, throwing angry tantrums, guilt, hugs/cuddles/shameless flattery, etc.- into doing what he wanted. Toddlers aren’t very considerate, or dependable, either- I might add.

Is this starting to sound familiar to you???? 

For all the mothers of toddlers out there: Can you tell the class what happens when you place unrealistic expectations onto a toddler? If you said “Mind-shattering tantrums, defiance and, all-around- makes-you-almost-consider-sending-them-back -levels of shitty behavior”, then you’d be absolutely right!

Now, think about how your narcissist reacts when you’re yelling at him, or arguing with him, about all of his toddler-like behavior. Think about the kinds of reactions you are likely to get. Noticing any crazy similarities to the description of toddler behavior, above? (If you’re anything like me, and this whole idea is new to you, then right about now you might be thinking something along the lines of, “OMG…I married a freaking toddler-man!” I don’t even want to get into what kind of crazy-making effect this had on me when I started considering the more “intimate” aspects of our marriage. I was totally…I don’t even have a word to describe the level of confusion/
WTF-ness/ trauma that this caused me, at first. *shudder)

So…What, exactly, IS a narcissistic rage?

This is where, I think, the term “narcissistic rage” could get a little misleading. Though the word “rage” is used, a narcissistic rage won’t always look like rage. It could include any number of immature behavior. From sulking, defensiveness and verbal attacks, to all-out rages, passive-aggressive threats, or the silent treatment. I’ve also experienced my husband’s more “long-term rages”, towards my unrealistic emotional expectations of him, as unbelievable defiance. I mean, to the point where he actually got himself arrested because he refused to make a stupid phone call to me. Seriously. That extreme.

Basically, narcissistic rage is any shit-behavior the narcissist exhibits, in response to a narcissistic injury. Some rages can be truly frightening. It can very much so include physical assault, or aggression. For example, once I was wanting my husband to offer some comfort to me, after I had found out I was pregnant and, was on the verge of a massive panic-attack because, I was absolutely TERRIFIED. He was tired and wanted to go to sleep and so, wasn’t really offering much emotional support- or comfort. Basically, he told me to come back in the morning.

Well, I got pretty angry and kept pressing him- telling him selfish and cold he was being by just abandoning me in my time of need- reminding him of how, when HE was upset, I dragged my happy-ass out of bed until 2-or-3, in the morning, to be there for HIM! His response was to put the bottom of his foot on my face, and tell me to “Sshhhh!”

I was absolutely stunned and shocked by the level of degradation I had just experienced that, for a moment, I just froze…silent. Then, he just rolled over to present me with his back…and, well….something just snapped in me, to be honest. I grabbed the pillow next to him, and hit him over the head with it as I got up to walk away.

Well, needless to say, that didn’t go over so well, and I found myself being gripped, rather firmly, by the wrists while my husband shouted in my face that I was a psycho. Couldn’t I see that he was TIRED, and NEEDED his rest? What about HIS needs?!

My bad…(Not)! I forgot one of the cardinal rules:

[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]Never wake a sleeping baby. Or a narcissist.[/clickandtweet]

Obviously, his behavior was reprehensible, and absolutely unacceptable. But, could it have been completely avoided? Sadly, the answer is “Yes. It could have.”

Your best chance of avoiding a narcissistic rage.

The whole situation, above, along with many other such scenarios, could have been totally avoided if I had just accepted the fact that my husband does not possess the skills, or abilities, necessary for me to depend on him- or even expect him to behave like- a mature, responsible, reasonable, adult. He just doesn’t…and therefore, can’t.

I’m not going to sit here, and bitch and moan about how wrong that is, or how unfair, or whatever. The situation is what it is and, I think that the sooner you can recognize that, the better off- and safer- you will be. My only goal here is to help you learn how to avoid situations where you could possibly be in danger, or where there is a very good chance you will be subjected to abusive behavior. The rest doesn’t matter to me. We can deal with that later.

So, to that effect, I will tell you this: The best way to avoid a lot of situations, where narcissistic injury is likely to occur, is to stop expecting your narcissistic partner to behave the way you want- or think- a good husband/boyfriend/partner ought to. We both know that isn’t going to happen. You’re just beating your head against the wall by trying to change him, or his behavior. At least, in this situation, and with these kinds of tactics.

The best thing you can do to protect yourself from narcissistic rage- and your children, if you have them, from witnessing such things- is to let go of the expectation that your narcissist will be capable of acting like a good, healthy partner. He isn’t a healthy partner- so that expectation is completely unreasonable. Let go of the need to have him be there for you. Release the need to correct, or change, his behaviors. Let go of the need to be right, or to make him wrong.

The best thing you can do is expect, from a narcissist, what you would expect of a 2-year-old. Just assume you’re in charge of all the housework, the kids, and everything else. If you get upset, or angry, about something… don’t pretend that he has the skills you need him to, in order to be there for you. If he does do something that you like, be appreciative- but not over the top. (A simple ‘Thank you” will do).

Is this the ideal relationship? No. Of course, not. But you aren’t getting the things you want now. And continuing to fight a losing battle won’t get those things for you either. At least, this way, you are almost guaranteed to have a lot less narcissistic rage to do deal with and, more blissful peace.

When you’re married to a narcissist, every moment of peace, is a blessing straight from heaven. 

How much of the arguments, or fights, with your narcissist are from unrealistic expectations of him, or wanting/needing him to be someone that he is not? If you were to let go of these, how much more peace might you have in your home? If you gave this idea a try, how did it work out for you? Let’s talk!

To Tantrum-Free Homes,


~The Narcissist’s Wife

 

Hi. I'm Story Lynne, (a.k.a. The Narcissist's Wife). Nice to meet you. I'm the mother of 4 amazing kids, the (soon-to-be-ex) wife of a narcissist, and the author of this blog. I'm also a teacher, a healer, an intuitive empath, and Angel Card Reader. I love fairies, angels, the color pink, anything sparkly, and Legos. (the Elves are my absolute favorites). I also love fixing cars, building shit, and shooting my bow (as in, bow and arrow).

14 Comments

  • Anna

    For a teacher, this blog post has a lot of errors. That fact is a shame, because you have something valid to say here. I really am going to benefit from this. Study up on your writing though.

    • Thanks for your comment. Most importantly, I’m glad that something here can help you. That is my greatest wish in all this.

      Secondly, sorry about the writing errors. Most of these posts are written at 3AM, while the kids are asleep. It’s the only quiet time I have to write. So, I’m usually half-asleep.

      Of course, even if I were 100% awake, my grammar would still be atrocious. I excel in quite a few subject areas. The technicalities of writing is not now, and never has been, one of those areas. I just plain suck at it. I’ve tried to do some basic studying up but, alas, the time required to fix my level of grammar-sucking would completely eat up what little time I have to actually “write”.

      I am trying to be more conscious of my writing errors, though. And, I can promise you this: the second I have the money to hire some help, an editor will be my very first hire.

      I hope you keeping coming back, errors and all.

      ~The Narcissist’s Wife

  • jnarcwife

    i can totally relate, my husband and i are separated because of a rage fit, one too many this time he grabbed me and threw me against the wall i tcalled he cops, he even fought with the cops and now has charges. I’ve dealt with him for 20 years now. he has horrible violent rages and drinks a lot. i went through a period of numbness and would just let him have his way and not expect anything more from him. i hated who i had become. now his going to counseling, living at his parentz and i have no contact except through marriage counseling. i really don’t want to be a single mom living with a another adult child. i need and want a husband. in confused why just letting go of expectations is acceptable and how you stay married. my husband has HUGE expectations of me and when i cant keep up being a working mom of 3 boys and mom of an adult – he looses it when i don’t provide. do narcissists ever change, can they change, is there any storied out there of change – or am i wasting my timi

    • Thanks for reading & taking the time to comment. I must say, That’s a lot to answer in one comment- lol- but I’ll try.

      Can a narcissist change? I believe they can.. BUT (and this is a HUGE BUT) ONLY IF YOU are able to heal and change FIRST. AND ONLY IF the situation is such that you can do so safely, and without threat of physical violence against yourself.

      The process is a long and slow one… and it requires A LOT of hard work, patience, and maturing on the part of the non-narcissistic partner. It requires the non-narcissistic partner to get rid of all traces of “victim-mindset”, dependence, and neediness… and that is something that is unbelievably difficult for a lot of people. Are you willing to commit to your own healing?

      It’s not an easy road- by any means. But, yes, I have heard of relationships being turned around. (I say that with an emphasis on caution, and with the knowledge that divorce/separation isn’t a cure-all for abuse…especially when minor children are involved. Sometimes, that can actually make things worse).

      The most important thing we can do (as the targets of abuse) is to learn to handle our own emotions, without needing anyone outside of ourselves to help us deal. It may not seem like a big deal but, when you think about it, MOST of our pain comes from “needing” our partners to meet certain emotional needs we have…and they don’t.

      The first step toward empowering yourself is to learn to meet your own emotional needs. To become your own source of love and acceptance… regardless of what your husband does. Learn how to quickly calm yourself, after an upset, and get back to your center.

      These two skills alone can change so much for you.

      I’m in the middle of reconstructing this whole site, and I will be adding a lot more info on these kinds of topics. As of right now, though, I’m in the middle of my own messy divorce and am eyeball deep in court documents, hearings, and etc. So, it might take a bit to get everything straight. I know how important this information is though, so I am trying to get it all up and running ASAP.

      My best to you, and stay strong. If nothing else, know that this situation is in your life to help you become the best, strongest, most loving version of yourself that you can be. You may not be able to see how that is possible right now…but, have faith. Every single challenge is an opportunity to show Life what a bad-ass we are capable of being.

      True Story. I promise.

      • Anonymous

        Sooo sry.saying prayers for all the children& women dealing w\this. May God bless us all so we can help the next generations & they can do the same till we got them all out numbered & figured out till their extinct. In jesus name amen.

  • Julia

    Omgggggggg!!! Uhmmm omgggggg!!! I’m in tears… I can’t tell you how much I can relate to this. To the letter. Wow! I’m speechless!!! Every argument was because of what I needed from him. Omg I get it… omg. Wow!
    THANK YOU!!!! HOLY CRAP!!!

    • The Narcissist's Wife

      Feels good, doesn’t it? 😊 Be confident. You aren’t the crazy one. You’re having a normal person’s reaction to abnormal behavior (abuse).
      Thanks for reading.

  • Linda

    I have been married for 25 years and two months ago I realized my husband is a narcissist. We had one big blow up 2 months ago and I started reading And reading as much as I can. This post is incredibly useful for me. I have come to the same conclusion. To not expect anything from him. This works the best. THANK YOU FOR your example of thinking of him as a 2year old and can’t give me what I need. I have three children. 20 boy and Twins 16 (boy and girl). Now I’m
    Confused as how I can explain this to them or just keep telling them “you know how daddy is”. I have sheltered them from him as much as possible. When the kids are home and he is too then I’m home. I never leave the kids alone with him. My 20 had a blow out with him and it made me so upset. He can abuse me but he isn’t going to do this with my kids. Any advice on how to deal with the kids. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! This was a great help for me!!!!

    • Thank YOU so much- for commenting and for the encouragement. I’m so glad this has helped you in some way. That’s my whole purpose for continuing to write. I don’t want other women to have to suffer for a moment longer, if something I know could possibly help.

      As for your kids, they seem old enough to know the truth. It’s a hard decision to make because one the one hand, you don’t want to “bad-mouth” the kids’ father to them, but on the other, you don’t want them to fall victim to your husband’s “mind-f!!cks” either.

      If your kids have witnessed the bizarre behavior, then I’d just talk to them about how they feel about the behavior. If they express that they feel the behavior is bad, or makes them angry/sad/etc., then i guess you could carefully, and sensitively, tell them that you found some information online that seemed to match up and explain why their father acts the way he does. Ask them what they think about it.

      Of course, there is usually one kid that is the obvious “favorite”, and one that’s the at fault for everything… talking to the “favorite” usually will not go over well because they are totally enamored of their father.

      It’s a complicated situation, at best. Maybe this is a good topic to think about for a minute and write a post on… Thanks for the great idea. 🙂 I wish you and your kids well. Thanks for reading!

      ~The Narcissist’s Wife

  • DKS

    As usual, you’re so dead on. Lowering my expectations of my husband has made a tremendous difference. I simply try to act like a single mom (ah- someday) and it actually helps- I don’t feel let down when he acts like I am totally incompetent and he can stay in his own narcissistic world. Occasionally he’ll actually offer to help, but that’s usually when I’ve hired a sitter, which he hates to spend money for. Usually if helping out- or doing anything for that matter- is his idea, he doesn’t rant about it too much.

    • Good for you! I’m so glad you’ve found at least some bit of peace. It really does help, doesn’t it?
      No expectations & praise the positive. Ignore the negative (the topic of my next post, I’m thinking-LOL) … Just like with a toddler.
      It’s not ideal, obviously, but whatever makes life with a narcissist easier, I say, is ideal enough… for now. (LOL)

      Thanks so much for reading & commenting. I’m grateful for the feedback. Especially since I think this idea could help a lot of women out there. 🙂
      ~Keep your chin up. You’re awesome!

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