Narcissistic rage is a manipulation tool that is used by narcissists to frighten, silence, hurt or break their “opponent”. It can flare up in seconds and is often used against children or innocent people. It is not genuine anger it is a tool narcissists use to get people to do what they want them to do. It starts off like a dog growling, the message being “I am only growling now, but this could escalate in to a full blown attack if you do not back away”.
Narcissistic rage occurs when the narcissist perceives s/he is being personally “attacked/threatened” by someone or something else. Their rage can be expressed through verbal abuse, physical abuse or by storming off. An outburst can happen every day, several times a day or every few months but the person who is in contact with the narcissist will never know when it is going to happen, so they are constantly on high alert and will often make huge self-sacrifices to prevent expressions of dissatisfaction escalating into full blown rage. The sacrifices that other people make to appease the narcissist pleases them because it means that they get to control others. After a narcissist has had a raging outburst they will be unwilling to discuss the source and appropriateness of their reaction. When the narcissists self-image is challenged in any way it will nearly always lead to narcissistic rage, if they are in public they might postpone it, but it will emerge at a later date. Narcissistic rage is a reaction to” narcissistic injury”- a perceived threat (a “threat” to a narcissist can very often be something that someone else would not even notice) to their self-worth or self-esteem because it is so fragile the defend it in a totally exaggerated way.
They rage in two ways: they erupt like a volcano getting very heated very quickly. This can include just randomly ranting and raving, a very personal verbal attack or sometimes even physical (usually in the form of shoving and poking, but it can be much worse) or they can be passive-aggressive. The passive-aggressive reaction includes the silent treatment, sulking and behaving like a whipped dog, like they have just been “attacked” in a most offensive manner. False weakness and vulnerability are two weapons that narcissists will often pull out of their arsenal if they think that open aggression will not work.
Do not confuse genuine anger with the narcissistic rage. Anger is a natural reaction when exposed to provocation. Anger usually occurs from a rational cause and dissipates when one is able to express it. The fuming rage the narcissist feels is different from the anger that people usually feel; it is irrational and severely blown out of proportion from an often insignificant remark or action.
Narcissists need constant admiration, attention and compliments. They live with the illusion that they are perfect and that other people revere them. That makes them dependent on other people to keep their self-esteem high or at least at an acceptable level for them. Therefore, any challenge, mildly negative remark, or disagreement from another person is considered criticism, rejection and even mockery. They can get upset about the most inappropriate things. For example, they could say that a two-year old behaved in a certain way to deliberately provoke them, or that someone did something to annoy/hurt them when the narcissist was the furthest thing from their mind.
Causes of Narcissistic Rage
- Narcissistic always expect more from others than they are prepared to give themselves. This means that they often place unrealistic demands on their partners, children or colleagues. Narcissists rarely make sense, but in a fit of rage they become completely incoherent, so the other person is left thinking that there is no point in engaging in an argument with them. This in itself lets the narcissist think that they “won” the argument and permits them to continue to feel superior to all those around them.
- If a narcissists imperfections are pointed out to them, their whole projected image of themselves comes under threat. They might lash back with pure aggression or they might look devastated as though you just crushed them under foot. If they do the later it is highly likely that they will seek revenge on the person that “attacked” them at a later date. This can be done by a smear campaign on the person’s character or some sadistic/vindictive act.
- When a narcissists false persona or projected self-image comes under threat in some way or another their reaction will be excessive and usually explosive. They will say and do things to others that would send they themselves into conniptions. However, they do not take personal responsibility for what they say or do to others and they do not mind hurting others and/or reducing them to tears.
- Narcissistic rage is always irrational, infantile and acted upon with impunity. The rage that the narcissist expresses has nothing (or very little) to do with the other person, it is as a result of very low self-esteem, a strong sense of shame and a fragile image of themselves that they project and feel that they have to protect as though their lives depended on it.
- Narcissists are unstable people and it will never be more obvious than when they are raging because there is no logic and very often no apparent reason for their violent outbursts. After they have exploded they will feel superior and their sense of being in control/stable will return.
- After they have vented their spleen, gone off in a huff they can come back 15 minutes later and behave as though nothing had happened and will be offended if anyone should mention it to them. They will go on the offensive if the person who they were rude to acts hurt or confused. They merely wave it off.
- The insincerity of their rage is often shown up to be what it is if they are roaring insults at someone and then another person walks into the room who they want to conceal this side of their personality from, then suddenly they become all sweetness and light, their rage is on a switch that they can turn on and off in a second. Genuine rage takes much longer to process, hours and sometimes days. Not so with a narcissist it takes a second because there is absolutely nothing genuine about it