The Aging Narcissist, Midlife Crisis and Losing Narcissistic Supply – If you know or love an aging narcissist, then you know that whether they get cranky, mean and crotchety or just plain pathetic – when a narcissist gets old, it’s no fun for anyone. If you’re in any way codependent with someone who might have narcissistic personality disorder, then this video’s for you – here are the qualities and psychological dynamics of an aging narcissist going through a midlife crisis.
If you’ve ever been involved with a narcissist, you may be aware that when they don’t get what they want, they tend to display blatant narcissistic rage, and if that doesn’t work, they will jump right into narcissistic injury (or, vice versa).
What is Narcissistic Injury?
Narcissistic Injury is often referred to as the “poor me” act, and it’s what is displayed when a narcissist gets upset, hurt or offended about being treated like a normal person, or when they don’t get special treatment or favors, or literally anytime they don’t get what they want. In other words, narcissistic injury is a narcissistic manipulation tactic often used in combination with narcissistic rage to get what they want from a target or source of narcissistic supply.
What Causes Narcissistic Injury?
Any threat (real or imagined) to the narcissist’s grandiose self-perception – or the false self – as perfect, all-powerful, all-knowing, and entitled to special treatment and recognition, regardless of their actual accomplishments (or lack thereof).
In other words, the narcissist is always seeking attention, compliments, admiration and power over others in order to fill their endless need for narcissistic supply and boost their tiny little ego. This means that they could always be rejected, ignored or feel criticized.
So, in a way, it causes the narcissist to be surprisingly dependent on the compliance of the people in their life in order to feel “normal,” and without this kind of narcissistic supply, they feel like they might implode.
And while the narcissist hates to admit any sort of dependence on others, they equally hate themselves for having it – and in fact, desperately fear the possibility of losing their supply – to which they’re addicted like a drug.
This is a weird conundrum for the narcissist: they need people to love, admire and respect them, but they also tend to dump their emotional garbage on these same people – usually, those closest to them.
This could explain why the narcissist has a rage problem and why they seem to be secretly consumed by overwhelming envy of some people, and why they tend to attack and devalue the people they claim to care about.
Why Does the Narcissist Take Everything So Personally?
Because the narcissist is always watching for anything that could be perceived as an insult or slight, any type of criticism (even constructive) can be seen as a personal attack. The narcissist will feel humiliated and rejected, which leads to a strange kind of all-consuming paranoia. In the worst cases, this can even cause them to create made-up rules and crazy ideas, which they expect their “circle of narcissistic supply,” or the people closest to them, to follow and agree with – without question.
Their defensive reactions and extreme emotions cause the people close to them a great deal of emotional pain. The narcissist isn’t concerned with this and in fact, is oddly detached – perhaps to avoid narcissistic injury.
The first line of defense, of course, is to emotionally beat down (or devalue) anyone who has the nerve to criticize (or who the narcissist perceives might criticize them). This could also apply to someone who makes a joke or comment that the narcissist thinks is somehow “against them.”
The narcissist will look down their nose at anyone who dares to make them feel less than amazing – anyone who dares to peek behind the mask of the false self. With blatant contempt and a rising feeling of superiority, the narcissist feels better about themselves and minimizes the feeling of inferiority. This leads to cognitive dissonance and literally causes the narcissist to lie to themselves.
What is Narcissistic Rage?
While narcissists might seem to be the most put-together people we know, calm, poised, and good at managing their stress levels, anyone they feel comfortable around knows that it’s all an act.
Though it would seem like narcissistic rage is always a reaction to narcissistic injury, the truth is that narcissists see it as something that is inevitable, something that was “done to them” by the person who disagreed with or was critical of (or joking about) them. This leads us to logically assume they are illogical, unfair, and outright mean – especially during the rages.
Normal anger is different than narcissistic rage. Everybody gets angry. It’s normal and human. But healthier people will either work through it and use it to propel them forward into positive change, while narcissists will stew in it and let it infect anyone who has the nerve to get close enough.
Feeling threatened is just one way the narcissist will get angry. They’ll also react with rage to real or perceived injustice against them, to feeling uncomfortable or being inconvenienced, and to any sort of disagreement. To be fair, when we are angry, it can be hard for anyone to think and act logically, and this doesn’t exclude the narcissist or their rage.
This certainly inflates the lack of empathy that is a hallmark for a toxic narcissist. Some psychologists will tell you that narcissistic rage is just something that happens and that the narcissist is actually angry at themselves, but anyone who has ever been the subject of this rage will know better.
How Does Narcissistic Rage Manifest?
The narcissist may express rage through blatant, explosive verbal, or even physical attacks, using psychological abuse to minimize and invalidate anyone in their path. Or, they may go passive-aggressive – using sneaky, pervasive techniques like the silent treatment to control their circle of supply. To those in its path, narcissistic rage is scary and angst-causing. It feels like nothing you can say, do, think, or feel could possibly be right in the moment, and even though some narcissists will issue a weak apology later, it’s clearly perfunctory and means nothing – because they’ll ALWAYS do it again when it suits them.
When the preferred emotional dumpster (aka closest source of narcissistic supply) is unavailable, the narcissist will rage against random people they consider unimportant – customer service representatives on the phone, waitresses, the check-out lady at Walmart.
Are you in a toxic relationship? If this sounds familiar to you, that could be the case. Take our free toxic relationship test now.
Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today
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- Sign up for our free email newsletter service that includes a free guided recovery experience via your inbox.
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- Think you might have C-PTSD, but you’re not sure? Then, take our free C-PTSD Self-Assessment.
- Join one of our free online narcissistic abuse recovery support groups!
- Join one of our private small coaching groups!
- Get private, one-on-one narcissistic abuse recovery coaching or counseling.
- Get a therapist who will work with you online. Check out our guide to finding a therapist or psychologist who understands narcissism and narcissistic abuse.
“Cult recruiting methods based on dosing victims with the brain chemicals released during capture bonding would make cults even more of a problem than they are now.” ~ Keith Henson
- Like every cult leader, the narcissist insists on absolutely blind acceptance and obedience of their rules and preferences from all of their followers, which of course include their spouse or partner, kids, friends – even certain co-workers or colleagues and neighbors. They must all adore the narcissist and treat them like they’re more important than everyone else.
- When these often-unwilling followers dare to break the rules or to in any way defy the wishes of their leader, both the narcissist and the cult leader issue swift and direct punishment.
Narcissists Live in Their Own Little World
- The narcissist has created some kind of an alternate reality, their “own little world,” if you will, and that is the reality that these “followers” are required to accept without question.
- Complete and unconditional trust and faith in both the narcissist and the cult leader are demanded.
- This world is of course wrought with the narcissist’s (and/or cult leader’s) made up and delusional ideas and facts. History is debatable in this world, and everyone knows they’re going to hell if they disobey their “leader.”
Narcissists Control With Mind Games, Pettiness and Psychological Warfare
- Like cult leaders, narcissists control their flock with blatant mind games and psychological abuse, forcing them to exist in constant and ever-churning uncertainty, instability, ambiguity – using gaslighting as a constant and crazymaking way of keeping them in a state of confusion.
- This allows the narcissist to retain complete control. Like the cult leader, the narcissist decides what is considered right or wrong, what is considered acceptable and/or unacceptable – and what will be allowed, or not.
- Every rule and consequence is set by the narcissist, and they are all subject to change at the narcissist’s whim.
Both the narcissist and the cult leader:
- Micro-manage everything
- Serve up severe punishments when the rules are broken
- Consistently criticize, belittle and invalidate followers/family members
- Have no respect for followers/family members and treat them as objects or possessions rather than people
- Seem to not recognize boundaries or privacy rights
- Ignore their needs, complaints, wishes and emotions
- See their family or followers as extensions of him or her self and require that they get permission to go out with friends, spend money or in any way make a choice of their own – often even with adult children who are financially independent
- Isolate and force family/followers to become dependent on them in many ways
- Patronize and invalidate them, always speaking to them in a condescending way that makes them feel worthless (and in some cases, this is alternated with blatant idealizing and exaggeration of various “members” am the family/followers)
- Carry unrealistic expectations of everyone, but require they have no expectations of the leader
- Claim to be perfect; honest, trustworthy, exceptional, gifted, clever, all-powerful, and all-knowing
- Lie regularly, telling more lies to cover them up
- Expect followers/family members to go along with the lies and in fact pretend they are true
- Require followers/family members to help cover up the lies without question or prompting
- Limit influence on them from “outside” sources and only allow certain information or selected influences for them
- Constantly search for new sources of narcissistic supply/cult members – and with no regard for who they are, just as long as they are willing to do as they’re required to do as part of this “elite” group
- Display different personalities when at home (or among the cult members) and when out in recruiting mode
- Display and enforce an over-inflated sense of entitlement, requiring special benefits, privileges and services above and even from the members
- Consider themselves above and outside of even their own rules, but also the law of the land
- Feel threatened and offended by an authority outside of themselves
- Play the victim if their rage attacks don’t do the trick to get them what they want
Read more: How to Deal with a Narcissist