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“No one can tell you all that love is, but I can tell you what it isn’t. One thing that I’ve found to be true is that REAL LOVE doesn’t hurt – at all.  And when you are hurting, it’s not from a place of love! Don’t confuse the two.” ~Tony Gaskins, Jr. on Toxic Love, The Daily LoveHow to Understand Narcissistic Rage

If you’ve ever lived with, known or loved a narcissist, you have likely been the victim of narcissistic rage, a term first introduced in a 1972 book entitled The Analysis of the Self.

This kind of rage manifests when a narcissist vents his frustration when his ego takes a hit. Since narcissists have an inflated level of self-importance, they often find it hard to deal with criticism, real or perceived.

So, if you or someone else happens to insult the narc’s fragile ego, you can expect a serious backlash – and it’s not going to be pretty.

If you’re currently in a toxic relationship involving a narcissist, it’s important that you understand these narcissistic rages and why they happen – and even if you’ve already left your narcissist, it might help you to understand WHY you were treated the way you were – because truly, it wasn’t (and ISN’T) your fault. 

Understanding Narcissistic Rage: What Causes a Narcissist to Rage

Psychologists have identified several typical causes for narcissistic behavior and personalities, including a general obsession with self, often gained through certain experiences during childhood. They often have an addiction to anger, and as they rage, it’s often because of a blow to their inflated sense of self-esteem.

They may often make self-deprecating statements, no doubt silently begging you to disagree with them and tell them how amazing, beautiful, wonderful and perfect they REALLY are…and when you don’t, the rage could begin.

Like I said, a narcissistic rage often launches when narcs become defensive because they think you’re insulting them (or if you attempted to communicate a problem or concern about your relationship with one).

They may also be caused when a narcissist finds himself feeling unfulfilled and blames the victim/target for that feeling.

He feels powerful when he rages, and he isn’t likely to stop until his requirements are met.

As we’ve previously discussed, narcissists believe that by appearing perfect, they can get the love, admiration, attention and/or respect they feel they deserve. But when they think that someone feels they’re “not perfect” or “not good enough,” they often find themselves feeling shameful or anxious. Sometimes this can manifest as guilt or anger.

In any case, when a narcissist’s self-esteem takes a hit, he might react in a number of ways on a broad spectrum—anywhere from just being mildly irritated all the way to having seriously explosive tantrums that can even become violent in some cases.

This kind of “narcissistic injury” causes the narcissist to need to destroy the perceived threat to his self-esteem, and by raging against the offender/victim, the narcissist is able to feel safe and powerful again—and like he or she has total control over the environment.

Understanding Narcissistic Rage: Different Types of Rage

There are three primary types of narcissistic rage, including explosive rage, passive-aggressive rage and rage that causes self-harm.

An explosive rage happens when a narcissist has a violent outburst, whether it’s physical or verbal, while a passive-aggressive rage is expressed when a narcissist passively punishes the victim. He might do this by ignoring the victim, by being blatantly rude or even by doing nice things for another person and flaunting them in her face.

In any case, you’ll know it’s happening, and he’ll feel perfectly fine with telling you you’re crazy and pretending he’s not doing anything at all.

In some cases, he might even be so bold as to inform you of your infraction and require you to submit to the punishment willingly in order to make your way back into his good graces.

When a narcissist manifests his rage through self-harm, you might not understand what’s happening. It doesn’t seem consistent with his personality—but it DOES get him plenty of attention.

Some narcissists have been known to cut, burn or even stab themselves, among other extreme self-injuries, during a narcissistic rage.

Have you been the victim of a narcissistic rage? How did you handle it? What would you tell a friend or loved one who was dealing with a narcissist on a regular basis? I encourage you to share your thoughts, feelings and experiences in the comments section, below.

You never know who you might be able to help if you take a moment to share your experiences! 

Take Back Your Life eCourse for Narcissistic Abuse RecoveryHeads up! Have you signed up for my free, life-changing ecourse on how to take back your life yet? Get it here – no strings attached!

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5 Responses to Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Why Narcissists Love to Rage

  1. I’ve just left. I wish I’d left sooner. It’s so good to be free. I went and got a reminder tattoo, right where I can see it. Feels like I’ve just gotten out of the worst prison. I almost died, by suicide, many times. It wasn’t me. It’s not you. Please, get free, too.

    • I am so so happy that you’re free and loving it!! Stay strong and thanks for sharing a bit of yourself with me. ♡

  2. I’ve just got out of a very upsetting relationship with a man who is a typical example of a Narcissistic abuser. I was on the verge of a horrible breakdown, but was just about strong enough to make that break and leave. Something in my brain just clicked and I’m so glad to be free from the toxicity now. I know in my heart I can be strong enough to get over this and be happy again with myself

    • Sue, thank you for sharing this. I know that you’re on the right path! I can tell because you’re being both realistic and optimistic. Hugs and love! Stay strong! ♡♡♡♡

  3. I feel extremely trapped and lonely. I not only live with a N, but I have come to realize his mom is one too. She controls everything in my daughters life while pretty much ignoring my son. I’m not sure which treatment from her is worse as they are both destroying my children. She constantly texts my husband loving motivating words for him and disgusting horrible things about me so that when our daughter is home she can further control how we raise her. I though for awhile she was sympathitic to my life with her son until one day she just up and told me I was crazy and she was finished letting me try and force her to hate her own son. What’s funny is she was the first one to label him. Now she ignores me except for when she is questioning me. Once she gets and answer she immediately ignores me again until she wants to know something else. I have read the messages and she has even “accidentally” sent some to me. Things like “ I wish I could win the lottery to give L money to go away”, “She is such a bad mother I am so glad you are with the kids to make sure their cared for properly”. It’s really not like my husband needs any ammunition when it comes to abuse, but lately he has been pretty much nonstop since he feels so validated in his treatment. He’s told me I’m so hard to live with my own mother had to move away (she moved back since then), I have no friends because I’m such a bitch no one can stand to be around me, I am destroying our children because I force him to become violent and it scares the kids. He says all the time that I should just listen to what he tells me to do and everything would be fine, but he thinks I purposefully do the opposite because I want to make him angry and play the victim. He tells me how much I love making him the bad guy so I can feel like the poor battered wife. For the past few months I haven’t even be able to go to work anymore and took a leave of absence. I have been trying for a couple of weeks to go back, but he tells me that job wasn’t good enough, I was miserable, and the schedule forced our daughter to have to stay with his mom too much. Even though he tells me I am a lazy leech milking him and living free off of him he won’t let me go back to that job. I am supposed to find a better job with a better schedule. It is already hard enough to find that job due to my poor work history from leaving jobs after a couple of years. I normally have to leave them because he hates when he thinks I can leave him that he goes through the worst abuse cycles I practically lose my mind and my job suffers. Also, our son has such behavior problems from all of this I miss work to go to school meetings, counseling appointments, and doctor appointments for our son. I could live with this honestly if it wasn’t hurting our children, but it has destroyed our son and I am so scared I will never be able to help him get better from the horrible childhood I have given him. I have thought about suicide so many times, but since it would leave them with no one sane I of course can not do that to them. It is so hard to just get through each day that I physically hurt every night and can never get to sleep.

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