“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 Love
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.
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!
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.