Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Injury: What You Need to Know

Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Injury: What You Need to Know

By Angela Atkinson. Author of Take Back Your Life: 103 Highly Effective Strategies to Snuff Out a Narcissist’s Gaslighting and Live the Happy Life You Deserve

“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm, but the harm [that they cause] does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.” ~ T. S. Eliot

Narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury go hand in hand. While they often claim that their raging behavior is related to stress, the opposite is true. In fact, narcissistic rage is triggered usually by some perceived insult, criticism, or disagreement that results in a narcissistic injury.

Read more: Understanding Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Injury

The average raging narcissist thinks that her victim intentionally caused this so-called “injury” and that the victim did so with a hostile motive. The reaction to this trigger is often intensely disproportionate to the actual “offense” committed by the victim—and invariably, the victim in these situations sees the narcissist as unreasonable, out-of-control, mean, or even just plain old crazy. If you’re the regular target of narcissistic rage, you need to know that it is REALLY not your fault! The rage isn’t about you, and it never was—it’s always been about the narcissist.

Read more: Identifying Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Surviving Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Injury: Diffusing a Raging Narcissist

When you find yourself the victim of this kind of rage, you have to respond logically, not emotionally. “This is the catch-22,” writes Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. “To try to communicate emotions to a narcissist is like discussing atheism with a religious fundamentalist. They employ a myriad of defense mechanisms to cope with their repressed emotions: projective identification, splitting, projection, intellectualization, rationalization.”

Now, when I say respond logically, I don’t mean that you should try to use logic or reason to help the narcissist calm down—this almost never works. In fact, during a narcissistic rage, there really isn’t room for your opinion or side of the story at all—in fact, offering it will just prolong the confrontation.

Remember: it’s not about you—it’s about the narcissist. Try not to take it personally (even though the narcissist will stop at nothing to hurt your feelings and cause you to react—be prepared).

Diffuse a Raging Narcissist: Stay Calm and Avoid Reacting Emotionally

You’ve got to stay calm and if possible, simply remove yourself from the situation. If you can’t do that, take a deep breath be prepared to bite your tongue. Don’t bother to argue or try to reason with the narcissist. Instead, just let them know that you hear their concerns and avoid raising your voice or introducing any emotion into the conversation. This might also be a good time to employ the gray rock method.

Grey rock method (also known as the Gray Rock method), is a coping technique used by narcissistic abuse survivors to deal with their abusers in the most effective way possible. The method was named and first published by a writer called Skylar, who advises that you act boring and don’t react to the narcissist’s attempts to engage you in drama. The tactic is highly effective but also infuriating for narcissists to experience. Be aware that you will need to use this method with caution if you are dealing with any physical abuse as the narcissist may not react well.

Read more: How do I deal with people who think they’re better than me?

Diffuse a Raging Narcissist: Know the Patterns

First, understand that not a single thing you say will change the narcissist’s feelings during the rage. It doesn’t matter if she’s arguing that the sky should be red instead of blue—she’s right as far as she’s concerned, and there’s nothing that you or anyone else could say to change her mind. Remember: it’s about controlling the situation and being perceived by you as perfect. Any evidence that she’s losing control or not being perceived as perfect will further incite the rage. In order to end a rage, a narcissist needs to feel safe and in control of the situation—so if you simply want to end the temporary situation, then you may need to say whatever she needs to hear to feel that way again—especially if your safety is at stake, but even if it’s just your emotional well-being you’re trying to protect. The narcissist has specific patterns of abuse – and you need to familiarize yourself with them if you’re going to diffuse the narcissistic rage.

Read more: 10 Things You Need to Know if You’re in a Toxic Relationship

Understanding Narcissism: The Narcissist in Public

An interesting thing about most narcissists—being the charming and outgoing people they are, they project a public image of being “fun” and “laid-back,” but in private, it’s a whole other story. Behind closed doors, a narcissist feels safe to release his rage. And since he’s so often the life of the party, the nice guy, and the charmer that everyone loves to hang out with  (in public, anyway), many people won’t have any idea what kind of person they’re really dealing with. So, unless someone personally witnesses this narcissistic rage, they can’t understand what life is like for the victim/target of the narcissistic rage—especially when it’s a lover, parent or family member.

Understanding Narcissism: The Narcissist and Projection

As the victim of narcissistic rage, you’ve likely been accused of being selfish or of ignoring the narcissist’s emotional or physical needs, of being dishonest, arrogant, lazy or any number of other insulting descriptives. But what’s really happening most of the time is projection—narcissists project their own inadequacies onto their victims. So as usual, it’s all about the narcissist, not about you.

Psychological projection is a defense mechanism in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.

The Narcissist and Selective Memory

Narcissists are infamous for their selective memories. They may claim they said something that they never really did—and then get angry at you for “not listening.” Or they might even deny saying something that you KNOW they did say, but now regret. And, they’re likely to contradict themselves in the same breath, lashing out at anyone who points it out to them. In either case, you might feel like you’re going a little crazy when this happens—and it’s a sign of gaslighting.

Read more: Toxic Relationships and Narcissism: Stages of Gaslighting

The Narcissist and You

When you love a narcissist, you have to understand your role in her life. A narcissist really doesn’t have any interest in being emotionally or intellectually stimulated by the people in her life. In fact, feedback of any kind can be perceived as a threat. People who love narcissists have really clear roles in their lives: they are the primary source of “narcissistic supply;” that is, they are expected to supply the narcissist with the admiration, respect, love, and attention the narcissists believe they deserve. But when these “suppliers” fail in their mission (in the narcissist’s opinion), the rage often turns against them. “A passive witness to the narcissist’s past accomplishments, a dispenser of accumulated Narcissistic Supply, a punching bag for his rages, a co-dependent, a possession (though not prized but taken for granted) and nothing much more,” Vaknin writes. “This is the ungrateful, FULL TIME, draining job of being the narcissist’s significant other.”

Read more: 12 Ways to Know If You’re in Love With a Narcissist

Have you been the victim of narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury? How did you handle it? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below.

Get help with narcissistic abuse recovery, right now.

Related articles

Career Hacks: 3 Simple Steps to Get More Hours Out of Your Work Day

Career Hacks: 3 Simple Steps to Get More Hours Out of Your Work Day

stretching-timeEver have one of those days when it feels like you’re super busy all day at work, but when you look over your progress, you find you’ve not actually completed much? 

I don’t know about you, but sometimes it just feels to me like there’s never enough time. But good news – all is not hopeless. In fact, you might be interested in my really simple technique designed to help you get more hours out of each day! 

Career Hacks: A Simple, 3-Step Formula to Extract More Hours From Your Work Day

Does it ever seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day? You feel like you’re busy pushing through your tasks at work, yet so much gets left undone. If only having more hours in the day was an option!

Happily, it might actually be an option, in an indirect way. It’s possible that you aren’t getting as much done in your day because of how you manage your time.

Follow these steps to practice effective time management and add productive hours to your day:

Create a task list. A task list is necessary if you want to ensure maximum productivity. It’s a great way to get a look at the big picture so you know what’s ahead of you.

Creating your task list is somewhat like mind mapping. Just write the items down as they come to your mind. Give very little consideration to the size of the tasks at this point.

You might find that your task list contains tasks for you and others in your workplace.

Your task list helps you to be in control of your day. It’s a great way to develop the calmness you need at the beginning of each day. You’ll find it much easier to cope with stress when you have those tasks listed.

Prioritize responsibilities. The responsibilities you’ve just listed on your task list are all important. But are there some that are more important than others? You bet there are! It’s crucial to organize them accordingly.

Prioritizing responsibilities helps you to share your effort based on the significance of each task. Naturally, you’ll want the things at the top of the list to get most of your time.

At this stage, it’s recommended that you consider your own tasks and the ones for other people separately. Sure, everything requires your attention, but avoid ranking someone else’s urgency above your own important tasks. Remember your hours are precious!

Once you’ve prioritized, take some time to consider whether you can truly give everything your full attention. The things that aren’t as important may need to be shifted to another day.

Allow yourself to focus. If you think that you’re on track after prioritizing, think again! What comes next is ensuring you develop the focus needed to work on each task you’ve listed.

Sometimes creating a task list gives a false sense of being in control of what needs to be done. But remember that you’re aiming to extract more hours from the day. That’s going to involve focusing on each item as you get to it.

Focusing means preventing external factors from affecting your ability to concentrate on the task at hand. It means taking only the necessary breaks and knowing when to ask co-workers to excuse themselves from your office!

There may be times when you might come upon obstacles. If it’s something you’re unable to overcome right away, take a break from that task and move on to something else.

This is a simple formula that allows you to gain what seems like extra hours each day. Give it a try and see just how much more productive you can be. Avoid wasting unnecessary time.

Pretty soon, you’ll be known as the highest achiever in the office. And you’ll be able to gain that title with just a little organization of your time and tasks. You feel me? 

power moves coverHere’s a link to my latest book, entitled Power Moves: 163 Shockingly Simple Career-Boosting Life Hacks Anyone Can Use: Easy Ways to Energize Your Career and Improve Your Life in 30 Days or Less

The book was released earlier this week and is fresh off the press. You can get it for less than $3 today on Amazon.com’s Kindle Store – totally free for Kindle Unlimited members too. 

Just a quick FYI: My book, Project Blissful: Your Whole Life Guide to Misery-Free Weight Loss That Really Works will be free in the Kindle Store on Amazon.com from today, March 13 through Sunday, March 15. 

(more…)

Pin It on Pinterest