Narcissistic Insults and Narcissistic Rage

Narcissistic Insults

Narcissistic insults occur when a disturbed character’s grandiose self-image is challenged. Narcissists style themselves as superior creatures.  Sometimes, the haughty image they project is a merely a facade. That is, some narcissists unconsciously compensate for feelings of low self-worth. That’s the case with “vulnerable” or compensatory (i.e. “neurotic”) narcissists. (See: Two Main Varieties of Narcissists.) (See, also: pp. 85-95 in Character Disturbance.)

Not all narcissists are of the vulnerable type. Some firmly believe in their superiority. Their haughtiness is neither a facade nor a compensation. They’re convinced of their own greatness. So, they see any challenge to their view as an insult. And they can take such perceived insults quite seriously and personally. Naturally, this can spark considerable rage in them.

The Roots of Rage

Narcissistic insults often stem from clashes with reality. Sometimes, reality sends the disturbed character a loud and clear message: “You’re simply not as great or powerful as you think you are.” Grandiose characters don’t take such challenges lying down, however. They see them as both and affront and an insult. Internally, they respond: “Oh, yeah?!. Just who do you think you are to challenge me? I’ll show you!” And that’s typically when they unleash their rage. (See also: Narcissistic Insult: When Reality Shatters Illusion.)

You can expect grandiose narcissists to lash out when wounded. The more insulted they feel, the more rage they’re likely to feel. And the more intense their rage, the more viciously they’re likely to attack. The problem with them is as insidious as it is tragic. They simply can’t own fault. They won’t accept blamed for their own missteps. If they did, and directed their rage in its rightful direction, it could mean the end of them. Therefore, they have to find other targets.

Sometimes wounded narcissists blame only “bad luck” or circumstances. But most of the time they find scapegoats. They villainize others. And when they do, anything is possible. They’ll demean, bully, punish – even torture those they hold responsible. It’s a way to vent their rage without shattering their delusions of grandeur.

No Time to Reason

Narcissistic insults inevitably prompt the disturbed character’s rage. And when someone is blind with rage, it’s no time to try and reason with them. Moreover, grandiose narcissists loathe feeling vulnerable. So, when they face one-down positions, they’ll do their best to reclaim a position of power. Everyone knows you need to be careful approaching a wounded animal. Even if you’re only trying to help you could easily get bitten. When reality has challenged a narcissist’s delusions, it’s no time to help them “see” the error of their ways. Best to keep your distance and let them rest with the consequences of their actions.

If you’re determined to try the reasoning approach, the time to do so is before the inevitable happens. The way grandiose narcissists operate, potential narcissistic insults are always lying around the corner. You certainly don’t have a duty to warn them of impending falls. But you can sometimes make some headway with them by predicting those falls in a benign and empathetic way. You don’t want to come across in a “See, I told you so!” manner. A matter-of-fact approach works best.

Tidbits

My books In Sheep’s ClothingCharacter Disturbance, The Judas Syndrome and How Did We End Up Here? all address narcissistic insults and what can stem from them. And, of course, there are several other articles on the blog that speak to the issues addressed today, including:

Another pilot episode of the new Character Matters program was recorded yesterday. I’ll put a link up to the podcast as soon as it becomes available.

 

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24 thoughts on “Narcissistic Insults and Narcissistic Rage

  1. This article is spot-on what I went through with divorce proceedings with the X.

    “Sometimes wounded narcissists blame only “bad luck” or circumstances. But most of the time they find scapegoats. They villainize others. And when they do, anything is possible. They’ll demean, bully, punish – even torture those they hold responsible. It’s a way to vent their rage without shattering their delusions of grandeur.”

    I was the “scapegoat”. When I warn others about what they could possibly expect when divorcing a GN, it’s hard to put in words the turmoil one can go through being their scapegoat, not to mention the expenses related to litigation. In my case, it was impossible to “win”. I had to finally give him what he wanted (totally undeserving and unequitable) and be done with it. Had I continued with the litigation, he would have continued the rage directed at me, continued the legal costs, to the point where there would have been nothing left to me, it all going to my attorney.
    I could not believe the depths he went to to paint me as did. It was liking a horror movie, and I was the victim. You keep thinking they can’t go lower, but they do, continually. There is no low. They are constantly at the lowest low, and they will stay there. It took a while to really sink in that this man I was married to was an evil, damaging, irate badger.
    If you take on someone with these traits, it’s good to know what might be coming at you so you’re well-armed, (not literally). But actually, in some cases, maybe that needs to happen as well.

    1. Lucy,

      I give you so much credit for your courage to stick up for yourself and your rights. It’s so hard to know beforehand the lengths they will go to to “win”. When they are determined to win at all cost, everyone loses (except the attorneys). It’s hard to know going in if it’s going to be worth it. So many double binds they set up.

      So glad you got away. From my perspective, you won. You stood up for yourself and you also got away with your precious life and spirit. Did you close on your home yet?

      1. Lucy, Healing,

        It is always worth leaving malignant entities, be it family, spouses, friends work environments, employers, etc….. I think our personhood, our sanity our very souls are far worth anything the CD can offer. To be a scapegoat unknowingly is one thing, to come to the realization of what crazy making manipulators have done to us and to remain a scapegoat is another thing.

        I think under the circumstances, in the end, we also realize the corruption in the legal system and the very attorneys we hired to help us are exploiting us too. Most attorneys don’t give a hoot what you have gone through, continue to go through, the attorneys use our positions of strife and vulnerabilities to scapegoat us in another monstrous way.

        The attorneys play the game well and hide behind the skirts of the courts, very sick indeed. In fact everyone knows what is going on, including the judge….. I think that is why everyone hates attorneys. Attorneys are at the top of list of scumbags and guess what most of them are?
        Yup, they are the ultimate malignant narcissist..

        The attorneys in essence rape the rape victim.

        Congratulation Lucy, you have healed well and are an inspiration to all. I am so happy you have a new home, know this, this is the beginning of the first day of Your life. Don’t look back for to long, remember all the good things if you do and the lessons learned. Where you came from is dead, he is dead, he died a long time ago. The future is yours.

        Hugs Kindred Spirit and God Bless you and Your Loved Ones

  2. I’ve been married to a socialpath narcissistic husband for 22 years divorced once and returned biggest mistake I have ever made in my life I didn’t know I knew something was wrong I returned because I convinced myself that it was me that had the problem that’s how powerful that type of personality can work on a sensitive person that has feelings and cares about others mind it doesn’t mean I’m weak or less confident I just have never communicated with a narcissist personality so I didn’t know I suppose you could say I was naive when you know better you make different choices in saying that now I know dosen’t make the relationship any better because they will never change I just have leaned how to respond if at all I have come to realize they’re just spoiled little children in adult bodies that have lacked loved or overwhelmed with insincere shallow feedings as a child growing up they learned from their parents that behavior just repeats itself I do think they know what their doing they just do not or they are not capable however if you are fortunate enough to leave or get away that’s a good thing run run as fast as you can and do not look back because they will destroy your life they view life how they think it should be in their reality not as it is everyone should March to their beat nothing else matters they will win by any means and at all cost on their terms very draining to say the least yes a very big price I have paid for this life learned lesson but now that I know hopefully I can share my horrific experiences with someone else so they will never have to endure this kind of emotional financial and physical trauma and abuse I have endured for years yes unfortunately hes still my husband and we’re still married but the good part is I know what I’m dealing with the best advice I can give to individuals that are not fortunate enough to leave do not share any unflattering information about you or anyone else with this person keep your business to yourself respond don’t react they feed off of drama listen obsver if they choose to leave that’s a blessing let them go believe nothing they say get a regular doctor’s check up dont drink or do drugs with them stay save your money read and understand all information on this subject stay beautiful and healthy get in a Domestic violance support group

    1. Kat,
      Isn’t Dr. Simon’s articles a lifeline, and the commenter’s shared experiences? Like you, I did not understand what I was dealing with, and kept on trying to fix things. As we all, nothing gets fixed. Through educating ourselves we learn learn to cope because we finally know what we are truly dealing with.
      I’m sorry you’re unable to separate from this man. That black cloud that hovers over them, everywhere they go, is difficult to deal with.
      Thanks for helping others. I’ve taken plenty advice from commenters. I may not have made it through still intact spiritually had I not had this help.

  3. Dear Dr Simon, Thank you I have learned and have grown to deal and understand this unfortunate situation through reading your books.
    Thank you for sharing your so very needed information.

  4. Off Topic

    I got info on how much of a pay rise I am getting. About $ 9,100 a Year Increase.
    My mother used to say I was a USELESS CUNT, her words.

    SELF RESPECT

    It means proud of who you are, even with the mistakes you made in the past. It means looking yourself in the mirror and thinking “This guy has his shit straight.” While you reflect on your past life, you should smile and think “man I’m awesome.” It means not using alcohol, drugs or aggression to solve problems. To overcome and oppress those who bring you down. Whatever hurts you only makes you stronger. It’s to think that you are a good person, but not to the point of arrogance or narcissism. You don’t have to be the smartest kid in your class,you don’t have to make a million dollars a year and you don’t have to be popular to have self respect.

    1. Joey,
      That’s a huge raise, enough to make a big difference in every day life.
      I love this post.
      We are awesome. It’s hard to feel awesome though while in the clutch of a CD. But, yes, once we are out we can soar. And we do.

  5. Joey, Lucy,

    Both of your are amazing and wonderful people, together with so many others, who have found this blog, past and present.

    I knew all along you would do it Joey, it was just a matter of time. I also know, you will keep soaring to new heights. Stories of overcoming so much against you lends courage, hope and the will to follow in your footsteps.

    Press on and try to never look back at the negative lies we were led to believe by people who never really cared.

    Both of you, just Wow and I will try to do the same.

    Blessings Kindred Spirts

  6. BTOV
    I feel badly for those who are in a situation and can’t find their way out. Money is a big factor that comes into play on gaining one’s freedom.

    1. Lucy,

      Off Topic, hope all goes well with your move to your new home. I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am for you, it just takes time and it all comes together. I told you long ago the gifts you have and didn’t even know about would carry you. I am so glad Dr. Simon wrote the 10 Commandments of Character, it has brought me far, you, its brought you through all these years.

      I can just picture the Green Eyed Monsters envy when he heard about your new home. Here’s and updated version, a little risque, you understand the point all the while you maintained integrity to the end, you kicked butt too.

      Go Girl Go

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPtfsk4ETjM

  7. i am 3 weeks out of a relationship with a narcissistic man, do not use that term lightly, Met him on Craigslist and we talked on the phone every day, he came to visit me and i went back to see him in his state for 10 days. He was so attentive and caring in the beginning, could not do enough for me. i decided to move to his state and live with him, as he kept asking me too. things were decent for the first 6-9 months, except for no intimacy, which i thought was strange and kept asking him but he refused and said he was different than most men. then all hell broke loose before last thanksgiving when he opened his food pantry door and blew up at me for having 5 different salad dressings there and blew up again over my towels in a plastic container in the downstairs bedroom the verbal abuse did not end till i found my own place a few weeks ago and he never once apologized to me. He told me way earlier he does not like himself, has to be a know-it-all and is always right in his delusional mind.Still recovering and lots of sadness. I was only a roommate to him never a partner, best friend, or love. He admitted he had preconceived notions of what he wanted me to be and never got to know me for me.So when i did not fit his ideal off with my head. whenever I tried to discuss my feelings with him he said shut up or knock it off and would drown me out like a toddler.sad Any thoughts from you all?

    1. Libby
      My thoughts are good thing you left, seeing him for what he is, not dreaming that you’d change him, getting out with your spirit not crushed, not having grown old with him, not co-mingling your finances, not marrying him, getting back on your feet in your own apartment, doing what’s best for you.
      Congratulations is what I’d say!

  8. libby novotny

    The main thing is, YOU GOT OUT and PLEASE KEEP AWAY FROM HIM.
    You were prayed upon and played upon. You were a toy, to be played with. The Whole build up to you moving in with him was a RUSH. When he got you, he just did not know what to do.
    NONE OF THIS IS YOUR FAULT EVER. You DID NOT BRAKE HIM, IT IS NOT YOUR JOB TO FIX HIM EVER,EVER,EVER

    1. Thanks Lucy and Joey for your responses, it really does take time to heal, I thought i would be with him the rest of my life. Like the therapist i spoke with said he will never change and will be like that with any other woman including his ex wife. i did make the mistake of not being with him for a longer period of time before moving in with him, never again.

    2. Libby,

      I am sorry you had to learn how so many people are. Yes, many can put on a good front for a long time. Chalk this up to a life experience, an education, use it to smell these manipulators from the get go. Never forget what can being lying underneath the surface of another. usually, there are tells, maybe small tells at first but nevertheless they are there.

      I just went through this with someone, its covert, I didn’t invest much as I prefer to watch another for awhile. Many times, its not what they say or do, its those small things that are missing…. Those missing missing things, words, actions build into giant spaces of emptiness.

      The most important thing you said; “He admitted he had preconceived notions of what he wanted me to be and never got to know me for me.So when i did not fit his ideal off with my head. ” Never, ever let anyone discount you, wanting to mold you into the someone they want you to be…

      Joey and Lucy gave you encouragement and sound advice. I hope Andy would chime in and give us another mans perspective.

      I would also welcome you to join in in the conversations we are having. We learn so much from from each other…

      Hugs

  9. thanks BTOV, really nice to have men’s perspective as well and for the invite to join future conversations. All i keep telling myself is it is HIS loss. hugs back to youlibby

    1. libby and All,

      Glad to have you. We haven’t heard from Andy for awhile and he along with Joey have great insight. We have many compassionate and caring posters who welcome you also. Missing Kat, E and Jean..

      Truly, it their loss and your gain. My X’s best friend told him he lost the best thing he ever had. Keep working on you, growing all the time, I sure know this is true for me. There is someone who is deserving of you, you will see, never sell your self short for anyone. Just Be YOU….:-)

      1. Off Topic,

        Kat, I know you asked about my friend and had him in your prayers. He is able to walk assisted for 10 steps with a walker. He is very unstable on his feet. Its going on 7 months since being able to drink water or have any type of food. He is unable to swallow properly.

        He said he has never felt such humility and is praying to God for help. So many have been praying for him thus far. The night he may have died my pastor and his wife came and prayed along with me and his sister. The next day was the turn around. His sister commented to me she believed the hand of God has been at work.

        I just want to thank you for your prayers and having asked about he has been doing. God hears his childrens prayers but most of all he hears when we put down our pride, humble ourselves and ask for ourselves. I believe this is about what Dr. Simon calls “The Come to Jesus Moment.

        Blessings and look forward to your posts.

  10. Libby
    Welcome to the group. We here learn from each other. We’ve got experiences that are quite unusual and difficult for many to grasp the what and whys of what’s happened in our lives.
    I hope to hear more from you about your experiences.

  11. I am 51 years old, and an only adopted child of a narcissist mother. My Dad committed suicide after being married to her for 13 years… I was 14. All of my life, I was told there was something wrong with me before I was adopted by my mother and her first husband. I was told I was lucky to have a mother who is an R.N. and psyche nurse because I had been imbalanced all of these years and she could help me. I moved my children, then 15 and 3 with me from my home state of SC to Northern California (in my mind, to allow them to become themselves – something I feel I wasn’t encouraged or allowed to be. It has been 20 years since that move and I have again returned home to care for her since she has been rendered unable to care for herself as the result of a stroke she had about 11 years ago. I have been back home since February 8th this year and all has been going well except for the usual mother/daughter stuff… until today. To keep a long story short, my mother’s lying and manipulation never really stopped… but since I have been tending to her every need and haven’t gone against anything she wants until last night. I left the house and my mother with my son and his wife. They also moved here a few months ago to help as co-caretakers and although she said nothing against me, which is her usual punishment for me not giving her what she wants, this time she didn’t realize I had returned home and faked a fall unaware that I could see her and she never buzzed the call bell that we have in all our rooms… she laed down in the floor and started crying and quietly callinig for my son. when I stepped into her room, she was shocked to see me and not her grandson in the room. i confronted her because i was so angry that she would go to that level of deception and not care if she scared the kids or not. I was furious. but I sat down and wrote out my account of the incident and then started a simple internet search and found this website. Thank you for shining the light on this for me. I have believed I was a broken and imbalanced person, but now see…I was raised by a sociopath… and had some of those behaviors passed down by her. That’s when it hit me that I had passed some of that behavior down to my children as well. I am claiming victory over the generational curse that thank God wasn’t passed down through DNA. That is the best part. It means my Babies and grand babies will not have to go through life with th these behaviors … I am grateful for this new understanding so that now I can model grace and love for my family, knowing what I have to do to protect myself, my children and even my unborn grandbabies from another generation of troubled and distorted lives.

    1. Pamela Phillips Hunt

      Look up BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER and ALL its traits
      YOU WILL FIND ANSWERS. I Promise.

      If you like drama, excitement, and intensity, enjoy the ride, because things will never be calm. Following a passionate and immediate beginning, expect a stormy relationship that includes accusations and anger, jealousy, bullying, control, and break-ups due to the borderline’s insecurity. Nothing is grey or gradual. For borderlines, things are black and white. They have the quintessential Jekyll and Hyde personality. Fluctuating dramatically between idealizing and devaluing you, they may suddenly and sporadically shift throughout the day. You never know what or whom to expect.

      The Drama
      Borderlines’ intense, labile emotions elevate you when they’re in good spirits and crush you when they’re not. You’re a prince or a princess, a bastard or a bitch. If you’re on the outs with them, all their bad feelings get projected onto you. They can be vindictive and punish you with words, silence, or other tactics, which feel manipulative and can be very destructive to your self-esteem. Unlike Bi-Polar Disorder, their moods shift quickly and aren’t a departure from their normal self. What you see is their norm.

  12. Very insightful article. Unless one has been the target of this kind of rage, one could never understand. One has to experience this to understand the utter frustration of thinking that anything could be resolved with someone who flies into a rage when held accountable for the smallest thing. It is surely best to keep your distance.

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