Understanding Narcissistic Rage

Narcissistic Rage

What is narcissistic rage? It’s what a narcissist unleashes when you challenge their delusions of grandeur. How does it happen? In the past, we believed all narcissists had a shaky sense of self-worth underneath their bravado. And we thought it decimated their fragile egos when they felt attacked. But we now know that many narcissists believe in their own greatness with conviction. So when you dare to challenge that belief it’s natural for them to have either a “How dare you!” or a “Just who do you think you are?!”  response.  After all, to those who truly feel superior, you’re simply insignificant. And they respond with righteous indignation when you dare to assert otherwise.

It’s important to understand narcissistic rage for what it really is. Far too many folks have remained in abusive relationships because they misunderstood its origins. Victims have sometimes believed their partners were hypersensitive. Others may have believed their abusers were struggling with inner insecurities. And while there are indeed some narcissists of the more “vulnerable” type, it’s simply not safe to assume that someone’s rage stems from inner trauma. (For more on this topic see:  Two Main Varieties of Narcissists.)

Attitudes of Entitlement

Behind most narcissistic rage is an attitude of entitlement. That is, most narcissists lash out because they feel entitled to do so. As they see it, their special nature and status confers that entitlement. Seeing themselves as inherently superior, they have no compunction about putting and keeping you in the place they think you belong. And they will do so with as much fervor as they perceive it might take.

Overcoming Intimidation

Victims of narcissistic rage rightfully experience intimidation. In their hearts, they know what a person determined to have the dominant position is capable of. They know what can happen if they dare to say “no,” or refuse to be subordinate. And they instinctively know what could possibly happen if they dare to wrest free of control. But living in fear of these things caries its own price. It’s also the reason folks get manipulated into remaining in such relationships. As long as you’re doing the narcissist’s bidding, all seems safe. But dare to question or not comply, and you face the rage. And in striving to keep the peace, you end up unhappily trapped.

You have to know your own worth and where that worth comes from to overcome intimidation. And you have to be particularly sure of your worth to withstand the gaslighting effects that come along with most narcissistic rage. So, in the next few articles, I’ll be having more to say on how to know and claim your true worth.

(See also: pp. 91-93 in In Sheep’s Clothing, pp. 140-141 in Character Disturbance, and pp. 99-101 in The Judas Syndrome.)

28 thoughts on “Understanding Narcissistic Rage

  1. One somewhat twisted element of narcissistic rage that I have noticed is that if we disagree, try to set a boundary, express a differing point of view, the superior entitled narcissist will then accuse US of being abusive to THEM! When challenged in any way, they almost always play the man, not the ball. They’ll respond with vicious personal insult and use old insecurities they know we have to hurt us as much as they can -crush a walnut with a sledgehammer – so enraged are they.
    Around narcissists, I find it best to stay silent, keep ones opinions to oneself, and as you say, stand strong inside ones own self worth.

    1. AND, if kids are witnessing this insane dynamic, they get very confused as to who the safe parent really is. This is so troublesome.

    2. Margot,
      You are spot on to what I experienced! I was called the abuser so many times if I expressed a different point of view, and God help me, if I let him know that he had hurt my feelings.
      My experience e-x-a-c-t-l-y. He could not have a debate that stayed on topic without digressing into old insults (only the ones that I had supposedly done to him). I once “spoke” to my ex on the phone, which I told him about – what a mistake – he brought that up EVERY TIME he raged. Why as a 53 year old woman did I allow some man to dictate who I could or could not talk too? Geez, it is so hard to not be angry at myself for falling for his BS love bombing!

      1. Dr Simon,
        Your sense of humor, blog, articles and Youtube videos on the subject of Manipulative People and Character Disturbances has been so bloody helpful seeing through the fog of what happened –

        Thank you!

        Wynne

    3. I agree! Just had this done to us and our son and his 4 stepkids for Christmas. Merry Christmas Everybody!!! The oldest of the kids (13) came in all sad head down and said to me, mom is being scrooge again, she’s acting up again, I’m sorry. I told him ohh that’s ok, she can stay home and rest. No need to ever be sorry for others bad behavior!
      He seemed a bit relieved, but what a crapster to treat 4 kids and one on the way!! 13, 12, 6 and 3 1/2yrs old!!!
      She’s been relying on the oldest to take care of the 2 little ones for a couple of years now. It just became legal in Illinois to leave a 13 yr old with kids under 11!!! We did have a really nice Christmas Eve and Day though, as I’m teaching my husband how to follow Dr. Simon’s advice we’re making our own JOY!!! Merry Christmas to everyone on here!

      1. I babysat when I was 12 or 13. Looking back it seems young, but at the time it was fine. One child. Mainly made sure she eventually went to bed and that’s about it.

        Depends on the kid.

        1. I babysat for 2 blocks worth of families starting when I was 9 because my mom refused to get up at night with my baby sister she “loved” so much. I was 8 and 1/2 yrs old. That’s abuse! My mom went on to brag about how good I was with the baby so they’d have me babysit. Since I never turned down a job I made good money, escaped abuse at home for the most part, played with a lot of fun toys and kids and listened to really nice records!
          By the age of 10 my mom would no longer pay for my clothing as I was number 5 out of 6!!!
          I’m not talking about NORMAL BABYSITTING, I’m talking about kids being shouldered with parental responsibility that the parents don’t even want.

    4. You’re not kidding everything my mom does she says that I’m the one doing it to. Talk about projecting. She tells me I’m trying to stab her in the back that I’m trying to control her she puts her shame on me her guilt on me everything negative it’s really mind blowing. No there is no point voicing your opinion you get no empathy with medical conditions they don’t try to understand they don’t care. Very dismissive and they always have to win. They put you down to make you feel inferior so they could make themselves feel superior. The last time she raged on me was because I agreed with my dad about some of her traits. How dare I? I then was accused of being responsible for their marriage not working, And she insinuated that I was the other woman that I was after my dad that I did to stay away from him! I knew something was up because when I come to visit her she makes him leave. You so CO dependent it’s very sad to see him even stand up And defend her when she is abusing not only me but him also. I told him I don’t know how he could stand it he says I’ve been putting up with at 56 yrs. I told him I had to get out of there soon as I could. No doubt he went home and repeated word-for-word what we had discussed a conversation which he initiated about her always having to be right and I just agreed with him. As long as she was badd mouth and him and I agreed with her she was happy but the minute I side with the other parent she goes into a rage and feels like I stabbed her in the back and and trying to Control them. I have been no contact since before Christmas when she raged at me I became very suicidal due to my own mental health issues. I just cannot afford to be around her her negativity and her abuse any longer. I do feel guilty because she’s 81. I told my dad I will be there for them if they need something but other than that that’s going to be it. I know he told her about this last conversation we had but she’s calling leaving messages trying to Hoover me send in all the flying monkeys are me all the relatives acting like the victum like I tried to murder her or something. I love peace and quiet they both seemed to love chaos and drama. Always fighting bickering with each other always trying to one up each other both of them trying to be the winner.

  2. Thank you for this clarity. I have fallen for the ‘victim’ beneath the rage concept and thus tolerated abuse, thinking I could find a way through it to the ‘real’ person beneath. I feel such release and relief from what you describe here. Also regret at having invested so much of myself in patience and the next hopeful solution. I am clearer and clearer on my code and quality of life, and more and more confident on simply drawing a line on anything that undermines them. Thank you! Thank you so much.

  3. If you replace ‘Narcissistic’ with ‘Male’ and leave out the last two sentences of paragraph 2, you have society.

    Women dealing with male rage, intimidation, narcissism, entitlement, and supposed ‘superiority’.

    Carrying a gun and being ready to use it and defend oneself helps with male intimidation. Knowing about all the gaslighting men employ also helps with standing in one’s own sense of self-worth.

    As for narcissistic women, I find one of the defining characteristics is their incessantly expressed contempt for the fellow woman they target. And they sabotage and do whatever they can to ruin their victims. Narc women are truly scary as they manage to withstand all societal conditioning for women to be kind, loving, caring, gentle, helpful people.

    Narc men are basically the average guy. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack to locate a man who isn’t narcissistic, especially when interacting with women.

    1. I have found a lot of the millenials are narcissistic. Yes, many men are but there are good charactered men out there too. I have definitely encountered many women and girls who are extremely bad charactered. DIL is teaching her daughter to strike out at me. Boy, is she in for a big surprise!!
      I’m not going to be around for all the Holidays anymore!!! We’ve decided to take a break next year and go somewhere. Not to avoid them just to enjoy ourselves! Also, we are going to simplify our family holiday meals, much to OUR ADVANTAGE!!!

  4. My Mother

    “How dare you” think,
    “How dare you” breath,
    “How dare you”look
    “How dare you” see,
    “How dare you” are,
    “How dare you” be
    “How dare you LIVE”, EVERY DAY WITHOUT WORSHIPING MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…………………………………………

    1. Joey,
      I applaud you!!! Yes, you are created to think, breathe,look, see,be, create, achieve, succeed and LEAVE!!! BRAVO! I’m happy for you.

      I like to say when confronting a narc, I’m pretty sure God gave me eyes to see and ears to hear and a brain to think and perceive WHAT I’M SEEING!!!
      I don’t need an interpreter but thank you!!!

      You will achieve the purpose for which God made you Joey!!!

      1. Lucy, Joey,

        Amen!!!!

        Thank goodness we left them with their mouths hanging open.
        Thank goodness for No Contact, we had the last word.

  5. I was taking every hit from you
    drive by shooting son of a bitch, and I’m done
    Whoa, I’m done

    Who told you, that you could rewrite the rules, and do you
    Really take me for a goddamn fool ’cause I’m done
    Oh, I’m done

    And you can drag me out before some authority
    If that’s what you have to do to feel like you can punish me
    But I can’t (ooh), I can’t, I can’t, I can’t keep the peace anymore
    With your dogs (ooh), with your dogs, at my door

    You’ve been pouncing my weaknesses, slandering my name
    You spent all your time trying to place your blame
    And I’m done
    Oh, I’m done

    I used to think I hold the best parts of me
    But sew the holes in your life and the cracks in your seams
    And I’m done
    Oh whoa, I’m done

    And I’m sorry that you don’t like your life
    But I fought for my own victories and for the beauty in my life
    My joy (ooh), my joy, my joy takes nothing from you
    No, my joy (ooh), my joy takes nothing from you

    Well, you criticize my numbers, you hammer out the rules
    Wait for me to fuck up, to find yourself some proof
    And I’m done
    Oh whoa, I’m done

    You just soak in the hatred of a sorry line
    Yeah, you hide behind decorum and a fake smile
    And I’m done
    Oh whoa, I’m done

    And you can drag me out before a judge in authority
    If that’s what you have to do to feel like you can punish me
    Well I can’t (ooh), I can’t, I can’t, I can’t keep the peace anymore
    With your dogs (ooh), with your dogs, at my door

    Frazy Ford

  6. In my head things are getting better. I can see now what happened to me. It was never my fault. I lived with disordered people and was subjected to the abuse of their disordered thinking. All you can ever do is either reflect back this screwball world or make plans an think or say GOODBYE. Because WE ARE ALL JUST MERE MORTAL HUMANS IN THE END.

    And remember
    KEEP THE FAITH

    Just like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and Happy New year

    Happy New Year!
    By John P. Read

    Brush away old heartaches.
    Learn from our mistakes.
    Another year is finally over.
    A new dawn awakes.

    Let the old year out.
    Welcome the new one in.
    Bury the bad things of the past
    As a new year now begins.

    Make your New Year wishes
    As simple as you can.
    Pray for peace and love,
    Not for wealth or fame.

    Pray for health and happiness.
    Pray for your fellow man.
    Pray for all the ones you love.
    Pray for those who’ve lost their way.

    As the midnight hour chimes,
    We leave the old and embrace the new.
    I wish the things you wish for yourself,
    And may God’s love stay with you.

    Regards
    Joey

    1. Joey,

      Thank you for the beautiful poem. Joey I pray the very best for you.
      Many God Bless you always and His Angels watch over you.

      Hugs Kindred Spirit
      BTOV

    2. Beautiful poem! I love how Dr Simon tells us to make our own joy!!! I am CHOOSING JOY as Larnell Harris sings! Our God created us for Love, Peace and Joy!!! Jesus is a perfect example of this! I’ve had a wonderful Christmas this year EVEN in the midst of some not so nice people in my small gatherings! I hope everyone here has a well!!!

    1. Lalita,

      Channel all your resources into ending the relationship. Escape it by any means possible. You might die, if your narcissist is evil enough, but if you don’t die, you then have a chance (however small) of escaping the narcissist.

      If you cannot escape it, let’s say you have children with the narcissist and there is court-ordered shared visitation or whatever, then detachment will serve you. Although, it depends on the narcissist and how much intel/leverage/etc they have on you, just how much you are able to detach, but gray rock is something to work toward.

      In short, it’s nearly impossible to not be affected when in a farcical relationship with a narcissist who gains supply by hook and crook. Escape. Cut ties. Detach. Practice being indifferent and gray rock as best as possible.

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