Narcissistic injury happens when the narcissist has been confronted, challenged, or denied something. In a situation like this, they feel like their whole façade comes apart. The narcissistic wound is real, and yet, it comes from a place of make-believe hurts. How can we tolerate this sort of behavior?
To understand narcissistic injury, you have to know a little bit about the narcissist themselves. A person who has been “diagnosed” per se, as a narcissistic individual will have layers of characteristics.
First of all, most narcissists were first traumatized or abused children. This mistreatment, in time, caused them to build high walls to keep others out. It made their self-esteem plummet as well. As a result of all this, the narcissist built a façade of who they really are, and when confronted or challenged, they acquire the narcissistic wound.
What triggers the narcissistic injury?
There are a few ways that this injury can be triggered by others. Just as I said above, being challenged or confronted would do the trick. But let’s look at a few of these things in order to get the big picture.
Breaking the mask
The narcissist has a false idea of who they are. Some of them actually believe in this false identity, while others use the identity to trick others. Injuries occur when someone rips the mask off revealing the true identity of the narcissist. This triggers anger, resentment, and manipulation.
You see, when you lived the majority of your life with a low-self-esteem, creating a different, more positive identity is ideal. When that identity is destroyed, you’re right back where you began. It’s actually painful for the narcissist.
Pointing out mistakes
There is no narcissist in this world that likes their failures being noticed. Injuries are triggered quickly when the narcissist fails at something or is wrong about something, and a friend notices. Maybe if they fail at something while alone, it’s not so bad, but for someone to see what happened, this can be devastating.
Revealing the lack of confidence
Narcissists cannot handle someone else revealing their lack of confidence. The truth is, the root of narcissistic behavior lies in low self-confidence, as it comes from past trauma or abusive childhood. The narcissist walks and talks with an air of confidence, and yet, it is all false. When it’s revealed for what it is, a narcissistic injury happens.
How do we recognize the narcissistic injury?
Touching once more on the adult/child relationship as to abuse, we can learn how to recognize the narcissistic injuries that surface. If a parent was narcissistic, then it’s likely that some of those traits will try to stick to the child, especially mental injuries. So, how can we tell if this is happening?
1. They reject others
If the narcissist’s friends and family know what they’ve been through, people usually want to help. But this help will also come with revealing their mistakes and helping them work through the problems. They don’t want others to see the imperfections, and so friends and family cannot help. Loved ones may even get a bit harsh with the narcissist, and say that they are challenging them to do better. This will make them push friends and family even further away.
You see, narcissists feel as though they should be loved and accepted at all times. This can get especially negative on social media. If someone with a narcissistic wound is challenged online, they will go to extremes in arguments and comments, so much that they may even delete or block people from their personal spaces – these can even be their loved ones.
2. They have impossible expectations
Even if everyone is talking about how talented they are, it’s never enough. Narcissists have to always be in the spotlight, always getting attention, and when it comes to the online world, always posting things about themselves or what they’ve accomplished. One nice compliment is never enough for them. This is because secretly, narcissists always feel like a failure.
3. Sometimes they’re overachievers
On the flip side, sometimes the narcissist just wants to help too much. In order to fill that void inside, and yes, there’s a deep dark void inside every narcissist, they must constantly be doing things for people, or giving out endless compliments – they are usually empty compliments which this toxic person doesn’t really mean.
I know this sounds cruel, but it’s true. The narcissistic injury shows through the many layers of the good Samaritan sometimes. If they can hold up that camera while helping, they can be an overachiever and live those impossible expectations all at once. Giving and getting at an abnormal and toxic level.
4. You don’t want to say no
Inside, the narcissist always wants to say no, but on the outside, they never want to say no. Does that make sense? Well, it’s how the narcissist works. A narcissist focuses on themselves first, even though they help tremendously, never want to speak the word “no” and always seem so humble. All of this is false.
They don’t want to speak “no” because they are afraid of the consequences. That is all. No narcissist wants to be injured by rejection because they didn’t go along with someone else’s wishes. So, they try to bridge that gap somehow. It’s usually a messy routine.
Narcissistic injuries are real
If you live with a narcissist, you will eventually experience those strange injuries. When you do, take some time before you get into an argument with them. Think about why the narcissist may feel injured and work around this issue accordingly.
Although most narcissists never change, some do. So, if you have the chance to show them the truth of their injuries in a peaceful manner, you could be able to help them heal. If not, it could be time to make some changes.
I wish you the best.
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