Narcissistic rage is one of the most toxic emotional outbursts you could imagine. It seems to come from out of nowhere, filled with anger and nonsense.
Narcissism and narcissistic rage are different. We all have a few narcissistic tendencies but generally try and work to make ourselves better. However, rage is an action that people often use to basically get their way. There are also other reasons people turn to this amped-up anger and cold hard demeanor. First, let’s get a basic definition of this problem so we can understand how it operates.
Narcissistic rage is an outburst of anger or a cold silence used by those who suffer from Narcissistic personality disorder.
Here’s the short version: Narcissistic rage comes from a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
It could be that some instances of this rage come from early trauma such as abuse or neglect. Some people, instead of truly surviving trauma, may try to bury who they really are inside the shell of those injuries. Then they create a false persona built on grandiose and inflated lies. The person they show the world isn’t real at all. This makes them fragile and easily broken down when confronted. I think you can see a pattern developing here.
What Triggers Narcissistic Rage?
There are many reasons why this rage happens, and most reasons are toxic. And more disturbing than that, narcissistic rage can happen for no reason at all, right out of the blue.
You can be having a good time, or so you think, and then suddenly, your loved one is angry at you and calling you names. They will also bring up things you’ve done years ago, they will lie, and they will say the complete opposite as what they said about you when they weren’t mad.
It’s absolutely mindblowing. Here are a few examples of triggers that could make the narcissist furious:
- The narcissist is no longer the center of attention despite more important priorities.
- They get caught. Whether they are caught in a lie, breaking boundaries that were clear, or violating a social standard.
- They didn’t get their way, or what they wanted. This could even be in the case of something totally unreasonable.
- The narcissist is confronted about what they are. For example, they are told about their manipulation and false elevated self-esteem.
- Control is taken away from the individual with a narcissistic personality disorder. They panic and become furious.
- They are asked to take responsibility for their actions instead of blaming others.
- Finally, they are criticized for something, anything, and they are offended.
5 Narcissistic Rage Examples and How to Respond to It
I know it sounds terrifying, but you can learn to respond to narcissistic rage. But to deal with it, you have to understand it and the many ways it manifests itself in various situations and relationship types. You may experience this rage in the workplace, with friends, and in relationships. So, dealing with narcissistic rage depends on the particular person and place.
1. Rage in family
Narcissistic rage exists in families, and it causes one of the hardest environments.
Example: Some family members despise answering questions, but, as you know, asking questions is the only way to get an answer. If a daughter is constantly yelled at by her mother for asking questions, it’s a form of narcissistic rage. The mother feels that the daughter should know the answers already, and treats her in a condescending manner.
You cannot just run from your family, but you can take other steps to help you deal with this problem. Family dysfunction can be approached from a couple of angles.
- Awareness of NPD is important when dealing with someone in your family who may suffer from NPD. Sometimes individuals don’t know that they are acting out. With family, this is common and can be helped through communication.
- Putting a bit of space between family members also helps cool narcissistic rage. It gives each party time to step back and look at themselves and the unfounded anger being displayed.
- And if these steps don’t help, family therapy may be able to get to the root of certain issues alleviating some of the anger, and helping certain people in the family come to terms with who they really are.
2. Rage in relationships
One of the most common places where narcissistic rage occurs is the intimate relationship. You may wonder why so many people get involved with individuals who rage like this. Well, the truth is, they hide behind a façade for as long as possible, snagging their mate, then finally showing their true colors. It’s easier than you think to get caught in this trap.
Example: A woman is caught by her husband in the act of adultery. Instead of the wife feeling guilty, asking for forgiveness, or anything of that nature, she blames the adultery on her husband alone. In fact, if adultery is online adult, she may even blame others for accessing her phone or computer. But along with all these excuses, she will get loud and utilize narcissistic rage to throw her husband off her trail.
Here are a few ways to deal with this type of narcissism:
- The first thing you have to do is to recognize NPD symptoms. You could have them, or your partner could exhibit them as well. Narcissistic rage will be one of the obvious symptoms.
- Set boundaries and keep them. Make sure your partner knows what you will tolerate right from the beginning. Rage may still happen, but you can remind them about your boundaries and that you won’t accept such disrespect.
- Avoid lying and always be your truest self. Influence your partner to do that same.
- Seek professional help if you cannot make things work. It’s good to always try everything you can before giving up in the relationship.
- If you need to end the relationship, then do it. Don’t feel guilty about wanting better treatment.
3. Rage in friendships
Friends often get caught up in narcissistic rage. Even best friends eventually discover this nasty trait at some point. When it happens, you have many things to think about. The most important thing to consider is whether or not you should continue to be friends.
Example: This rage can be seen between two friends competing in school activities. While one may be good-natured in losing sometimes, the other may not be able to handle losing. This friend, the sore loser will become enraged when he loses a game or competition. He will exhibit strong abusive behavior including being rude and even silent.
Here’s how to respond to the narcissistic rage of this kind:
- Try to make your time together as fulfilling as possible. If you can, avoid harsh confrontations or fights until both parties are ready to talk. Definitely learn how to communicate better.
- If one of you is frustrated, you should probably avoid each other for a while. Frustration is a stage set for rage if one of you suffers from NPD. Let things settle down and then spend time together.
- If your friend isn’t your best friend, then maybe you can limit your time together. As soon as you recognize any episodes of rage, understand that you have to make boundaries. It’s sad, but spending less time together is better than fighting all the time.
- Together, as friends, you can also seek professional mental help to soothe the narcissist’s rage. You must come to an agreement that both of you need help in order to make it work.
4. Work rage
Narcissistic rage is also seen in the workplace. This is especially true in large companies and crowded offices. Bosses tend to use their rage as a natural way of improving productivity when in truth, it only makes things worse. There is also rage between co-workers and this can also affect the workplace in a negative manner.
Example: Unfortunately, narcissistic rage can be brought into the workplace from home. If two women have a problem outside their job, one may try to jeopardize the other’s employment by using lies. When the lies are exposed for what they are, the liar will become extremely angry and actually deny the lies themselves. Have you ever heard of lying to cover up lies? That’s what’s I mean.
Thankfully, there are ways to absolve this.
- Since workplace rage is different, you must have witnesses. After all, this is your job, and you wouldn’t want to lose it due to slander. So, if you are the victim of narcissistic rage, write down the whole incident as proof.
- Also, if you feel as though someone is about to get extremely angry at you, move into a public space. Never be alone with someone who rages.
- Report any harassment to the HR department within your workplace. Harassment is never tolerated.
- Never take narcissistic behavior personally, and most importantly of all, do not try to be vengeful. These things tend to cause you even more problems in the end.
- Never reveal too much personal information to a questionable person. I have found that doing so will make them use this information against you.
- When narcissistic anger shows up, just walk away. Fighting back doesn’t work with someone who suffers from NPD.
5. The rage from strangers
When it comes to altercations with strangers, it’s pretty simple. Don’t think about it when you leave their company. More than likely, you won’t have to come in contact with them again, and even if you do, they may forget about the incident. You should definitely never say things like, “Hey, do you remember that time you got so angry with me?”
Although this may sound silly, and you’re thinking no one would do that, however, you might be surprised. So the only thing to remember with stranger rage is that you can step away and forget it. Hey, sometimes people just have bad days.
Who has narcissistic rage?
Do you see yourself in these traits? Is this your boyfriend, your girlfriend? Do you see your coworker or maybe even your best friend? Well, whoever this reminds you of is in need of help. The only worse thing than being a victim of narcissistic rage is watching them squirm when they know they need help. Unfortunately, they rarely ask for this help and continue playing their games and wearing those masks.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to feel so sorry for them that you let yourself be abused. I just want you to know that good can be found in everyone, and if we can save them, we should. Now, if it doesn’t work out, then yes, we should move on. Why? Because it’s not fair to ourselves to endure narcissistic rage. This sort of treatment can destroy our sense of self-worth.
So, think about these things and if you have someone with narcissistic personality disorder in your family, then do what you have to do in order to stay sane. I wish you well, and I hope things are always changing for the better.
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- How It Feels to Be the Black Sheep of the Family & How to Cope - April 4, 2021
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