Understanding Narcissistic Rage
“Narcissistic rage is a reaction to narcissistic injury, which is a perceived threat to a narcissist’s self-esteem or self-worth. Narcissistic injury (or narcissistic scar) is a phrase used by Sigmund Freud in the 1920s; The term narcissistic rage was coined by Heinz Kohut in 1972.” -Wikipedia
What triggers Narcissistic Rage?
Lack of admiration or respect. If a Narcissist feels disrespected, then his/her entire sense of being feels called into question. For example not being included in a discussion can set him or her off, or even a disapproving look. For many though the answer is not obvious and to spend hours of time investigating the cause is not worth it, it ends up being another trap of letting the Narcissist be the center of attention.
How Does the Rage Appear?
It can be an angry glare, it can be a raising of the voice, it can be a physical throwing of objects. It can also be subtle and passive aggressive. The response of anger in general is not wrong, it can be warranted, but with a narcissist it is usually one sided and completely out of proportion to what the situation calls for.
Once the rage passes, is it over?
No, anger can be continual like a low or medium boil. Oddly, the release of anger doesn’t make the narcissist feel relieved, in many cases, it becomes a fuel which perpetuates more outbursts.
Can Narcissistic rage be defused?
If you are dealing with a narcissist, the best thing you can do is to walk gently away and no longer give an audience to it. Detachment with love can be a coping mechanism for those who have to deal with narcissists. Engaging with the rage in most circumstances does not work. Expressing sadness or pleading doesn’t work either. In fact for a narcissist that is more fuel for them because the response of begging means more power has been won. The best way to deal with the situation is to be aware when it is starting to happen, accept that it is happening and that you can’t control it and finally take action for yourself, even if that action is just giving some distance for a time.
Steven D. Brand has over 25,000 clinical hours working with individuals and couples. He travels around the United States for conferences on recovery, marriage therapy, and counseling. His home office is in Historic Downtown Roswell.