“No one can tell you all that love is, but I can tell you what it isn’t. One thing that I’ve found to be true is that REAL LOVE doesn’t hurt – at all. And when you are hurting, it’s not from a place of love! Don’t confuse the two.” ~Tony Gaskins, Jr. on Toxic Love, The Daily Love
This kind of rage manifests when a narcissist vents his frustration when his ego takes a hit. Since narcissists have an inflated level of self-importance, they often find it hard to deal with criticism, real or perceived.
If you’re currently in a toxic relationship involving a narcissist, it’s important that you understand these narcissistic rages and why they happen.
Understanding Narcissistic Rage: What Causes a Narcissist to Rage
Psychologists have identified several typical causes for narcissistic behavior and personalities, including a general obsession with self, often gained through certain experiences during childhood. They often have an addiction to anger, and as they rage, it’s often because of a blow to their inflated sense of self-esteem.
They may often make self-depreciating statements, no doubt silently begging you to disagree with them and tell them how amazing, beautiful, wonderful and perfect they REALLY are…and when you don’t, the rage could begin.
A narcissistic rage often launches when narcissists become defensive because they think you’re insulting them (or if you attempted to communicate a problem or concern about your relationship with one). They may also be caused when a narcissist finds himself feeling unfulfilled and blames the victim/target for that feeling. He feels powerful when he rages, and he isn’t likely to stop until his requirements are met.
As we’ve previously discussed, narcissists believe that by appearing perfect, they can get the love, admiration, attention and/or respect they feel they deserve. But when they think that someone feels they’re “not perfect” or “not good enough,” they often find themselves feeling shameful or anxious. Sometimes this can manifest as guilt or anger.
In any case, when a narcissist’s self-esteem takes a hit, he might react in a number of ways on a broad spectrum—anywhere from just being mildly irritated all the way to having seriously explosive tantrums that can even become violent in some cases.
This kind of “narcissistic injury” causes the narcissist to need to destroy the perceived threat to his self-esteem, and by raging against the offender/victim, the narcissist is able to feel safe and powerful again—and like he or she has total control over the environment.
Understanding Narcissistic Rage: Different Types of Rage
There are three primary types of narcissistic rage, including explosive rage, passive-aggressive rage and rage that causes self-harm.
An explosive rage happens when a narcissist has a violent outburst, whether it’s physical or verbal, while a passive-aggressive rage is expressed when a narcissist passively punishes the victim. He might do this by ignoring the victim, by being blatantly rude or even by doing nice things for another person and flaunting them in her face. In any case, you’ll know it’s happening, and he’ll feel perfectly fine with telling you you’re crazy and pretending he’s not doing anything at all.
In some cases, he might even be so bold as to inform you of your infraction and require you to submit to the punishment willingly.
When a narcissist manifests his rage through self-harm, you might not understand what’s happening. It doesn’t seem consistent with his personality—but it DOES get him plenty of attention.
Some narcissists have been known to cut, burn or even stab themselves, among other extreme self-injuries, during a narcissistic rage.
Have you been the victim of a narcissistic rage? How did you handle it? What would you tell a friend or loved one who was dealing with a narcissist on a regular basis? I encourage you to share your thoughts, feelings and experiences in the comments section, below.