When a narcissist gets angry
Anger is a natural human response to conditions or events that cause a degree of suffering to the person. We all get angry and it always passes, like a thunderstorm (please excuse the unimaginative metaphor).
The construction of the ‘self’ or the ‘I’ is a reason many of us get angry. Someone upsets us or offends us and it damages our ‘identity’ or our ‘sense of self,’ and we defend it by lashing out at the person.
For example, it’s perfectly natural to get angry when a friend calls you a pussy for not pursuing a woman, or when someone doesn’t invite you to their wedding, or when you get blamed for something you didn’t do. These things stir our emotions and can trigger feelings of anger. Anger can last a moment or it can last an hour. In some cases it can last days and in the case of a few of our friends, it can last years.
Most well-adjusted people experience anger occasionally and it typically passes through without leaving any residual effects. Oftentimes when the clouds of anger dissipate it leaves the person feeling a little disappointed in themselves for allowing something to make them so angry.
Unless they’re a narcissist.
Narcissists experience a different form of anger. This anger is known as ‘narcissistic rage’ and occurs when:
– The narcissist is injured by a target
– The narcissist is betrayed by a target
– The narcissist is humiliated by a target
– The narcissist is abandoned by a target
Narcissists construct a ‘false self,’ which emerges out of their own insecurities. Everybody constructs a false self to some extent but the narcissist’s false self is the size of Godzilla. Thy delude themselves into believing that they are an all-powerful being, akin to a kind of deity. The narcissist tells themselves that they are:
– Smarter than their friends
– Better looking than their friends
– Funnier than their friends
Narcissistic rage occurs when the narcissist’s deluded sense of self is challenged in some way. When a narcissist gets angry, it consumes their entire world and they slip into a blind rage, losing complete control of their words and actions.
Ways Narcissists Express Anger
When narcissistic injury occurs, they typically respond by spitting vile discharges of venomous insults at the target of their rage, ie the person who caused the injury. Narcissists will always go for the jugular with their words and will say the most offensive things they can conjure up in the moment of rage.
Phillip: I didn’t invite you to my wedding because we’re not as close as we used to be. I didn’t feel we were friends anymore. I’m sorry.
Samuel: Well your wife’s a fat pig anyway.
Kelly: I told you I liked him! You said, ‘go for it!’ I didn’t know you still had feelings for him, I’m sorry!
Anna: Well at least I don’t have diabetes like you, you insulin-depleted bitch.
Sean: We’re not friends anymore, I don’t like you Joe. You weren’t invited to my party, I’m going to have to ask that you leave right now.
Joe: That’s cool, I’ll go. By the way, where’s your mother Sean? Oh, that’s right, she’s dead!
Social Media attacks
If the target isn’t in their presence, the narcissist will use social media to attack them. This might involve:
– A lengthy rant on Facebook about their how their target is a terrible human being. ‘Just thought I’d let you all know that James and I are no longer friends because … ‘
– A lengthy rant on Facebook which reveals intimate details about the target (or a string of lies). ‘I don’t know if anyone knows this but last year James slept with a deformed prostitute in Burma..’
– Contacting friends and family of the target, telling them how much of a terrible person they are. ‘You know he stole thousands of dollars from a charity in Africa right?’
– Contacting friends and family of the target, telling them intimate details about the targets personal life. ‘You know he has AIDS right?’
– Uploading embarrassing or scandalous images of the target onto Facebook and Instagram. This is an important one. Narcissists usually keep a backlog of pictures to use in cases such as these. They will likely have pictures stored on a hard drive of all their friends in compromising positions and they’ll use them in these situations. For example, after Noel upsets Theo by communicating with his ex-girlfriend when he was specifically told not to do so, Theo might upload a picture of Noel dancing with a stripper at his bachelor party with the caption, ‘if a picture could paint a thousand words.’ This attack inevitably causes Noel’s wife to move out, leaving Theo deeply satisfied.
Rallying others against target
The narcissist will attempt to ostracise the target through lies and manipulation of the target’s friendship group. They will attempt to form an alliance with all the target’s friends with the aim of expelling the target from the group.
For example, Jenny might accuse her best friend Marion of ignoring her at a party last weekend. Unfortunately Jenny triggers narcissistic rage in Marion by advising her that she ‘needs to treat people better, otherwise you’ll struggle to make friends.’ After dramatically storming out, Marion gets to work on Jenny behind the scenes, undermining her and spreading lies about her to the rest of the group. These tactics almost never work. People aren’t likely to believe the neurotic rants of a narcissist and it almost always backfires. The narcissist, drunk on rage, will likely not care because the seeds of doubt have been planted in the minds of the target’s friends.
Stalking/staking out/driving past target’s residence
Narcissistic rage can cause narcissists to slip into an obsessive cycle of rumination where the target is on their mind for days on end. This kind of rage causes the narcissist to engage in behaviours which can include driving past the target’s home, sitting outside the target’s home or stalking the target at home or work.
Committing horrendous acts of physical violence against the target
Narcissistic rage suspends all self-control and the narcissist can potentially commit atrocious physical injuries to their target. Unfortunately narcissists are weak people and as a result violence is usually committed by men against women.
Resolving the conflict
The only way to resolve a conflict with a raging narcissist is by offering a full apology, followed by a declaration of allegiance to the narcissist.
Be warned, apologising to a narcissist is deeply pleasurable and validating to the narcissist and they will likely break down in tears and hug you. They might have been driving around town hours earlier, holding up a sign of you and shouting through a megaphone that you’re an evil psychopath, but the moment you apologise, their anger will vanish in an instant and they’ll tell you how much they love you.
Please note: the narcissist will never apologise for their actions while they were experiencing narcissistic rage. In fact, they’ll barely be able to recall the rage and in their minds it will seem like a dream. They’ll avoid discussing their rage and won’t accept responsibility for any damage they caused while under the influence of the rage.