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Narcissistic Rage: How to Handle the Angry Backlash of a Narcissist

Narcissistic rage can be a scary and unpredictable beast. Being in a narcissistic relationship is hard enough, so why deal with the tantrums of a narcissist?

narcissistic rage

Anger can be a terrifying emotion, especially when it’s aimed at you. It’s hard to know what to do or say to someone who is seeing red and saying anything that comes into their mind. Unfortunately, this is a very common issue for those who spend time around narcissists. The world of narcissistic rage is no fun at all!

Everyone gets angry from time to time. When we’re angry, we often say things we don’t mean. We might wave our arms around, and we may even do something ill-advised and stupid. While hurting someone in a fit of anger is never acceptable, being angry is a normal human emotion.

Most of us understand anger and deal with it as an emotion in a normal way, most of the time.

Sometimes anger bubbles up, but we know how to get over it. It usually bubbles up and subsides pretty quickly. While not ideal, it is quite normal. However, regular anger is very, very different from narcissistic rage.

So what is narcissistic rage, and why do narcissists fly into a frenzy of mad red rage if they assume someone criticized them? We’ll get to that below, just as soon as we understand a narcissist better.

[Read: How to deal with a narcissist in the best way you possibly can]

So what is a narcissist exactly?

Before we talk about narcissistic rage, you need to know what a narcissist actually is.

This is someone who has a personality disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD. It causes them to see the world very differently and they have a distinct lack of empathy. Everything revolves around them and they see no reason why you shouldn’t make your entire life revolve around them too.

The problem is that many true narcissists are never actually diagnosed with NPD. The reason is that they have to admit to there being an issue and there being something actually wrong with them. Not many narcissists are going to do that because they believe the only one with an issue is you!

So, there are many people walking around with NPD who don’t know it. [Read: Loving a narcissist – How to tell if you’ve fallen for a narcissist]

It’s true that anyone can display narcissistic behavior from time to time, but it’s normally very short-lived and only once. That doesn’t make you a narcissist. That just means you were a bit selfish one time.

The main signs of a narcissist are:

1. Illusions of grandeur

2. Believing the world revolves around them

3. A hugely inflated sense of self-importance [Read: Relationship with a narcissist – What it really means to love one]

4. Their opinion is always right and yours is always wrong

5. Often belittling and bullying others, and feeling no remorse

6. A distinct lack of empathy

7. A need for constant validation

8. Needing to have the very best of everything

9. Often using manipulation tactics to get what they want [Read: How to spot gaslighting in a relationship and shut it down for good]

A person who ends up in a relationship with a narcissist will be subjected to emotional abuse and in many cases that can cause a lot of lasting damage once the relationship ends. At any phase during a relationship, it’s possible to see many examples of narcissistic rage.

What is narcissistic rage?

A narcissist thrives on attention and praise, and all of that boosts their self-confidence.

Deep down, and in some cases very deep down, narcissists are extremely lacking in confidence. They need you and everyone around them to tell them how wonderful they are in order to feel better. The contradiction? They actually believe they’re the best of the best most of the time. [Read: How to set boundaries with a narcissist and weaken their hold over you]

Like we mentioned, everyone becomes angry from time to time, and we say things we don’t mean. Most of us understand what we did wrong and apologize afterward, usually groveling to earn forgiveness. We don’t mind doing this, because we accept that we were wrong.

However, a narcissist never believes themselves to be wrong, so they’re never going to grovel.

A mad fit of anger from a narcissist, referred to as narcissistic rage, can be short-lived but extremely intense and can occur in one of two ways:

1. Screaming, shouting, yelling and name-calling, maybe even throwing things

2. Silence and extreme passive-aggressive behavior [Read: Silent treatment abuse and how to take the control back from them]

Whichever tactic the narcissist goes for, it has the same aim – to cause the person who they deem to have slighted them to apologize and grovel, and then tell that person that they were wrong, and that the narcissist is actually right and wonderful, after all.

See, there is groveling here as well, but it’s the wrong person doing it! The truth here is, narcissists are masters of the “attack is the best form of defense” mindset.

[Read: Psychological manipulation – 16 signs and tactics real manipulators use]

Why would anyone put up with narcissistic rage?

Ah, the million-dollar question! Countless people find themselves in the clutches of a narcissist and face the brunt of their narcissistic rage all the time.

Honestly, it’s very easy to fall in love with a narcissist because they don’t show you their true selves at first. They display an illusion of someone who’s so perfect, it’s almost too good to be true. But it is too good to be true – it’s all a lie!

A narcissist never reveals their narcissist rage for a very long time, not until they hook you so deep you can’t find your way out.

They put on the charm and show you their very best side, but none of it is real. As soon as they get you where they want you, they revert back to their normal personality and by that point, you’re so smitten and in love, you can’t see them for who they really are.

Once they’ve hooked you, they unleash their rage onto you. But you wouldn’t see it coming at all! Instead of seeing their wickedness for what it is, you’d assume you must have genuinely done or said something wrong to hurt the narcissist’s feelings. [Read: 20 signs of a narcissistic relationship that’ll destroy you slowly]

Why are narcissists such assholes?

But, as distressing as narcissism is, the subject as a whole is fascinating. Because many people believe narcissists to be bad human beings. And if that’s the case, why would so many people want to be around one in the first place?!

The majority of people who ask these questions have never met a real-life narcissist, because when you’ve fallen under the spell of a real narcissist, you can’t see anything but their good side. Even their faults are twisted in your mind to believe it’s somehow your own fault *thanks to them*.

So, you believe a lie and you don’t want to let go of it because it’s such a beautiful myth that you so badly want to believe in. [Read: How to spot a narcissist immediately and save yourself a world of pain]

Narcissists aren’t born bad people. They don’t even develop into bad people. They are actually suffering from a personality disorder, which causes them to have a distinct lack of empathy. As a result, they need a huge amount of attention and praise to function.

Once you shake yourself out of their spell, get away from the fake self they’ve created to make you think they’re the epitome of charming, you wonder how you could ever have seen them a different way. It’s hard to explain, put it that way. [Read: Do narcissists know they are narcissists or do they lie to themselves too?]

Why does narcissistic rage happen in the first place?

There are three main reasons why a narcissist might be thrown into a fit of rage, either a loud fit or a very silent one:

1. Someone has dented their ego and hurt their self-esteem

2. Or, someone has tried to challenge the way they feel or their confidence

3. But, it could be that someone has questioned them in some way

Remember, narcissists live in a self-created world of grandeur and awesomeness, but they don’t have any evidence to back any of it up.

So, when someone challenges their fake personality, they don’t have words to reply in a sensical and logical way. Instead, they lash out and attack to detract attention. [Read: Why do narcissists ignore texts and do the selfish things they do?]

Narcissistic rage and why narcissists see red when threatened

Narcissists have an extremely fragile ego, and the very second they assume someone is about to question their awesomeness, their amazing personality, or their drop-dead gorgeous looks, they see a mad rush of anger and red.

They can’t hold themselves back because they feel betrayed and hurt, and most importantly, deeply insulted by this “fake” accusation by a mere commoner like you.

Think of narcissistic rage like a wild animal cornered against a wall, with its enemy waiting to pounce on it. The wild animal will instinctually do anything to survive, trash, bite, fight, or whatever else it can do. And that’s what a narcissist does when they believe their “awesomeness” is being threatened by a nobody like you.

Of course, the narcissist isn’t being hunted down by you, nor are you even trying to threaten or insult them in real life. BUT to a narcissist, any kind of questioning or criticism is worthy of a strong response and a side dish of narcissistic rage.

And it doesn’t just end there. They sulk, use passive-aggressive behavior, or even verbal aggression or more, to ensure you never repeat such a thing ever again. All they want is for you to admire them and worship them.

And their narcissistic rage? That’s a taste of what’s to come if you ever dare to criticize or question them again! [Read: How to make a narcissist miserable and burn with rage]

Don’t engage with a narcissist in a fit of rage

When you experience a bout of narcissistic rage, the single best way to deal with it is to walk away. Do not give them a reaction, and do not apologize if you have done anything wrong. Do not ask them what’s wrong, and do not tell them to calm down – do nothing. Just walk away.

Yes, it might make their anger worse, but it will be short-lived.

By removing yourself, you gain your own power. The reason we say “gain” is because when you’re in any type of union with a narcissist, you don’t have any power, you’ve lost it. The only way to get it back is to play them at their own game, because in the end, it is all a game. [Read: 14 ways to beat a narcissist and win over their manipulation]

There is no real love in a relationship with a narcissist. You might love them, but you love a fake person.

The person they’ve built themselves into isn’t actually real. In return, they’re actually incapable of regular love because they aren’t able to feel empathy like a person who doesn’t have NPD.

So, when you break it down, as painful as it is to hear, a relationship with a narcissist is not a real relationship, is it? [Read: How to get out of a toxic relationship with your dignity intact]

We don’t mean to be blunt, but …

We feel the need to explain our blunt words in that last section. For sure, we do not wish to hurt you or cause you to feel defensive about your relationship. The fact you’re reading a feature about narcissistic rage tells us that you’re dealing with it in reality. Do you really want to be on the receiving end of manipulation and passive-aggressive tactics every time you dare to say something which your partner might not like?

Aren’t relationships about truthfulness and being free to speak and have your opinions and views respected? Aren’t they about mutual love and respect?

None of that can be real in a relationship with a narcissist.

The solid reason why is the narcissist’s lack of empathy. You cannot feel love if you cannot feel empathy. If you’re not able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand how they might be feeling when you say or do something, how can you love them? [Read: A narcissist and an empath – And why they’re a match made in dating hell]

Nobody deserves a relationship like that. While you might not think you can change them, but you might think you can save them. The harsh truth? You can’t.

The only person who can “save” a narcissist is themselves. They’re unlikely to do anything about it or seek help because to receive help, they first need to admit they have a problem.

Only rarely will you hear a narcissist admit they have done something wrong or there is something wrong with them. For this reason, most narcissists never access the personality disorder treatment which is open to them.

It’s sad, isn’t it? [Read: Dating a narcissist – What it feels like and how to help them change]

So, what does the future hold?

That depends on your actions. You won’t feel like it right now, but you have the power. You’re the one who can walk away and change your life. You can free yourself from the clutches of a narcissist and their narcissistic rage. Yes, it’s going to be hard, but you can do it.

Your self-belief has been dented massively by the narcissist in your life. They’ve twisted everything to make you believe that you can’t do anything on your own, including making decisions for yourself.

Of course, the truth is that you’re more than capable. What you need to do is wake up, realize what’s going on, seek help, and get away. [Read: How to leave a narcissist and free yourself from their web of control]

Many narcissists isolate their partners from their families and friends. They do this because they don’t want anyone interfering with their manipulation plans. But, if you reach out to your family and friends and explain what’s going on, they’re sure to be there for you. Then you can lean upon them until you’re feeling strong enough to stand on your own two feet again.

Leaving a narcissist is risky because they’ll always try and pull you back. But, by cutting all contact and refusing to hear them out, you can soundproof your life until they get the message and finally leave you alone. They will – eventually.

[Read: How narcissists end a relationship – Can you predict the moment they’ll dump you?]

Narcissistic rage can be terrifyingly loud, or it can be as silent and deathly as the grave. The single best way to deal with a situation like this is to get up, walk out, and do not react under any circumstances.

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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