Narcissistic Rage

In today’s blog, we will be sharing some red flags of narcissistic rage. Stay with us! So let’s find out what is the concept behind narcissistic rage.

What Is Narcissistic Rage?

Austrian psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut coined the term narcissistic rage in 1972 to describe sudden outbursts of rage or silence in people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) with slight to no provocation at all.

People with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) have an exaggerated or inflated sense of self-importance. Both genetics and environment influence NPD, which is distinct from narcissism. They might exhibit grandiose behavior and a superiority complex. For instance, they might demand favoritism and respect even if it seems as though they haven’t done anything to deserve it.

People with NPD have a deep-seated sense of insecurity. They feel threatened and are unable to handle anything they deem as criticism.

When narcissists encounter a setback or disappointment or receive negative feedback or criticism that makes them extremely uncomfortable and triggers their defense mechanisms, that shatters their illusions of grandiosity, entitlement, and superiority and sets off feelings of inner inadequacy, shame, and vulnerability, they experience narcissistic rage. Narcissistic rage can manifest as intense anger, aggression, or passive aggression.

A narcissistic injury can cause rage that can range from mild annoyance to outright physical assault. Some narcissists will verbally assault, gaslight, deflect, project, or collapse. Others might act violently aggressively, which could be extremely dangerous, depending on the severity of the injury. Some narcissists will go completely silent.

What Are The Types Of Narcissistic Rage?

Narcissistic rage can be classified as either outward or explosive or inward or passive.

Explosive Rage

The person screams, yells, and throws insults. They may even make threats to harm themselves or other people.

Passive Rage

The individual withdraws into a state of depression and refuses to interact with you.

What Causes Narcissistic Rage?

Although the exact cause of narcissistic personality disorder, which is frequently a contributing factor in narcissistic rage, is unknown, a combination of genetics, upbringing, and life experiences is likely at play.

Several causes and narcissistic rage triggers have been identified. Narcissistic injury refers to the threat to one’s sense of self, resulting in narcissistic rage.

  • Early childhood trauma such as abuse, neglect, and invalidation of emotions can cause a person to bury their true self and conceal internal wounds behind a false or alternate persona built on lies.
  • An extremely sensitive temperament that reacts strongly to feelings of shame can make rage reactions worse.
  • A childlike response to events can occur if critical emotion regulation skills are not developed.
  • When triggered, someone with an unstable sense of self-worth who feels like they could be “found out” might explode in anger.
  • Current events can bring back memories of early humiliating experiences, which can cause intense rage.
  • Splitting or seeing other people as good or bad (i.e., narcissists shift between idealizing and then degrading them; seeing someone as all good and then all bad) explains the sudden nature of rage reactions. Splitting is also known as black-or-white thinking or all-or-nothing thinking.
  • Having a split sense of self (true self and false self) can make it more difficult for someone to control their emotional outbursts.
  • When they don’t get their way, even when it’s unreasonable.
  • They may experience narcissistic rage even when they receive criticism diplomatically, logically, and constructively.
  • When they don’t receive the attention they think they deserved even when there are more important matters to attend to.
  • When you demand them to take responsibility for their actions.
  • Their idealized, egotistical self-image is damaged when you tell them that they will not receive an “exception to the rule” or “special treatment.”

What Are The Signs Of Narcissistic Rage?

Narcissistic rage is totally out of proportion to what prompted it and frequently surprises the other person; it’s as if the person is reacting to a hair trigger.

Active or passive narcissistic rage can manifest as outward or inward symptoms, respectively. Below are some warning signs and symptoms.

Outward Signs

  • rage fits when they’re not given the attention they believe they’ve earned
  • yelling and screaming
  • explosive or enraged outbursts
  • extreme rage
  • abrupt outbursts of anger
  • becoming aggressively verbal or physical
  • lack of ability to control anger
  • intentionally attempting to cause others pain (emotional or physical)

Inward Signs

  • passive aggression
  • display of silent treatment
  • being distant or withdrawing
  • averting their gaze
  • hidden animosity
  • failing to complete tasks
  • using sarcasm to undermine others
  • righteous outrage
  • feeling of entitlement
  • turning hostile or resentful
  • cutting off other people to preserve their self-esteem
  • feeling dissociated or cut off from reality

What Are Some Narcissistic Rage Examples?

Here are a few examples of narcissistic rage.

Failure to get what they wanted

Your boss might ask you to complete a project at the last minute, put in long hours on the weekend, or make other unreasonable demands. They might react with narcissistic rage if you reject this unreasonable request.

Not getting enough attention

A friend may always try to turn the conversation back to themselves even if someone has shared something significant and it would be better to listen. If everyone is focusing on someone else’s problem and ignoring them, they may even grow resentful and pout or act out.

Feel as if they are losing control of the situation or the people

Someone might attack you if they believe they are no longer in control of you or the circumstance.

In response to criticism

Even the mildest criticism can trigger narcissistic rage because of the unsteady sense of self-worth.

Getting caught in the act

When you call someone out on lying or cheating and they respond by turning the tables on you and making you feel guilty or stupid, that may be a sign of narcissistic rage.

What Happens After The Narcissistic Rage?

What happens after an episode of narcissistic rage? It has severe consequences for the person exhibiting narcissistic rage and for the people at the receiving end.

Family estrangement

Several studies have looked at the connection between narcissism and problematic family dynamics.

Relationship dissolution and divorce

Research has also demonstrated the profoundly detrimental effects narcissism has on marriages and romantic relationships.

Relationship cut-offs

Narcissists prefer to “use” rather than “relate,” so they frequently leave a trail of broken relationships in their wake. Narcissists also encounter relationship breakups from people who have left them feeling unfulfilled, disappointed, lied to, exploited, betrayed, ripped off, denigrated, invalidated, or ignored.

Social isolation and loneliness

Some higher-functioning narcissists succeed in life on the outside, often at the expense of others, and discover loneliness at the top.

Loss of opportunities

It is a consequence of a lack of real substance and/or connection.

Financial, professional, or legal difficulties

It results from disobedience, flagrant negligence, careless indulgence, or other transgressions.

Damaged reputation

It is a consequence of a lack of dependability, credibility, and/or trustworthiness on the part of the individual or organization.

Feeling unimportant

Many narcissists are plagued by the anxiety that others might not view them as the privileged, successful, or well-liked people they portray themselves to be, and they react violently when they realize their fears. Even though they painfully deny it, many narcissists secretly feel like the “ugly duckling.”

How To Cope With Narcissistic Rage?

You may or may not be conscious of what is happening inside if you struggle to control narcissistic rage. If you’ve made it this far, hopefully, you now have a clearer understanding of how to engage with the world in a healthier and more rewarding manner.

In the short term, narcissistic rage only serves to alienate good people, obstruct your success, and leave you vulnerable and at risk. However, at the moment, it may feel good because it helps alleviate feelings of fear and shame.

Here are some strategies to try if you want to control your narcissistic rage:


Consult a therapist to gain a deeper understanding of your behavior, lessen internal conflict, address underlying causes, and develop better coping mechanisms for dealing with future circumstances. Your therapist might be able to assist you with any or all of the following:

  • Decide to engage in therapy as a way to better understand yourself and move closer to your true self.
  • Decide that the costs of maintaining a false image outweigh the costs of change.
  • Gain a stronger sense of self and feel good about who you are, regardless of approval from others.
  • Dealing with shameful or traumatic memories from the past is brought on when your narcissistic rage causes trouble.
  • Help you navigate life without resorting to your old tactics of denial and manipulation
  • Knowing that your anger is a result of your fear of being rejected and that this is a vicious cycle that leads to actual rejection,
  • Having a strong sense of self, being a complete person, and having confidence.
  • Learning how to maintain positive connections with both yourself and other people.
  • Overcoming the discomfort of facing your feelings of inadequacy and flimsy self-image.

How To Respond To Narcissistic Rage?

Are you currently the target of another person’s narcissistic rage and would like to learn better-coping strategies? If so, the advice provided below can help you handle narcissistic rage from a relative, spouse, friend, coworker, or total stranger.

Good general guidelines for navigating another person’s narcissistic rage are as follows:

  • Learn about narcissistic personality disorder so you can spot its causes and effects.
  • If it is necessary for you to receive therapy because of the past, do so.
  • Do not directly criticize or provide feedback that could cause a narcissistic response.
  • Don’t let the conflicts that could harm you personally escalate.
  • Don’t seek revenge or take things personally.
  • Limit the amount of personal information you disclose because it might be used against you.
  • Call 911 or the emergency number in your area if you believe the person poses a threat to themselves, others, or even you.
  • Accept that you are not to blame for their emotions or actions.
  • Recognize that they are not acting or behaving logically, that their judgment is clouded, or that they are thinking clearly.
  • Never try to reason with them, argue with them, or try to convince them that they are overreacting.
  • Don’t accept their behavior or apologize for it because doing so might only encourage abuse.
  • Avoid getting angry yourself by trying to maintain your composure.
  • Try your best to ignore it if you receive the silent treatment.
  • To ensure your safety, leave the room if their rage threatens to blow up.
  • Give them emotional support without supporting inappropriate behavior; for instance, by saying, “You have a right to feel that way.”
  • Make it clear what behavior is appropriate for you by establishing personal boundaries.
  • Locate a support system for yourself, such as a confidant or a support group.


It is feasible to coexist successfully and productively with someone who suffers from NPD and rage outbursts. However, you might both need to go to therapy and develop behavior and communication plans that are effective for your relationship.

Narcissistic rage sufferers may cause harm. You might be able to safeguard your physical and emotional well-being by learning how to communicate with them. To deal with NPD, try some of the following methods:

  • Avoid lying or deception by presenting the most authentic version of yourself to your partner.
  • Recognize NPD symptoms in your partner or yourself, and try to communicate what’s going on in your mind when you exhibit certain behaviors.
  • Maintaining difficult or impossible standards for yourself or your partner may exacerbate feelings of insecurity or inadequacy, leading to narcissistic rage.
  • Rather than reacting on a situational basis with no structure to your expectations, establish specific rules or boundaries within your relationship so that you and your partner know what is expected of them as a romantic partner.
  • Seek therapy as an individual and as a couple so that you can work on yourself and your relationship at the same time.


  • Limit your contact with any friend who causes you physical, mental, or emotional harm as a result of narcissistic rage.
  • If you believe your friendship is no longer healthy or mutually beneficial, you may want to consider terminating it entirely.
  • If this is a close friend whose friendship you value, you should seek assistance from a mental health professional.
  • They can assist you in developing coping skills. You may also learn behaviors that will assist you in better managing interactions and communicating with your friend during rage episodes.
  • It can make your time together less frustrating and more fulfilling.

At work

Limit your interaction with the individual. Trust what they say, but double-check that what they’ve told you is true or false. People with NPD may exaggerate their achievements and abilities. However, if you discover they are unable or unwilling to perform critical tasks, prepare yourself to manage their future professional deficiencies.

Also, exercise caution when providing direct feedback and criticism. This can cause an intense reaction at the moment, putting your personal or professional safety at risk.

It is not your responsibility to persuade the individual to seek help. Your feedback or criticism may be one way to encourage the individual to seek assistance. Speak with your manager or the manager of the other person, or seek assistance from your company’s human resources (HR) department.

Here are some additional strategies for dealing with coworkers who may exhibit narcissistic tendencies or rage episodes:

  • Make a detailed record of every interaction you have with them.
  • Do not escalate conflicts with the person, as this could endanger you or others in the workplace.
  • Don’t take it personally or seek vengeance on the person.
  • Don’t give the person too much personal information or express opinions that they could use against you.
  • Try not to be in the same room with them alone so that others can observe their actions.
  • Report any illegal harassment, activities, or discrimination that you witness firsthand to your company’s human resources department.

The Bottom Line 

If you or someone you know are suffering from narcissistic rage, the best options include self-reflection and awareness, understanding the problem, recognizing triggering situations, and developing coping skills. Only when the person suffering from narcissistic rage wishes to change will change occur.

Reach out for assistance regardless of your circumstances. Getting help will benefit those around you and your life circumstances, whether you are the perpetrator or victim of narcissistic rage.

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