A narcissist thrives on adulation and praise. They feed on the positive attention lauded upon them by others, but when faced with criticism, either real or perceived, Hell hath no fury like the volcanic rage of a narcissist. Unlike anger, which is usually focused on a specific issue or problem, narcissistic rage symptoms are irrational and comes from deep within the psyche.
What are narcissistic rage symptoms and how do they differ from a anger?
The roots of narcissistic rage symptoms usually stem from childhood and poor parenting skills. A narcissist believes he is superior to everybody else and narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by an extreme preoccupation with “self”. Narcissists are manipulative, deceitful, self-serving, and lack empathy. Many narcissists are the product of parents who overindulge their children while excessively criticizing bad behavior.
Some narcissistic traits are a normal part of development; the young child who erupts into a tantrum when refused a bag of sweets at the supermarket is experiencing a type of narcissistic rage. But when these traits are magnified and compounded by emotional abuse or problems with interpersonal relationships, they can intensify until the child reaches adulthood and is diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.
What causes narcissist rage symptoms?
A narcissist has a very fragile ego and unless he receives a constant stream of positive reinforcement, his feelings of self worth will suffer. Any type of mockery or criticism will be taken as a personal insult and the narcissist will feel threatened, humiliated, or rejected. When this happens, the narcissistic personality will react badly, either physically or verbally.
According to Freud, narcissistic rage is the reaction to narcissistic injury, which is a perceived threat to a narcissist’s self esteem, but the concept of narcissistic rage was first introduced by American psychoanalyst, Heinz Kohut, in his book ‘The Analysis of the Self’.
There are two types of narcissistic rage: explosive and pernicious or passive-aggressive.
An episode of explosive narcissistic rage can often appear to be completely unprovoked, especially by the unwitting recipient of such rage. Such episodes will usually take the form of a highly volatile outburst whereby the victim is vilified both verbally and, sometimes, physically. In extreme cases, the narcissist can do real damage while in the throes of a narcissistic rage episode and some narcissists can demonstrate homicidal tendencies, especially if they have a thirst for revenge.
Narcissistic rage can also be expressed in a passive aggressive manner. In this instance, the narcissist will punish their victim by withdrawing all communication and sulking for as long as it takes the message to get through.
Can narcissistic rage symptoms be treated?
Unless a patient recognizes that they have a problem, there is very little point in suggesting a narcissist seeks treatment for their problem, and unfortunately, this is quite often the case since narcissists are by definition completely self obsessed. However, some narcissists will eventually recognize that they need help for their narcissistic rage disorder and with the right cognitive therapy it is possible to alleviate the symptoms of narcissistic rage.