Simply by looking at the definition of “narcissism” as explained by the Mayo Clinic one gets a feeling of deep regret and concern over the notion of an enraged narcissist.
Narcissists, as defined by the clinical term “narcissistic personality disorder”, after all, suffer from a “mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.” Wow. Sounds like a person you don’t want to have to deal with regularly, much less an enraged narcissist.
Deal with them we must, however, and here’s a short compendium on kinds of situations which will almost definitely spur narcissistic rage:
1. The narcissist doesn’t feel they are in control of their relational or physical surroundings.
2. Something reminds the narcissist of a time when they were caught in their charade, manipulation, inadequacy or self-loathing.
3. A blow to the narcissist’s inflated self-image and ego is made, especially in relation to not being given special permission, access, exception of some kind.
4. The narcissist being asked to be accountable for their actions.
5. They are caught breaking rules, disregarding social norms, or violating boundaries.
6. When they are not treated as the center of attention, regardless of the priorities, they become enraged.
7. When the narcissist is criticized in any way, even if it’s from a positive or helpful place.
8. When they don’t get their own way (even if that way is incredibly unreasonable).
And if you think that’s scary, the prices that narcissists levy upon themselves for their enraged and destructive behavior are even worse:
1. They may suffer a damaged reputation; reputation is extremely important to narcissists.
2. They may have missed opportunities due to an inability to connect with people.
3. Rule breaking may cause financial, career or even legal problems.
4. Family estrangement: considerable evidence has been brought forth on how narcissists scapegoat and estrange their families.
5. Relationships falling apart, failing and divorce is also a well-studied trend among narcissists. This article offers some reasoning on the matter.
6. Relationships of any nature being cut off. Narcissists “use” people instead of relating to them, and when they are done they discard them as they’d like.
7. Loneliness and isolation. Due to the extreme problems narcissists have with interpersonal relationships on any level, they are often lonely people.
8. Deep fear of being rejected or of their own unimportance.
Narcissists can probably change for the better, but given the enormous amount of self-work it will take to get them just to understand how severe their problem is, the prognosis isn’t the best.
If you’re a friend or partner to a narcissist you can try to encourage them to seek mental health treatment, especially after some particularly brutal consequences. Just make sure you take care of yourself also.