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Narcissists and their rages(309 Posts)
For a number of reasons, I thought it might be a good idea to share our stories. I'll post one after this.
About 1 in 10 people have mental disorders, of a type that renders them incapable of seeing the world as others do. For them, all the world really is a stage: the men, women and children merely props for the drama going on in their heads. They can't see that things go on without their influence, or accept that other human beings feel & think independently. It's like the way young children think - and may well be caused by arrested emotional development.
For them, your every word and deed is scripted, by them. It's impossible to know exactly what your 'script' says. If you know them well, you can make a good guess but they will always surprise you by introducing another plot twist. (And anyway, who wants to live as a figment of somebody else's imagination?) When you step out of your appointed character - by having a thought or feeling of your own, for instance, or not being exactly where they wanted - they get terribly cross. It absolutely shakes their world; it's very distressing for them so they blame you for wrecking the world, like a temperamental director ranting at an opinionated actor.
The rage, the blame, the insults are never about you. Never. If you can manage to listen quietly, what you'll hear is this: "I wrote, cast and directed this scene. You're spoiling it for me!" You will also hear them tell you their insecurities - what they most dislike and fear about themselves, projected as if they were your faults, not theirs.
They usually forget what they said, or that they raged at all.
Please, do, share your stories of 'stepping out of character' and the Narcy rage that followed. You never know how many lightbulbs you might switch on
Despite the many rages throughout my childhood, working life and marriages, the one I recall most clearly came from a stranger. I was driving a friend's DD to school. There was an almighty snarl-up on a junction. For reasons unknown, a woman three or four cars behind me decided I was the cause. She dashed out of her car, came to my window and started. I wound down the window, told DD to stay quiet and time her (!) then listened. I was an idiot who doesn't know how to drive, selfish, self-important ... and then a whole bunch of other stuff, personal things about my appearance, my home life and relationships. Never having seen this woman before, I knew she was ranting about her own fears and felt sympathetic. I distracted myself by admiring her hair, which was the most perfect blow-dry you could imagine.
When she stopped, I said "Is that it?" She tossed her hair and went. I asked DD how long she'd raged - eleven minutes! DD was gobsmacked that I hadn't interrupted or answered her back, so I explained pretty much what I wrote in my OP. I hope it will serve her well
I dont think I know any narcs, but I think that that is a lovely insightful post.
Thank you! I'm sure I'll remember more ... I bet loads of others will, too
The worst rage was from my mother. I'd had the gall the get pg with dd2. Dd1 is her golden gdc and is "the one who can do no wrong" dd1 was ecstatic to find out and I let her tell people. She told my mum who faked excitement until later.c
She rang me that night and despite me knowing what dd1 had said (me being in the room was forgotten) she told me "dd1 is terribly hurt you are pg and thinks she is getting pushed out. She told me that you have said you'll let her live with me and I've agreed" I could hear my step father in the back ground asking why he hasn't been informed of this (bless, he hasn't quite got the grasp of not speaking unless spoken to yet. Tbh, hes lasted a lot longer than I thought he would though)
She's predictably not bothered with dd2 and has said her health issues are "fully deserved" to family members and questioned if I'm "back on the drugs for her kid to be so fucked" I've never been on drugs!! Dd2 has problems with gaining weight and has a few issues with her eyes and ankles. Yet to strangers, dd2 is very high on her priorities list... She's only met her 3 times in 14 months!
She's recently been asking my family for my mobile number... To congratulate me on ds's birth apparently...I ddon't believe it!!
I do find the whole narcissistic thing quite interesting, I only came across the word in the context of an agony aunt letter this year. It doesn't seem to figure in everyday awareness however, I think this is because people think of it as self-love, and many think some kind of self-esteem isn't such a bad thing anyway, or else vanity, and many want to look good about themselves if they can, dress well and look cute and so on. Of course, narcissism, along with being very hard to spell, is not like that at all, so the trait flies under the radar, it tends to go unrecognised.
Also, it does seem as if the last 100 years is quite unique, in that folk go the cinema and identify with the main protagonist, fuelling the whole narc phenomona (another hard word to spell). Sure, you get leading heroes in books, but I think cinema is a more potent drug. Only now is there the sense that to be a leading character you have to be screwed up on some level to compensate, like those new Marvel films, or Wolverine or something; there's that Lady GaGa thing going on. You wouldn't want to swap places with them. Until recently it was normal for the main guy to be some kind of supreme, flawless being, and you get to step into that role for two hours.
Ironically, two hours is about the correct amount of time for dealing with a narc. They can be charming characters for that time, but the sheer relentlessness of it wears you down after a while. And it is quite hard to build any kind of relationship with such a person. They simply cannot adapt themselves to another, they remain 'iconic', whereas a relationship means you evolve in relation to another person, they bring something out in you and vice versa.
The whole celeb culture that sprang up after World War II, along with a decline in community, helps bring about the narc attitude. It can also prompt a narc attitude in turn, after a while of this self-aborbed chatter you want to go to a quite place to reconnect with your own thoughts, thoughts which often enough involve you being the interviewee in a celeb talk show, or a movie star or something.
It is possible for narcissism to go hand in hand with other stuff however, the Dianne Athill book After a Funeral is required reading for those involved with neurotics, the kind who struggle to go along with anyone else (you find you always have to go along with them).
I've known a few narcs - two ex-bosses and one ex-boyfriend. All of them sadistic, impulsive, selfish, egotistical, vain and bullying.
I confronted one boss and he was stunned that someone had actually stood up to him.
I left the other boss in the lurch after her behaviour became so bad I had no choice but to resign.
The boyfriend - left him after he told me I would never be important to him and I was just a 'convenience' to him. Charmer, eh?
I probably shouldn't, mousey, but I laughed out loud at your imaginary drug habit! Classic!
I do that 'watch the clock' thing actually to protect myself when speaking to narcs. They don't let you get a word in edgeways and blame you of ranting and 'going on and on'. I check the clock and I usually get around 2 minutes before I get interjections and craziness.
My dm has definite narcissistic tendencies. When I'm in a good mood I sometimes work out the ratio of a phone call eg she talks about herself for 11 mins and I tell about myself for 2 only to then be told, anyway back to ... Sometimes funny but actually makes me feel motherless at times
Once you work out they are talking about themselves rather than others or you, it gets interesting.
Do people with bi-polar have a tendency to narcsm or is that different?
Different ... though I know what you mean, I think. A bi-polar sufferer in the 'god complex' phase of mania behaves pretty much like a Narcissist. Plus, Narcs can have bi-polar too. That's quite an alarming thought.
Garlic this is the only type of thread I can really engage on within 'relationships'. It is an excellant post and your examples are clear to see.
Narcissism is more common with Antisocial Personality Disorder (aka Psychopath). A Psychopath with Narcassim is the most danderous of all Psychopaths as their conitious wanting to seek revenge and the fast rage they cannot control the impulse to attack which gets more violent in time.
My first experience of Narcissitic Rage I was 5 months pregnant.
My partner at the time was super amzing up to this point except I noticed he liked to control me and get annoyed if I did not ie answer his texts or emails striaght away or eat what he cooked for me, I was not allowed to use the telephone when he was home either to call family or friends. These all small red flags I could not see as swept off my feet up till this point.
It was gone midnight and I woke up and he was still on computer in other room on 3rd bottle of wine. He had to drive in less than 7 hours 40 miles to work. I grabbed the wine and poured it down the sink telling him his drinking was getting worse and he was risking everything drinking to excess.
He turned like a wild animal, his eyes I remember the most. This because he had lovely blue eyes, but they seemed to turn black! It was the pupils getting bigger I guess but his voice changed, he changed this once loving partner seethed hatred and he had his fist in my face screaming and he seamed to be getting bigger? Or I was shrinking in fear? He was dribbling as he screamed in my face. He never dribbled before and spitting in my face as he screamed right close. he seethed with evil? He threated to throw me down the stairs I was terrified for my unborn baby and I was silent trying to back off but darnt turn my back on him for fear of him attacking me suddenly.
He punched the wall full force and then locked himself in the room still screaming I heard a lot of banging in the room. I went back to bed shaken up! This was not the person I knew!
The next mornning he said he was suicidal and left. He never came back. His mask slipped and his true rage came out. I blamed myself for the split as he often said it was my fault. He accused me of having an affair all projection of his own affairs I only found out about after!
The blaming me for anything in his life going wrong had become a cognitive loop of Bad situation = my fault. He blamed me when he split with his wife (the one he met whilst I was pregnant). Blaming me was an easy way for ex to do something in revenge. I was an easy target on my own.
The first attack was when I was in hospital for 5 days after giving birth to my ds. I arrived home and found a dent in corner of front door where it opens. I brushed it off as kids doing it. It was only 6 years later when ex was attacking house on regular basis, one night at 4am in Febuary he tried to force the door open with I suspect a screw driver as he unscrewed letter box too trying to gain access. He forced the door in the exactly same spot when the door was damaged 6 years ago. You would not notice the small dent in tge corner of the door and with no lights etc most people would not 'hit the same spot' in the dark. It was only after this I realised he started his revenge attacks 3 years earlier to this. I had my doorbell ripped off and my car registration was ripped off another time all previous to this. I always thought it was kids! Also someone would ring me and not talk on the other end.
I still don't know if my ex is still around. The CCTV I was given by the law for mine and ds protection has limited his behaviours, which was stalking but .i stopped checking the CCTV as it was making me ill! I hope his ehaviours have changed but the research shows that they often for many years continue to stalk, threaten, intimidate victim they have vendetta against...all delusional and projection of blame! After all a Narc is never wrong!
Lots of good info on this site...
Garlic, you mean all those things she said were about her?
Some days you get up as normal and the middle of the day holds a revelation. I'm pretty sure, from what I've read, in her case it was OCPD. It never occurred to me that the rages were a way to tell me about her. I already knew that they weren't about me when she seemed to be on a different planet with an altered version of events and reality.
Off now to cogitate on this new chain of thought. Thank you.
There are raging narcs the manic ones that talk AT you and there are quiet manipulative narcs, those that have a plan that has to go just so, and if anyone doesn't fit in with the plan they are manipulated out.
When the two come together it is interesting. I think I prefer the ragers, at least they are open about it.
What do you think causes the person to be narcissistic?
Roadwalker, there's now persuasive evidence that people with Personality Disorders have differently-configured brains from others. What isn't clear is whether this has happened as a result of their character style, or was genetic. Some studies have found possible gene switches for some PDs. The same switches, however, are found in people with 'normal' personalities. It's likely to be a combination of nature + nurture or, rather, the wrong kind of 'nurture'. Incidence of childhood trauma is very high. When you think about it, parents with a genetic predisposition to a certain type of PD are more likely to give their own children a disordered upbringing, so the two factors are liable to go hand in hand.
Some links about causes
Sorry, I messed up the first link - http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/P/personality-disorders/ Basics & treatments]].
XH2 had a very reticent mother - nice, but uncommunicative. I think she might have Asperger's. His dad, by contrast, was a life-and-soul party-going type. By the time I met him, FIL was terminally ill, though still very jolly. Apparently there had been a lot of rows in XH2's childhood, when his dad would stay out late drinking. XH2 had gone to boarding school from 8-13. No-one in the family ever referred to this, and he didn't tell me anything except some stuff about difficulty making friends when he returned home to day school. As a teenager and young man, he engaged in a lot of thievery - some of it serious - and other risky activities.
As soon as we got married (I mean from our wedding day!) he started acting like a man who just wanted to get away from a controlling wife. He lied about where he was, what he was doing while out, and went crazy when I asked him for details. It took me about a year to grasp what he was doing - he started the rows by kicking off about my questions, then I'd try to defend myself and ask why he was so reluctant to let me in on his life. I remember saying, often, that he seemed to be married to some other wife, but I ended up behaving like the suspicious and insecure woman he'd cast for me. The only way I could get him to divorce was by letting him petition me for my controlling, snooping ways
Since then, I've seen Mumsnetters say the same kind of thing in their threads - "It's like he can't see the real me, only this other person he thinks I am." Now I know they are exactly right: their partners can't see the real them, because they're actually incapable of it.
CCTV, it's lovely to see you on this thread! YYY to all you wrote XH1 used to do the black eyes thing. XH2 had bright blue eyes and, when he was about to rage, the pupils would shrink to pinpoints so I was looking at blank blue plates, then enlarge as he got into full rant.
Oh, I meant to add this important thing about XH2 and his
not very suspicious wife. After gaining enough distance, I was able to look back on some events that had seemed like amazing coincidences at the time ... and realised that he followed me! He was accusing me of being insecure, controlling and suspicious, where in fact he didn't trust me, to the extent that he'd been stalking me. Projection. Weird.
Hi Garlic[waves] hehe the paranoia a Narc has thinking you would do what they would and theirfore ie if stalking you then believes you are stalking them.
For me projection was the biggest symptom. Ex reported me to Social Services when ds was 3 yrs old. From 6 yrs old when ds could talk he started to disclose the physical abuse from the pig
I was labelled by ex as the one having the affair when it was him.
Gas lighting was another biggie. When he had the narc rages and would attack the house he would plan to do it when no one was at home only me and ds. Considering ds had tutors 6 days a week at home he must have done a lot of stalking to emsure they were not their! After the 15th attack he started to get a bit covky as he made mistakes and was spotted on several occassions by the tutotrs.
Considering most people would think it and calm down and then not carry out an act of violence...ex wiuld travel 12 hours to get to my home to attack. Normal people would have turned back after 2 hours but no his rage and impulse to attack was to great!
Life is an act for ex he doesnt let his super charming persona slip unless you piss him off and then he is unforgiving forever and revengeful for how long I dont know but hope he has moved on or forgiven me for how he feels about me
Lack of eye contact with the mother stops synapses developing n the brain. Their mothers have a lot to answer for re nurture and their df nature/gene. It can go either way but if nature and nurture both bad then it isnt a good outcome.
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