Narcissist’s Hair Trigger Rage

Narcissists dish out their cruel visceral pathological projections. Their rage is always bubbling beneath the surface. When you criticize them in the mildest way they attack you back with a vengeance.  They eviscerate you emotionally and psychologically. Those married to narcissists have to watch them every moment to see when this person is going to erupt into overwhelming rage that knows
no end. This refers to male and female narcissists.

Over and over again the narcissist attacks unmercifully in a verbal manner that is primitive and dirty.  He/she gets in every dig and then some. He brings out your whole history and every transgression he can manage to make you the bad guy, the stupid one, the evil person, the malicious secretive spiteful human being whom he detests and that is so unlike him. (After all he is perfect). The incoming fire lasts an eternity. You can’t stand it. You are feeling sick from the impact of this bombardment. It feels like it will never end. You can’t escape–you are desperate.

You never know exactly when the narcissist will explode on to you. You watch the eyes that pierce through you, the brows  furrow, teeth are barred, the body posture that becomes militant and scary. You wait for the first verbal salvo. When the uproar begins, it is tsunamic—overwhelming everything in its pathway is swept away.

Nothing is sacred to the narcissist’s out of control rage. It doesn’t matter if you are physically ill, if the children are very young and emotionally fragile, if you are completely innocent and not at fault, if you have done your best to give this person the best part of your life–nothing matters, except this prolonged attack on you at this time.  This is the unleashing of the self-hatred of the very badly damaged real self of the narcissist in the form of psychological and emotional vomiting.

In some cases the narcissist starts trashing your home, throwing any item about that is within reach. He/she becomes manically carried away with the rage that controls every part of his being. Volcanic rage has a life and energy of its own. Just when you think it has subsided, it resumes with another cycle of assault and horror.

Those who are children of narcissists, who are married to them, divorcing them or siblings of narcissists, understand up close what it is like to be the recipient of this level of traumatic chaos.

At some point those who have suffered from the narcissist’s hair trigger rage will re-assess what this individual has done to them, the cruelties perpetrated, the years of your life they have stolen, the days and months of terror and struggle you sustain just to get up in the morning and go through the day and to repeat this routine each day, knowing that you are not free to be yourself, authentic, experience joy or calm, spontaneity or creative spirit.

You now know that the narcissist is not capable of changing and that you deserve a life separate from them. Put yourself first each day.  Go no contact. If you are married to a narcissist, do your research regarding a divorce. Do not share what you have learned with the narcissist. Do not let a lot of time go by. So often I hear from women and men who waited it out too long and either kept thinking that they were to blame or that the narcissist would change eventually if they were understanding enough.  None of this will work with them. This is a very fixed personality disorder that does not change. It gets more entrenched as the years go by.

Honor your own life.  Trust your intuition, your knowledge and your higher self.  Know that you can recover, heal and be free.

23 thoughts on “Narcissist’s Hair Trigger Rage”

  1. I have experienced this narcissistic rage aimed at me. I live in dread of it and have learned to become small and still, to freeze and try to keep him from exploding. It does not take much. Just a tiny question about something that is not right and he flies into a rage. I think it’s to scare me into silence. Or preserve his image of perfection. But he knows it’s a lie, his perfection. In fact, his abuse is more than the rages; it’s forcing me to pretend that he is perfect and good, never to even mention his cruelties, even to him. As in, just talking about something cruel that he did. If I even allude to it, he rises up over me, as though about to assault, and I shrink and take it all back. I say “never mind”. Or he will throw a kitchen stool, almost through the window. Or punch a hole in the wall. I am scared of him. He is my grown son. A carbon copy of his father, but more cruel and volatile.

  2. How sad, Laurie, this has to be your son. From Dr. Linda’s writings and my own experience, you are in a “no-win” situation — a life of constantly “living on eggshells”. I won’t pretend to be a qualified professional, but I will say what I know Dr. Linda and others have said regarding our reaction to such narcissistic behavior.

    Most likely, you have more right to be in control where you are than your son, yet you can’t communicate with him. You must find ways to gain control or you will suffer from his emotional swings to the point his behavior will likely be harmful to your health. I would recommend you seek Dr. Linda’s advice, but having been down a similar road dealing with such rage, my healing started the once I got fed-up and started living alone. Maybe there are
    ways you can seek refuge by going to the store, to a friend’s, to a restaurant, etc.

    Perhaps your son is at an age where he should learn to take responsibility for his own actions. Though he will most likely resist change and elect to fly into rage over such, I don’t see where you have much choice other than to find ways to minimize your exposure to him, or him from you.

    My experience was very redundant in that I learned to predict when the rage-cyle would trigger another outburst. The regrettable consequence of being close to someone who behaves like this is that the relationship, and your life, are almost assuredly headed toward self-destruction unless you can find relief.

    If I were you, I’d seek Dr. Martinez-Lewi’s counsel, or your choice of professional expert on narcissism, as soon as possible. Dr. Linda has a number on her website where you can call to talk to her or send her an email, making sure your son cannot get access to your effort.

    Stay strong, Laurie, and keep reading to learn more about your fight so you sustain your battle. Most folks who read this blog know the dangers of such conflict. We will be keeping you in prayer.

  3. My mother and sister are narcissists. They feed off each other. Ive had to spend most of my adult life in a no contact zone to survive their vermin talk to anyone that will listen.

  4. I am really grateful for this post, Linda, and to all contributors.

    Narcissism unloosed from its chains is exactly the answer for this dog and pony show going on in our country.

    Every day is a struggle to get through, no matter how long the healing continues. Still the healing journey is amazing, and I can honestly say that by twighlight each day, I can look to Heaven and say that this day has been the best yet. And somehow that is always true.

    I have gone no-contact and it is like allowing an open wound to heal. The narcissists rage and insidiously sneaky, slimy, filthy maneuvers are intended to annihilate us. They act in different ways, just like the demeantors in Harry Potter. Same thing. She nailed it. They are beyond disgusting but don’t they know how to animate their dead bodies when they need to, want to, or most of all, as we know, there is one urge they can not control. And that is why we are in the confounded mess we are in today. Just google labour 25 and you will see where this trainwreck is headed if something doesn’t happen soon. They can’t keep it in their pants and it doesn’t matter who or what it is. They especially pray on their perceived weaklings, disadvantaged children, or women who are trying very hard, after a lifetime of abuses of all kinds, especially incestuous, to do a good job at life.

    That’s my missive for today. It feels really good to have a safe space to share here. It is our Divine Obigation to share our Truths. I believe that the next generations will need maps as every generation has, to navigate life here on this very beautiful star, planet, heaven and hell. How can we be so incredibly arrogant, evil, disgraceful like no living creature could conceive of, lest a rabid beast—a creature from the briney deep. The conundrum is, don’t they think they’re something?

    Heaven will protect.

  5. Wow….when I read this…Narcissist’s Hair Trigger Rage……it is Sooooooooooooooo my husband. He blames everything on me. Constantly tells me how much HE does, how much HE makes, how the family business was started with HIM and that HE started it. He consistently brings up my wrong doings in the past, his rages can go on and on. Even when I am not in the same room with him, he STILL rages! I just don’t get it. Why on earth does someone wish to be in that state of ugliness all the time. OH..but of course when he is outside the home….Mr. Nice Man appears. Everyone tells me….”Oh Your husband is sooooooooooooo nice!” Yea…….live with him & you will know just how nice he is. In his rages…he has punched hole in the walls, threw milk accross the kitchen which landed everywhere, destroyed things or work that meant something to me. Boy…if I did that to HIS stuff…..he would think that was wrong! But to him it is entirely different. He gets angry when I do things, or angry when I don’t. I can’t win no matter what. He does go in cycles…..the longest he has ever went without getting angry was 30 days. Then his rage appears and it has been going on ever since he got angry about some small dumb thing.That was 3 weeks ago. When he speaks, it’s always “I”, “I” “I”. Never “WE”. What possesses a person to be like this? Honestly……I have even asked him if he enjoys feeling so bitter & filled with hate & spite….his reply….”well…if you would only…..bla bla bla. No empathy & no taking responsibility in his actions. I stay calm or avoid him these days….but sometimes….there is no doing so. Boy…living with someone like this….I’m surprised that I am not an alcoholic or have a drug problem. Thank goodness I do have the Lord to see me thru his rages & relish the peaceful times. Thanks for reading.

  6. I used to have rages like that although I didn’t recognise how destructive they were at the time. Mostly I denied that any of the narcissistic traits I exhibited impacted negatively on anyone else. I only got over the rages when I read and did the meditations in Thich Nhat Hanh’s book called “Anger”.

    I grew up in a family with parents who, if not full-blown clinical narcissists, had strong narcissist traits. All my siblings suffered from this and we all became narcissists to some degree as well. I’m not sure why I ended up trying to change it. I was the youngest so it may be that there was no-one I could bully down on. I also had a bad car accident aged 18 and that made me start to reassess things. However even now, 2 months off my 50th birthday I still struggle. I have no friends, I drink too much I regularly have suicidal thoughts and I fear for my future because I am still too arrogant and impatience to hold down a full-time job for any length of time. I also have occasional binges of drink and pornography to blot out the loneliness and the emotional crashes after those are awful. Remarkably, after all that I said, I do believe that I have come a long way from what I was. Meditation, keeping a diary and doing creative things all improve my mental state and I will continue to try to be more consistent at doing them.

    I’d also liken to share with everyone these few sentences on narcissists from The Guardian.

    “”They unconsciously deny an unstated and intolerably poor self-image through inflation. They turn themselves into glittering figures of immense grandeur surrounded by psychologically impenetrable walls. The goal of this self-deception is to be impervious to greatly feared external criticism and to their own rolling sea of doubts.” This is how Elan Golomb describes narcissistic personality disorder in her seminal book Trapped in the Mirror. She goes on to describe the central symptom of the disorder – the narcissist’s failure to achieve intimacy with anyone – as the result of them seeing other people like items in a vending machine, using them to service their own needs, never being able to acknowledge that others might have needs of their own, still less guess what they might be. ”

    I read that this morning and it opened my eyes to my own state. I don’t consider myself a narcissist anymore, but as the child of a narcissist family I still suffer from profound loneliness and mistrust of others. I have decided to join a club or do some volunteering (or both) to meet people regularly (I can go without speaking to anyone except a shop assistant for days) and, I hope, make some real friends.

    To all those recovering from relationships with narcissists I wish you well.

  7. I am still too arrogant and impatience to hold down a full-time job for any length of time–

    Dave, thank you so much for your sharing. I hear you, if that is any consolation, and please know that your moccasins are following the footsteps of many of us.

    I think back now on my healing journey, and can see the places where there was some kind of fracture, where my ego was challenged and I was guided to learn about narcissism. All of this takes tremendous patience, because we are dealing with our ego, which is the same thing as the delicate eggshell, that protects the chick until it has pecked at the shell long enough to weaken it, break it open, and then, alas, find its wings. The journey is very beautiful if you can honor your mind above and beyond the carnal impulses that lead you to nowhere good. That is artificial and a shame our civilization has come to this point.

    Don’t be lazy. Your mind and your heart are your greatest tools. Talk with someone competent and trustworthy about your suicidal thoughts. Not to be taken lightly. Congratulations for getting yourself to a safe space where you are able to share of yourself and your concerns. That is a step far more important than you can possibly know right now.

    Keep in touch. Check out CoDA meetings. Go as long as it feels helpful. They can be very supportive. Do some research online about the meetings and what the protocol is.


  8. SAF – thanks for your response.

    12 step groups work for some people but they are not for me. I have tried on several occasions. I appreciate the advice but your acknowledgement matters more to me.

    My parents habitually psychologically and emotionally neglected and abused us (and sometimes physically abused us, particularly my mother). Even after I left home I tended to seek out people who would repeat the patterns. Although it was soul-destroying it was also my comfort zone (is that cognitive dissonance or just simultaneous conflicting emotions?).

    When someone takes the time to acknowledge and respond as you have done, that in itself is very positive for me.

  9. SAF – one other thing. I think you should be very careful using words like lazy. Lazy and worthless are two of the words my parents used most to describe me. You may mean well but end up triggering people you are trying to help. Everyone’s journey through this is different.

  10. I have a question. Would an ani-depressant manage some of this behaviour? If an anti-depressant does modify an individual’s reactions, stress, anger, is the intensity of personality still likely to be narcissisum or another condition?

  11. David, I apologize for bungling so badly. Here I am “advising’ you to go to Coda meetings while trying to rescue you! Duh! That’s why we keep going up and down those steps, I guess. Also, I did realize soon after I posted my blunder, however, there is not a way to edit our posts or even delete them on this blog ex post facto. I would have done so, very honestly, if I had been able to do so. I felt badly afterward.

    The victim victimizes. Unfortunately that is true. Until, at least, we realize, (however we come upon it) that that no longer really works, though it is our authentic framework with which we can make right that which is decaying. My two cents.

    I’m at a point in life that I really, really, really just want to know the absolute truth. For me that means where I was “OFF-ended” and also, how that can empower me into becoming the authentic human being that I crave more than anything else to become.

    One of the great mysteries is why some of us are super-sensitive, while others—the narcs, have little sensitivity for anyone else but themselves. Just watch this entire scene with the election in the USA right now. Have any of the candidates a genuine interest in the people of America, other than how their tax dollars can line THEIR deep pockets? There is only one that comes close, so far as I can see. People are clueless as to the staggering corruption within our system. Those that have eyes to see, let them listen. HAVING EYES, DO YOU NOT SEE? AND HAVING EARS, DO YOU NOT HEAR?

    It all seems very simple, especially when things are going well. But when we bottom out, then we are brought to revisit what we need to know in order to become the best that we can possibly be, so long as we can go to sleep at night knowing that we have truly done our best this day. Either that is what we want, or not. Many are picked but few are chosen. It is up to us, ultimately, whether we like it, or not. The savior is in the mirror.

    Thanks for sharing.

  12. Oh my… Laurie, I am so sorry. I think to some degree, having a narcissistic grown child must be so much worse than a narcissistic parent. At least to some degree, a parent can yell at you and you feel that you somehow deserve it. But your own child?! You need to get away from him as soon as you can. This sounds borderline dangerous. I know he’s your son, but get away. You sound sweet and nice, you don’t deserve this.

  13. I don’t know about absolute truth SAF. I have read that children who are habitually emotionally neglected (Note: not actively abused, merely neglected, not listened to, not made to feel valued and of worth) show the same symptoms as sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder. I can’t quote chapter and verse on it but if you search something like “childhood emotional neglect, PTSD” and other similar things you may find some useful information.

  14. I’ve, unfortunately, encountered narcissists since I was a child. When I was seven, my mother married a self-destructive narcissist who would literally beat himself and throw himself to the ground just to prove that he felt guilty for whatever minor thing my mom would ask about. His outbursts were scary, and the screaming would go on for hours, which threw us for a loop because when my mom first dated him he was so nice. This caused so much inner turmoil and confusion with me and my mom; we constantly questioned our own sanity, especially when she divorced him and his and our family couldn’t figure out why “because he was so nice”. This changed the way I absorb and respond to anger.
    When I found myself in a relationship with a narcissist, he was self-destructive with alcohol and pain killers, though not the way most addicts are. His addictions were optional and he could go a long time without wanting or needing his vices and he usually did it before becoming permanent at a job or taking more responsibility. It took me a while to see past the pattern, but both are destructive. I was so lucky to have the emotional and spiritual support of family. However, getting past the flinching when someone gets too close or trying to be more aware, rather than tuning out and shutting down, when I have to deal with angry people are traits that I am habitually fearful of.

  15. Their anger simmers, just out of sight, but not quite, and erupts at any real or imagined slight… And although the motive of the moment for this outburst is most probably imagined… the anger is not. It is horribly, nightmarishly real. And whoever claimed that words cannot hurt you… the old sticks and stones rhyme… lied. Words leave wounds that will fester and never heal. Those wounds turn septic and the infection settles into you when you find yourself in a pit of self-loathing and despair and hopelessness… Because of words…
    I live with this anger each day. There exists no reprieve and no escape – no defense…
    Some days I dream about dying.. Understand that I do not want to die. But living like this…

  16. For many years I’ve suffered a lot of resentment and emotional upset at the hands of my sister whose 6 years younger than myself. Her jealousy and rage is always just bubbling under the surface I never know when the next attack will come. The root I think is she feels I’m my dads favourite and has said this many times and gets furious if I dare to say this isn’t the case. She has been incredible unsupportive during bad times in my life eg when telling her I felt suicidal once (I later found out my husband had been having an affair for 2 yrs with a girl 30 yrs younger than me.) my sisters responce to my distress was to tell me how selfish I was and to think of my daughter, no kindness comfort empathy or love and then didn’t contact me for weeks. When I inferred she had been unsupportive she cried and became the victim, behaviour I have seen many times from her. Later when I was divorced she never let me talk about the break up, I felt she couldn’t stand our family being kind or feeling sympathy for me. I have told her many times I love her despite her unkindness towards me and I have always genuinely wanted to have a close relashionship but I am beginning to see it’s hopeless as she has such deep seated resentment towards me.
    She is very dominant in her own family The last few years she has continually tried to manipulate me into visiting our father more despite me visiting reguarly and phoning him every day. I live twice the distance away a 2 half hour journey, she is retired but Im still working. If I justify myself with these points she isn’t interested and makes out I’m uncaring no doubt to anyone who’ll listen. I know this is her way of controlling me and she loves to make me feel I’m a bad person. Her own family attitude towards me blow like the wind depending on how she feels about me at any given time. I can imagine her telling them how uncaring I am, despite evidence to support this. Any act of kindness on my part towards her children is no doubt given a different motive. I once overheard her speaking about me in a horrible way after what I thought we’d had a pleasant conversation on my mobile referring to me as “She” she didn’t realise we hadn’t been cut off when she finished call. I Mentioned it when I saw her next and told her not to worry after she said oh I was having a jealouse moment. Had it been the other way round I doubt she would ever speak to me again.
    Sorry for length of this I really could go on. This sort of behaviour causes me so much pain I think when our elderly dad passes away I will cut myself off from her as it’s just too painful and without end.

  17. In my experience, you’d be hard pressed to find a N who would even entertain the possibility that they are in need of any medication–it’s everyone ELSE who needs professional help.

    I’ve never met a N who would admit they are a N. Rather, they would go ballistic at the suggestion/”accusation”.

    But, yes, psychoactive meds and therapy would probably help a willing N. Trouble is, Ns are so grandiose, I doubt most would listen to a therapist.

  18. Thank you for the input Pallonica. I have interviewed with several psychologists including Linda and they say similar. Self doubt and awareness of bad behaviour are in themselves indicators that Narcissisum is less likely.

    Write in part about situation here

    I have read that a Narcissist can suffer from a breakdown that might lead to healing self examination, which could lead to an awareness that medication which alters anxiety may give their loved ones a more normal life. I have remained on loxamine since my children were born, trying off periods briefly only to return so I can be a consistent mother.

  19. I’m new here, my mother and daughter are both narcissists, my daughter has recently ” adopted” my mother as her own because I am “the sorriest excuse for a mother she’s ever seen.” I have blocked them from my life but it hurst everyday that it’s so easy for them to let me go. My youngest brother now has nothing to do with me because he believes I’m the culprit……that one really hurts.

  20. David,

    PTSD is very real and who can say if we ever heal from it?

    One thing I can say about the “absolute truth” is that the light dawns if we persist in seeking the absolute truth about our abusers. It comes in increments, not all at once, and begins to fit together like pieces of a puzzle. As the truth completes itself, and we see how pitiful these people are, in spite of how hateful and debased they are, the gift for our perseverance is authentic empowerment if we are committed to accepting the gift. We should be, because we have suffered and persevered long enough for it.

    I’m looking forward to reading Linda’s new book about healing ourselves in the aftermath of surviving the narcissists in our lives. I refer to your treasure of a quote by Elan Golumb:

    “”They unconsciously deny an unstated and intolerably poor self-image through inflation. They turn themselves into glittering figures of immense grandeur surrounded by psychologically impenetrable walls. The goal of this self-deception is to be impervious to greatly feared external criticism and to their own rolling sea of doubts.”

    What is most amazing to witness is when two narcissists connect, both exactly the same way. I keep wondering if the light bulb is going to go on one of these days with my father, who, after my mother died, took up with the narcissist extraordinaire, the “church secretary” the kind of cockroach who always hides behind the “immense grandeur” while her own daughter tried committing suicide four times. The dalliance started long before my mother died and now she is taking my father to the cleaners for every cent he’s worth—most of it my mother’s money that he finagled her will(s) so the winner could take all. My mother actually told me several times before she died that he was trying to kill her and I know now that was true. He has a violent temper and I cringe to think what he’ll do if ever he catches on to the absolute dupe his church secretary has made out of him. Meanwhile, he passes the baskets at what they call “church,” as he probably thinks he’s buying himself a stairway to heaven!

    So yes, PTSD is very real because we are triggered whenever something reminds us of the narcissist abusers. There comes a point that we have to free our lives of anything and everything that might bring about that trigger, right down the line. Anything. No contact is the only way to go. And you have to MEAN it.

  21. I am so sorry to hear that Birdie.

    It is NOT your fault and you do NOT deserve it.

    It is called “The Cycle of Violence”.
    I urge you to please find a good counselor and get police help by a court order to end the relationship. It is physical abuse and emotional abuse. A Court will grant an Intervention Order very easily now days. It is a safety issue.
    Tell your trusted family members and friends about it. Tell them the whole truth.

    People who behave like that do not change, they pretend to change but it is only for a short time, until they can regain control of you. Their “change” is not real, it is just a trick.

    I believe that is is all about power and insecurity. That they have a feeling inside them that they are very small and weak and no one could possible truly love them so they have to make you feel smaller than them and make you feel dependent on them so you won’t leave. They have to force you to stay.
    That’s not love and that’s not freedom and no one deserves to live like that. Anything is better than that, including being alone.

  22. Thank you David for openly sharing your experience, I’m honoring your humility and endeavors to heal. ..very encouraging to read what you have written. ..sending love and strength to you.

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