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Narcissistic Supply And Narcissistic Rage

Narcissists thrive on looking a certain way- highly successful in their career, rich, the perfect mother or wife.   They will do almost anything to maintain this image, so they can receive the admiration they crave so desperately.

They will do whatever they have to do to receive their "narcissistic supply" or in other words, reinforcement that they are special.   Narcissists surround themselves with people who tell them often how great they are, and avoiding and criticizing those who would call them out on their outrageous behavior or fail to reinforce their delusions of grandeur.

Narcissists will not hesitate to drop a friend or relative out of their life if that person doesn't praise them at every turn.  Or, worse yet, if that person says something critical.  If they criticize the narcissist or question her delusions of success, they quickly learn what rage is.

Narcissists cannot handle criticism or rejection at all, well above and beyond any normal person's reaction.  They often go into what is referred to as a narcissistic rage when receiving criticism or rejection.   It can be physical- they can physically attack their critic.   More often, however, it is verbal- screaming, insulting, using vile names and foul language.

When I was growing up, my mother was at her most abusive when I turned seventeen, and wanted to date someone I went to school with and worked with.   Although I later realized he was also a narcissist, at the time, I had no idea of this.   He told me that what I described as my mother being overprotective was in reality, abusive.   He also told me the things I was starving to hear- I was pretty, smart, and the like.   I started to realize he was right about my mother when I compared her to my friends' mothers.  Also, his praise helped give me the inner strength to start pulling away from her.   As a result of me starting to talk back to my mother and do things she told me not to (like sneaking around at school and work to see this boy), my mother screamed at me constantly, accused me of doing outrageous things I wasn't doing (such as doing drugs and sleeping with the entire high school football team), and telling me how ashamed she was of me.   I was also no longer allowed to have lunch at school- my mother picked me up daily, and spent that hour screaming terrible things at me.   Once, my mother even came to my job, and screamed at me in the parking lot in front of a LOT of people.   It was utterly humiliating.

I wondered why the abuse escalated to such a level so quickly.  For years, I assumed it was because I was "betraying" her by growing up.  Just recently, however, I began to think there was more to it.   I think because my mother has Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder, it goes deeper.  My growing up was betraying her in her eyes, yes, but I think it also destroyed her image as the perfect mother.   When I was the obedient daughter (I can't say good- she never told me I was a good daughter), doing whatever I was told, I made her look good.  I got good grades, never got into trouble at school or anywhere, I did whatever I was told.   She must have done a fine job raising me to raise such a well behaved daughter, at least that's what she probably told herself. Then suddenly I wasn't so obedient.   That was destroying her image of the perfect mother, at least in her mind.   She had to try to beat me back into submission, and rather than leave me bruised and bloody, she beat me with her daily narcissistic rages, and most days there were several in a day.

Narcissistic rages are nothing to underestimate!  They are dangerous to the self-esteem and sanity.   During the late part of my teens until I moved out of my parents' house, even though the rages became a bit less common towards the end, I still spend plenty of time suicidal, and thinking I was going to go crazy.  In fact, just before moving out, I had my first nervous breakdown after my mother had been raging at me.   It was very severe- leaving me catatonic for several hours.

Now that I am older, and my mother knows I will NOT tolerate screaming, her narcissistic rages have changed.   They no longer involve very obvious abuse, such as screaming at me, but they do involve invalidating me (others' feelings are a thousand times more important to her than mine), criticizing what I love (people, my pets, my car..), or praising others for something they have done, yet criticizing me for doing the same thing to name a few examples.

In my experience, not all narcissistic rages are so obviously abusive- not all involve thrown punches or screaming foul language.  As I have grown up, my mother's rages have changed greatly, and have become much more subtle.   In fact, my mother has had rages inside restaurants or other public places!   They have become so much quieter, that others who observe us together never would guess she was being abusive!  That doesn't change the fact that they *are* abusive, however- they are just quieter and more subtle than they once were.

You no longer have to tolerate your mother's narcissistic rages!  No one has to tolerate abuse from anyone.   When your mother starts her raging, you can leave the room or hang up the phone.   Tell her you will talk to her when she calms down, then hang up the phone or leave the room.  I know this can be hard to do at first.  There are ways you can get around saying those words.   Do you have a dog and a doorbell?   Ring the doorbell so your dog starts to bark, then tell her "The doorbell rang- don't you hear Fluffy barking?   I have to go."  Or, use your cell phone to call your home phone (or vice versa) to trigger your call waiting.  You can tell her "The call waiting kicked in- I have to go."  I also have an "in case of emergency" plan worked out with a friend for visits with my mother.   This friend's phone number programmed into a speed dial on my cell phone.   One day, when I was livid with my mother over lunch, I sneaked to hit 7 on my phone, which called my friend.  I let it ring a few seconds, then hung up.   She immediately called me back saying, "Can you come over? I have an emergency!"   I hung up and said my friend said she was having a crisis- I had to go.

Sneaky?   Yes.  Dishonest?  Not technically- the door bell did ring, the call waiting did beep, and my friend did say she had an emergency..   Besides, these give you a way to get off the phone with her when you aren't feeling strong enough to tell her flat out that you aren't going to tolerate her abuse anymore.  You can work up to that, and these tactics can help you to do that.

Another valuable tool when dealing with narcissistic rages- distance!   If your mother is going to abuse you, don't give her the chance- stay away from her.   She has to learn either treat you with respect, or stay away from you. You have every right to limit your contact with your mother.   Only talk to her once a week or twice a month, or whatever you can handle.

Along those lines, you may end up needing to sever ties with your mother.   Only you can decide if that is an appropriate move for you or not.   Don't listen to anyone else tell you what you need to do in that situation.  Pray, think about it, then decide.  I wrote more on the topic on this page: Should I Go No Contact With My Abusive Mother?


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