Chronic rage is a trap, not a trophy.

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If we are survivors of narcissistic abuse, we are all at different stages of our recovery. If we are just coming out of a relationship with a narcissist or in the process of going No Contact (which is the best gift we can give ourselves), it’s natural to feel anger and even hatred toward our abusers. Our anger overrides the fear they instilled in us and makes it possible for us to take the actions necessary to disconnect from them.

When I started this blog, I too was extremely angry at my narcissists, particularly my psychopathic ex. As an ACON, I railed on about my parents too, particularly my MN mother. Early posts of mine on this blog have a much more bitter and angry tone than my more recent posts, some of which attempt to understand why my narcissists did what they did to me and about what makes narcissists tick in general. I don’t regret making those early, angry posts, because that’s where I was at emotionally on this recovery journey. I NEEDED to feel that anger and hate. It served a survival purpose. But anger is a survival emotion and is meant to be temporary, not become a psychological and spiritual forever-home.

I am no longer in a situation where I am in close contact with malignant narcissists, and I was finding that holding onto all that rage was turning me bitter. When a person is filled with rage, the body’s cortisone levels rise and blood pressure rises. These are physiological changes that make “fight or flight” possible. But over prolonged periods of time, being in such a physiological state is bad for you and can lead to physical illness.

Besides being unhealthy for the body, holding onto rage way past its expiration date makes it impossible to move forward to a place of real healing. If you feel rage all the time, you simply cannot move forward. It blocks you from opening your heart to all the good things that life can offer. Frankly, I was just becoming bored with it. There had to be something better beyond it–and there is!

I see this unwillingness or inability to let go of chronic rage and hatred in many survivors of narcissistic abuse, especially ACONs who were raised by narcissistic parents. Of course it’s perfectly understandable to feel an almost overwhelming sense of injustice and betrayal when you realize your own parents didn’t love you and in fact probably hated you and set you up to fail in life. It’s understandable to hate the people who were supposed to nurture you and give you the tools you needed to have a happy life but instead attempted to murder your soul. I get it, I really do. I felt that way about my mother for many years.

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Some of these chronically angry abuse survivors have embraced a mentality of perpetual victimhood, using their rage as a sort of trophy “proving” how abused they were. They can’t or won’t let go of their rage because it makes them feel vindicated. I remember reading a comment from one angry ACON who said if he/she were to let go of their bitterness and hatred, they would have let their abusers “win.” But this person is wrong. Because paradoxically, remaining stuck in misery, rage and hatred is making it impossible for this person to heal and live a happy life, and isn’t being miserable exactly what their narcs want? Holding onto rage and wallowing in all the ways they victimized us vindicates the narcissist, not the victim. If our rage destroys or kills us (because eventually it can), the narcissists will be throwing a party to celebrate.

I think the best revenge is to live well. If a victim of abuse moves into a place of peace where healing is possible and can learn to become happy and even successful in life and stop using their victimhood as a kind of trophy, their narcissists will HATE that! Nothing enrages an abuser more than seeing their victims become happy and successful (and not bitter or angry). So how does healing ourselves and letting go of our “trophies” of rage and hate let the narcs win? It doesn’t. In fact, WE win and THEY lose.

But if I were to say this to them (and I have), I would be accused of “victim blaming” and even “narc hugging.” They would say my blog is “dangerous” to abuse survivors (and they have!) They would accuse me of having no empathy for their plight and am in fact taking the side of those who abused them! None of that is true. They just don’t get it. They think that because I’m suggesting they move away from their hatred, this means I’m blaming them for their misery and making excuses for the narcissists who abused them. This is a dangerous and tragic misunderstanding because they can’t even see the way they have been turned against themselves by their own narcissists! They can’t allow themselves to ever feel happy or let go of the bitterness that continues to hold them hostage to their narcissists even after they’ve gone No Contact.

Narcissism is the “gift” that keeps on giving if you let it. You can’t be happy if your default setting is rage. All that rage will eventually destroy your body AND your soul. In fact, living in a state of perpetual rage can turn a person narcissistic themselves. It’s a fact–I have seen it happen and it’s a horrible and scary thing to witness.

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I read a post on Constant Supply: The Narcissist’s Wife about the very same thing I’m talking about here, and their post is what inspired me to write this article. I’d been wanting to write about this, but due to the nasty pile-on I experienced from several ACON bloggers a few weeks back due to an article I posted suggesting we stop hating on all narcissists (the message of which was taken WAY out of context–in no way did I EVER suggest we condone what narcs do or engage with them in any way), I’ve been reluctant to post any more articles even touching on this touchy matter.

Reading this blogger’s article gave me the courage to express my feelings about this apparently controversial issue. I’m prepared to be attacked again, but at least I know what to expect now and can arm myself accordingly. While the blogger I mentioned in the previous paragraph does talk about “forgiving” her narcissist, I wouldn’t go that far myself. I don’t ‘forgive’ my narcissists for the way they held me back all my life and nearly destroyed me, but I no longer choose to hate them either. My attitude about them is that they simply do. not. exist. They are no longer an important part of my life and I refuse to give them any more space in my brain than they deserve. Don’t forget that narcissists crave attention–ANY attention–and that includes negative as well as positive attention. To act as if the narcs don’t even exist is what they hate and fear more than anything in the universe.

Living well and healing yourself without reacting to our narcissists either negatively or positively is the sweetest revenge possible. The narcs will hate you for it.

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We are all at different points of our recovery journey, and those who seem stuck in the “rage” setting (which is normal and necessary early in recovery) and have thereby not been able to move forward to real healing should not pass judgment on those who may be farther along the road and have reached a place where holding onto all that hatred was becoming burdensome and harmful.

I chose to jettison all that negative baggage to make my progress along the rocky road of recovery easier, and I have seen many others do it too, and actually become happy people. I hope and pray eventually ALL abuse survivors can reach a point when they realize holding onto their baggage is self-destructive and is holding them back from true healing–and is keeping them trapped in their own identity as “victims.”

I’m prepared to be disagreed with for posting this, but frankly I don’t care. If you are one of those who choose to hang onto your chronic rage, that’s your choice, and I respect that choice. I have no right to judge you or condemn you for doing so. But I don’t think it’s helpful or healthy. Hopefully, some people who have this problem might be able to take away something positive from this article and be able to extricate themselves from the quicksand of rage and continue to move along the road to recovery.

Please also see my article, Why Unrelenting, Chronic Rage is So Toxic.

35 thoughts on “Chronic rage is a trap, not a trophy.

  1. Thank you for this post. I’ve have felt this way for some time now. I feel like the anger & rage are eating away at my insides. So do you have any ideas on how to push past the anger & rage? I’m tired of being stuck in my hurt & pain.

    Liked by 3 people

    • If it helps, write it out. That’s why I blog like a maniac. It really has helped me. Other people may find some other creative outlet, even sports like running. Creativity is a gift that can express our pain and help us heal at the same time. I think it’s one of the greatest things God gave us.
      For others who can afford it or want it, talking to a good trauma therapist can be as effective in helping us move on from that knot of rage that keeps us trapped in the snare of narcissistic abuse and victimhood.
      I used to think I was BORN to be a victim, as a sort of examples to others of how not to be. Ha! What a lie that was.
      I also know my recent conversion to Christianity has helped me immensely. That may not be for everyone, but feeling closer to God, who loves ALL of us (even the narcs, in spite of what some people say) is changing my entire attitude toward life to a more positive and self confident one, and has helped me release most of my rage and envy of others. (yes, envy is a vice I have always struggled with).

      It’s so much less toxic to ourselves to feel indifference to those who abused us (even though there may be some sadness at what could have been, especially for children of narcissists) than it is to harbor all that soul-eating hatred and rage.
      Be patient with yourself and pray or meditate. Find something you love to do, and do it. For me, writing opened the doors to healing.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. This is so true Lucky. Its a valuable article for everyone. My new boyfriends son said exactly what you said to the both of us, a few months ago. His 21 year old son said, “Living well is the best revenge.” And I responded, “That’s the best advice a person can have.”

    A Narcissist wants you to dwell on the past. They are miserable at the core, and any bad feelings that is brought on by Narcissistic abuse, and the hate that lies at the core of the abuser.

    There are 2 things that are majorly important. Lucky had tried to tell me again and again that are key to healing. NEVER respond to the Narcissist if and when they contact you again. Because they will continue to spin you into the same loop and gaslight you into believing its all your fault. Luckily, I was in a good place when that happened to me, but for victims who aren’t there it sure would be the kiss of death, and definitely a trick to rope you in for the kill.

    I think its important to look at the reality of the Narcissist. They are frail, insecure and empty. This is not always easy for a victim, because they have been gaslighted by their Narcissists to believe that they are with the onminpotent Guru/God himself, or in rare cases herself. Months or even years if trauma bonding is no joke, because Stockholm syndrome is a reality for Narcissistic abuse survivors.

    Yesterday I had a wonderful day. I marched in Asbury Park, NJ in the annual LGBT parade in the famous town were Bruce Springsteen made his Legacy in the Stone Pony. The sun was shinning. I was around wonderful friends and lots of kind hearted happy people, and I took the day off from working on my band stuff, and any form of work. I climbed the rocks over the ocean, ate delicious pizza, went to see an all female metal band at the wonderbar; then ended up in paradise club, where they play disco from the late 70s.

    I just want to say to all of you…that you’ll deserve to own your day…and be happy. You’ll deserve happiness! ❀

    Liked by 5 people

    • Oh and also….feel sorry for the next victim. Its no fun to be overly idealized and conditioned to be addicted to another human being,…like Ivan Pavlov trained dogs in classical conditioning. I remember the beginning stages of Narcissistic abuse. You are isolated. Now let me repeat this. ISSOLATED! This is step #1 to all pathological abuse. Psychological abuse against women is Domestic Violence. To silence a woman is to violence a woman.

      So talk to yourself through the memory of the crutch to your Stockholm syndrome. Its no fun to be isolated, or to be the right arm extension of someone’s needs.

      The beach is so much more fun than the Narcissist!! ❀

      Liked by 4 people

    • We are all learning so much and stumbling sometimes as we go. It’s all part of the healing journey (gah, I sound so New Agey, lol)
      Trauma bonding is all too common in narcissistic relationships, and it’s very insidious. The only way to find happiness is to disconnect from the narc and eventually arrive at a place where we can forgive or at least feel indifferent toward them (which they REALLY hate!).

      I’m glad you had a good day yesterday–that sounds like fun!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thank you Lucky! Yesterday I started the march in the parade. I started the LGBT parade hanging out with the National Organization for Women,…and local Democrats…and then I ended up being the person who blew the bubbles through the streets for the Highland Park Pride float…all in Asbury Park, NJ. The day started out nice…and it was beautiful and sunny. I have to admit… I could feel this energy throughout the parade of genuine happiness and there were many, many happy smiling faces. There were beautiful drag queens in vintage convertables. This year the showing of people was huge. There were thousands of people.

        Then after the parade march,..everyone headed to the outdoor festival…. With the band line up, which was sponsored by the famous Stone Pony..with all types of music. NJ Congressman Frank Pallone made a speech. We hung out there for a while and then I grabbed Pizza with Goat cheese and grapes. Yum! There was a blues band in there. Then I went to grab Caramel Apples and Salt water Taffy.

        After that I ended up on the beach were lots of people ended up swimming in there underwear and bra. I guess no one brought there bathing suits. It was a parade. Lol
        I ended up climbing the rocks over the ocean..which was beautiful.

        After the beach we headed to this bar called wonderbar. They had an all female band in there. They were around are age and they were amazing. They played ACDC and Led Zeppelin and the played Gold Dust Women by Fleerwood Mac.

        Then we went to a club called Paradise and that is were all the drag queens were dancing to disco. That place was packed. We all ate burgers and hotdogs. Then I got tired and went home…and I called my boyfriend to tell him about the wonderful day I had. He was so happy that I had such a fun day with my friends.

        I just wanted to tell you about my great day…and I wanted to tell you that it felt great to feel happy and free….
        ❀

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  3. Beautiful post! I would like to say something about forgiveness. I do not judge you in any way. You were in a place of rage in the past, because that is exactly where you needed to be at that time. You are where you are today because this is where you need to be right now. In exactly the same way that letting go of rage is to benefit yourself, and is not for the benefit of the abusers, being able to forgive is also for your benefit, and not for the benefit of the abusers. This is true for any situation, not just for survivors of narcissism. I just want to hope for you, that someday you might also reach that place of forgiveness, for the benefit of your own body and soul. I am sure you struggled long and hard to release your rage. The process of forgiveness is also a long and hard process. I simply wish the best for you. Peace. Mark

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, and I think in my attempts to understand the narcissistic mindset and why they do what they do (because they were usually victims of abuse themselves), I am reaching that place of forgiveness. It’s common for many victims to demonize narcs as less than human, and I’m beginning to understand how damaging that is–for everyone involved! They are not monsters, they are deeply disturbed people who use their narcissism as a way to avoid further pain and hurt. It’s all they know. That doesn’t mean I condone or approve of it, but it exists and isn’t going away, so the only way to move on with a happy life is to come to a place of understanding (not sympathy!) even if we still feel sorry for the little children they once were.

      I used to hate my mother, and while I can’t say I love her, I’m largely indifferent. I feel sad we could never connect in a normal mother-daughter way. But I don’t hate her. I’m even beginning to feel indifference toward my psychopathic ex, even though a year ago I wanted to kill his stupid narc ass.

      I have a number of articles on healing NPD, and in spite of what many believe, I do think some of them CAN be healed, if they are insightful and willing to change and do the hard emotional work it requires. I know people with NPD suffer–I have received emails and comments from narcissists who are miserable and want more than anything in the world to be able to have rewarding relationships with others and know how to feel normal human emotions like love, empathy and true joy. I believe these letters are sincere.
      A world without narcs in it would be a much nicer place to live, and that could happen if somehow, someday, narcissism could be healed and its victims able to become normal and loving human beings. I know it’s probably pie in the sky, but it sure would be nice. That’s why I have a whole section on healing and treatment techniques for people with NPD (and BPD, because even though I have BPD myself, I am aware many of us can be as destructive to others and manipulative as narcissists when we’re emotionally upset, even if our motives are not intended to deliberately hurt others).

      Thank you for your encouraging comments.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Healing is a process,… and you’ll have to admit that it takes time to figure out where to go, and who is really knowledgable enough to guide you through Narcissistic abuse. I honestly don’t think thearapists understand Narcissistic abuse and Psychopathy. They don’t like to label people with Cluster B personality disorders. So if they can’t do that, then they can’t help the victims of it. They actually misguide the victims and help the Narcissist gaslight.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Yep yep yep. Another lesson: NEVER attend marriage counseling with a narc. If the therapist isn’t up on NPD (most of them are not) the narc spouse will gaslight you to kingdom come and the therapist will believe every word they say, because they will be making YOU look bad. The therapist will of course think the narc is the victim and YOU are the abuser. Happened to me.

          Liked by 3 people

          • Early in the relationship my Narc wanted me to get rid of my church involvement and my therapist. When I told him that the therapist liked him…and was supportive of him in my life he didn’t mind it if I saw her.

            His biggest issue was that I spoke to his ex wife. He claimed I violated him. But I think the biggest problem is that he is humilated by the fact that we validated each other with the truth. The most valuable insite she gave me was simple. She told me that everything was always a mystery with him. She was married to him for almost 2 years, and all she got was an extremely intense version of what I saw.

            She told me that I am a very lucky woman to have escaped. She told me he is a very dangerous man.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Here is a book that, in my opinion, really gets it right: Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds, by Chris Brauns.

      Dear wonderful Lucky, I LOVE this post. I think it is your best one yet. Suddenly I am inspired to write a post with my reaction to this post. Which would require me to make my blog public again. Sigh…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As always, your analysis is excellent. Toxic narcissism is such an apt term, for the self-poisoned pass along their venom to us and as we struggle to survive, we cling to the poison as if it were a life raft–instead of an anchor. That’s why I’m a big fan of therapy which can help us heal by letting go. It is quite the struggle to stop the rage/anger, but I think forgiveness is necessary–for you, not the narcissist. That doesn’t mean it’s ok or that you’ll ever forget. 1st you let go of the righteous anger and embrace life in all its beauty, courage, and freedom. Then you may find that you can forgive them (“for they know not what they do.”). That last is not easy, but the peace that comes from that internal decision is incredible. You are a great inspiration to us all. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    • I got choked up reading this, thanks :/ No, really, reading this touched me.
      No, it isn’t easy but it’s necessary to let go and move on.
      The venom narcissistic parents pass along to their offspring (I have seen this type of unrelenting rage primarily in ACONs, not merely those who got into relationships with them later) has a name: “fleas.” And like real fleas, the fleas narcs pass onto us are useless and even deadly. People trapped in the fleas of victimization their narcs passed along to them are oftentimes not even self aware enough to realize they are destroying themselves, and are in grave danger of turning narcissistic themselves.
      But if you try to reason with them, much like a narcissist, they will become very defensive and attack you or gaslight you by telling you you are evil yourself for “blaming the victims” and “siding wih the narcs.” The sad thing is, I don’t even think they’re aware they’re doing it.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. I try to just focus on what I am feeling, and let others feel what they are feeling without me making any comments or judgements about them or to them. I don’t know how other peoples’ lives were and I don’t think it’s any of my business how they feel about it, unless they want to tell me. And I try not to assume someone is feeling something either, because then it’s projecting on my part. Someone might be in a bad mood one day and feel angry about the moment and their past, but then in a few minutes it’s blown over. None of us are static.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are absolutely right of course, and we can’t judge the mental state of another person. But what I’m referring to here has nothing to do with just “having a bad day.” When you are ganged up on by a group of bullies and accused of things you never said and never thought, just because they disagree with you, and it’s because you dared to suggest some N’s *might* be redeemable, then I’d say the anger behind the bullying is toxic, not just a mood. But I get what you’re trying to say, and I am not sitting in judgment of anyone. Like I said, we are all at different stages. But if I see that someone is allowing their bitterness to keep them trapped in victimhood and unable to progress, I feel like I need to say something. Whether they take it or leave it is their choice.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I think that when I was stuck in the rage part – it would have bothered me to be told to let go, too. Not because I disagreed so much as felt invalidated. That is such a HUGE problem for me and I imagine that it is for most ACONs. We haven’t ever had a thought, opinion, or emotion that was “allowed” so to have someone (even trying to be helpful and loving) suggest that we let that pain go it can feel a bit like another betrayal? Does that make sense??? I completely struggled with the entire concept of forgiveness because it just seemed so UNFAIR! But now I get it, and hopefully those that reacted poorly to your help will eventually get it, too.

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