A malignant narcissist’s rage in action.

I’m not going to review the movie “Boogie Nights” here but there’s a scene I want to talk about because of how powerful it is.

“Boogie Nights” is a 1997 film that starred Mark Wahlberg as Dirk Diggler, young man who fled his mother’s abuse and became successful as an adult film star during the late Disco era. The soundtrack consists of disco and dance hits from the late 1970s and early 1980s.

This was actually a very good film, and the acting by his mother (Joanne Gleason) in this scene (set in 1977, when the story begins with Dirk leaving home), is terrific. She is like a lower-middle-class version of Mary Tyler Moore’s character in “Ordinary People.” She shows more “emotion” because of her social class, which doesn’t require her to “stuff” over-the-top emotion, but she’s every bit as malignant as the mother in “Ordinary People,” and Dirk is obviously her scapegoat. She may have BPD rather than NPD, but it really doesn’t matter either way, because sociopathic, soul-murdering behavior like this is possible with either disorder.

Notice the way she gaslights and blame-shifts, while at the same time is freaking out because Dirk is refusing to provide her the supply she needs and is leaving her. This is one of the things that can happen when you inflict injury on a high spectrum, malignant narcissist. Wahlberg’s character is a somatic narcissist himself, but it’s hard to see that in this scene.

“Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Rage”

I don’t generally like the sort of comparisons I see so often that stigmatize BPD as a less stable, “crazier” form of NPD, but it’s a fact that people with both disorders have problems with rage, and their rage can manifest in very similar ways, even though the motives behind the rage are different.

Here’s an article from Narcissist’s Wife that talks about the similarities and differences, and how you can protect yourself from the angry B’s. (sorry for the bad pun, I couldn’t resist).

Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Rage

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Credit: http://www.narcissistswife.com/

Borderline Personality Disorder has many symptoms in common with Narcissism. In fact, the two disorders often overlap to some extent. This can cause a lot of confusion for the spouses and partners of these people as they go from seemingly normal and ok and you start thinking “well, maybe they aren’t a narc, maybe they were just having ________” (Insert whatever excuse you happen to go to when they’re behaving badly). Not everyone is 100% psychopathic Narcissist with the heart of a snake. As with anything in life, sometimes Narcissism comes in shades of grey.

All that said, Borderline Personality Disorder can express itself in ways very similar to Narcissism and one of the most common is in rage. The temper tantrums narcissists throw are very similar to a Borderline, though they are motivated by different things. Knowing these things may help you not only anticipate an explosion, but temper it as well.

Borderline Outburst

Unlike a Stone Cold Narcissist (who uses rages to manipulate, control, and assert his superiority) borderlines are extremely insecure and emotionally unstable. Nearly all their emotions go up and down (leading one to question Bipolar disorder) but anger is the most difficult for those around him/her to put up with. Their intense and fiery anger comes from a deep belief that you don’t care about them, are not listening to them or are otherwise not meeting their needs. They strike out in pain to punish the one who they believe is hurting them. Unfortunately, this may all be in their heads, and their pain could actually be coming from another source that they are not prepared to deal with or that they are otherwise bound to not be able to express anger at, so you become their emotional punching bag.

Those without an overlapping Narcissistic disorder may feel shame and embarrassment, and apologize when their emotions have calmed down a bit, for fear of losing you. Though they may feel remorse, their behavior will not get better unless they are in treatment. A Borderline with Narcissism though, will not make such overtures. Your perceived faults are deserving of their rage in their eyes and the punishment for your shortcomings in their eyes is their scorn and anger. They are more demeaning in their anger, and can be much more passive aggressive.

Read the rest of this article here: http://www.narcissistswife.com/borderline-personality-disorder-narcissistic-rage/#respond

Narcissistic Rage

One surprising thing about narcissistic rage is that anger in general is narcissistic, even from non-narcissists. I don’t agree with this writer (who writes about narcissism every Friday from a Christian perspective), that ALL anger is narcissistic (for example, righteous anger can even be altruistic, if we are angry on behalf of someone else), but most anger probably is.

The other surprising thing about narcissistic rage is that it doesn’t always look like rage. It can appear in many forms in a narcissist (such as the silent treatment), who often plan out their attack in advance. Read on to find out how you can protect yourself and avoid reacting with rage yourself.

Grace for my Heart

It’s Narcissist Friday!   

The anger is always there. It lies just under the surface, almost waiting to erupt. When it is finally released, it will be dedicated to burning and destruction. Sometimes there are warning signs. Other times the rage explodes in an unexpected instant. But even with the warning signs, there is little you can do to stop it.

Narcissistic rage has been discussed in the psychological community for many years. Freud wrote about it. The reference to narcissism is not a reference to the person, but to the type of anger. It is an exclusive anger, designed to hurt or push others away. And it may not look like rage. It may be very subtle, under-handed, or even childish.

A man I know was getting a ride from another man. As he waited for the other to unlock his door, he put his briefcase on the roof…

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6 Signs of Narcissism You May Not Know About (Psychology Today)

Interesting article about the lesser-known indicators of narcissism from Psychology Today. Contrary to popular opinion, narcissists do not love themselves, only their image.
I agree with Dr. Seltzer that these six traits should be added to the official diagnostic criteria for NPD.

6 Signs of Narcissism You May Not Know About: How can you recognize the fragility behind the narcissist’s grandiosity?
Post published by Leon F Seltzer Ph.D.

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The recently published 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) lists precisely the same nine criteria for narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) as did the previous version, published 19 years earlier. So these longstanding diagnostic yardsticks are by now quite familiar—not only to professionals but to interested laypeople as well. Because only the extreme, or “classic,” narcissist fits all of these criteria, DSM specifies that an individual need meet only five of them (barely more than half) to warrant this unflattering label.

As a starting point, I’ll reiterate these selected criteria—before, that is, adding six important ones of my own, which either complement or extend these “official” yardsticks. My particular measures for identifying pathological narcissists are based not only on my exposure to the voluminous writings on this character disorder, but also on 30+ years of clinical experience. This experience includes doing personal, couples, and family counseling with such troublesome individuals. But it also involves working independently with those involved with narcissists—whether their distressed children, spouses, parents, friends, or business associates—who repeatedly express enormous frustration in trying to cope with them.

To begin, however, here are DSM’s requirements (link is external) (slightly condensed, and with minor bracketed amendments) for “earning” the unenviable diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance.
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
4. Requires excessive admiration [regularly fishes for compliments, and is highly susceptible to flattery].
5. Has a sense of entitlement.
6. Is interpersonally exploitative.
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling [or, I would add, unable] to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
9. Shows arrogant, haughty [rude and abusive] behaviors or attitudes.

So what’s left out here? Actually, as regards identifying descriptors, quite a bit. And I’ve no doubt that other therapists could add further to the six additional characteristics I’ll provide here—features that, although regrettably minimized or omitted from DSM, I‘ve routinely seen displayed by the many dysfunctional narcissists I’ve worked with. So, to enumerate them, such individuals:

1. Are highly reactive to criticism.

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Or anything they assume or interpret as negatively evaluating their personality or performance. This is why if they’re asked a question that might oblige them to admit some vulnerability, deficiency, or culpability, they’re apt to falsify the evidence (i.e., lie—yet without really acknowledging such prevarication to themselves), hastily change the subject, or respond as though they’d been asked something entirely different. Earlier for Psychology Today I wrote a post highlighting this supercharged sensitivity called “The Narcissist’s Dilemma: They Can Dish It Out, But . . . ”. And this aspect of their disturbance underscores that their ego—oversized, or rather artificially “inflated”—can hardly be viewed as strong or resilient. On the contrary, it’s very easily punctured. (And note here another related piece of mine, “Our Egos: Do They Need Strengthening—or Shrinking?”). What these characteristics suggest is that, at bottom and despite all their egotistic grandiosity, they…

2. Have low self-esteem.

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This facet of their psyche is complicated, because superficially their self-regard would appear to be higher and more assured than just about anyone else’s. Additionally, given their customary “drivenness,” it’s not uncommon for them to rise to positions of power and influence, as well as amass a fortune (and see here my post “Narcissism: Why It’s So Rampant in Politics”). But if we examine what’s beneath the surface of such elevated social, political, or economic stature—or their accomplishments generally—what typically can be inferred is a degree of insecurity vastly beyond anything they might be willing to avow.

That is, in various ways they’re constantly driven to prove themselves, both to others and to their not-so-confident “inner child” self. This is the self-doubting, recessive part of their being that, though well hidden from sight, is nonetheless afflicted with feelings and fears of inferiority. Inasmuch as their elaborate defense system effectively wards off their having to face what their bravado masks, they’re highly skilled at exhibiting, or “posturing,” exceptionally high self-esteem. But their deeper insecurities are yet discernible in their so often fishing for compliments and their penchant for bragging and boasting about their (frequently exaggerated) achievements. That is, they’re experts at complimenting themselves! And when—despite all their self-aggrandizement— others are critical of them, they…

3. Can be inordinately self-righteous and defensive.

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Needing so much to protect their overblown but fragile ego, their ever-vigilant defense system can be extraordinarily easy to set off. I’ve already mentioned how reactive they typically are to criticism, but in fact anything said or done that they perceive as questioning their competence can activate their robust self-protective mechanisms. Which is why so many non-narcissists I’ve worked with have shared how difficult it is to get through to them in situations of conflict. For in challenging circumstances it’s almost as though their very survival depends on being right or justified, whereas flat out (or humbly) admitting a mistake—or, for that matter, uttering the words “I’m sorry” for some transgression—seem difficult to impossible for them.

Further, their “my way or the highway” attitude in decision-making—their stubborn.competitive insistence that their point of view prevail—betrays (even as it endeavors to conceal) their underlying doubts about not being good, strong, or smart enough. And the more their pretentious, privileged, exaggeratedly puffed-up self-image feels endangered by another’s position, the more likely they are to…

4. React to contrary viewpoints with anger or rage.

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In fact, this characteristic is so common in narcissists that it’s always surprised me that DSM doesn’t specifically refer to it among its nine criteria. Repeatedly, writers have noted that angry outbursts are almost intrinsic to both narcissistic and borderline personality disorders. And although (unlike the borderline) it’s not particular fears of abandonment that bring out their so-called “narcissistic rage,” both personality disorders generally react with heated emotion when others bring their deepest insecurities too close to the surface.

The reason that feelings of anger and rage are so typically expressed by them is that in the moment they externalize the far more painful anxiety- or shame-related emotions hiding just beneath them. When they’re on the verge of feeling—or re-feeling—some hurt or humiliation from their past, their consequent rage conveniently “transfers” these unwanted feelings to another (and see here my PT post “Anger—How We Transfer Feelings of Guilt, Hurt, and Fear”).

The accompanying message that gets communicated through such antagonistic emotions is “I’m not bad (wrong, stupid, mean, etc.), you are!” Or, it could even be: “I’m not narcissistic, or borderline! You are!” (Or, in slightly milder version, “If I’m narcissistic, or borderline, then so are you!”) And if the mentally healthier individual has no clue as to what provoked their outburst in the first place, such a sudden explosion is likely to make them feel not only baffled but hurt, and maybe even frightened. But what cannot be overemphasized here is that narcissists…

5. Project onto others qualities, traits, and behaviors they can’t—or won’t—accept in themselves.

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Because they’re compelled from deep within to conceal deficits or weaknesses in their self-image, they habitually redirect any unfavorable appraisal of themselves outwards, unconsciously trusting that doing so will forever keep at bay their deepest suspicions about themselves. Getting anywhere close to being obliged to confront the darkness at their innermost core can be very scary, for in reality their emotional resources are woefully underdeveloped.

Broadly recognized as narcissists by their fundamental lack of self-insight, very few of them (depending, of course, on how far out they are on the narcissistic continuum) can achieve such interior knowledge. For in a variety of ways their rigid, unyielding defenses can be seen as more or less defining their whole personality. And that’s why one of the most reliable ways for them to feel good about themselves—and “safe” in the world they’re essentially so alienated from—is to invalidate, devalue, or denigrate others. So they’ll focus on others’ flaws (whether or not they really exist) rather than acknowledge, and come to terms with, their own. And in many curious ways this habit causes them to…

6. Have poor interpersonal boundaries.

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Space invasion!

It’s been said about narcissists that they can’t tell where they end and the other person begins. Unconsciously viewing others as “extensions” of themselves, they regard them as existing primarily to serve their own needs—just as they routinely put their needs before everyone else’s (frequently, even their own children). Since others are regarded (if they’re regarded at all!) as what in the literature is often called “narcissistic supplies”—that is, existing chiefly to cater to their personal desires—they generally don’t think about others independently of how they might “use” them to their own advantage. Whatever narcissists seek to give themselves, they generally expect to get from others, too (which is yet another dimension of their famous—or infamous—sense of entitlement).

Even beyond this, their porous boundaries and unevenly developed interpersonal skills may prompt them to inappropriately dominate conversations and share with others intimate details about their life (though some narcissists, it should be noted, can display an extraordinary, however Machiavellian, social savvy). Such private information would probably focus on disclosing facts others would be apt to withhold. But having (at least consciously) much less of a sense of shame, they’re likely to share things they’ve said or done that most of us would be too embarrassed or humiliated to admit. Still, with an at times gross insensitivity to how others might react to their words, they’re likely to blurt out things, or even boast about them, that others can’t help but view as tasteless, demeaning, insulting, or otherwise offensive.

They might, for instance, share—and with considerable pride!—how they “chewed” someone out, and expect the other person to be impressed by their courage or cleverness, when in fact the listener may be appalled by their lack of kindness, tact, or restraint. Additionally, they may ask others questions that are far too personal or intimate—again unwittingly irritating or upsetting them. And such a situation can be particularly difficult for the other person if the narcissist is in a position of authority over them so that not responding could, practically, put them in some jeopardy.

To conclude, I can only hope that these additional characterizations of the pathological narcissist (vs. those with less pronounced narcissistic qualities) may be helpful in enabling you to identify them before their “malignancy” does a number on you. And if you’ve already been duped by their machinations or manipulations, perhaps this piece will be a “heads up” for you to prevent them from wreaking any further havoc in your life.

NOTE 1: I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the narcissism addressed here centers on its most maladaptive, or “toxic,” forms. Unlike DSM (the standard diagnostic reference tool for mental health professionals), the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (link is external)(PDM, 2006)—respected, but much less well known than this official volume—explicitly notes that the disorder exists “along a continuum of severity, from the border with neurotic personality disorders to the more severely disturbed levels.” And additionally, that “toward the neurotic end [these] narcissistic individuals may be socially appropriate, personally successful, charming and, although somewhat deficient in the capacity for intimacy, reasonably well adapted to their family circumstances, work, and interests.”

Who’s “too sensitive”?

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“You’re too sensitive!”

This seems to be a phrase many ACONs have heard their entire lives. And yes, many of us are more sensitive than the average person, which is why we were targeted, scapegoated, and bullied in the first place.

Narcissists know being sensitive means we can see the truth about things, that we can see through bullshit and lies. They don’t like that because it exposes them for what they really are, so they turn a quality that gives us intuition and insight into something that makes us seem weak and defenseless.

If our parents were narcissists, we were trained to be ashamed of this quality and turn it against ourselves, rather than learn to refine it and develop it into the powerful gift it really is. Society doesn’t help much with that either. Sensitivity is generally thought of as a weakness rather than a strength. It’s not something you would want to admit on a job interview when the interviewer asks you what your “worst quality” is. I actually did that once, and was shown the door. They want to hear “I’m too impatient” or “I’m too greedy,” or “I obsess too much about power and control,” not “I’m too sensitive.”

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I think narcissists also like to pull out the “you’re too sensitive” card because they’re projecting what they see as a fault in themselves onto us. They’re good at that. Narcissists are incredibly hyper-sensitive–but only about themselves; no one else ever benefits from their hypersensitivity.

It’s my opinion that narcissists, before they adopted narcissism as a defense mechanism, started out life as extremely sensitive children and in some cases even had the potential to be empaths. Abuse and neglect turned them into narcissists. Narcissism is an elaborate defense mechanism that obscures, buries and eventually can nearly destroy the sensitive true self. It almost would take an act of God for a narcissist to ever shed their swagger and their “I’m a big mean unfeeling badass” mask and let their sensitive true self come to light. Most of them couldn’t do it even if they wanted to.

But narcissists can’t hide from themselves–not completely. Most of them have exquisitely tender feelings and are easily hurt. It’s very easy to insult a narcissist. They have no sense of humor about themselves and are unable to take a joke at their own expense. They are big crybabies who will whine, sulk and complain loudly should you hurt their feelings (and it’s almost impossible not to). Most will show their hurt as rage–because raging makes them seem big and tough, something they really aren’t but wish they were. Or they will retaliate by ignoring you, abandoning you, cutting you off, or giving you the silent treatment–because those things make it look as if they don’t care. You’d be wrong though. They care alright, and when you have caused them narcissistic injury they are off licking their wounds in silence where you can’t see. Or loudly complaining to others about how
mean and narcissistic YOU are.

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They call us too sensitive because they’re unable to own their own hypersensitivity. They turn it into a bad thing because they know they have lost that part of their sensitivity that would have made them able to feel for others and empathize. They’re crippled people. They can’t ever feel sorry for someone else–but as far as self-pity goes, no one can beat them at that.

Narcissists destroy who they cannot control.

Interesting and insightful video by Smakintosh, who has a Youtube channel filled with other videos about malignant narcissism and how to deal with them.

Smakintosh speaks from a Christian perspective, but his messages aren’t limited to just Christians but to anyone victimized by malignant narcissists. All his videos are excellent.

“The narcissist has no use for the one he or she cannot control. If the narc in your life cannot control you, you mean nothing to them.”
*Visit blog http://gospelundergroundblog.blogspot

FAQ’s: Can you tell a Narcissist by his eyes?

This is from a new blog I just found–and a fascinating and very creepy post about the eyes of malignant narcissists and psychopaths. The comments are numerous and I was shocked how many other people besides me have seen the eyes of malignant narcissists turn from their normal color into that dead, opaque black when enraged or when they’re devaluing you. It may sound crazy, but it’s very real. I have seen this look on several malignant narcissists. My ex and my mother in particular come to mind. I also think I saw that look once in my daughter’s recent ex boyfriend, who turned out to be a very skilled and charming psychopath.

One commenter said the change could be due to the pupils dilating when the narcissist is enraged, to the point that the iris is no longer visible. That does make some sense, but I’ve actually seen the entire eye turn black, including the whites, so I’m not sure how dilating pupils would explain that.

What do you think causes this to happen? An evil entity that takes over when the narcissist flies into a rage? Their own emptiness? Dilating pupils? Is the explanation scientific or spiritual?

The worst malignant narcissists have eyes that look like this all the time–shark-like, empty, soulless. And their stare is penetrating and unnerving. It’s the stare of a predator sizing up it’s prey. Their eyes aren’t always pitch black but they are always cold and predatory.

Elisse Stuart's Weblog

 

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Can you tell a Narcissist by his eyes? 

This sweet cat would no doubt be offended at the comparison. 
The individual asking Google the question used the phrasing  “Can you tell a narcissist with his eyes.”  I don’t think you can necessarily tell what kind of human being a person is, by their eyes. 
I have only known one bona fide narcissist and I know what his eyes were like. 

Some people are shy, they can’t look you in the eyes for very long.  It’s not that they are dishonest, it just makes them uncomfortable, makes them feel vulnerable, to look in another person’s eyes for very long.  Being a victim of a narcissist left me feeling fragile and fearful to let people see my eyes.  As if, they would be able to see the pain that was written there. 

Many people like myself have been harmed by individuals who portrayed themselves as…

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Narcissistic injury.

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I am keeping my promise to remain 100% honest about everything on this blog. It’s my journal, and I’m going to continue to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God. If that bothers people, they need to get over it or go read someone else’s blog. This is my blog and my life, and I will censor nothing that goes on in my mind.

Last night I insulted Sam Vaknin. My insulting him was unintentional and probably clueless, but he was angry enough about it to block me on social media and tell me to fuck off. Those were his exact words. Fuck off.

It wasn’t even me that insulted him. Well, not directly anyway. One of my commenters who frequents this blog made a sort of joke, seemingly at Sam’s expense (or at least I took it as a joke, which is why I approved the remark). I wasn’t actually sure if the jab was directed at me or at Sam. See, I’ve spent my whole life being paranoid and not knowing how to take jokes or how to respond to them (being Avoidant and socially awkward has a lot to do with this, plus having been bullied as a child has made me wary of snark and jokes made at my expense).

This joke was no exception. I was unsure about how I should react to it. I spent a long time trying to decide how to respond or if I should respond. I considered not approving the comment. Sometimes it’s just hard to know what is the best course of action when it comes to things like that.

I thought it over and over in my usual obsessive way, and when I weighed things out, it seemed the best course of action would be to go ahead and approve the comment, “like” it, and respond to it with a “LOL.” I want to be seen as someone lighthearted, a person who can take a joke (because I wasn’t sure if the comment was actually directed at me). I value this member’s opinions and her friendship. She also has an amazing blog. So I reasoned that her remark, no matter who it was directed to, must be all in good fun and a simple “LOL” would be harmless and would hurt no one.

Apparently not. I had no idea Sam would react so badly to my joining in with another commenter in “making fun of him” and failing to defend him from what he felt was “abuse.” Apparently that’s what he expected of me? I can’t say about the other commenter’s feelings, but my intention wasn’t to make fun of him at all, just try to act lighthearted and hope no one would be hurt or insulted.

But you can’t please everyone. If you go out of your way to please one person you are bound to upset someone else. Running a blog sometimes can be difficult. You are required to respond to comments in a way that engages conversation but doesn’t run people off or anger them. Sometimes you have to call them out on bad behavior or issue warnings. And you are going to insult people sometimes. People are going to disagree with you. It can’t be helped.

But when you’re dealing with a narcissist, even an educated and insightful one like Sam, you have to walk on eggshells. I refuse to walk on eggshells for anyone. I’ve had enough of that crap from all my IRL narcs. I still feel guilty about insulting him by proxy though, because I just hate making anyone feel bad.

I want to apologize to Sam, but I know I shouldn’t so I won’t. Because I didn’t really do anything wrong. At worst I made an unwise decision about someone else’s comment, but any normal person would be over it by now. To any normal person it might have even been funny.

I hate making people angry. Probably because I grew up in a household filled with seething anger, open hostility and constant discord. Anger scares someone like me. Of course it’s not realistic to expect a narcissist to not be easily upset and angered. They are incredibly hypersensitive about themselves. They hate being insulted or made fun of more than anything in the world. Still, it never occurred to me something I didn’t think was a big deal would set him off and make him think I was his enemy (I’m not).

Narcissists have no sense of humor (my mother was a perfect example of a narcissist with zero tolerance for any jokes or criticism at her expense, no matter how mild they were). Narcissists cannot laugh at themselves. I have never known one narc who can. What made me think Sam was any exception?

I admit Sam’s blocking me and telling me to fuck off really bothers me, because I was enjoying his input here and he was being so nice to me. It was a shock to find his angry epithet toward me today. It was a Jekyll and Hyde moment. I was gobsmacked.

I have a phobia about making people angry because during my childhood, it seemed all I ever did was make my narcissistic mother angry, and in my marriage to a malignant narc, if I breathed the wrong way it set him off into a narcissistic rage. Like Barack Obama, I try too hard to please everyone, and wind up pleasing no one. In this case, my decision to approve the commenter’s remark and reply with an “LOL” was a bad call, I guess.

But with a narcissist, sooner or later they will show their true colors anyway, so it probably was just a matter of time before it happened.

I’m not sure what the best action to take is now. It’s probably wisest to just ignore him and no longer feed his narcissistic supply by posting any more articles about him, at least until this blows over (if it ever does–I don’t know if Sam holds grudges but most narcs do).

I don’t think I really need Sam anymore for this blog to be a success. I appreciate and am forever grateful for the jump start he gave me in gaining more visibility, but I can continue the momentum on my own now without his help. I still respect Sam’s brilliant mind and his writings, but today he showed me his true colors as the malignant narcissist he actually is. It was a wake up call. I had my doubts before about the malignancy of his narcissism (maybe because I didn’t want to believe it); now I have no doubts whatsoever.