Narcopaths are very concerned about perceptions – their whole life is dedicated to conjuring up a false persona that camouflages their real one. Anything that threatens this causes Narcissistic Injury, which in turn is treated to Narcissistic Rage.
Layers of Defences
The life toil of the Narcissist is to establish an entirely false persona, their “false self” – a charade of charisma, confidence and achievement to hide from sight a rather more repellent “real self”. People often consider them to have a fragile ego – in practice they are merely protecting the con with multiple layers of defence and get very touchy when anyone or anything breaches one or otherwise threatens to undermine or expose the sham. It is baffling the way that they will never apologise – after all, how difficult is it to say “I’m sorry” anyway? But the issue is not so much apologising – but accepting a hit to the “false self”, or indeed anything that points to the existence of the “real Self”.
Their first line of defence is the grandiosity and arrogance – they can exude an air of “don’t cross me, don’t question me” that is normally quite sufficient to deter anyone that they try to hold them to account.
Faced with damning evidence, or more forceful accusation, their next tactic will be to deny. Deny, deny, deny. Repeated often and in increasing levels of volume and it might just stick.
When there is no chance of any denial holding any water further, look as they try and pin blame anywhere other than at their own doorstep in some distortion of the truth. They will diminish the extent of the cock-up or impact / significance of the consequence. They will discredit and denigrate the source of the facts.
Really? Is the narc still having to deal with this issue?? Projection is the next weapon to be wielded – watch how they divert and deflect blame onto someone else or thing.
Their last line of defence relies on others – co-dependents, flying monkeys and enablers – their trusted lieutenants to take on the flight and draw some flak. With their very essence critically threatened, expect this last scrap to be fierce and desperate as the narc’s supporters gang up on the source of the threat.
Breaching a narcs defences can cause what is called Narcissistic Injury. In essence it happens when the narc feels that their standing has been threatened – their importance or significance has been called into question, or their “real self” has been exposed in some way – a fall from grace owing to major cock-up, or poor behaviour on their part that is more indicative of toxic reality that perfect charade.
Whilst rage might imply something explosive, in reality Narcissistic Rage happens on a spectrum. At one end, it can be relatively inert – silent treatment, quiet fuming, aloofness or mild irritation. At the other, however, it can get volcanic – quick to develop, and with little limit to the extreme it can go to – noisy, violent, and with magnitudes that include murder.
One theory suggest that the narcissist has two levels of narcissistic rage – one is a constant anger directed outwards, the other spikes in wrath directed inwards but expressed outward.
Relevant to the mix is the degree of perfectionism to which the Narc aspires. They are often deemed to be pseudo-perfectionists, seeking to create the perception of flawlessness in order to command the grandiosity and admiration they desperately need. Attaining this all of the time is hard work, and falling short can result in feelings of shame, guilt and anxiety at the thought that people may lose veneration they crave.
Why are Narcs on such a mission to protect their reputation, and defend it with such tenacity? The greatest fear of the narcissist is that their“real self”is exposed, they can maintain the charade no longer, false self meets real self and they suffer Narcissistic Collapse.
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