An important milestone that victims and survivors of narcissistic relationships must reach if they are to truly escape the narcissistic abuse cycle is grasping a comprehensive understanding of narcissistic rage. 

Unfortunately, grasping a comprehensive understanding of narcissistic rage is difficult because of how many ways it can manifest. There’s physical violence directed at non-living things, physical violence directed at living things, psychological violence, sexual violence, and even neglect.

It is really important to understand the variations of narcissistic rage because one of the biggest enablers of narcissistic abuse are victims who minimize their experiences. The most common reason this happens is because they compare their own situation to someone else’s story who they believe to be in a worse situation.

This is an incredibly dangerous way of thinking because abusers are users. They take and take and take and take until you have nothing left. If you give them wiggle room when they’re neglectful, they’ll naturally feel comfortable progressing to something more physical.

Suggested Read: What Happens During Narcissistic Rage? (Survey With 100 Survivors)

“Before they bite, they bark. Before they hit you, they hit near you”- Maid, A Netflix Series About Domestic Violence

15 Examples of Narcissistic Rage

A narcissist’s rage is one of the strongest glues that hold many narcissistic relationships in place. Through narcissistic rage, narcissists are able to coerce their victims into neglecting their own well-being, gaslight them into silence, and simultaneously embed so much fear within the victim’s psyche that leaving no longer feels like a safe option. 

A victim of narcissistic abuse scared to leave the relationship

Physical Violence Directed at Non-living Things

  • I was severely abused financially in my marriage with my narcissistic ex. I was making minimum wage, paying rent, buying food, and paying for all of his subscriptions on his phone. One day when we were driving, his music stopped playing because the auto renewal failed because I had no money left in my account. He was so angry. He started driving really fast, cutting people off, yelling at me and out the window at others, and weaving in and out of traffic. – Pam, A Survivor of 23 Years of Narcissistic Abuse
  • In September of 2000 my narcissistic father and I were building a small cottage on the backend of our property for my younger sibling, the golden child, to have a safe place to hang out with his friends. Towards the end of the project we realized that our measurements for the firepit were wrong and it wasn’t going to be big enough. He lost it. He told me that I was the worst son anyone could ever ask for, smashed all of the windows out of the cottage, and blamed the entire temper tantrum on me. – Jackson, A Survivor of 19 Years of Narcissistic Abuse
  • In July of 2020 my narcissistic ex-husband and I decided to take our two children on a camping trip. It was supposed to be a really nice memory for everyone. It was super buggy and our children (ages 5 and 8) were getting eaten alive by mosquitos and horse flies. My ex-husband got really jealous because I was paying more attention to our children and their well-being than I was to his sexual desires. About three hours into the camping trip he exploded with rage, destroyed our tents, and left us there in the cold. I barely had service but I was able to call my sister for help. – Olivia, A Survivor of 12 Years of Narcissistic Abuse
A narcissist getting angry at his wife during a camping trip

Physical Violence Directed at Living Things

  • I was a really good tennis player throughout my childhood and because both of my parents were tennis players also, it made me the golden child. As I got older (15-16) I started to lose my love for the sport but I knew how much my parents wanted me to play so I kept going. I’m not sure what triggered it, but one day I just quit tennis. I was done. I wanted nothing to do with it. When I told my father he freaked out, threw the book in his hand at me, and backhanded me as hard as he could. It was terrifying. I was so scared that I actually continued to play tennis for the next 4 years. – Ethan, A Survivor of 22 Years of Narcissistic Abuse
  • My narcissistic mother was really popular in the community I grew up in. She was constantly in the local newspaper, had a few interviews on television, and other opportunities like that. She wasn’t necessarily important, she just knew how to make herself look like the perfect community member at all times. At one of the town’s town hall meetings, she was embarrassed because another community member stood up and told her that she wasn’t as good of a person as she thought she was. When she asked why, the gentleman went on to tell her a story about a childish prank my friends and I had pulled on him the month before. She was really calm, apologized for my foolishness and that was it… until we got home… the moment those doors closed she beat the hell out of me for embarrassing her. I couldn’t go to school for a week or two because of the bruises. – Sam, A Survivor of 23 Years of Narcissistic Abuse
  • Because of my narcissistic ex-boyfriend’s expertise with financial abuse, I didn’t have a job for a majority of our relationship. We lived hundreds of miles away from family and friends so my days were spent keeping the house clean, going on walks, drawing, and wishing for better days. One time we got into a huge fight. I was so depressed, anxious, and scared that I just layed in bed for two days. The home got really dirty, the dishes weren’t done, and my ex had to cook for himself. He got so angry by this that he threw me down the stairs, dislocated my shoulder by dragging me around the house, and kicked me out of the house for hours. – Janine, A Survivor of 5 Years of Narcissistic Abuse
A victim of narcissistic abuse processing the physical abuse she just experienced.

Psychological Violence 

  • It was our 6th anniversary and we were having dinner at the restaurant that we met at. My phone was buzzing a lot so I reached in my purse to grab it to see if there was some kind of an emergency. Before I could even look at the messages, my narcissistic ex-husband started screaming at me in front of everyone. At first the yelling was just about the phone but then he started to call me ugly, fat, lazy, and pathetic. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that humiliated in my life. – Yarra, A Survivor of 12 Years of Narcissistic Abuse
  •  It was January of 2021. My narcissistic ex-girlfriend and I were driving home when we got into an argument because I wanted her to stop texting and driving. She has totaled multiple cars so I don’t think I was being dramatic… She began to scream at me about how much of a loser I was. She told me that if I had anyone who actually loved me, I’d be on my phone too. I struggle with that aspect of my life so her comments hurt but I just kept using the gray rock method. Eventually she got so angry that she threatened to crash the car on purpose. It was terrifying. – Oliver, A Survivor of 3 Years of Narcissistic Abuse 
  • I forgot to put down wet floor signs when I was mopping the floor at work and my narcissistic boss slipped in it. He didn’t fall but he was still angry. He made really passive aggressive comments about hiring someone to replace me, he started rumors that I was cheating on my wife, and he even went as far as bullying me for not finishing high school and how my application was hilariously pathetic. I was already at a low point in my life at that time and his abuse made it ten times worse. – Ulle, A Survivor of 2 Years of Narcissistic Abuse
A narcissist slipping in water

Sexual Violence

  • My narcissistic ex-husband drank way too much at his company Christmas party leaving me stuck with adult babysitting duties. When we got home he wanted to have sexual intercourse but I wanted to go to sleep. He got angry and started groping me, trying to put his fingers inside me, and a bunch of other stuff. I felt so disgusted. I hated him. He ended up passing out before things could progress to more violent stuff. – India, A Survivor of 20 Years of Narcissistic Abuse
  • My narcissistic coworker and I closed a HUGE deal with a new client and out of excitement I hugged him. It was just a hug out of excitement, nothing else. He tried to kiss me but when I rejected it, he got really really upset and grabbed my arm really hard. I tried to pull away but he was holding on so tight that I couldn’t. He started to kiss me all over my face and neck while telling me that I was just playing hard to get. It was disgusting. I’m not sure what made him stop, but he did. – Rayee, A Survivor of 3 Years of Narcissistic Abuse
  • I found out my wife was a narcissist just before we had to go into a lockdown. It hit like a freight train! I was so angry, disgusted, and sad that I wasted 5 years of my life with this woman. I didn’t want to be intimate with her at all and it became a big problem because she couldn’t just go get it from someone else because of the lockdown. About two months into the lockdown and lack of intimacy, she became really aggressive. She would grab my genitals, try to do things to me when I was sleeping, get drunk and throw herself at me. I told her that I didn’t want anything but she kept forcing herself onto me. – Eddy, A Survivor of 5 Years of Narcissistic Abuse
A narcissist holding onto his victim

Neglect

  • My narcissistic ex-wife gave me a birthday gift that was making a joke out of an affair she had. I was furious. It hadn’t been more than a month and she was making a joke about the whole situation on my birthday. I threw the gift in the trash and she gave me the silent treatment for a week. – Paul, A Survivor of 6 Years of Narcissistic Abuse
  • My narcissistic mother showed up to my graduation ceremony drunk. It was so embarrassing because she was offending everyone she crossed paths with, booing other students getting their diploma, and even punched my father (they’re divorced) in the mouth when he tried getting her to leave. I got so angry and shouted at her to leave. She got so upset and hasn’t spoken to me since. It has been 9 months. I’ve been getting weird phone calls from blocked numbers that I suspect is her but I haven’t heard her voice in 9 months. – Harrison, A Survivor of 18 Years of Narcissistic Abuse
  • On the first day of our honeymoon my narcissistic ex-husband and I got into an argument because he wanted to watch a NBA game on TV instead of spending OUR honeymoon together. I made the mistake of calling him childish because it triggered the silent treatment for the entire honeymoon (2 weeks). We didn’t speak once. I just sat on the beach gaslighting myself into believing that I crossed a line. – Maddie, A Survivor of 12 Years of Narcissistic Abuse
A victim of narcissistic abuse sitting on the beach to avoid the silent treatment.

What Should You Take Away From This Article?

Taking the time to learn about narcissistic abuse is really important but it is also incredibly brave. When you first start processing the complexity of narcissistic abuse, you’re going to feel like your world has been violently flipped upside-down.

There will be days were you’ll want to scream at the top of your lungs, there will be days you want to curl up in a ball and cry, and there will be days smack-dab in the middle of the two. Overtime, you’re slowing going to begin to realize that your world didn’t get flipped upside-down. No, it got flipped right-side up.

The limitations that the narcissist in your life placed on you are only as real as you let them be. Learning how to identify narcissistic rage in all of its forms is a perfect place to begin discrediting those limitations.


All of the content that Unfilteredd creates is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for clinical care — please visit here for qualified organizations and here for qualified professionals that you can reach out to for help. This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policies.

References:

Ornstein, Paul H. “Thoughts on narcissism and narcissistic rage.” The search for the self. Routledge, 2018. 615-658.

Ornstein, Anna. “The fate of narcissistic rage in psychotherapy.” Psychoanalytic Inquiry 18.1 (1998): 55-70.