Narcissists are very quick to anger, and this is known as ‘narcissistic rage.’
A person with NPD lives in an adapted self. When this adapted self is challenged in some way a person with NPD can go into a narcissistic rage. This is because the environment is not mirroring their grandiose self back to them or their sense of entitlement is being challenged. Mental ‘walls’ exist in the mind to keep these parts separate. See Structural Dissociation.
The Real Self feels a host of negative feelings about itself and this can ‘leak through’ their defences. The rage serves to maintain the inner structure of their mind and stave off deep-rooted feelings of shame and rejection. Anger is a defence.
This can be very frightening for those around them when it happens. Being challenged or not getting their own way can send them into a rage as it challenges their sense of entitlement and their need for admiration and attention. They may be physically violent. They may slam doors and break objects. Their moods are unpredictable and can change rapidly.
This rage can also be related to a narcissists need for complete control of their environment. It may also involve self-protection and preservation with their rage, in their mind, destroying that which had threatened them. They feel justified in their level of anger and hold the recipient to blame as part of that failure to accept responsibility for themselves. There are several differences between anger and narcissistic rage. Anger is a natural reaction to a frustrating or annoying event, and it occurs from a rational cause and dissipates reasonably quickly after it is expressed. The rage the narcissist feels is different in that it is either irrational or severely blown out of proportion.
Narcissistic rage is closely linked with the phenomena of ‘narcissistic supply.’ When the environment does not mirror back to the narcissist their feelings of grandiosity and superiority then their feelings of shame are triggered and the underlying anger and rage will start to emerge.
When the environment and people around the narcissist do not give adequate supply (attention and admiration) to the narcissist, then this will cause them to go into a rage. The rage both releases the negative feelings, which are projected onto others, and is designed to get the environment to ‘resonate’ with the narcissist and give them supply. The people around the narcissist usually feel fear when the narcissist is in a rage and will adapt to that and try to avoid the same situation in the future.