The Moment I Dangerously Angered A Narcissist (And Didn't Even Know It)

The narcissist’s wrath followed shortly afterward.

couple arguing Ekateryna Zubal | Shutterstock

"Colleen betrayed me," said my husband.

"Colleen was communicating with you," said our marriage counselor.

"She betrayed me," repeated my husband.

His anger visibly seethed.

I sat silently.

I was shocked at this revelation.


"Ralph," said our marriage counselor. "Do you think Colleen would ever cheat on you?" he asked.

"No," said my husband. "Of course, not. Colleen would never do that."

"Ralph," asked our marriage counselor. "Are you capable of forgiveness?”

RELATED: Why It Took Me 5 Overly Long And Abusive Years To Divorce A Narcissist

My husband and I were both silent.

I waited for my husband’s response.

He said nothing. I was stunned. I had no words. I was completely clueless. I had no idea my husband had been quietly but dangerously angry at me for several years.

It came out for the first time during this marriage counseling session.


The impetus dated back to a moment I had shared my feelings.

Or so I thought.

"It feels lonely being married to you," I said. "Sometimes I dream about meeting someone who would really be interested in me and care about me."

When I told my husband how I was feeling he had nothing to say. I now knew why. He didn't view this as me expressing unhappiness or sharing my feelings.

He didn't respond because he viewed the few sentences I had spoken as a betrayal.

I had no idea this was the moment I had dangerously angered a narcissist.

Worse, I didn't yet realize that anger is what pushes a narcissist out of hiding.

This is when a narcissist can become more obvious. Narcissists can’t control themselves once you’ve angered them. Narcissists are unable to conceal their need for punishment, revenge, and retribution once a narcissist believes they have been wronged. But it’s not unusual for something to precede this.


When you attempt to leave a narcissist their instinct will be to win.

RELATED: 7 Serious Signs Someone You Know Has Narcissistic Rage

To be precise … A narcissist will first attempt to win you back.

This is what my husband did. Once I spoke those words, he knew I was serious. I had been making plans to leave if only in my mind. I had walked through numerous scenarios.

He spent two years wining and dining me. He took me on several vacations and bought me jewelry.

None of these things were our normal status quo.

Honestly, I didn’t think I would ever love my husband again. He had pushed me that far. The loneliness I felt was crushing. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced.


But again, I was a novice in the area of narcissism.

I didn’t know this was a symptom of loving and living with a narcissist.

Simply existing in another person’s world.

Slowly but surely, my husband successfully won me back. No one was more surprised than I was. I wish I had known this was part of what I now call the standard operating procedure of a narcissist.

The narcissist’s wrath started shortly afterward — as soon as my husband felt he had again secured my commitment to him.

This is when the real nightmare began. 

A narcissist was seeking revenge, retribution, and punishment. Of course, I didn’t know this. I was still unaware a narcissist believed I had "betrayed" him.


Nor did I realize a narcissist’s first instinct after that would be to "win" me back.

A narcissist’s second instinct would be to make me pay.

Because in the narcissist’s mind, I had wronged him.

This is what began an amped-up cycle of narcissistic abuse. It had always been present, but covert narcissists aren’t as obvious. The pattern was more cyclical and less constant.

In true narcissistic fashion, the narcissist went after my Achilles heels. He began uncharacteristically drinking and scaring our children and me. My father had been an alcoholic so a narcissist went directly for my weakness.

It was a two-tiered approach.

RELATED: I Mistook My Covert Narcissist Husband For A Simple, Easygoing Man — The Crucial Sign I Missed


A narcissist tears you down and wears you down.

A narcissist weakens you to gain even more control over you.

Next, my husband began driving aggressively as I sat frightened in the car. The same man who used to make me feel safe. I had a car accident when I was in college, and again, a narcissist went for my other Achilles heel.

This was just the tip of the iceberg.

This turned out to be a fool's play. The narcissistic wrath abusively escalated and made the years of emotional abuse at the hands of a covert narcissist seem mild. I was no match for a narcissist’s angered retribution.

A little over two years after I spoke those words we were in marriage counseling.


My husband’s drinking was pushing me to leave him.

Once again, a narcissist (even angered) still wanted to win me back.

This meant the narcissist was willing to go to marriage counseling. This was where I learned about the word empathy. It was where a psychologist explained a lack of empathy and a narcissistic personality disorder on the extreme end of the spectrum.

This was where my husband rejected the diagnosis of narcissism.

It was where I learned something I was frighteningly unaware of.

This was the moment I dangerously angered a narcissist.

The exact moment a narcissist felt betrayed and wronged.

And the narcissistic wrath followed shortly afterward.


If you think you may be experiencing depression or anxiety as a result of ongoing emotional abuse at the hands of a narcissist, you are not alone.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone and is not a reflection of who you are or anything you've done wrong.

If you feel as though you may be in danger, there is support available 24/7/365 through the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-7233. If you’re unable to speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474.

RELATED: What Happens To Narcissists When Other People Realize They're Narcissists

Colleen Sheehy Orme is a national relationship columnist, journalist, and former business columnist. She writes about love, life, relationships, family, parenting, divorce, and narcissism.