7 Serious Signs Someone You Know Has Narcissistic Rage

When are 'anger issues' actually dangerous, incurable rage?

angry narcissist Pathdoc / Shutterstock

Everybody becomes angry sometimes — that’s just a part of the human experience. We hope it’s justified and balanced, based on an actual reason, and that the person is still in control enough to say, "I’m angry because."

Then, there are individuals who become angrier than the situation seems to warrant — so angry that other people don’t feel safe. Those people are especially prone to fury at anything that would seem to them to threaten their own sense of self or self-esteem.


But there's a major difference between a normal expression of anger and what is known as narcissistic rage.

RELATED: 12 Glaring Classic Examples Of Covert Narcissist Passive-Aggression

What is narcissistic rage?

Narcissistic rage is a sudden outburst of intense aggression and anger as a result of a narcissist experiencing disappointment, negative feedback, difficulties, or even mild irritation. These outbursts can become violent and lead to physical attacks, gaslighting, and verbal abuse.


The term was first coined in 1972 by author Heinz Kohut in an article he wrote called "Thoughts on Narcissism and Narcissistic Rage."

Because people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) expect constant positive comments and praise, any of the above perceived slights essentially destroy their illusion of superiority and entitlement.

What causes narcissistic rage?

While NPD is an underlying cause of narcissistic rage, other causes can include genetics and childhood trauma or abuse. However, these are not limiting factors; low self-esteem is a major cause.

Narcissistic rage can be a result of narcissistic injury, which is when a narcissist believes their self-worth or confidence is threatened, leading to their "false" persona being exposed to others.


Additional triggers can include criticism, being held accountable for their actions, not receiving the attention they desire, being called out on their manipulation tactics, feeling out of control, or not getting their way.

RELATED: 8 Ways To Deal With A Malignant Narcissist — The Most Evil Type Of Narcissist

7 Signs of Narcissistic Rage

1. Narcissistic tendencies or personality traits

These can include self-aggrandizement, an apparently inflated sense of self-worth, egotistical behavior, and putting their own needs and desires above those of other people.

Narcissists often put others down to make themselves look better in their own eyes. If narcissists you've seen in movies or in public life remind you of your friend or partner, this is a clue.


2. Expressing disapproval of groups of people to which they don't belong

Narcissists will often express racism or other forms of bigotry. The need to be the "best" extends to their group, no matter what it is.

The more severely narcissistic the individual is, the more they feel that they're not getting the accolades, money, or whatever prize they deserve, and the more blatant and nasty this becomes.

3. Not responding well to supervision at work from people 'less than' them

Even if they do what their supervisor tells them to do, how do they describe the person and the incident? Are they still angry hours later?

While someone without narcissistic issues might be angry at true injustice, the narcissist will fume over relatively minor corrections or impositions.


Have they lost jobs due to refusal to do what the supervisor asks, or are they having angry or dangerous outbursts at work? These are serious warning signs.

4. Intense road rage

How do they behave behind the wheel if they're cut off or someone honks at them? Do they speed up, honk, "flip the bird," or do anything else that seems dangerous? Have they caused any accidents this way or threatened anyone with bodily harm?

Another example could include being run off the road because your car was driving "too close" to theirs.

RELATED: 9 Scary Ways Narcissistic Victim Syndrome Traps You In A Bad Relationship

5. Not viewing children as fully human

If children are in their life, how do they treat them? Narcissists don’t generally see other people, especially children, as fully human. They merely exist to satisfy the narcissist’s needs.


Do they play mean tricks or call the kids names or put them down, and then say they were only playing or the child is "too sensitive" or some such thing? Do they expect superior grades and/or athletic ability or other attributes from the children, beyond the level of reason?

This would reflect glory on them, if it’s in an area about which the narcissist cares.

6. Responding negatively when others disagree

How do they handle a disagreement with you? Does it depend on the subject of the disagreement?

In other words, a narcissist will become significantly more outraged when someone disagrees with them about something they see as a reflection of them, but they really don’t mind what you do or think in other areas.


For instance, in a relationship, when you choose some activity or even a job, it probably won’t bring much anger. But they might become furious if you don’t want to entertain their friends or dress in a way they like for a party.

How do they act when you disagree about something that actually matters to them? Do they insult you or threaten you in some way? Do you avoid those disagreements and "go along to get along" out of fear or fatigue?

7. Frequent run-ins with the law

This can include aggression, fighting, road rage, or some other form of disorderly conduct. Was it because their ego was bruised in some way?

Narcissists often have difficulty controlling their rage in social or public situations in which they feel they're not getting the respect they deserve. Alcohol can add to this particular issue.


RELATED: The One Personality Trait That Reveals Higher Risk Factors For Bullying, Aggression, And Violence

Examples of Narcissistic Rage

While narcissistic rage includes outbursts or fits of anger, it can take many forms.

Some examples include:

  • Physically or verbally abusing a partner for not taking out the trash
  • Throwing a dish across a restaurant after receiving the incorrect food order
  • Destroying a hotel lobby after being told their room is not yet ready
  • Breaking all the windows on the car of an employer for criticizing their work ethic
  • Hurling insults at friends when the conversation is steered away from them
  • Gaslighting someone after getting caught lying or cheating
  • Kicking a hole in the wall when their home has not been tidied

Narcissistic rage is real and it can erupt into something rather frightening. If you can honestly say that someone you know fits three or more of these descriptions, they probably have narcissistic rage, not just anger issues.

This is unfortunate because it's much more difficult to change the behavior of a narcissist than that of a typical person who has trouble managing their angry feelings and reactions.

After all, their psychological condition means they are never really wrong, in their own minds. Even if they apologize, it’s usually more a punishment-avoidance tactic than sincere remorse.

If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help at (800) 799-SAFE (7233), or visit thehotline.org for more.


RELATED: 8 Abusive Ways A Narcissistic Sociopath (Or Narcopath) Traps You

Nancie Barwick is a clinical hypnotherapist, author, speaker, and medical intuitive. For more information on her services, visit her website.