The Narcissistic Rage Cycle

Hell hath no fury or contempt as a narcissist you dare to disagree with, tell they’re wrong, or embarrass

Rage is a destructive action. It is intended to hurt, actually break someone or something. It is also blind and the attack is often against an innocent helpless person or child. We speak of a person being ‘in a blind rage,’ or being ‘blind with rage.’  Rage is also explosive, which means that it cannot be easily steered once it blows. Rage develops when a person feels that his power is thwarted or frustrated. In rage, memory is laid down differently. For all these reasons, rage is often called dissociative rage.

Rage works by short-circuiting the experience of shame that is, the feeling of being inferior or not enough, or not good enough. Rage can be contrasted to a healing and universal experience and emotion: anger. Rage can be thought of as a kernel of anger distorted by internalized shame.

While any rage is very damaging in relationships, unless rage is truly rare, it tends to develop into a pattern or cycle. This has been called the “cycle of violence” the “cycle of abuse,” or the “rage cycle” The most visible part of the rage cycle is the outburst, which may include verbal violence, physical violence, addictive behavior, or dramatic exits. An outburst can occur several times a day, or every few months. The outburst is followed by a period when the primary aggressor’s arousal is low and they may act kindly or remorseful. This is sometimes called the honeymoon period. The desire for control remains however.

A tell-tale sign that rage is serving the purpose of power and control is that the primary aggressor is unwilling to discuss the outburst later in any meaningful or honest way. Apologies don’t count. Fairly soon, the raging person’s expectations are not met and the tension phase starts. Tension further distorts perception, and routine events or small frustrations are seen as large offenses by the raging person and an outburst results

In an episode of rage, the flight or fight system is strongly activated. This makes everyone around the raging person to be perceived and then treated as a threat or an enemy. In this distorted perception, it makes no sense to be fair or accountable to ‘enemies.’ That means that even if irresponsibility does not fit with the primary aggressor’s own self-image, a frequently raging person will by definition be irresponsible. Others will stop asking anything that ‘sets off’ the primary aggressor. This becomes an additional reinforcement, and frequently, any request to be accountable sets off an episode.

Survivors that are in relationship with a raging person feel the effects of the rage all the time because they are walking on eggshells trying to prevent an outburst. The primary aggressor, on the other hand, after an episode both tends to feel better, and to quickly develop ‘amnesia’ about what happened.

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About The Author

ANA was developed out of sheer desperation of the human spirit clinging to it’s last bit of hope.Lost and confused after ending a long term relationship that at one point had felt like the greatest “love” of my life, I struggled to find answers and put a finger on just WHAT IT WAS that had gone so terribly wrong.So desperate was my need for answers, I sat on my therapists couch, tears streaming down my face, begging him to tell me, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH MEEEEEEEEEEEE?”His answer surprised me; and forever changed the way I view this world.“You were in a domestically abusive relationship.”“WHAT?????” I asked in utter shock. “But he didn’t “hit” me?”He answered with, “Not with his fists. You are dealing with a narcissist. You have just ended an abusive relationship with a NARCISSIST.”My mind whirled – when I heard my therapist name what it was – I began to be flooded with many examples from the narcissist’s behavior that fit what the therapist was telling me.The narcissist lured me into a toxic affair with charm, mind games, promises & flattery – sold me on a soul mate love that he’d never felt before and then proceeded to take every good thing he could from me; my love, my innocence, my trust, my sense of justice, my kindness, my empathy, my unconditional love, and my good name – and replaced it with abuse. Lies about me (he told others I was stalking him), got me fired from jobs, created a fake website about me claiming that I was crazy, delusional, a drug addict, and even talked poorly about my children, who he was a father figure to for years.The therapist ran over the list of symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder:Lack of empathy? Check!Boasting about his image? Check!Perfectionism? Check!Lack of boundaries? Check!Expects special treatment? Check!Obsessive Compulsive and sexually perverted? Check!Pathological lying? Multiple serial affairs and cheating? Check!Guilt tripping? Check!Passive aggressive? Check!Possessive, Jealous, downright mean? Check!Controlling. Wouldnt ‘allow’ me to have feelings or express them? Check!Loved by everyone on the outside – but HATED by those who know the real them? Check!I was dating the poster boy for narcissismFor the first time in many years….I finally felt that IT WASNT ME, like the narcissist had blamed me for over & over. It explained why I’d never been able to do anything right to ‘earn’ his “love”.From that day on, I promised God that if he brought me through the darkness, that I would pay forward the knowledge of everything I learned through my lesson, about the narcissist, their red flags, their abuse, my upbringing with a narcissistic parent, my own vulnerabilities and how to never allow myself to be exploited again by another narcissistic individual; be it a boss, boyfriend, family member or friend.My philosophy is very simple: KNOWLEDGE IS POWER – I am making available all the knowledge I’ve gained as a result of this experience with a narcissistic abuser in an effort to help empower you and let you know that you are not alone in your suffering.There truly is Light, Life, Love & Laughter after narcissistic abuse, It is my hope for you, that you truly come to know this for yourself.xo,ANA

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