January 9, 2007

Neither Is This Is A Narcissistic Injury

I have another unrelated post coming, but a quick word on insults vs. narcissistic injuries, and why this distinction is so important.

Narcissistic injuries have nothing to do with sadness.  They are always and only about rage. 

The narcissist says, "I exist."  A narcissistic injury is you showing him that he does not exist in your life.  Kicking him in the teeth and telling him he is a jerk is not a narcisstic injury-- because he must therefore exist. 

Let's say I'm a narcissist, and you send me a 10 page letter explaining why I suck, I'm a jerk, I'm an idiot; you attack my credibility, my intelligence; and you even provide evidence for all of this, college transcripts, records from the Peters Institute, you criticize my penis size, using affidavits from past and future girlfriends-- all of this hurts me, but it is not a narcissistic injury.  

A narcissistic injury would be this: I expect you to write such a letter, and you don't bother. 

This is most easily seen in the failing marriage of a narcissist. 

The reason it's important is because the reaction of the narcissist to either "insult" is different.  In the first example, he will be sad and hurt, but he will yell back, insult you, or cry and beg forgiveness or mercy--he will respond-- maintain the relationship.   He'll say and do outrageous things that he knows will cause you to respond again, to prolong your connections, even if they cause him misery.  He doesn't care that it makes you and him miserable-- he cares only that there is a you and him.

But in the latter case where you ignore him, humiliate him-- an actual narcissisitic injury-- he will want to kill you.



And before everyone flames me, I am not trying to give a scientific explanation of the pathogenesis of narcissism.  This is simply one man's opinion of how we can specify what it is, and what it may predict, past or future.  Nor am I suggesting this isn't "treatable"-- anyone can change.  It may not be easy, but it is always possible.

And I also do not mean to imply that all narcissists will kill everyone who injures them.  The point is rage.  They may never act on it, or they may break a window, or attempt suicide, etc.