Faces of Narcissist's Aggression

Uploaded 6/14/2011, approx. 4 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited. Prone to magical thinking, a narcissist is deeply convinced of the transcendental meaning of his life.

He fervently believes in his own uniqueness and mission. He constantly searches for clues regarding the hidden, though inevitable, meaning of his personal odyssey.

The narcissist is forever a public persona, even when he is alone, in the confines of his own bedroom. He still has this public aura, as though he has an invisible audience surrounding him and watching him at all times.

His every move, his every act, his every decision and every scribbling, he is of momentous consequence, he feels.

The narcissist often documents his life with vigil for the benefit of future biographies and generations. His every utterance and shred of correspondence are carefully and meticulously orchestrated, as befitting a historical figure of infinite import.

This grandiose background leads to an exaggerated sense of entitlement. The narcissist feels that he is worthy of special and immediate treatment by the most qualified people.

His time is too precious to be wasted on bureaucratic trifles, misunderstanding, underlings, social conventions or daily chores. His mission is urgent. Other people are expected both to share the narcissist's self-assessment and to behave accordingly, to accommodate his needs, to instantly comply with his wishes, to succumb to his wins.

But the world does not always accommodate compliance account. It often resists the wishes of the narcissist, mocks his comportment or worst of all ignores him altogether.

Narcissist reacts to these with a cycle of frustration and aggression.

Still, it is not always possible to express naked aggression. Many cultures frown on directness and encourage white lies or outright deception in order to avoid or mitigate conflict.

Straight talk in your face may be dangerous, counterproductive or perceived as silly. Even the narcissist cannot attack his boss, for instance, or a policeman or the neighborhood bully with impunity.

So the narcissist's aggression, pent up, boiling, seething, about to flood him altogether, wears many guises, assumes many forms.

The narcissist suddenly becomes brutally honest or bitingly humorous or smotheringly helpful or sexually experimental or socially reclusive or behaviorally different and eccentric.

All these are forms of aggression.

Some narcissists find yet other ways to express their scathing and repressed hostility. They're very creative.

Narcissist often labels such thinly disguised aggression, tough love.

The narcissist's favorite sadistic cocktail is brutal honesty coupled with helpful advice and concern for the welfare of the person thus attacked.

The narcissist blurts out, often completely unprovoked, hurtful observations, painful sentences. These statements are invariably couched in a socially impeccable and acceptable context.

This is akin to anger management. The sadistic narcissist also requires truth management to teach him how to contain his impulsive and offensive honesty and directness.

So a narcissist might say, do you know that you have bad breath? You will be much more popular had you treated it.

True fact. Sadistic.

Or the narcissist can suddenly blur it out, out of the blue. You are really too fat. You should take care of yourself. You're not young, you know. Who knows what this is doing to your heart?

Obesity is ugly. Again, impeccable, acceptable, helpful, even friendly. But the way it is uttered, the context, the timing, as a consequence of frustration, is clearly an aggressive statement.

Narcissists may say, these clothes do not complement you. Let me give you the name of my tailor. Again, helpful.

Or narcissists can criticize and say, you are behaving very strangely lately. I think that talk therapy, combined with medication, may do wonders.

And so on. You get the gist of it. Sentences disguised as helpful advice are actually harmful, hurtful, painful, stabbing attacks.

A misanthropic and schizoid narcissist at once becomes sociable and friendly when he spots an opportunity to hurt people, to avenge himself.

He then resorts to humor, black, thwarted, poignant, biting, sharpened and agonizing. Thinly disguised barbs follow thinly disguised threats, cloaked as jokes or humorous anecdotes.

Another favorite trick of the narcissist is to harp on the insecurities, fears, weaknesses, frailties and deficiencies of the target of aggression.

If the narcissist is married to a jealous spouse, he emphasizes his newfound promiscuity and need to experiment sexually. If his business partner has been traumatized by a previous insolvency, the narcissist berates him for being too cautious or insufficiently entrepreneurial while forcing the partnership to assume outlandish speculative business risks.

If the narcissist cohabits with a gregarious mate, he acts the recluse, the hermit, the social misfit or the misunderstood visionary. In this way he forces the partner to give up her social life. Anything to frustrate, to damage, to hurt, to corner, to inflict pain.

The narcissist is seething with enmity, hostility and venom. He is a receptacle of unbridled hatred and animosity.

When he can, the narcissist often turns to physical violence, but the non-physical manifestations and dimensions of his pent-up bile are even more terrifying, more all-pervasive, more lusty.

Beware of narcissists bearing gifts. They are bound to explode in your faces or poison you or something.

The narcissist hates you wholeheartedly and thoroughly simply because you are. Remembering this has a survival value for you.

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