What Is Narcissistic Injury?

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  • Written By: Jennifer Long
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2018
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Narcissistic injury is the term used to describe a type of perceived psychological injury to people with narcissism. A narcissist has a false self-perception. Injury to this perception is through a threat to the perception itself, and generally leads to some form of narcissistic rage.

Narcissism is a person’s idea that he or she is superior to others. A narcissist believes that perfection and entitlement have been reached, whether real or imaginary. The narcissistic person has usually not accomplished anything that would warrant a sudden boost to the ego. Often, narcissists seek attention by whatever means in order to boost their self-perception. The term for this attention seeking is narcissistic supply because the compliments, fear, and admiration are supplying the ego.

When there is any kind of threat to a narcissist’s belief, a defensive stance is taken. Facing narcissistic injury causes people with narcissism to often act aggressively. Narcissistic rage is the term used to describe this aggression and can include violence for narcissists who tend to exhibit violent tendencies. This anger that comes out as a response to criticism can be directed toward others or to the self.

Self-directed narcissistic rage is a common reaction to this type of injury. The narcissist turns the rejection and criticism inward. Shame, anxiety, and sudden depression occur with minimal criticism. Outward rage is usually directed specifically for the people who criticized the narcissist. In extreme cases, a narcissist singles out anyone who resembles the critical person.


The typical narcissist is often regarded poorly. Narcissists are stereotyped and labeled because of how they react to narcissistic injury. Many people believe that narcissism accompanies other severe psychological disorders such as paranoid schizophrenia. In truth, narcissism does not have to coincide with any other disorder.

While it is often found that narcissism is apparent in some psychiatric patients, it is not always assumed by the psychological community that a person with narcissism must also have other problems. There are many cases of people who are narcissistic who do not have any other conditions or disorders. In fact, many average people have narcissism. It is not until a response to narcissistic injury occurs that other people see the false self-perception.

For a person with narcissism, treatment is an ongoing process. Treating narcissism begins with understanding that the self-perception is not always true and is not based on things that have occurred to reach the level a person perceives. A narcissist must face consistent narcissistic injury without responding negatively to the criticism. Ego is reduced to normal ideals through this process as well. Narcissism recovery takes time and patience.


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Post 3

I think you do not realize that as in nature is necessary the tigers and lions as well in our human life, it is necessary the psychopaths and narcissists. to keep balance in the world and define happiness. How do you know love if you do not experience hate?

Post 2

Very true. Very true indeed. I find it interesting too, that my particular narcissistic sociopath seems keen to see me lose my house (that I purchased long before meeting him) and enjoys constantly picking my daughter apart. He was charming until we got married then it was like suddenly *poof!* This crazy, controlling maniac emerged. I can actually see the happiness and satisfaction on his face whenever he succeeds in punishing my daughter. I have even caught him setting her up and then insisting on punishment. When his insistence that she is bad or deserves some over the top punishment isn't heeded by me or her father, this nut job engages in a man-child rendition of a full blown

temper tantrum that uses every single trick in the book.

I am counting the days until I find a new job so that I can give him the boot! I can only hope that this happens before any irreversible damage happens to me or my daughter. I have learned that the best way to root out a sociopath or narcissist is to let them know that you are in a position to rely on them. Maybe it would be a good exercise in the future to "fake" reliance if only to see the true person and avoid a future repeat.

Post 1

No mention of the scumbags being predators and emotional rapists, then? These sub humans will find their way in to your house and then trash it.

In other words, they will try to find out your beliefs, principles, opinions, private things, etc. and then attempt to destroy them. They have no inside -- only a deep, dark hole and will try to fill it by copying and using obscure words.

These scumbags will act perfect in front of people who matter but indoors they are mental abusers. Therefore they choose their behavior and that makes them evil, the sick psychopaths.

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