Excerpt About Narcissistic Rage

A Universal Reaction to Feeling Unseen or Misunderstood

Narcissistic rage is a universal reaction to feeling unseen or misunderstood. When the mirroring selfobject fails to provide the desired admiration and empathy, the student not only feels hurt, but also angry and indignant. We will discuss three points in relation to this narcissistic reaction: what occasions its arising, its functions, and its specific characteristics. Narcissistic rage might be a chronic feature of the self. For severely disturbed individuals, it is a typical mode of experiencing and expressing themselves. This hard rage is one of the main ways such individuals relate to the world; they easily feel slighted and unjustly treated, and are thus chronically angry and indignant, as if something to which they feel entitled has been taken from them. They are angry most of the time, and are quick to explode at the slightest signs of incomplete empathy or mirroring. The normal individual will react in this manner only occasionally, in response to a gross lack of attunement. But when the student’s narcissistic structure is vulnerable due to lessening identification with the personality structure (what we call “thinning away of the shell”), or due to the mirror transference, then the narcissistic sensitivity is close to the surface, and this rage reaction happens more readily and more frequently.

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