Why Narcissists Overreact When They Don’t Get Their Way

Why Narcissists Overreact When They Don't Get Their Way

Narcissistic and empathic people are sensitive over feelers. Unlike an empathic person,  a narcissist lacks compassion and pushes his or her negative feelings outward onto others, whereas empaths tend to be understanding and hold back their expression.

The narcissists’ focus is protecting their ego at all costs. Their over inflated ego often gets easily bruised because everything is personal to them, whether it is or not. I have had my struggles with narcissistic people as many of you have. Today, I mostly have compassion for them because they do not feel joy or love from their heart center and this is an empty way to live.

My personal background

I grew up with a narcissist, met many others along the road of life and still interact with a few. I learned everything revolves around them. I could not make any of them happy unless I gave up my values and beliefs, which I refuse to do.

Even those who sacrifice their happiness for the narcissist, never succeed. I am here to tell you, this is not a failure on your part. The truth is narcissists are miserable people. When they feel powerless, their focus is on their negative thoughts, jealousies, and insecurities.

A narcissistic personality does not want to hear any opinion contrary to theirs and they love giving unsolicited advice. This is where I have had problems because I speak up and voice my opinion in an assertive way. To the narcissist, any opposition or conflict is aggressive to them no matter how gently you present it. When you have to assert yourself, do it in a way you can hold your head up high because they will never be happy with you.

An inability to sit with negative thoughts

A narcissist often overreacts because he or she cannot sit with any negative feeling longer than a second or two. Instead, they push their thoughts out and project them onto a targeted person. The result is you feel uncomfortable and upset being on the receiving end of one of their tirades. Remember, this is their stuff!

Please note their feelings are not more painful or special than any other person on this Earth. It is their inability to sit and process that fuels their overreactions. In order to heal and grow, you need the ability to sit, pause and process feelings/thoughts. This is how everyone regulates emotions. If you cannot sit with a feeling/thought for more than a second, you will never be able to take ownership of it or responsibility.

A person with narcissistic traits (someone who does not met the full criteria for narcissistic personality diagnosis) could learn to sit with their feelings if they were highly motivated and aware. It is rare for a narcissist to attend therapy unless their spouse, someone in their family or their employer is giving them an ultimatum to do so. Once the narcissist is in the therapy office, he or she will make everyone else at fault because of their inability to take responsibility for feelings, thoughts and actions. This is why I work with the people who have been affected by a narcissistic personality because the narcissist rarely changes.

Insecurity-Their inferiority complex

At first, you may not see the seething rage and insecurity beneath because a narcissist is full of praise. They seem confident with their highly charismatic personalities and draw people to them easily. This is how many people, including myself have been fooled.

If they feel you can be useful to them, they will love you. You will become their hero and they will sing your praises from the rooftops. As soon as you set boundaries or disagree with their opinion, you are in for a mighty fall. I have been on both sides of the equation.

Here you are, now their enemy and the insults and little digs begin. This passive aggressive behavior is destructive over time and will drain you of energy. Professionals, like myself, recommend staying away from these personalities or at least minimizing your exposure to them. If you have to be around them, take everything they say with a grain of salt.

Jealousy-Their Green Eyed Monster

If a narcissist notices you are happy he or she will come at you full force, especially if you are on their sh** list. They will try to tear you down by dragging your name through the mud to anyone and everyone who will listen. In a struggle to regain your power, you may shoot back verbally. They can dish out insults but cannot take them. When they rage, pout or give you a silent treatment, this is when their ego feels most injured and their victim side emerges. At this point, they will seek out their allies or enablers asking them; why does she hate me? I didn’t do anything to her!

If you are in a relationship personally or professionally with a narcissist, protect your energies and seek your own psychological help. You can not change their outbursts. You can empower yourself by changing your own behavior and energy.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach who works with empaths and artists. She helps professionals who often get drained from their helping efforts, recharge and rejuvenate their energies. Pick up her FREE gift 8 Simple Things That Release Chaos From Your Life Now here.

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36 thoughts on “Why Narcissists Overreact When They Don’t Get Their Way

  1. Great post! I have also been exposed to narcissists- not fun, you will never win or be right. Move on. Know you have done nothing wrong and you are not worthless.

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  2. I have had narcissists in my life. I tried to help but at the time it got overwhelming for me. I had to basically cut them out of my life. Narcissists need more love an understanding. You describe it well and it is true about them not wanting therapy for various reasons. I hope that changes. If anyone has this in their life, it is not worth the abuse, please walk away. Pray that this person receives help. I wrote a little bit about this in a book I am writing. I hope to shed some light on some things and I hope that it makes a difference.

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    • It is important to protect your energies around narcissistic people and learn to detach with love. Yes, we can always pray for them to find healing. Heather Maria, if you need any professional insights from my work as a psychotherapist for your book, I would be happy to help. xx Blessings Lisa

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  3. Such deep reflection.
    I have had to meet such people in life and it was a really bad experience at each time.
    You need to protect yourself from such bad energies. The people we grant access into our lives are very important.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. First Lisa, thank you for making a distinction between a person with narcissistic traits as someone who does not meet the full criteria for narcissistic personality diagnosis. There is a difference and I’m glad you mentioned it.
    I’ve encountered so many stepmoms who are struggling with people with narcissistic traits and have no idea what to do. This gives them a big of insight as to their challenges and letting them know, it’s not their fault.

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  5. Hi Lisa, I appreciated reading this post. My personal experience with narcissists is pretty minimal, but I always appreciate knowing and understanding more about personality types and tendencies. I always think of emotions and tendencies as something that serves someone until it doesn’t anymore. I guess when meeting someone of narcissistic tendencies, I would be most likely to inquire how the behavior serves them. What lives beneath that? Inside of that? Within that? How can we access THAT vulnerability? Because THAT is usually where authenticity lives.

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    • For a person with the full diagnostic criteria of narcissism, they seek power over others. Their vulnerability lies in a loss of that powerful image. This is the one point in time, they may be open to therapy. A person with narcissistic tendencies may be open to your lines of inquiry if they are self aware and take responsibility for their actions. Thanks for your comment Krystal.

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    • Suzie, it is difficult to have a narcissistic person as part of your family. Although, I do not know your personal situation, I can speak to people who try to divide the family and isolate members who don’t agree with their beliefs. They feel entitled and right for acting this way. This splits families apart and is a painful experience for all. Sending you a hug! Blessings Lisa xx

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  6. I hear you loud and clear Lisa, and agree whole heatedly with your words here. I grew up knowing such behaviour in my mother, and father who showed it in different ways.. A Father who was jealous of my mother and a mother who was jealous of her children showing no love at least to her eldest..
    It was many years later I came to understand the way Narcissists work.. I believe we may have spoken about this before..
    It matters not now.. My Mother passed never relinquishing her bitterness.. And I have learnt to let her go and have spent a long while unpicking the threads she wove of unworthiness within me.. But they are unpicked, unravelled and forgiven..
    As I strode to find and understand my own empathic self 🙂 and see just what I needed to carry and lay down.. 🙂
    Loved your enlightening post Lisa..
    Much love your way.. ❤ and thank you so much for your recent visit and reading of my posts.. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Sue. I do recall your upbringing. I also had a step father who died holding onto his negativity and bitterness. I, like you chose to forgive. I recognized I needed to let go for my own healing. Being an empath, you have a special awareness of the misuse of power, which makes for a great healer. I appreciate your support of my writings and enjoy our connection. xx

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      • The forgiveness didn’t come over night.. But it came.. And along with it also knowing that but for that upbringing and for my breakdown in the final rejection from my mother. Also came the knowledge that through these experiences, I became who I am today. So in a way, I have to thank her, for she made me who I am.. ❤ Likewise also Lisa.. .. Love right back. ❤

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  7. I’ve dealt with a few narcissists in my time, Lisa, but the one I remembered reading your post was my childhood best friend. Fortunately our parents had transferable jobs and we met again in brief spells over the years by which time I had found an opinion of my own and was not affected by her. Though I do know that she played havoc with a lot of people in her youth. Now I’m wondering, what must she be upto as a middle-aged person. 🙂

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  8. Very insightful article, Lisa. And very timely. You have a special gift of breaking down the information so we can clearly see the differences in the two traits.

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  9. This is so timely for me Lisa, as I am currently dealing with a “few” meaning more than 2!! right now. I hate when I jump down the rabbit hole and try to “communicate” as I end up behaving in ways that are not in-line with my soul. I am not in the position yet where I can cut them completely out of my life, but that time is on the horizon. Until then, I need to stay true to myself and not be fooled into their manipulative ways. It is not easy…and I am trying to reverse a life-time of habit. Thank you for sharing, Lisa. Hope you are enjoying this Sunday!! Blessitude ❤

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  10. Lorrie, it is not easy seeing the truth of who people are, especially when they think and act so different from us. People who are narcissistic are very good at manipulation. They know exactly what to say to try and get into your head. Awareness and education will help you choose your next steps. Take Care of you. Have a blessed week. 💕

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  11. It was really tough when I was with a narcissist. I thought what am I doing wrong all the time? It’s taken a lot of therapy to realize I could never have made him happy, no matter how selfless I was. Your post cements that for me. Thanks Lisa.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Christy, It is normal to question yourself when faced with narcissistic people. They project their insecurity onto whoever is available. This is a huge problem for empaths who absorb other people’s energy. I am glad this post was helpful to you. It is my pleasure to share this kind of information because it empowers compassionate people. Enjoy the rest of your week!

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  12. Very well written and intelligent. They can be very adept in their emotional abuse. I have many clients who have been harmed by narcissists as you have, and it can take time to heal from their wounds.

    Liked by 1 person

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