Disclaimer: The open expression of anger towards the narcissist will not solve the problem
and could be dangerous. Anger and threats usually provoke further hostility and rage. If you
fear for your safety, please visit the following link:
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Safety Plan for Leaving an Abusive Relationship http://www.ncadv.org/protectyourself/SafetyPlan.php
Relationships with narcissists are about blame: “I feel bad, and it’s your fault.” What is a
narcissist? Narcissistic partners are self-centered with an excessive need for attention and
admiration. They control with charm, anger, violence, criticism, irritation, righteousness,
invasive energy, and emotional drama. They use both blatant and concealed control to get the attention they want and hold others responsible for their feelings of pain and joy. It is your job to make sure that their needs are met. All forms of narcissistic abuse result from failure to feel empathy. They don’t care about how you feel. Failure of compassion is abuse. Trying to prevent outbursts, the victims of narcissists “walk on eggshells” to keep the peace.
You might be asking yourself, “How could someone who felt so right at the beginning of the relationship be a total mistake?” After discovering your partner’s true character, emotions are usually intense. The hurt, bewilderment, and numbing shock are overwhelming. Acceptance of anger is not pleasant, but it is necessary for ending the abuse. Anger will guide you to decisions that are important to make. You will find it difficult, if not impossible, to leave and get better until you get mad. Denying anger eats away at your innermost spirit and feeds depression. Hidden anger does not go away; it sits waiting for you to become strong enough to deal with the mistreatment. It is crucial to acknowledge your anger, or you will continue to accept behaviors that hurt you. Staying in denial, you will likely suffer from fear, emotional pain, or shame. It is far more effective to assert yourself with anger to motivate an escape from purgatory. By repressing emotions and disregarding needs, you stay victimized and become stuck in the nightmare. Some victims of narcissists stay in quiet desperation for years, secretly wanting out, and then they die. Their emotional work is left to their children to complete. You have the right and responsibility to feel and learn from your anger.
It is important to understand that not all anger is unhealthy. You can use anger constructively or destructively. It can be a warning signal to protect ourselves from being dominated or manipulated by others. It’s a defense mechanism that protects. Anger can give us strength and courage to stop abuse done against us or to others we love. However, when anger is unexpressed, it becomes destructive, taking control of the mind, body, and spirit. Most people under the control of a narcissist cannot clearly comprehend the abuse or make good decisions. The person acting co-dependently is unable to reason, and emotions take control of their actions. They make excuses for the abuser’s behavior and feel trapped and uncertain about how to care for themselves or their children. Anger may be denied because the person feels too guilty or afraid of it. You may speak of being disappointed, frustrated, or let down, unaware that these expressions may indicate repressed anger. Becoming angry at the abuse is an effective means of utilizing emotion in overcoming fear. Constructively used, anger can give strength both mentally and emotionally.
What do I do to acknowledge my anger? Recognize that you are angry and admit it to yourself. Awareness is much less harmful than unrecognized or unadmitted anger. You must uncover the feelings first. If you are feeling depressed, ask yourself what is making you upset. Are you afraid to face the situation? Are you afraid to face your anger? Understand why you are angry, so you will figure out ways to handle it. When you recognize the destructive behaviors of the narcissist, your frustration, and discouragement, you will find the source of anger and what to do about it. Dealing with anger is easy to describe but less easy to carry out. Life is complex. Once you leave, you must do a personal search to discover your interests and what can be done to express them in your new life. Remember, you have to make changes because you are the one who has been made sick by the relationship. If you don’t make changes, you are likely to continue to be frustrated and depressed.
Ending a relationship with a narcissist means we must choose to take care of ourselves even though we may fear our ability to do so. You cannot change a narcissist (or anyone) or be responsible for their insatiable needs. It is time to feel your anger and release your partner to think, solve problems, and take care of themselves. Your work is to believe in your ability to competently deal with feelings, solve problems, and take responsibility for your life.
Do you struggle with abusive relationships, or do you know someone who does? If
so, please contact Straight Talk Counseling at 714-828-2000 or visit our website at
straighttalkcounseling.org. One of our professional counselors would be happy to speak with you.