Updated: Mar 15, 2021
Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental condition that causes the person to have an inflated sense of self importance and a deep need for excessive attention. Narcissists show no empathy, have trouble making and keeping friends and have serious relationship issues, and they are often arrogant, prideful, and vindictive.
When a narcissist isn't getting their needs met, their ego stroked, or they have someone confront them with their inappropriate behavior, it can quickly escalate them into becoming aggressive and lashing out in rage.
The main ignitors of "narcissistic rage" are when their ego, self-esteem, or pride has been hurt. Narcissists can not handle criticism, and they certainly can not handle it when others act superior or judge them in any way,
They use rage as a protector part to avoid the pain they are unable to handle or the perceived shame they feel. When they are unable to defend themselves or have control over the person criticising or challenging their behavior they lash out in rage. Unlike someone who is mentally healthy the narcissist will go from zero to sixty in mere seconds; going from being triggered by a comment or perceived attack on their character to full blown raging. They can't handle the thought of not being perfect, and they hate humiliation of any kind,
They are unable to handle anyone challenging them. They already feel unworthy or unloveable and when someone close to them challenges their behaviour, that is typically when rage rises. The sad part in all of this is that they rage to try and keep control of not losing everything they know and love, yet often times their anger and narcissist behavior is the exact thing that pushes the most important people in their lives away.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of narcissistic rage, the best course of action is to set a firm boundary. One way of handling it would be to call them out on their behavior, say, "If you can't calm down and speak to me in a rational, kind manner I will need to end our conversation until you are willing to treat me with respect." No further explanation is needed. If you are in the company of the narcissist, and they continue to rage, simply leave. If you are on the phone, after explaining your boundary and they don't honor your request, hang up, Do not continue engaging with them.
Your boundaries are set by you, for your protection, and no matter how much begging, arguing, blaming, or gaslighting the narcissist does, your boundaries are not up for discussion. Speak in a matter-of-fact kind of way, but always act on your chosen consequence if the boundary is broken, because you may lose credibility if you don't.